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Organizational Behavior Class: A Manager As A Successful Oracle. Discusses The Effects Of Self Fulfilling Prophecy In The Workplace. Examples From Two Movies: "Gung Ho" And "White Man's Burden".

1027 words - 4 pages

We often become what unconsciously others expect of us, or we ourselves expect. How can such a self-empowering and at the same time discouraging research hold true? Aren't we the makers of our own future? Yes, if we make a conscious attempt in the right direction we can achieve anything we desire. However, people in general tend to align to other people's expectations, especially if that person is your superior. Furthermore, unfortunately, all of us have certain expectations and managers can't escape this reality. We tend to treat our staff according to our expectations of them and as an end result our staff responds the way we envisioned. We reinforce our original expectations, therefore creating what is called a self-fulfilled prophesy.Self-fulfilling prophesies can have significant positive, or negative influence on organizational effectiveness, or how well an organization operates. The factors that are viewed as determinants of organizational effectiveness are productivity, absenteeism, turnover, organizational citizenship, and job satisfaction. Theory X describes employees as lazy, unmotivated, and undisciplined; while Theory Y argues that the subordinates are productive, resourceful, and responsible. Therefore if a manager believes Theory X, he/she may be creating a self-fulfilling prophesy resulting in poor effectiveness of the organization. In "Gung Ho", the American workers had low throughput of cars and high imperfection rate, which forced American management to close down the factory. However, such state of affairs can at least be partially attributed to the of long-term low management expectations from the workers.In addition, we can see another negative example of self-fulfilling prophesy in the "White Man's Burden". Travolta's boss classifies the unknown at that point "delivery boy" as a person whom he would not want to have working for him. Therefore, when Travolta lets him know he was the one to deliver the package, the boss does not look at the context of the situation, or Travolta's usual hard working behavior. The boss commits a Fundamental Attribution Error, or underestimates the influence of external factors and overvalues the wrongly applied perception of the "delivery boy" to Travolta. Consequently, the boss fires Travolta based on inappropriate prophesy that he has in mind. Within months, Travolta lives up to his employers expectations by kidnapping Thaddeus.Self-fulfilling prophesy can take on another meaning if a person autonomously changes his/her behavior to agree with a certain prophecy, or expectation. So, when a manager expects to succeed, he/she is more likely to succeed, while an opposite expectation is likely to produce the converse. So, we live up to our own expectations and our future is in our hands. Similarly an employee's performance increases, or decreases based on his/her own belief of the expected performance. In "Gung Ho", workers are able to increase their output of defect-free cars to the expected...

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