Efficient work, the provision of high-quality service or products are the goals of almost every company, regardless of its scope. In health care, the quality of services is critical as people’s lives often depend on them. Many factors influence the enterprises’ success – employees’ commitment, their communication, the presence of a motivating goal, and other aspects. Organizational behavior (OB) is devoted to studying people’s working behavior, how it can be predicted and therefore managed to improve results (Borkowski & Meese, 2021). The importance of OB is growing, as people with a variety of backgrounds, from different cultures and countries, work together as one team.
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Health care is a dynamic, extensive, and ever-evolving industry that brings together many employees, and for this reason, requires significant management efforts. The changes are especially notable in the last decades – the aging of the nation, decreasing reimbursement, the use of technology (Borkowski & Meese, 2021). They pose new challenges to medical workers by destroying their usual work processes. OB reduces the negative impact of changes and helps employees maximize their abilities in such an unstable environment.
OB practices provide a competitive advantage and help to improve patient care. According to Emma (2019), OB allows effectively organize employees and hire the best talents that will meet expectations. It helps establish and comply with the organization’s mission and make profitable decisions (Emma, 2019). The use of OB practices helps to avoid such problems as employee stress and burnout, high personnel turnover, low performance, and similar issues. Moreover, according to Cunningham and Geller (2008), it reduces the number of medical errors contributing to patient safety. Thus, in healthcare, OB aims to improve services and care for patients.
Hawthorne Studies, McGregor’s Theories X and Y, and Lewin’s Behavioral Study
The Hawthorne Studies
The Hawthorne Studies significantly influenced the development of OB and helped discover Hawthorne Effect. It suggests a difference in behavior when people know that they are under surveillance (Borkowski & Meese, 2021). The Hawthorne experiments aimed to detect the impact of the working environment factors, such as lighting or duration of the break, on productivity. Since the productivity of workers increased with any changes in conditions, the researchers concluded that the reason for the improvement in work is in the researchers’ attention.
Surveillance can be used to improve enterprise results, but several drawbacks need to be taken into account. For example, Rezk et al. (2021) examined the impact of observing medical personnel and their compliance with hygiene rules. The researchers noticed the Hawthorne effect, but it was short-term and affected employees with less experience (Rezk et al., 2021). Thus, the application of surveillance can be effective in training new personnel but is not the main factor in improving productivity.
McGregor’s Theories X and Y
Another theory that influenced the formation of OB is McGregor’s Theories X and Y. They are based on how the manager’s attitude to employees determines their work. Axis X presents a negative attitude, suggesting that employees are not interested in a job, are irresponsible and lazy (Borkowski & Meese, 2021). Axis Y implies a positive attitude telling that employees want to contribute to the company’s success, be creative and work professionally (Borkowski & Meese, 2021). The perspective, which the manager chooses, determines the behavior of employees. As a result, if the manager expects employees to be lazy and incompetent, they will behave correspondingly, and vice versa. Employees whom leaders consider responsible may prove themselves in the best way. The approach can be applied to various organizations, including health care. The administrations of hospitals who expect their employees to do a better job and ensure the necessary conditions for this will receive an appropriate level of engagement.
Lewin’s Behavioral Study
A leader plays an indispensable role in the work of any group or team. Researcher Kurt Lewin conducted an experiment during which he found out the influence of various leadership styles on the group’s results in the 1930s. The study included such styles as authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire. The leader of the first type gave only orders, the democratic leader guided and took an active part in the activities, and laissez-faire only gave the knowledge necessary for the task (Borkowski & Meese, 2021). As a result, the democratic style became more successful, as the group members were friendly, not aggressive, and their works distinguished with originality. Although the authoritarian style influenced increased productivity, it also increased the aggression of participants. The latter type, laissez-faire, showed the most negligible results in participants’ satisfaction and tasks fulfillment. Thus, the leadership style is critical in relationships with employees.
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Currently, leadership theories have expanded significantly, and many other styles have been studied. At the same time, leaders can apply different styles depending on the task that they have to solve. For example, according to a study by Sfantou et al. (2017), transformational and responsive styles are associated with low patient mortality rates, and relational and task-oriented leadership may increase patient satisfaction levels. For this reason, health care leaders should remain flexible and respond to the challenges that arise by choosing the appropriate behavior model and style.
Organizational behavior (OB) studies how people behave and interact with others in a working environment. Applying OB practices and knowledge helps to understand, predict, and guide employee behavior to make them more motivated, effective, and engaged. In healthcare, OB is significant since the sphere is very dynamic, constantly changing, and becomes more diverse, which poses additional challenges. Some of the first studies and theories that contributed to the development of OB are Hawthorne Studies, McGregor’s Theories X and Y, and Lewin’s Behavioral Study. They revealed the influence on the employees’ performance of surveillance, managers’ expectations, and leadership style. Taking such factors into consideration helps improve working processes.
Borkowski, N., & Meese, K. A. (2021). Organizational behavior, theory, and design in health care. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Cunningham, T.R., & Geller, E.S. (2008) Organizational behavior management in health care: Applications for large-scale improvements in patient safety. In: Henriksen K, et al. (Eds.), Advances in patient safety: New directions and alternative approaches (Vol. 2: Culture and Redesign). Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Emma, L. (2019). How to explain the importance of organizational behaviors. CHRON – Small Business.
Rezk, F., Stenmarker, M., Acosta, S., Johansson, K., Bengnér, M., Åstrand, H., & Andersson, A. C. (2021). Healthcare professionals’ experiences of being observed regarding hygiene routines: The Hawthorne effect in vascular surgery. BMC Infectious Diseases, 21(1), 1-10.
Sfantou, D. F., Laliotis, A., Patelarou, A. E., Sifaki-Pistolla, D., Matalliotakis, M., & Patelarou, E. (2017). Importance of leadership style towards quality of care measures in healthcare settings: a systematic review. Healthcare 5(4), 73.