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Meaning and concept of Organisational Behaviour
1.4 NEED
1.16.1 ABILITY
In this unit we are going to know the fundamental concepts of organizational
behavior and its impact on the global scenario. We are also going to study the
individual factors such as personality, attitude, learning, perception, motivation
and ability with respect to organizational behavior and commitment.
Understand the fundamental concepts of organizational behavior.
Understand the role of individual factors in organizational behavior.
Organisational behaviour is concerned with people’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, and
actions in a work setting. Understanding an individual behaviour is in itself a challenge, but
understanding group behaviour in an organisational environment is a monumental managerial task.
As Nadler and Thushman put it:
“Understanding one individual’s behaviour is challenging in and of itself; understanding a
group that is made up of different individuals and comprehending the many relationships
among those individuals is even more complex. Ultimately, the organisation’s work gets
done through people, individually or collectively, on their own or in collaboration with
technology. Therefore, the management of organisational behaviour is central to the
management task a task that involves the capacity to “understand” the behaviour patterns
of individuals, groups and organisations, to “predict” what behavioural responses will be
elicited by various managerial actions and finally to use this understanding and these
predictions to achieve “control”.
Organisational behaviour can then defined as:
The study of human behaviour in organisational settings, the interface between human
behaviour and the organisational context, and the organisation itself.
The above definition has three facets the individual behaviour, the organisation and the
interface between the two. Each individual brings to an organisation a unique set of beliefs, values,
attitudes and other personal characteristics and these characteristics of all individuals must interact
with each other in order to create an organisational setting. The organisational behaviour is
specifically concerned with work-related behaviour which takes place in organisations.
In addition to understanding the on-going behavioural processes involved in their own jobs,
managers must understand the basic human element of their work. Organisational behaviour offers
three major ways of understanding this context; people as organisations, people as resources and
people as people.
Above all, organisations are people; and without people there would be no organisations.
Thus, if managers are to understand the organisations in which they work, they must first
understand the people who make up the organisations.
As resources, people are one of an organisation’s most valuable assets. People create the
organisation, guide and direct its course, and vitalise and revitalise it. People make its decisions,
solve its problems, and answer its questions. As managers increasingly recognise the value of
potential contributions by their employees, it will become more and more important for managers
and employees to grasp the complexities of organisational behaviour.
Finally, there is people as people an argument derived from the simple notion of
humanistic management. People spend a large part of their lives in organisational settings, mostly
as employees. They have a right to expect something in return beyond wages and benefits. They
have right to expect satisfaction and to learn new skills. An understanding of organisational
behaviour can help the manager better appreciate this variety of individual needs and expectations.
Organisational behaviour is concerned with the characteristics and behaviours of
employees in isolation; the characteristics and processes that are part of the organisation itself; and
the characteristics and behaviours directly resulting from people with their individual needs and
motivations working within the structure of the organisation. One cannot understand an
individual’s behaviour completely without learning something about that individual’s
organisation. Similarly, he cannot understand how the organisation operates without studying the
people who make it up. Thus, the organisation influences and is influenced by individuals.
The key elements in the organisational behaviour are people, structure, technology and the
environment in which the organisation operates.
People make up the internal and social system of the organisation. They consists of
individuals and groups. The groups may be big or small; formal or informal; official or unofficial.
Groups are dynamic. They work in the organisation to achieve their objectives.
Structure defines the formal relationships of the people in organisations. Different people
in the organisation are performing different type of jobs and they need to be related in some
structural way so that their work can be effectively co-ordinated.
Technology such as machines and work processes provide the resources with which people
work and affects the tasks that they perform. The technology used has a significant influence on
working relationships. It allows people to do more and better work but it also restricts people in
various ways.
All organisations operate within an external environment. It is part of a larger system that
contains many other elements such as government, the family and other organisations. All of these
mutually influence each other in a complex system that creates a context for a group of people.
Check your progress
Notes a) Write your answer in the space given below
b) Compare your answer with the one given at the end of the unit.
Define Organizational Behaviour.
The rules of work are different from the rules of play. The uniqueness of rules and the
environment of organisations forces managers to study organisational behaviour to learn about
normal and abnormal ranges of behaviour.
More specifically, organisational behaviour serves three purposes:
What causes behaviour?
Why particular antecedents cause behaviour?
Which antecedents of behaviour can be controlled directly and which are beyond
A more specific and formal course in organisational behaviour helps an individual to
develop a more refined, workable set of assumptions more directly relevant to his work
interactions. Organisational behaviour helps in predicting human behaviour in the organisational
setting by drawing a clear distinction between individual behaviour and group behaviour.
Organisational behaviour does not provide solution to all complex and multifarious
behaviour puzzles of organisations. It is only the intelligent judgement of the manager in dealing
with a specific issue can try to solve problem. Organisational behaviour only assists in making
judgements that derived from tenable assumptions, judgement that takes into account the important
variables underlying the situation; judgement that assigns due recognition to the complexity of
individual or group behaviour; judgement that explicity takes into account the managers own
goals, motives, hang-ups, blind spots and frailties.
Modern Approach to Organisational Behaviour
The modern approach to organisational behaviour is the search for the truth of why people
behave the way they do and it is a delicate and complex process. If one aims to manage
organisations, it is necessary to understand how they operate. Organisations combine science and
people. While science and technology is predictable, the human behaviour in organisations is
rather unpredictable. This is because it arises from people’s deep-seated needs and value systems.
Historical Background for Modern Organisational Behaviour
Scientific Management Approach:
Scientific management approach was developed by F.W. Taylor at the beginning of 20th
century. This theory advocated use of certain steps in scientifically studying each element of a
job, selecting and training the best workers for the job, making sure that the workers follow
prescribed method of doing the job. It provided a scientific rationale for job specialisation and
mass production. His assumption was that employees are motivated largely by money. To
increase output, Taylor advised managers to pay monetary incentives to efficient workers. Yet,
his theory was criticised by employers and workers. Workers objected to the pressure to work
ever harder and faster. Critics worried that the methods took the humanity out of labour, reducing
workers to machines responding to management incentives. Now the Taylor’s view is considered
inadequate and narrow.
Bureaucratic Approach:
While scientific management was focusing on the interaction between worker and task,
other researchers began to studying how to structure organisations more effectively. Instead of
trying to make each worker more efficient, classical organisation theory sought the most effective
overall organisational structure for workers and managers.
The theory’s most prominent advocate, Max Weber, proposed a ‘bureaucratic form’ of
structure which he thought would work for all organisations. Weber’s ideal bureaucracy was
logical, rational and efficient. He made the naive assumption that one structure would work best
for all organisations.
Henry Ford, Henry Fayol and Frederick W. Taylor, the early management pioneers,
recognised the behavioural side of management. However, they did not emphasise the human
dimensions. Although there were varied and complex reasons for the emergence of the importance
of the behavioural approach to management, it is generally recognised that the Hawthrone studies
mark the historical roots for the field of organisational behaviour.
Hawthorne Studies
Even as Taylor and Weber brought attention with their rational, logical approaches to more
efficient productivity, their views were criticised on the ground that both approaches ignored
worker’s humanity.
The real beginning of applied research in the area of organisational behaviour started with
Hawthorne Experiments. The findings of these studies were given a new name ‘human relations’.
In 1924, a group of Professors such as Elton Mayo began an enquiry into the human aspects of
work and working conditions at the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric Company, Chicago.
The studies brought out a number of findings relevant to understanding human behaviour
at work which are as follows:
The human element in the work place was considerably more important. The workers are
influenced by social factors and the behaviour of the individual worker is determined by the group.
Hawthorne studies have been criticised for their research methods and conclusions drawn.
But their effect on the emerging field of organisational behaviour was dramatic. They helped usher
in a more human centered approach to work.
Approaches to Organisational Behaviour
There are mainly four approaches to organisational behaviour. They are:
A human resources approach
A contingency approach
A productivity approach
A systems approach
Human Resources Approach:
The human resources approach is concerned with the growth and development of people
towards higher levels of competency, creativity and fulfillment, because people are the central
resource in any organisation. This approach helps employees become better, more responsible and
then it tries to create a climate in which they may contribute to the limits of their improved abilities.
This approach is also known as ‘supportive approach’ because the manager’s primary role changes
from control of employees to active support of their growth and performance.
A Contingency Approach:
A contingency approach to organisational behaviour implies that different situations
require different behavioural practices for effectiveness instead of the traditional approach to one
best way for all situations. Each situation must be analyzed carefully to determine the significant
variables that exist in order to establish the kinds of practices that will be more effective. The
strength of this approach is that it encourages analysis of each situation prior to action. Thus it
helps to use in the most appropriate manner all the current knowledge about people in organisation.
Productivity Approach:
Productivity is a ratio that compares units of output with units of input. It is often measured
in terms of economic inputs and outputs. If more outputs can be produced from the same amount
of inputs, productivity is improved. But besides economic inputs and outputs, human and social
inputs and outputs also are important.
Systems Approach:
A system is an interrelated part that interact with one another and functions as a whole.
Within the organisation ‘people’ employ ‘technology’ in performing the ‘taks’ that they are
responsible for, while the ‘structure’ of the organisation serves as a basis for co-ordinating all their
different activities. The system view emphasizes the interdependence of each of these elements
within the organisation, if the organisation as a whole is to function effectively. The other key
aspect of the systems view of organisations is its emphasis on the interaction between the
organisation and its broader environment which consists of social, economic, cultural and political
within which they operate.
Organisations are dependent upon their environment in two main ways: First, the
organisation requires ‘inputs’ from the environment in the form of raw material, people, money,
ideas and so on. The organisation itself can be thought of as performing certain ‘transformation
processes; on its inputs in order to create outputs in the form of products or services. Secondly,
the organisation depends on environment i.e., public to accept its output i.e., products/services.
The systems view of organisation, thus emphasizes the key interdependencies that
organisations must manage. Within themselves the organisations must trade off the
interdependencies among people, tasks, technology and structure in order to perform their
transformation processes effectively and efficiently. Organisations must also recognise their
interdependence with the broader environments within which they exist.
Contemporary Organisational Behaviour
A Separate Field of Study:
Organisational behaviour can be treated as a distinct field of study. It has yet to become a
science. Now efforts are being taken to synthesize principles, concepts and processes in this field
of study.
Interdisciplinary Approach:
Organisational behaviour is basically an interdisciplinary approach. Organisational
behaviour draws heavily from other disciplines like psychology, sociology and anthropology.
Besides, it also takes relevant things from economics, political science, law and history.
Organisational behaviour integrates the relevant contents of these disciplines to make them
applicable for organisational analysis. For example, it addresses issues such as the following
which may be relevant to the case:
What facilitates accurate perception and attribution?
What influences individual, group and organisational learning and the development of
individual attitudes toward work?
How do individual differences in personality, personal development, and career
development affect individual’s behaviours and attitudes?
What motivates people to work, and how does the organisation’s reward system
influence worker behaviour and attitudes?
How do managers build effective teams?
What contributes to effective decision-making?
What constitutes effective communication?
What characterises effective communication?
How can power be secured and used productively?
What factors contribute to effective negotiations?
How can conflict (between groups or between a manager and subordinates) be resolved
or managed?
How can jobs and organizations be effectively designed?
How can managers help workers deal effectively with change?
An Applied Science:
The basic objective of organisational behaviour is to make application of various
researches to solve the organisational problems, particularly related to human behaviour aspect.
Normative and Value Centred:
Organisational Behaviour is normative science. A normative science prescribes how the
various findings of researches can be applied to get organisational results which are acceptable to
the society. Thus, what is acceptable by the society or individuals engaged in an organisation is a
matter of values of the society and people concerned.
Humanistic and Optimistic:
Organisational behaviour focuses the attention on people from humanistic point of view.
It is based on the belief that needs and motivation of people are of high concern. Further, there is
optimism about the innate potential of man to be independent, creative, predictive and capable of
contributing positively to the objectives of the organisation.
Oriented towards Organisational Objectives:
Organisational behaviour is oriented towards organisation objectives. In fact,
organisational behaviour tries to integrate both individual and organisational objectives so that
both are achieved simultaneously.
A Total System Approach:
The individual’s behaviour can be analysed keeping in view his psychological frame-work,
interpersonal-orientation, group influence and social and cultural factors. Thus, individual’s
nature is quite complex and organisational behaviour by applying systems approach tries to find
solution of this complexity.
Check your progress
Notes a) Write your answer in the space given below
b) Compare your answer with the one given at the end of the unit.
2. What are the approaches to organizational behaviour?
An Organisational Behaviour System
Organisations achieve their goals by creating, communicating and operating an
organisational behaviour system as shown below:
Philosophy Values Vision Goals
Formal organisation Organisational Social
Culture Environment
Informal organisation
Leadership Communication Group dynamics
Quality of Work Life
The major elements of a good organisational behaviour system are given in the above chart. These
systems exist in every organisation, but sometimes in varying forms. They have a greater chance
of being successful, though, if they have been consciously, created regularly examined and updated
to meet new and emerging conditions. The primary advantage of organisational behaviour system
is to identify the major human and organisational variables that affect the results they are trying to
achieve. For some of these variables, managers can only be aware of them and acknowledge their
impact, for others, they can exert some control over them. The end results are typically measured
in various forms of performance (quantity and quality of products and services; level of customer
Outcomes: 1.Performance 2.Individual Satisfaction 3.
Personal growth and development
service), as well as in human outcomes, such as employee satisfaction or personal growth and
Elements of the System
The system’s base rests in the fundamental beliefs and intentions of those who join together
to create it(such as owners) and of the managers who currently administer it. The philosophy
(model) of organisational behaviour held by management consists of an integrated set of
assumptions and beliefs about the way things are, the purpose for these activities, and the way they
should be. These philosophies are sometimes explicit, and occasionally implicit, in the minds of
Organisations differ in the quality of organisational behaviour that they develop. These
differences are substantially caused by different models of organisational behaviour that dominate
management’s thought in each organisation. The model that a manager holds usually begins with
certain assumptions about people and leads to certain interpretations of events.
The following four models of organisational behaviour are discussed here:
1. Autocratic model
2. Custodial model
3. Supportive model; and
4. Collegial model
Autocratic Model:
In the autocratic model, the manager must have the power to command the workers to do
a specific job. Management believes that it knows what is best and the employee’s obligation is
to follow/obey orders. The psychological result for employees is dependence on their boss. It
does get results, but usually only moderate results. Its main weakness is its high human cost.
Custodial Model:
This model focuses better employee satisfaction and security. The organisations satisfy
the security and welfare needs of employees. Hence it is known as custodian model. This model
leads to employee dependence on the organisation rather than the boss. As a result of economic
rewards and benefits, employees are happy and contented but they are not strongly motivated.
Supportive Model:
The supportive model depends on ‘leadership’ instead of power or money. Through
leadership, management provides a climate to help employees grow and accomplish in the interests
of the organisation. This model assumes that employees will take responsibility, develop a drive
to contribute and improve themselves if management will give them a chance. Management
orientation, therefore is, to ‘support’ the employee’s job performance rather than simply
supporting employee benefit payments as in the custodial approach. Since management supports
employees in their work, the psychological result is a feeling of participation and task involvement
in the organisation.
Collegial Model:
The term ‘collegial’ relates to a body of persons having a common purpose. It is a team
concept. Management is the coach that builds a better team. The management is seen as joint
contributor rather than as boss. The employee response to this situation is responsibility. The
psychological result of the collegial approach for the employee is ‘self-discipline’. In this kind of
environment employees normally feel some degree of fulfillment, worthwhile contribution and
self-actualisation. This self-actualisation will lead to moderate enthusiasm in performance.
Four Models of Organisational Behaviour
Security and
Dependence on
Dependence on
Status and
It is wrong to assume that one particular model is the best model because what is best is
contingent on what is known about human behaviour in a particular environment. The primary
challenge for management is to identify the model it is actually using and then assess its current
The selection of model by a manager is determined by a number of factors. The prevailing
philosophy, vision and goals of manager affect their organisational behaviour model. In addition,
environmental conditions help determine which model will be most effective. The current
turbulent conditions in some industries, for example, may drive firms toward the more collegial
models, since rapid decision-making and flexibility are needed. This suggests that one’s model
should not be static and changing, but adapted across time.
Social Conditions
In many countries due to poorly developed resources, there is shortage of managerial
personnel, scientists and technicians. Hence needed skills must be temporarily imported from
other countries, and training programmes need to be developed to prepare local workers. The
training multiplier effect is in action, by which the skilled people develop others and these trained
local become the nucleus for developing still more people.
Another significant social condition in many countries is that the local culture is not
familiar with advanced technology. A few countries are agriculture dominated and a few other
manufacturing industry dominated. Naturally, the nature of their culture and work life will be
Political Conditions
Political conditions that have a significant effect on organisational behaviour include
instability of the Government, nationalistic drives and subordination of employers and labour to
an authoritarian State. When the Government is unstable, organisations become cautious about
further investments. This organisational instability leaves workers insecure and causes them to be
passive and low in initiative.
Inspite of instability, a nationalistic drive is strong for locals to run their country and their
organisations by themselves without interference by foreign nationals.
In some nations, organised labour is mostly an arm of the authoritarian State and in some
other nations, labour is somewhat independent. In some nations, State tends to be involved in
collective bargaining and other practices affecting workers. In some nations, for example,
employee lay-offs are restricted by law and in some other countries workers’ participation in
management is permitted.
Economic Conditions
The most significant economic conditions in less developed nations are low per capita
income and rapid inflation. Inflation makes the economic life of workers insecure when compared
to developed countries.
The different socio-economic and political conditions prevailing in countries influence the
introduction of advanced technology and sophisticated organisational systems. A developed
country can easily adopt advanced technology whereas a less developed cannot do it. These
limiting conditions cannot be changed rapidly because they are too well established and woven
into the whole social fabric of a nation.
Managing an International Workforce
Whenever an organisation expands its operations to other countries, it tends to become
multicultural and will then face the challenge of blending various cultures together. The
managerial personnel entering another nation need to adjust their leadership styles, communication
patterns and other practices to fit their host country. Their role is to provide a fusion of cultures
in which employees from both countries adjust to the new situation of seeking greater productivity
for the benefit of both the organisation and the people of the country in which it operates.
Barriers to Cultural Adaptation
One category of managers and other employees who come into a host country tend to exhibit
a variety of behaviours and somewhat see situation around them from their own perspective.
They may fail to recognise key differences between their own and other cultures. These people
are called ‘parochial’.
Another category called ‘individualistic’ who place greatest emphasis on their personal needs
and welfare. They are more concerned about themselves than others in host country.
Another potential barrier to easy adaptation to another culture occurs when people are
predisposed to believe that their homeland conditions are the best. This predisposition is
known as the self-reference criterion or ‘ethnocentrism’. This feeling interferes with
understanding human behaviour in other cultures and obtaining productivity from local
Cultural Distance
To decide the amount of adaptation that may be required when personnel moves to another
country, it is helpful to understand the cultural distance between the two countries, Cultural
distance is the amount of distance between any two social systems. Whatever the amount of
cultural distance, it does affect the responses of all persons to business. The manager’s jobs require
employees to be adaptable enough to integrate the interests of the two or more cultures involved.
Cultural Shock
When employees enter another nation they tend to suffer cultural shock, which is the
insecurity and disorientation caused by encountering a different culture. They may not know how
to act, may fear losing face and self-confidence or may become emotionally upset. Cultural shock
is virtually universal. Some of the more frequent reasons for cultural shock are as follows:
Different management philosophies
New language
Alternative food, dress, availability of goods
Attitude towards work and productivity
Separation from family, friends and colleagues
Unique currency system
Many expatriates report difficulty in adjusting to different human resource management
philosophies, the language, the different currency and work attitudes in another culture.
Overcoming Barriers to Cultural Adaptation
Careful selection of employees for assignments to other countries who can withstand/adjust
cultural shocks is important.
Pre-departure training in geography, customs, culture and political environment in which the
employee will be living will help for cultural adaptation.
Incentives and guarantees for better position will motivate employees for cultural adaptation
in the new country.
Employees who return to their home country after working in another nation for sometime tend
to suffer cultural shock in their own homeland. After adjusting to the culture of another nation
and enjoying its uniqueness, it is difficult for expatriates to readjust to the surroundings of their
home country. Hence organisations need repatriation policies and programmes to help
returning employees obtain suitable assignments and adjust to the ‘new’ environments.
Cultural Contingencies
Productive business practices from one country cannot be transferred directly to another
country. This reflects the idea of cultural contingency - that the most productive practices for a
particular nation will depend heavily on its culture, the social system, economic development and
employee’s values in host country. Hence the expatriate managers must learn to operate
effectively in a new environment with certain amount of flexibility. Labour policy, personnel
practices and production methods need to be adapted to a different labour force. Organisation
structures and communication patterns need to be suitable for local operations.
Management’s Integrating Role
Once managers are on location in a host country, their attention needs to be directed toward
integrating the technological approaches with the local cultures involved.
Motivating and Leading Local Employees:
Same motivational tools may not suit the employees of all the nations. Hence appropriate
motivational techniques need to be evolved depending on the requirement of employees of that
particular nation.
Similarly, communication problems may also arise between the expatriate manager and the
employees of host country. Hence, managers need to make adjustments in their communication
suited to local cultures. If local culture is ignored, the resulting imbalance in the social system
interferes with the productivity.
Eventually, a cadre of employees with cross-cultural adaptability can be developed in
organisations with large international operations. These employees are ‘transcultural’ employees
because they operate effectively in several cultures. They are low in ethnocentrism and adapt
readily to different cultures without major cultural shock. They usually can communicate fluently
with more than one language.
Transcultural employees are especially needed in large, multinational firms that operate in
a variety of national culture. For a firm to be truly multi-national in character, it should have
ownership, operations, markets and managers truly diversified. Its leaders look to the world as an
economic and social unit; but they recognise each local culture, respect its integrity, acknowledge
its benefits and use its differences effectively in their organisation.
Human behaviour, a complex phenomenon as it is, is most difficult to define in absolute
terms. It is primarily a combination of responses to external and internal stimuli. These responses
would reflect psychological structure of the person and may be a result of combination of
biological and psychological processes, interprets them, responds to them in an appropriate manner
and learns from the result of these responses.
Psychologist Kurt Levin has conducted considerable research into the human behaviour
and its causes. He believes that people are influenced by a number of diversified factors, both
genetic and environmental, and the influence of these factors determines the pattern of behaviour.
Whenever people buy something, for example, a car, both the buyer and the seller sign a
contract that specifies the terms of the sales agreement. Similarly, most people, when they begin
a working relationship with an organisation formulate a psychological contract with their
employer. A psychological contract is the overall set of expectations that an individual holds with
respect to his/her contributions to the organisation and the organisation’s response to those
contributions. A psychological contract is not written down like a legal contract.
The individual makes a variety of contributions to the organisation - effort, skills, ability,
time, loyalty and so forth. These contributions presumably satisfy various needs and requirements
of the organisation. In return for contributions, the organisation provides inducements such as
pay, promotion, job security, etc. to the individual. Just as the contributions available from the
individual must satisfy the organisation’s needs, the inducements must serve the individual’s
If both the individual and the organisation consider the psychological contract fair and
equitable, they will be satisfied with the relationship and will likely to continue it. If either party
perceives an imbalance or inequity in the contract, it may initiate a change. A major challenge
faced by an organisation, thus, is to manage psychological contracts.
One specific aspect of managing psychological contracts is managing the person-job fit.
The ‘person-job fit’ is the extent to which the contributions made by the individual match the
inducements offered by the organisation. In theory, each employee has a specific set of needs to
fulfill and a set of job related behaviours and abilities to contribute. If the organisation can take
complete advantage of those behaviours and abilities and exactly fulfill the employee’s needs, it
will have achieved a perfect person-job fit. Of course, such a precise level of person-job fit is
seldom achieved due to various reasons such as imperfect selection procedures, differences in
individual skills, constant change in the needs and requirements of people and organisation, etc.
Thus, the behaviour of individuals in organisation is the primary concern of management and it is
essential that managers have an understanding of the factors influencing the behaviour of the
individuals they manage. The following figure identifies five sets of factors that have an impact
upon individual behaviour in organisation.
1.8.1 The Nature of Individual Differences
Individual differences are personal attributes that vary from one person to another.
Individual differences may be physical and psychological.
Psychological Differences
Physical Differences
Body shape
Whenever an organisation attempts to assess for individual differences among its employees, it
must consider the situation in which behaviour occurs. Individuals who are satisfied in one context
may prove to be dissatisfied in another context. Assessing both individual differences and
contributions in relation to inducements and contexts, then, is a major challenge for organisations
as they attempt to establish effective psychological contracts with their employees and achieve
optimal fits between people and jobs.
Individual differences make the manager’s job endlessly, challenging. In fact, according
to recent research, “variability among workers is substantial at all levels but increases dramatically
with job complexity. Due to these reasons, growing work force diversity compels managers to
view individual differences in a fresh way. Leaders now talk frequently about “valuing
differences” and learning to “manage diversity”. So rather than limiting diversity, as in the past,
today’s managers need to better understand and accommodate employee diversity and individual
Check your progress
Notes a) Write your answer in the space given below
b) Compare your answer with the one given at the end of the unit.
2. What are the psychological and physical differences?.....................
The personality development of an individual starts at birth and continues throughout.
Three major types of factors play important roles in personality formation. They are determinants,
stages and traits.
Determinants: The most widely studied determinants of personality are biological, social
and cultural. Hereditary characteristics (eg body shape and height) and the social context (family
and friends) and cultural context (religion and values) in which people grow up interact to shape
personality. As people grow into adulthood, their personalities become very clearly defined and
generally stable.
Stages and Traits: Sigmund Freud saw human personality development as progressing
through four stages: dependent, compulsive, oedipal and mature. The concept of stages of growth
provides a valuable perspective from which to view organisational behaviour. Experienced
managers become aware of the stages that their employees often go through and they learn how to
deal with these stages to promote maximum growth for the individual and for the organisation.
Trait approaches to personality formation are also based on psychology. According to
some trait theories, all people share common traits, like social, political, religious and aesthetic
preferences but each individual’s disposition differentiates that person from all others.
1.9.2 Personality Factors in Organisations
Some of the important personality factors that determine what kind of behaviours are
exhibited at work include the following :
1. Need Pattern
2. Locus of Control
3. Introversion and Extroversion
4. Tolerance for Ambiguity
5. Self-esteem and Self-concept
6. Authoritarianism and Dogmatism
7. Risk Propensity
8. Machiavellianism
9. Types A and B Personalities
10. Work-Ethic Orientation
1. Need Pattern :
Steers and Braunstein (1976) developed a scale for the four personality needs that manisfest
themselves in the work setting. They are: the needs for achievement, affiliation, autonomy and
dominance. Those who are high in achievement engage themselves proactively in work behaviours
in order to feel proud about their achievements and successes; those high in need for affiliation
like to work cooperatively with others; those high in need for autonomy function best when not
closely supervised; and those high in their need for dominance are very effective while operating
in environments where they can actively enforce their legitimate authority.
2. Locus of Control :
Locus of control is the degree to which an individual believes that his/her behaviour has
direct impact on the consequences of that behaviour. Some people, for example, believe that if
they work hard they are certain to succeed. They strongly believe that each individual is in control
of his/her life. They are said to have an internal locus of control. By contrast, some people think
that what happens to them is a result of fate, chance, luck or the behaviour of other people, rather
than lack of skills or poor performance. Because these individuals think that forces beyond their
control dictate what happens to them, they are said to have an external locus of control.
As a personality attribute, locus of control has clear implications for organisations. For
example, individuals with an internal locus of control may have a relatively strong desire to
participate in the management of their organisations and have a freedom in how do their jobs.
Thus, they may prefer a decentralised organisation where right of decision-making is given to them
and a leader who provides them freedom and autonomy. They may like a reward system that
recognises individual performance and contributions.
People with an external locus of control, on the other hand, are likely to prefer a more
centralised organisation where they need not take any decisions. They may gravitate to structured
jobs where standard procedures are defined for them. They may prefer a leader who makes most
of the decisions and may prefer a reward system that considers mainly seniority rather than merit.
3. Introversion and Extroversion :
Introversion is the tendency in individuals which directs them
to turn inward and experience and process feelings, thoughts and ideas within themselves.
Extroversion, on the other hand, refers to the tendency in individuals to turn outward of themselves
searching for external stimuli with which they can interact. While there is some element of
introversion as well as extroversion in all of us, people tend to be dominant as either extroverts or
introverts. Extroverts are sociable, lively, gregarious and seek outward stimuli or external
interactions. Such individuals are likely to be most successful working in the sales department,
publicity office, personal relations unit, and so on, where they can interact face to face with others.
Introverts, on the other hand, are quiet, reflective, introspective, and intellectual people, preferring
to interact with a small intimate circle of friends. Introverts are more likely to be successful when
they can work on highly abstract ideas (such as R&D work), in a relatively quiet atmosphere.
Since managers have to constantly interact with individuals both within and outside the
organisation and influence people to achieve the organisation’s goals, it is believed that extroverts
are likely to be more successful as managers.
4. Tolerance for Ambiguity :
This personality characteristic indicates the level of uncertainty that people can tolerate
without experiencing undue stress and can still function effectively. Managers have to work well
under conditions of extreme uncertainty and insufficient information, especially when things are
rapidly changing in the organisation’s external environment. Managers who have a high tolerance
for ambiguity can cope well under these conditions. Managers, who have a low tolerance for
ambiguity may be effective in structured work settings but find it almost impossible to operate
effectively when things are rapidly changing and much information about the future turn of events
is not available. Thus, tolerance for ambiguity is a personality dimension necessary for managerial
5. Self-Esteem and Self-Concept :
Self-esteem denotes the extent to which individuals consistently regard themselves as
capable, successful, important and worthy individuals. Self-esteem is an important personality
factor that determines how managers perceive themselves and their role in the organisation. Self-
esteem is important to self-concept, i.e. the way individuals define themselves as to who they are
and derive their sense of identity. High self-esteem provides a high sense of self-concept; high
self-concept, in turn, reinforces high self-esteem. Thus, the two are mutually reinforcing.
Individuals high in self-esteem will try to take on more challenging assignments and be successful,
thus enhancing their self-concept; i.e. they would tend to define themselves as highly valuable and
valued individuals in the organisational system. The higher the self-concept and self-esteem, the
greater will be their contributions to the goals of the organisation, especially when the system
rewards them for their contributions.
6. Authoritarianism and Dogmatism :
Authoritarianism is the extent to which an individual believes that power and status
differences are appropriate within hierarchical social systems like organisations. For example, an
employee who is highly authoritarian may unquestioningly accept directives or orders from his
superior with more authority. A person who is not highly authoritarian may agree to carry out
appropriate and reasonable directives from his boss but is also likely to raise questions, express
disagreement and even refuse to carry out requests if they are for some reason objectionable.
Dogmatism is the rigidity of a person’s beliefs and his/her openness to other view points.
The popular terms ‘close-minded’ and ‘open-minded’ describe people who are more and less
dogmatic in their beliefs. For example, a manager may be unwilling to listen to a new idea for
doing something more efficiently. He is said to be a person with close-minded or highly dogmatic.
A manager in the same circumstances who is very receptive to hearing about and trying out new
ideas might be seen as more open-minded or less dogmatic. Dogmatism can be either beneficial
or detrimental to organisations, but given the degree of change in the nature of organisations and
their environments, individuals who are not dogmatic are most likely to be useful and productive
organisational members.
7. Risk Propensity:
Risk-propensity is the degree to which an individual is willing to take chances and make risky
decisions. A manager with a high risk propensity might be expected to experiment with new
ideas and to lead the organisation in new directions. In contrast, a manager with low risk
propensity might lead to a stagnant and overly conservative organisation.
8. Machiavellianism :
Machiavellianism is manipulation or influencing of other people as a primary way of
achieving one’s goal. An individual tends to be machiavellian, if he tends to be cool, logical in
assessing the system around them, willing to twist and turn facts to influence others, and try to
gain control of people, events and situations by manipulating the system to his advantage.
9. Types A and B Personalities :
Type A persons feel a chronic sense of time urgency, are highly achievement-oriented,
exhibit a competitive drive, and are impatient when their work is slowed down for any reason.
Type B persons are easy-going individuals who do not sense the time urgency, and who do not
experience the competitive drive. Type A individuals are significantly more prone to heart attacks
than Type B individuals. While Type A persons help the organisation to move ahead in a relatively
short period of time they may also suffer health problems which might be detrimental to both
themselves and the organisation in the long-run.
10. Work-Ethic Orientation :
Some individuals are highly work-oriented while others try to do the minimum that is
necessary to get by without being fired on-the-job. The extremely work ethic oriented person gets
greatly involved in the job. Extreme work ethic values could lead to traits of “workohlism” when
work becomes to be considered as the only primary motive for living with very little outside
interests. For the workoholic, turning to work can sometimes become a viable alternative to facing
non-work-related problems. Though a high level of work ethic orientation of members is good for
the organisation to achieve its goals, too much “workoholism” which might lead to premature
burnout and health problems is dysfunctional for both organisation and the workoholic members.
The above ten different personality predispositions are important for individual,
managerial and organisational effectiveness.
1.9.3 Personality Dimensions
The big five personality dimensions are extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness,
emotional stability and openness to experience. Ideally, these personality dimensions that
correlate positively and strongly with job performance would be helpful in the selection, training
and appraisal of employees. The individuals who exhibit traits associated with a strong sense of
purpose, obligation and persistence generally perform better than those who do not.
Simply explained, an “attitude” is an individual’s point of view or an individual’s way of
looking at something, or to be more explicit, an “attitude”, may be explained, as the mental state
of an individual, which prepares him to react or make him behave in a particular pre-determined
An attitude is defined as, “a learned pre-disposition to respond in a consistently favourable
or unfavourable manner with respect to a given object”.
Attitudes are complexes of beliefs and feelings that people have about specific ideas,
situations or other people. Attitudes are important because they are the mechanism through which
most people express their feelings.
Components of Attitude
Attitudes have three components namely affective component, cognitive component and
intentional component.
Affective Component
How we feel toward the Situation?
Intentional Component
how we intend to behave toward the situation
Cognitive Component
why we feel that way?
The affective component of an attitude reflects ‘feelings and emotions’ that an individual has
toward a situation. The cognitive component of an attitude is derived from ‘knowledge’ that an
individual has about a situation. Finally, the intentional component of an attitude reflects how an
individual ‘expects to behave’ toward or in the situation. For example, attitude towards a firm
which supply the products irregularly as well as inferior could be described as follows:
“I don’t like that company” - Affective component.
“They are the worst supply firm I have ever dealt with” - Cognitive component.
“I will never do business with them again” - Intentional component.
People try to maintain consistency among the three components of their attitudes.
However, circumstances sometimes arise that lead to conflicts. The conflict that individuals may
experience among their own attitudes is called ‘cognitive dissonance’.
Attitude Formation and Change
Individual attitudes form over time as a result of repeated personal experiences with ideas,
situations or people. Attitudes that are situationally specific and learned is one very important way
to understand individual behaviour in organisations.
An attitude may change as a result of new information. A manager may have a negative
attitude about a new employee because of his lack of job-related experience. After working with
the new person the manager may come to realise that he is actually very talented and subsequently
may develop a more positive attitude toward him.
Work-Related Attitudes
People in an organisation form attitudes about many things - about their salary, promotion
possibilities, superior, fringe benefits, food in the canteen, uniform, etc. Especially some important
attitudes are job satisfaction or dissatisfaction, organisational commitment and job involvement.
Job Satisfaction :
Job satisfaction is an attitude that reflects the extent to which an individual is gratified by
or fulfilled in his or her work. Extensive research conducted on job satisfaction has indicated that
personal factors such as an individual’s needs and aspirations determine this attitude, along with
group and organisational factors such as relationships with co-workers and supervisors and
working conditions, work policies and compensation.
A satisfied employee also tends to be absent less often, to make positive contributions, and
to stay with the organisation. In contrast, a dissatisfied employee may be absent more often, may
experience stress that disrupts co-workers, and may be continually looking for another job.
Organisational factors that influence employee satisfaction include pay, promotion,
policies and procedures of the organisations and working conditions. Group factors involving
relationship with co-workers and supervisors also influence job satisfaction. Similarly, satisfaction
depends on individual factors like individual’s needs and aspirations. If employees are satisfied
with their job, it may lead to low employee turnover and less absenteeism and vice-versa.
Two other important work-related attitudes are organisational commitment and
involvement. Organisational commitment is the individual’s feeling of identification with and
attachment to an organisation. Involvement refers to a person’s willingness to be a team member
and work beyond the usual standards of the job. An employee with little involvement is motivated
by extrinsic motivational factor and an employee with strong involvement is motivated by intrinsic
motivational factors.
A number of factors lead to commitment and involvement. Both may increase with an
employee’s age and years with the organisation, sense of job security and participation in decision-
making. If the organisation treats its employees fairly and provides reasonable rewards and job
security, employees are more likely to be satisfied and committed. Involving employees in
decision-making can also help to increase commitments. In particular, designing jobs which are
interesting and stimulating can enhance job involvement.
Learning is another important psychological process determining human behaviour.
Learning can be defined as “relatively permanent change in behaviour that occurs as a result of
experience or reinforced practice”. There are four important points in the definition of learning:
1. Learning involves a change in behaviour, though this change is not necessarily an
improvement over previous behaviour. Learning generally has the connotation of
improved behaviour, but bad habits, prejudices, stereotypes, and work restrictions are
also learned.
2. The behavioural change must be relatively permanent. Any temporary change in
behaviour is not a part of learning.
3. The behavioural change must be based on some form of practice or experience.
4. The practice or experience must be reinforced in order for learning to occur.
1.12.1 Components of Learning Process
The components of learning process are: drive, cue stimuli, response, reinforcement and
1. Drive
Learning frequently occurs in the presence of drive any strong stimulus that impels
action. Drives are basically of two types primary or physiological drives and secondary or
psychological drives. These two categories of drives often interact. Individuals operate under
many drives at the same time. To predict behaviour, it is necessary to establish which drives are
stimulating the most.
2. Cue Stimuli
Cue stimuli are any objects existing in the environment as perceived by the individual. The
idea is to discover the conditions under which stimulus will increase the probability of eliciting a
specific response. There may be two types of stimuli so far as their results in terms of response
are concerned: generalisation and discrimination.
Generalisation occurs when a response is elicited by a similar but new stimulus. If two
stimuli are exactly alike, they will have the same probability of evoking a specified response. The
principle of generalisation has important implications for human learning. Because of
generalisation, a person does not have to completely relearn each of the new tasks. It allows the
members to adapt to overall changing conditions and specific new assignments. The individual
can borrow from past learning experiences to adjust more smoothly to new learning situations.
Discrimination is a process whereby an orgaisation learns to emit a response to a stimulus
but avoids making the same response to a similar but somewhat different stimulus. Discrimination
has wide applications in organisational behaviour. For example, a supervisor can discriminate
between two equally high producing workers, one with low quality and other with high quality.
3. Responses
The stimulus results in responses. Responses may be in the physical form or may be in
terms of attitudes, familiarity, perception or other complex phenomena. In the above example, the
supervisor discriminates between the worker producing low quality products and the worker
producing high quality products, and positively responds only to the quality conscious worker.
4. Reinforcement
Reinforcement is a fundamental condition of learning. Without reinforcement, no
measurable modification of behaviour takes place. Reinforcement may be defined as
environmental events affects the probability of occurrence of responses with which they are
5. Retention
The stability of learned behaviour over time is defined as retention and the converse is
forgetting. Some of the learning is retained over a period of time; while other may be forgotten.
1.12.2 Learning Theories
Classical Conditioning
The work of the famous Russian Physiologist Ivan Pavlov demonstrated the classical
conditioning process. When Pavlov presented a piece of meat to the dog in the experiment, Pavlov
noticed a great deal of salivation. He termed the food an unconditioned stimulus and the salivation
an unconditioned response. When the dog saw the meat, it salivated. On the other hand, when
Pavlov merely rang a bell, the dog did not salivate. Pavlov subsequently introduced the sound of
a bell each time the meat was given to the dog. The dog eventually learned to salivate in response
to the ringing of the bell even when there was no meat. Pavlov had conditioned the dog to respond
to a learned stimulus. Thorndike called this the “law of exercise” which states that behaviour can
be learned by repetitive association between a stimulus and a response.
Classical conditioning has a limited value in the study of organisational behaviour. As
pointed out by Skinner, classical conditioning represents an insignificant part of total human
learning. Classical conditional is passive. Something happens and we react in a specific or
particular fashion. It is elicited in response to a specific, identifiable event and as such it explains
simple and reflexive behaviours. But behaviour of people in organisations is emitted rather than
elicited, and it is voluntary rather than reflexive. The learning of these complex behaviours can be
explained or better understood by looking at operant conditioning.
Operant Conditioning
Operant is defined as behaviour that produces effects. Operant conditioning, basically a
product of Skinnerian psychology, suggests that individuals emit responses that are either not
rewarded or are punished. Operant conditioning is voluntary behaviour and it is determined,
maintained and controlled by its consequences.
Operant conditioning is a powerful tool for managing people in organisations. Most
behaviours in organisations are learned, controlled and altered by the consequences; i.e. operant
behaviours. Management can use the operant conditioning process successfully to control and
influence the behaviour of employees by manipulating its reward system. Reinforcement is
anything that both increases the strength of response and tends to induce repetitions of the
behaviour. Four types of reinforcement strategies can be employed by managers to influence the
behaviour of the employees, viz., positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, extinction and
1. Positive Reinforcement:
Positive reinforcement strengthens and increases behaviour by the presentation of a
desirable consequence (reward). In other words, a positive reinforcer is a reward that follows
behaviour and is capable of increasing the frequency of that behaviour. There are two types of
positive reinforces: primary and secondary. Primary reinforcers such as food, water and sex are
of biological importance and have effects which are independent of past experiences. For instance,
a primary reinforcer like food satisfies hunger need and reinforced food-producing behaviour.
Secondary reinforcers like job advancement, recognition, praise and esteem result from previous
association with a primary reinforcer. Primary reinforcers must be learned. In order to apply
reinforcement procedures successfully, management must select reinforcers that are sufficiently
powerful and durable.
2. Negative Reinforcement:
The threat of punishment is known as negative reinforcement. Negative reinforcers also
serve to strengthen desired behaviour responses leading to their removal or termination.
3. Extinction:
Extinction is an effective method of controlling undesirable behaviour. It refers to non-
reinforcement. It is based on the principle that if a response is not reinforced, it will eventually
disappear. Extinction is a behavioural strategy that does not promote desirable behaviours but can
reduce undesirable behaviours.
4. Punishment:
Punishment is a control device employed in organisations to discourage and reduce
annoying behaviours of employees.
Observational Learning
Observational learning results in as a result of watching the behaviour of another person
and appraising the consequences of that behaviour. It does not require an overt response. When
Mr. X observes that Y is rewarded for superior performance, X learns the positive relationship
between performance and rewards without actually obtaining the reward himself. Observational
learning plays a crucial role in altering behaviours in organisations.
Cognitive Learning
Here the primary emphasis is on knowing how events and objects are related to each other.
Most of the learning that takes place in the class room is cognitive learning. Cognitive learning is
important because it increases the change that the learner will do the right thing first time, without
going through a lengthy operant conditioning process.
1.12.3 Learning Theory and Organisation Behaviour
The relevance of the learning theories for explaining and predicting of organisational
behaviour is marginal. This does not mean that learning theories are totally irrelevant. Learning
concepts provide a basis for changing behaviours that are unacceptable and maintaining those that
are acceptable. When individuals engage in various types of dysfunctional behaviour (late for
work, disobeying orders, poor performance), the manager will attempt to educate more functional
Learning theory can also provide certain guidelines for conditioning organisational
behaviour. Managers know that individuals capable of turning out superior performance must be
given more reinforces than those with average or low performance. Managers can successfully
use the operant conditioning process to control and influence the behaviour of employees by
manipulating its reward system.
1.13 Attitude: Its Importance in Organisational Behaviour
Attitudes of both workers and management react to each other and determine mutual
Attitudes, that is, understanding or learning why employees feel and act the way, they do,
helps supervisors in winning cooperation from them, so very essential for the efficient working of
an organisation.
From a personal perspective, attitudes provide knowledge-base or prepare our mental
state, for our interaction with others, and with world around us, which directly affects
organisational behaviour, and in turn organisational working.
1.14 Perception
Perception is an important mediating cognitive process. Through this complex process,
persons make interpretations of the stimulus or situation they are faced with. Both selectivity and
organisation go into perceptual interpretations. Externally, selectivity is affected by intensity, size,
contrast, repetition, motion and novelty and familiarity. Internally, perceptual selectivity is
influenced by the individual’s motivation, learning and personality. After the stimulus situation is
filtered by the selective process, the incoming information is organised into a meaningful whole.
Individual differences and uniqueness are largely the result of the cognitive processes.
Although there are a number of cognitive processes, it is generally recognised that the perceptual
process is a very important one that takes place between the situation and the behaviour and is
most relevant to the study of organisational behaviour. For example, the observation that a
department head and a subordinate may react quite differently to the same top management
directive can be better understood and explained by the perceptual process.
In the process of perception, people receive many different kinds of information through
all five senses, assimilate them and then interpret them. Different people used to perceive the same
information differently.
Perception plays a key role in determining individual behaviour in organisations.
Organisations send messages in variety of forms to their members regarding what they are
expected to do and not to do. In spite of organisations sending clear messages, those messages are
subject to distortion in the process of being perceived by organisation members. Hence managers
need to have a general understanding of basic perceptual process.
1.14.1 Basic Perceptual Process :
Perception is influenced by characteristics of the object being perceived and of the person
and by situational processes.
Characteristics of the object include contrast, intensity, movement, repetition and
Characteristics of the person include attitudes, self-concept and personality.
The details of a particular situation affect the way a person perceives an object; the same
person may perceive the same object very differently in different situations. The processes through
which a person’s perceptions are altered by the situation include selection, organisation,
attribution, stereotyping, the halo effect and projection. Among these, selective perception and
stereotyping are particularly relevant to organisations.
Selective Perception:
Selective perception is the process of screening out information that we are uncomfortable
with or that contradicts our beliefs. For example, a manager has a very positive attitude about a
particular worker and one day he notices that the worker seems to be goofing off. Selective
perception may make the manager to quickly disregard what he observed. Suppose another
manager has formed a very negative attitude about a particular worker and when he happens to
observe a high performance from the worker, he too disregard it.
In one sense, selective perception is beneficial because it allows us to disregard minor bits
of information. If selective perception causes managers to ignore important information, it can
become quite detrimental.
Stereotyping is the process of categorising or labeling people on the basis of a single
attribute. Perceptions based on stereotypes about people’s sex exist more or less in most work
places. Typically, these perceptions lead to the belief that an individual’s sex determines which
tasks he or she will be able to perform. For example, if a women sitting behind the table in the
office is, very often, perceived as a clerk and not an executive but would make the opposite
assumption about a man. Stereotyping consists of three steps: identifying categories of people
(like women, politician), associating certain characteristics with those categories (like passivity,
dishonesty) and then assuming that any one who fits a certain category must have those
characteristics. For example, if dishonesty is associated with politicians, we are likely to assume
that the next politician we meet is also dishonest.
Perception and Attribution
Perception is also closely linked with another process called attribution. Attribution is a
mechanism through which we observe behaviour and then attribute causes to it. According to
attribution theory, once we observe behaviour we evaluate it in terms of its consensus, consistency
and distinctiveness. Consensus is the extent to which other people in the same situation behave in
the same way. Consistency is the degree to which the same person behaves in the same way at
different times. Distinctiveness is the extent to which the same person behaves in the same way
in other situations. The forces within the person (internal) or outside the person (external) led to
the behaviour.
For instance, if you observe that an employee is much more motivated than the people
around her (low consensus), is consistently motivated (high consistency), and seems to work hard
no matter what the task (low distinctiveness) you might conclude that internal factors are causing
the behaviour. Another example, is that suppose a manager observes that an employee is late for
a meeting, the manager might realise that this employee is the only one who is late (low consensus),
recall that he is often late for other meetings (high consistency), and subsequently recall that the
same employee is sometimes late for work (low distinctiveness). This pattern of attributions might
cause the manager to decide that the individual’s behaviour is something that should be changed.
At this point, the manager might meet with the subordinate to establish some punitive
consequences for future tardiness.
Impression Management
Whereas social perception is concerned with how one individual perceives other
individuals, impression management is the process by which people attempt to manage or control
the perceptions others form of them. There is often a tendency for people to try to present
themselves in such a way as to impress others in a socially desirable way. Thus, impression
management has considerable implications for areas such as the validity of performance appraisals
and a pragmatic, political tool for one to climb the ladder of success in organisations.
The word motivation is derived from the word ‘motive’ which is defined as an active form
of a desire, craving or need which must be satisfied. Motivation is the key to organisational
effectiveness. The manager in general has to get the work done through others. These ‘others’
are human assets or resources. They are to be motivated to work to attain the organisational
Motivation is defined as, “the set of forces that cause people to choose certain behaviours
from among the many alternatives open to them”.
“Motivation is the desire within an individual that stimulates him or her to action” – George
R. Terry.
“The complex of forces starting and keeping a person at work in an organisation” – Robert
Viteles defines motivation as, “an unsatisfied need which creates a state of tension or
disequilibrium, causing the individual to move in a goal directed pattern towards restoring a state
of equilibrium, by satisfying the need”.
“Motivation refers to the degree of readiness of an organism to pursue some designated
goals and implies the determination of the nature and locus of force inducing degree of readiness”
Encyclopaedia of Management.
On the basis of above definitions, the following observations can be made regarding
Motivation is an inner psychological force which activates and compels the person to
behave in a particular manner.
Motivation process is influenced by personality traits learning abilities, perception and
competence of an individual.
Highly motivated employee works more efficiently and his level of production tends
to be higher than others.
Motivation originates from the needs and wants of an individual. It is a tension of
lacking something in his mind which forces him to work more efficiently.
Motivation is also a process of stimulating and channelising an energy of an individual
for achieving set goals.
Motivation also plays a crucial role in determining the level of performance. Highly
motivated employee will get higher satisfaction which may lead higher efficiency.
Motivating force and its degree, may differ from individual to individual depending on
his personality, needs, competence and other factors.
The process of motivation helps the manager in analysing and understanding human
behaviour and finding out that how an individual can be inspired to produce desirable
working behaviour.
Motivation may be positive as well as negative. Positive motivation includes
incentives, rewards and other benefits while negative motivation implies some
punishment, fear, use of force etc.
The process of motivation contributes to and boosts up the morale of the employees.
And high degree of motivation may lead to high morale.
1.15.1 Characteristic Features of Motivation
Motivation is a internal feeling and forces a person to action.
Motivation is a continuous activity.
It varies from person to person and from time to time.
It may be positive or negative.
Check your progress
Notes a) Write your answer in the space given below
b) Compare your answer with the one given at the end of the unit.
4. What are the dimensions of personality?
5. Define attitude.
6. Define learning.
7. Define motivation.
1.15.2 Importance of Motivation
Motivation is an important part of managing process. A team of highly qualified and
motivated employees is necessary for achieving objectives of an organisation. It is only through
motivation process, they contribute maximum for accomplishing objectives.
Highly motivated employees make optimum use of available resources for achieving
Motivation is directly related to the level of efficiency.
Highly motivated employees make full use of their energy and other abilities to raise the
existing level of efficiency.
Highly motivated employees would make goal-directed efforts. They are more committed and
cooperative for achieving organisational objectives.
Highly motivated employees are more loyal and sincere, and wants to remain with the
organisation for longer period of time. These factors help reduce absenteeism and labour
Motivation is considered as a backbone of good industrial relations.
Effectively motivated employees get more job satisfaction and carry high morale.
Motivation also helps in improving the image of the organisation.
The motivation framework is a good starting point for understanding how people choose
certain behaviours.
The motivation process begins with needs that individuals identify for themselves. For
example, a worker feels that he is underpaid. This deficiency becomes a need that the worker
seeks to satisfy, perhaps, by asking for a raise, by working harder to earn a raise or by seeking a
new job. Once he chooses to pursue one or more of these options and then enacts them (working
harder while simultaneously looking for a job, for example), he evaluates his success. If his hard
work resulted in a pay rise, he probably feels satisfied and will continue to work hard.
But if no raise has been provided he is likely to try another option. Since people have many
different needs, the satisfaction of one need or set of needs is likely to give rise to the identification
of other needs. Thus, the cycle of motivation is being constantly repeated.
Understanding human motivation is crucial for managing people. Many people have done
extensive research to find out what make people work and how to motivate them. This include
managers, social scientists, behaviourists and psychologists. A number of theories have been
developed, even though there is no university accepted motivation theory. Understanding these
theories assist managers to get a better insight into the human behaviour.
1.15.3 Need-Based Theories to Motivation
Need-based theories try to answer the question, “what factor(s) motivate people to choose
certain behaviours?” Some of the widely known need-based theories are discussed below:
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:
Maslow Abraham proposed his theory in 1940s. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs assumes
that people are motivated to satisfy five levels of needs: physiological, security, belongingness,
esteem and self-actualisation needs.
According to Maslow’s hierarchy physiological needs for food, sex, water and air which
represent basic issues of survival. In organisational settings, most physiological needs are
satisfied by adequate wages and by the work environment itself, which provides employees with
rest rooms, adequate lighting, comfortable temperatures and ventilation.
Next are security or safety needs - the requirements for a secure physical and emotional
environment. Examples include the desire for adequate housing and clothing, the need to be free
from worry about money and job security, and the desire for safe working conditions. Security
needs are satisfied for people in the work place by job continuity, a grievance redressal system and
an adequate insurance and retirement benefit package.
Belonging needs are related to the social aspect of human life. They include the need for
love and affection and the need to be accepted by one’s peers. For most people these needs are
satisfied by a combination of family and community relationships outside of work and friendships
on the job. Managers can help ensure the satisfaction of these important needs by allowing social
interaction and by making employees feel like part of a team or work group.
Esteem needs actually comprise of two different sets of needs: the need for a positive self-
image and self-respect and the need for recognition and respect from others. Organisations can
help address esteem needs by providing a variety of extrinsic symbols of accomplishment such as
job titles, spacious offices and similar rewards as appropriate. At a more intrinsic level,
organisations can also help satisfy esteem needs by providing employees with challenging job
assignments that carry with them a sense of accomplishment.
At the top of the hierarchy are what Maslow calls the self-actualisation needs. These
involve realising one’s potential for continued growth and individual development. Because they
are highly individualised and personal, self-actualisation needs are perhaps the most difficult for
managers to address. In fact, it can be argued that individuals must meet these needs entirely by
themselves. Organisations, can help, however, by creating a climate wherein self-actualisation is
possible. For instance, an organisation can promote the fulfillment of these needs by providing
employees with a chance to participate in making decisions about their work and with the
opportunity to learn new things about their jobs and the organisation. The process of contributing
to actual organisational performance (through decision-making) and learning more about the
organisation are likely to help people experience the personal growth and development associated
with self-actualising.
Maslow suggests that the five levels of needs are arranged in order of importance, starting
at the bottom of the hierarchy (refer figure). An individual is motivated first and foremost to satisfy
physiological needs. As long as these needs remain unsatisfied, the individual is motivated to
fulfill only them. When those needs are satisfied, the individual is motivated and he ‘moves up’
the hierarchy and becomes concerned with security needs. This ‘moving up’ process continues
until the individual reaches the self-actualisation level.
Maslow’s concept of the need hierarchy has a certain intuitive logic and has been accepted
by many managers. But research has revealed several short-comings of the theory. For example,
some research has found that five levels of needs are not always present and that the order of the
levels is not always the same as postulated by Maslow. Moreover, it is difficult for organisations
to use the need hierarchy to enhance employee motivation.
1.15.4 New Approaches to Motivation in Organisation
New approaches are emerging to supplement the established models and theories of
motivation. Two of the most promising are Goal-Setting Theory and the Japanese Approach.
Goal-Setting Theory
This approach to motivation has been pioneered in the USA by Edwin Locke and his
associates in 1960s and refined in 1980s. Goal-setting theory suggests that managers and sub-
ordinates should set goals for the individual on a regular basis (as suggested by MBO). These
goals should be moderately difficult and very specific and of a type that the employee will accept
and make a commitment to accomplishing. Rewards should be tied directly to accomplished goals.
When involved in goal-settings, employees see how their effort will lead to performance, rewards
and personal satisfaction.
Salient features of this theory are the following:
Specific goal fixes the needs of resources and efforts
It increases performance
Difficult goals result higher performance than easy job
Better feedback of results leads to better performances than lack of feedback.
Participation of employees in goal has mixed result.
Participation of setting goal, however, increases acceptance of goal and involvements.
Goal setting theory has defined two factors which influences the performance. These
are given below:
Goal commitment, and
Self efficiency.
The mere act of goal-setting does not ensure higher levels of motivation among employees.
In fact, there appear to be three important criteria that goals must meet if they are to influence the
behaviour of organisation members. They are goal specificity, goal difficulty and goal acceptance.
Goal Specificity
Goals must be stated in specific terms if they are to motivate effective performance. Goals
must be set in terms of measurable criteria of work performance i.e. number of units produced,
new sales etc. and must specify a time period within which the goal is to be attained. It also gives
a sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment to workers if he is able to meet the specific
Goal Difficulty/Challenge
There exists a relationship between goal difficulty and work motivation. The more difficult
and challenging the goal, the higher the level of motivation and performance. But it is essential
that goals be set at levels that are realistic to a person. Goals that are very difficult to achieve, lose
their capacity to motivate, since it is beyond the capacity of the individual.
Goal Acceptance
In order to influence motivation and performance, a goal must be internalised by the
individual. In other words, the person has to feel some personal ownership of the goal and must
have commitment to achieve it.
Goal Setting in Practice
The most obvious implication of goal-setting theory is that managers should be helping
sub-ordinates to set goals that are specific and reasonably difficult and that sub-ordinates accept
and internalise as their own. Besides this, there are a number of issues that arise in implementing
goal-setting in practice.
1. Though specificity of goal is essential and measurability is desirable, it should not affect in
identifying meaningful and valid objective measures of goal attainment.
2. The manager can stimulate goal acceptance in atleast three ways:
By involving sub-ordinates in goal-setting process.
By demonstrative a supportive attitude and approach toward his/her sub-ordinates.
By trying various rewards to the achievement of goals.
Management by Objectives (MBO) is a managerial technique for improving motivation
and performance using goal-setting principles.
Cognitive Evaluation Theory
A researcher Charms in 1960, has reported that extrinsic motivation like pay or rewards
for a job which has an intrinsic-motivation content prior to such rewards, tend to decrease overall
level of motivation. This proposal is called “Cognitive Evaluation Theory” which has supported
by a large number of research studies conducted subsequently.
Japanese Approach to Motivation
The Japanese approach to motivation has gained increasing popularity around the world
during the past few years. This approach is not really a theory or model but instead a philosophy
of management. The basic tenet of the Japanese approach is that managers and workers should
work together as partners. Since both of them see themselves as one group, all members are
committed and motivated to work in the best interests of the organisation. No one is called an
employee; instead everyone is a team member, team leader or coach and everyone owns ‘share’ of
the company. Like goal-setting theory, the Japanese approach is likely to become more common
in businesses throughout the world.
Integration of Motivation Theories
More number of theories complicate our understanding. Some of these theories are
compatible and some are not. The real challenge facing researcher is to integrate all or atleast
some of these together so that their inter and intra-relationships are established. This will also
improve the understanding of motivation. Certain attempts are made in USA and elsewhere.
However, it has not standardised or obtained wide approval or acceptance.
1.15.5 Enhancing Motivation in Organisations
Managers trying to enhance the motivation of their employees can, of course, draw on any
of the theories described above. They may in practice adopt specific interventions derived from
one or more theories or they may influence motivation through the organisation’s reward system.
The organisation can enhance motivation in following ways:
Humanise the work environment: Respect the need to treat each employee as an
Publicise both short and long-term company goals: Encourage personal and
departmental goal setting.
Promote from within: It’s great for morale and simplifies hiring procedures.
Use incentive programs: If you’are creative enough, you won’t have to rely on
expensive financial bonuses.
Establish appropriate deadlines: Every porject should have a deadline.
Be liberal with praise: It’s almost impossible to overpraise and easy to underpraise.
Be consistent in your own work and in your relations with others.
Show a personal interest in the people who work for you: Relations are always
smoother between people who know each other on a personal basis than between
people who merely want something from each other.
Admit mistakes: People will respect you for it and will be less likely to hide their own
Don’t whitewash unpleasant assignments: Prepare subordinates for them well in
advance and offer what support you can.
1.15.6 Managerial Approaches for Improving Motivation
A number of approaches can help managers motivate workers to perform more effectively.
Two approaches, however, have been especially effective: linking pay to job performance and
quality of work-life programs.
The following steps promote intrinsic motivation:
Workers Participation in Management (WPM)
Management by Objectives (MBO)
Organisation Behaviour Modification
Alternative Work Schedules.
Pay and Job Performance
Pay often can be used to motivate employee performance. But a pay plan also must:
Create the belief that good performance leads to high levels of pay;
Minimise the negative consequences of good performance; and
Created conditions in which rewards other than pay are seen to be related to good
Quality of Work Life Programs
Quality of Work Life (QWL) is defined as an attempt through a formal program to integrate
employee needs and well-being with the intention of improved productivity, greater worker
involvement and higher levels of job satisfaction.
Programs for QWL improvements range from those requiring minor changes in the
organisation to those requiring extensive modifications in structure, personnel and the utilisation
of resources. Three types of QWL programs are quality circles and the use of alternative work
Quality Circles:
Quality circles are small groups of workers who meet regularly with their supervisor as the
circle leader to solve work-related problems. QCs give the employee opportunity for involvement,
social-need satisfaction, participation in work improvement, challenge and opportunity for growth.
They are, in essence, vehicles for providing employees with opportunities to satisfy lower and
upper-level needs as stated by Maslow, through the motivators described in Herzberg’s theory.
Alternative Work Schedule :
Organisations also frequently use the modified work-week as a way to increase employee
motivation. A modified work-week can be any work schedule that does not conform to a
traditional 8 hours a day or 5 days a week format. The modified work-week helps individuals
satisfy higher-level needs by providing more personal control over one’s work schedule. It also
provides an opportunity to fulfill several needs simultaneously.
Job-Redesign :
Job-Redesign or changing the nature of people’s job is also being used more as a
motivational technique. The idea here is that mangers can use any of the alternatives job rotation,
job enlargement, job enrichment as part of motivational programme. Expectancy theory helps
explain the role of work design in motivation.
Physical differences among individuals are the most visible of all differences. They are
also relatively easy to assess. Intellectual differences are somewhat more difficult to discern, but
they too can be assessed by fairly objective means. The abilities, skills and competencies of
employees are both physical and intellectual qualities.
1.16.1 ABILITY
Abilities refer to an individual’s skill and to perform effectively in one or more areas of
activity, such as physical, mental or interpersonal work. Individuals with numerical ability for
example, can be trained to apply their ability in the field of engineering, accounting and computer
science. Abilities develop from an individual’s natural aptitudes and subsequent learning
opportunities. Aptitudes are relatively enduring capacities for performing some activity
effectively. Learning opportunities translate aptitudes into abilities through practice and
experience and formal training. Organisations have to ensure that people possess the necessary
abilities to engage in the behaviours required for effective performance. This can be accomplished
either by careful selection of people or by a combination of selection and training.
Skills are generally thought of as being more task-specific capabilities than abilities. For
example, an individual with numerical ability who goes to school to learn accounting develops a
numerical skill ‘specific to that field’. Thus when a particular ability is applied to a specialised
area (for example Accounting), it becomes a skill.
Competencies are skills associated with specialisation. Competencies are skills that have
been refined by practice and experience and that enable the individual to specialise in some field.
For example, an accountant with numerical ability and accounting skill takes a position in the
Taxation Department and as time passes, he develops more competency as a tax expert.
Physical abilities such as strength, flexibility, endurance and stamina can be developed
with exercise and training. Mental abilities such as reasoning, memory visualisation and
comprehension and inter-personal abilities can also be developed through practice and education.
Even in the absence of such formal programmes, many individuals manage their own careers in
such a way as to continually upgrade their abilities, skills and competencies in order to remain
valuable to their organisations.
1. What do you understand by organisational behaviour? What are its elements?
2. What are the fundamental concepts of organisational behaviour?
3. Bring out the importance of studying organisational behaviour.
4. Discuss the different models of organisational behaviour.
5. Explain the importance of organisational behaviour to managers.
6. What are the limitations of organisational behaviour?
7. Explain the global scenario of organisational behaviour.
8. What are the barriers to cultural adaptation? Suggest measures to overcome those
9. Briefly state the factors that have an impact upon the individual behaviour in the
10. Define personality. What are its major elements?
11. How does personality relate to organisational behaviour?
12. As a manager, how would you enhance employee motivation?
1. Define organizational behaviour.
“The study of human behaviour in organisational settings, the interface between human
behaviour and the organisational context, and the organisation itself.”
2. what are the approaches to organizational behaviour?
A human resources approach
A contingency approach
A productivity approach
A systems approach
3.What are the psychological and physical differences?
Psychological Differences
o Personality, Attitudes, Perception, Motivation, Learning
Physical Differences
o Height, Weight, Body shape, Appearance, Complexion
4. What are the dimensions of personality?
The big five personality dimensions are extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness,
emotional stability and openness to experience.
5. Define attitude
An attitude is defined as, “a learned pre-disposition to respond in a consistently favourable
or unfavourable manner with respect to a given object”.
6.Define learning
Learning can be defined as “relatively permanent change in behaviour that occurs as a
result of experience or reinforced practice”.
7.Define Motivation.
Motivation is defined as, “the set of forces that cause people to choose certain
behaviours from among the many alternatives open to them”.
1. Barney/Griffin, “The Management of Organisations”.
2. Chandan, S.Jit, “Organisational Behaviour”.
3. Fred Luthans, Organisational Behaviours, McGraw Hill Book Co., 1995.
4. Gangadhar Rao, VSP Rao, P.S. Narayana, “Organisational Behaviour”.
5. Gordon Judith R, “A Diagnostic Approach to Organizational Behaviour”.
6. Gregory Moorehead and R.S. Griffin, Organisational Behaviour - Managing People and
Organisations, Jaico, 1994.
7. Hugh J. Arnold, Daniel C. Fledman, “Organisational Behaviour”.
8. Judith R. Gordon, A Diagnostic Approach to Organisational Behaviour, Allyn & Bacon,
9. Keith Davis, Human Behaviour at Work, McGraw Hill Book Co., 1991.
10. Nirmal Singh, “Organisational Behaviour: Concepts, Theory and Practices”.
11. Prasad L M, “Organisational Behaviour”.
12. Stephen P. Robbins, Organisational Behaviour, Prentice Hall, 1997.
13. Van Fleet, “Behaviour in Organisations”.
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Contenido: I. Introducción: Estableciendo el escenario. II. Diagnóstico e incremento de la eficiencia de la conducta individual. III. Diagnóstico y mejoramiento de la conducta grupal. IV. Diagnóstico del comportamiento a nivel organizacional.
  • Gregory Moorehead
  • R S Griffin
Gregory Moorehead and R.S. Griffin, Organisational Behaviour -Managing People and Organisations, Jaico, 1994.
Human Behaviour at Work
  • Keith Davis
Keith Davis, Human Behaviour at Work, McGraw Hill Book Co., 1991.
  • P Stephen
  • Robbins
Stephen P. Robbins, Organisational Behaviour, Prentice Hall, 1997.
Behaviour in Organisations
  • Van Fleet
Van Fleet, "Behaviour in Organisations".