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Organizational Behavior As A Discipline For Discovery

1441 words - 6 pages

Organizational Behavior as a Discipline for Discovery

Ask a manager of 35, 25 or even 15 years ago what their Organization's
Behavioral patterns were or how their employees felt about certain
issues and you would probably be met with blank stares. Organizational
Behavior (OB) was not a part of the business world in those days. The
idea that a manager need only deal with the technical skills of it's
employees while disregarding their own listening skills, communication
skills and interaction skills was the common mode of thought. A recent
study on employee burnout by Northwestern National Life Insurance
shows that at least one out of every four employees views their job as
the biggest stressor in their lives (Work, stress and health
conference, 1999). Clearly it is time to reevaluate our thinking on
the business concepts of the past and focus our attention on our
organization with a more humanistic approach. What worked in the past
is not necessarily going to work today. As the world changes so too
does our environment change. We need to change with it or be left
behind. Organizational Behavior is one of those vehicles being used
for change. The past 10-15 years has shown an increase in
Organizational Behavior studies. OB has become an important tool for
businesses striving to meet the needs of its employees while
understanding the impact of the individual on an organization's
behavior.

History

The generational gap between people is apparent. The values, thoughts
and dreams of our parents are probably much different than ours of
today just like their values were differed from your grandparents. The
attitudes and beliefs of a generation are a big part of the make-up of
a person's personality and work ethic. Stephen P. Robbins notes in his
text that the previous 3 generations, while similar in some respects,
held distinct differences in their values (p.130-2). Organizational
behavior is a byproduct of the times. The workers adapted to their
organization and grew with it (1940's and 50's). As time went on a
shift towards quality of life, non-conforming, autonomy and loyalty to
one's own values became prevalent (1960's and 70's). Another shift
occurred in the mid 70's. The value system moved towards ambition,
loyalty to career, hardworking, and the desire for success and
achievement. This period lasted till about the mid 80's when another
shift moved us towards the value system commonly held today of
flexibility, value to relationships, desire for leisure time and
overall job satisfaction. Robbins classified these four stages as
follows: Protestant work ethic, Existential, Pragmatic, and Generation
X (p.131). We can see that what worked in the 50's in terms of how an
organization operated is probably not going to be as effective in
today's organizations. Whether it's the...

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