P A R T 1 UNDERSTANDING THE WORKPLACE
What Is Organizational Behaviour?
An organization decides it will hire people with few skills and job experience. What challenges might its managers face?
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What is organizational behaviour? Isn’t organizational behaviour common sense? Or just like psychology? How does knowing about organizational behaviour make work and life more understandable?
What challenges do managers and employees face in the workplace of the twenty-first century?
Renovation (ICR) does renovation and construction work on
rundown inner city residential and commercial buildings, with the aim of revitalizing the area.1 As part of its mission, the
company employs and trains low-income residents of the inner city. ICR is a forprofit company that was created by five not-for-profit joint venture partners: North End Housing Project (NEHP), Winnipeg Partners in Housing (WPH), Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA), West Broadway Development Corporation (WBDC), and Community Ownership Solutions (COS). ICR has completed over 50 residential and commercial projects since opening its doors in August 2002. Because ICR hires a number of employees who have few skills and little job experience, managers must teach the employees how to perform the role of employee. Managers must also teach employees about teamwork and leadership while working side by side with them on construction projects. Can a company like ICR survive as well as a company not as committed to social values? The challenges that the managers at ICR face in running a successful organization and getting people to work well together illustrate several concepts you will find as you study the field of organizational behaviour. Let’s take a look, then, at what organizational behaviour is.
DEFINING ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOUR
Organizational behaviour (often abbreviated as OB) is a field of study that investigates how individuals, groups, and structure affect and are affected by behaviour within organizations. Behaviour refers to what people do in the organization, how they perform, and what their attitudes are. Because the organizations studied are often business organizations, OB is frequently applied to address workplace issues such as absenteeism, turnover, productivity, motivation, working in groups, and job satisfaction. Managers often apply the knowledge gained from OB research to help them manage their organizations more effectively.
1 What is organizational behaviour?
organizational behaviour A field of study that investigates the impact of individuals, groups, and structure on behaviour within organizations; the aim is to apply such knowledge toward improving organizational effectiveness.
OB IS FOR EVERYONE
Why do some people do well in organizational settings while others have difficulty? What people-related challenges have you noticed in the workplace? Do you know what a “typical” organization looks like? Why should you care about understanding other people? 3
Does job satisfaction really make a difference?
Are you ready to assume more responsibility at work?
Part 1 Understanding the Workplace
OB Is for Everyone
It may seem natural to think that the study of OB is for leaders and managers of organizations. After all, they often set the agenda for everyone else. However, OB is for everyone. For instance, many employees have informal leadership roles. They are often expected to move beyond simply providing labour to playing a more proactive role in achieving organizational success. As well, managers are increasingly asking employees to share in their decision-making processes rather than simply follow orders. For instance, employees in some retail stores can make decisions about when to accept returned items on their own, without involving the manager. Thus, in many organizations, the roles of managers and employees have become blurred.2 OB is not just for...
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