The Role Of Behaviour And Work Outcomes Management

Essay add: 19-06-2017, 19:39   /   Views: 9

This section includes a comprehensive discussion of the major concepts and theoretical literature that are relevant in this study on. This chapter builds the research framework by reviewing relevant literature on organisational behaviour, managers and leaders, diversity and ethics, the role of behaviour and work outcomes, positive organisational behaviour, employee engagement, and psychological capital.

Organisational Behaviour

It is an accepted maxim of the modern business world that if organisations are to obtain a degree of competitive advantage, they require several key factors. Chief amongst these are a highly skilled work force; an excellent level of technological proficiency; and the ability to deliver higher quality products and services than their competitors (O'Reilly and Pfeffer 2000, p. 48). Obtaining and developing these factors is possible only if a company has a highly motivated workforce, which is willing to devote large amounts of discretionary effort to helping the company meet its goals. This argument has been supported by research that has show that it is generally employees that drive success in the modern world, regardless of whether that success if defined as profitability, productivity or some other form (Pfeffer and Sutton 2000, p. 32). Unfortunately, the question still remains as to what steps companies can take to consistently motivate their employees to achieve this improved level of performance

One of the most prominent systems for achieving this, and one which is widely applied in modern organisations, is the concept of behavioural management (Stajkovic and Luthans 2003, p. 155). This concept focuses on the principle of contingent reinforcement, arguing that by rewarding desirable behaviours and punishing or discouraging undesirable ones, humans will moderate their behaviour to achieve the maximum rewards. However, this theory has come in for criticism with Bandura (1986) arguing that "If people acted... on the basis of informative cues but remained unaffected by the results of their actions, they would be insensitive to survive very long" (p. 228). This implies that, over time, people will work out that the behavioural approach to human resource management is having consequences in terms of making them work harder, and hence will moderate their behaviour further to address this point.

The thrust on organisational behaviour as an important human resource management concept did not come until the late 1980s (Robbins 2003). Traditionally, business students and future managers received intensive technical training in economics, statistics, accounting, and management theories in order to equip them with the tools in successfully leading companies. There was no mention of the importance of analysing human behaviour in the management equation. Capitalising on the technical aspect of business management had its advantages, but business researchers and practitioners soon found that while technical skills may have increased employee specialisation, it did little to produce successful employee relationships or interactions. Organisational theorists and researchers such as Luthans, Hodgetts and Rosenkratz (1988) were able to demonstrate that human resource skills and communication skills were in fact vital factors in effective leadership and management of business organizations. The traditional skills such as planning, controlling, and decision-making only accounted for 19 percent of the formula for success.

Organisational behaviour is defined as "an interdisciplinary field which studies individuals and their behaviour within the context of the organisation in a workplace setting" (Miner 2005, p. 3). Organisational behaviour focuses on the moods, feelings, and emotions of people in the workplace and studies stress, employee-manager relationships, physical settings, group dynamics, and reward/punishment systems in the work setting. Miner (2005) stressed the importance of the feelings, thoughts and actions of employees in influencing organisational culture. When workers are unhappy, they are unproductive (Luthans 2002). However, ensuring excellent performance and high productivity is a multidimensional process. Organisational values change over time and employee behaviour is not static. This makes organisational behaviour a focal point in mapping out organisational development. By examining the behaviour of employees over time, management can formulate policies and solutions that impact employees.

So far, studies on management and organisational theory have pointed to different variables that drive employee behaviour and productivity. Managers have decided to implement policies to influence team productivity and enhance overall organisational efficiency with differing results. The strategies and approach have also been heterogeneous - no one strategy has been proven to be effective in all internal or external organisational environments. What works for one company may not work for another. What several studies have not failed to show however, is the importance of organisational personality in influencing a positive or negative work environment. Natoli (2003) explained that the behavioural approach toward management improves organizational processes, interaction, communication channels between employees and managers, and the overall quality of service delivery of the organisation. Aparna's (2006) study on team behaviours within organisations suggested that an organization's identity is influenced by both internal and external forces. Both Natoli (2003) and Aparna (2006) suggested that an organisation's strategic plan can modify organisational culture. This finding supports the theory that external influence is effective in forming organisational personalities. This external influence falls within the scope of the functions of managers and leaders. By crafting strategy plans around organisational behaviour, managers and leaders can influence business success by motivating positive behaviours among employees.

Managers and Leaders

As pointed out earlier, managers and leaders have an important role in introducing external influences to promote positive organisational behaviour. Managers and leaders are often referred to in the same context or not distinguished at all but in the study of organisational behaviour, a distinction is made. Categorising managers and leaders on the same level lead to role confusion and sometimes place individuals in functions they are not proficient in. This is especially true for large business organizations. Griffin and Moorhead (2010) believe that in the interest of maximising the true potentials and proficiencies of people in organizations, the organisational structure must differentiate the manager from the leader. Bass (2003) considered the manager and the leader as having unique functions and characteristics although these may overlap from time to time. Bennis (1989) considered leaders to display particular traits such as inspiration, innovation, and development while managers were maintainers, controlling, and administrative.

A manager is "a person who identifies and achieves organizational objectives through the deployment of appropriate resources" (Griffin and Moorhead 2010, p. 14). Managers are those that traditionally assume responsibilities in human resources which require communication skills and documentation. In the era of globalisation, managers have been challenged to be more knowledgeable of information technology to greatly enhance the management enterprise and to boost managerial capability to document and communicate with people in the workplace (Smeltzer 2004).

On the other hand, a leader is "a person who influences a group of people towards the achievement of a goal" (Yukl 2006, p. 132). As a characteristic, leadership is considered to be the result of both nature and nurture and while there are people born with natural leadership traits, leadership can be learned. Moreover, not one leadership style is best-suited in all work environments. Two theories adopt this view: the contingency theory of leadership by Fred Fielder (1978) and the situational leadership theory by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard (1969).

Fielder's contingency theory (Fielder & Garcia, 1978) emphasized on the behaviours and reactions of leaders in particular situations. They believed that effective leadership depends on how a leader matches his style of leading with the organisational environment. Hersey and Blanchard's (1969) situational leadership theory stressed that there is no singular "best" leadership style. According to both, successful leadership is "task-relevant" and is dependent upon two factors: 1) the leadership style adopted and the 2) maturity level of the group being led. Choosing the appropriate leadership style also has to consider the type of tasks or functions which need to be accomplished by the group.

The main difference between managers and leaders is that the former are more goal-driven while the latter vision-driven. Bennis (1985) pinpointed the difference saying, "managers are people that do things right and leaders are individuals who do the right thing" (p. 21). Whatever differences they may have, Griffin and Moorhead (2010) opined that organisations need both management and leadership if they are to be effective. Leadership is necessary to create and direct change and to help the organization get through tough times. Management is necessary to achieve coordination and systematic results and to handle administrative activities during times of stability and predictability. Management in conjunction with leadership can help achieve planned orderly change, and leadership in conjunction with management can keep the organization properly aligned with its environment. Managers and leaders also play a major role in establishing the moral climate of the organization and in determining the role of ethics in its culture (Griffin and Moorhead 2010).

Managing Diversity in the Workplace

The reality that managers face in the modern organisational environment is diversity. Diversity is an important facet in the study of organisational behavior because it characterizes the different beliefs, persuasions, and behaviours of employees especially in multicultural organisational environments (Adler and Gundersen 2008). Diversity is when people with similarities and differences in age, ethnicity, religion, culture, and educational attainment are grouped together within the same working environment. Workplace settings today are increasingly diverse due to equal opportunity legislations that secured the presence of women, minorities, and differently-abled persons in the workplace.

Managers use different strategies in approaching diversity. On an individual scale, diversity may be handled by learning about others and demonstrating empathy and respect for differences. On an organisational level, managers use mentoring, training, work/life balance problems and implementing alternative work schedules. To manage diversity, Adler and Gundersen (2008) believe that organizations must establish a system of ethics in the workplace to support an ethical organisational culture.

Relevant to this particular study is how to manage diversity in a multicultural workforce. In a society characterised by a melting pot of cultures, managers of Saudi companies are challenged to adapt and handle cultural differences vis a vis ethics and performance (Al Kibis et al. 2007). Managing diversity in multicultural work environments is difficult but attainable if organisational leaders are sensitive and are committed to adapting to cultural differences. Ethical questions may be interpreted differently by one culture and not by others; connotations may be attached to the meanings of some words. Managing diversity has also become a priority in order to prevent legal claims of employee discrimination (Fortune Magazine 2005). Organisations are turning to diversity training and multicultural strategic planning and organisational development to combat these problems.

Human resource management is inextricably linked to handling cultural issues. Because culture defines people, their behaviors and beliefs, managers need to be sensitive and proactive in addressing ethical or work relationship conflicts that pertain to differences in culture. When tackling the human resource strategies that are applicable to specific companies, culture should be seriously taken into account. Bell (2005) explained that managers in Saudi companies face numerous challenges in driving the performance of business organisations due in part to cultural factors. Problems such as low motivation (Bell 2005), tardiness and high turnover (Al Kibis et al. 2007), and emphasis on higher pay (Rowings et al. 1986) are some of the cultural characteristics of the Saudi workforce. Bell (2005) attributes this to the historical development of Saudi society. Many of its young professionals are members of privileged families and the influence of accumulated wealth due to the oil boom has instilled a cultural preference for managerial positions and disdain for labor-type jobs. Al Kibis and colleagues (2007) found in their study that foreign labor has become so necessary in running Saudi companies because private companies are unable to provide organisational structures that meet the desired rewards, career paths, and salaries demanded by Saudi professionals. Gopalakrishnan (2002) revealed in a study of culture of Saudi companies that honest and candid evaluations of performance have a high likelihood of eroding self-esteem among employees. Hall (2003) explained that unlike the highly individualistic culture in the United States, employees in the Middle East value collectivism and group work. Culture is a significant factor that managers must take into consideration because it also impacts employee motivation and consequently, work performance.

Motivation in the Workplace

Motivation is an important management process because it allows managers to influence the behaviour of employees by knowing what makes them tick (Luthans, 1998). Motivation is defined by Luthans (1998) as "the process that arouses, energizes, directs, and sustains behaviour and performance" (p. 43). Motivating people is stimulating them to work toward a desired task. Employing effective motivation has been shown to impact employee satisfaction an organisational commitment (Luthans 2002). Salary increases or promotions are not the only effective motivators; other incentives can be offered in order to spur employee motivation.

It is a common assumption in management that organisational goals cannot be attained without the sustained commitment of organisational members. Motivation is characterized by factors which "cause, channel, and sustain human behaviour in a particular committed direction" (Adeyemo 1999, 9.3). Some of the fundamental assumptions that managers and management researchers have about motivation are: 1) that it is a positive thing because a person cannot be confident about him or herself without being motivated (Alder and Gundersen 2008), 2) motivation is just one among several factors that contribute to a person's work performance aside from skill, resources, and work conditions (Luthans 2002), 3) motivation is a renewable resource that needs continuing replenishment (Zhao 20009), 4) motivation is a management tool that managers should capitalise on in order to direct organisational performance (Griffin and Moorhead 2010). If managers are knowledgeable about the needs and drives of their workers, they can tailor work assignments and rewards according to what is stimulating for them. Managers motivate by appealing to the needs and desires of individual workers (Adeyemo 1999).

Theories of motivation

Abraham Maslow suggested that human beings' five basic needs form a hierarchy: from physiological, to safety, to social, to esteem, to self-actualization needs. In his model of the needs hierarchy, Maslow explained that individuals are fundamentally directed toward the satisfaction of physiological needs. Physiological needs include basic human needs such as food, shelter, and clothing. As the primary need, Maslow believed that these needs have to be satisfied first before people can be motivated to satisfy other higher-order needs. After the satisfaction of physiological needs, safety and security go next. Safety and security refer to the need to be free from physical farm, from basic needs deprivation, and self-preservation. Next comes social affiliation which is need for the individual to belong to one or more social groups and to be part of meaningful human relationships. After the social needs are satisfied comes the need to fulfill individual desires such as self-esteem and greater personal recognition from other human beings. Achieving self-esteem allows the individual to acquire self-confidence, power, prestige, and control over their circumstances and their contribution to their immediate environment. When self-esteem is satisfied, individuals progress toward self-actualization which refers to "need to maximize one's potential and to become what one is capable of becoming" (Hersey 1996, p. 81).

According to Maslow's needs hierarchy model, higher order needs (esteem and self-actualization) only become activated, and thus motivate behaviour, after lower-order needs have been satisfied. This approach has been critiqued to be applicable only in the Western organisational context since motivation of employees from more collective-oriented cultures differs from that of their more individualistic Western counterparts. An individual's needs are particularly bound by culture (Alder and Gundersen 2008).

While Maslow concentrated on satisfying extrinsic factors to drive motivation, Frederick Herzber's two-factor motivation theory stated that intrinsic factors are also important. Extrinsic factors include supervision, relations with co-workers, salary, company policy, supervision, and administration. Intrinsic motivators correspond to higher-order needs on Maslow's hierarchy, including the work itself, responsibility, recognition for work done, and achievement and work advancement. The universality of Herzberg's theory cannot be assumed. In every culture, certain factors act as motivators and others act as demotivators. Managers entering a new culture should observe which factors appear important and not assume that their prior experience in other cultures is transferable.

Positive Organisational Behaviour

Organisations are looking to use human resource management concepts to boost the performance of their employees, only around have of all organisations have positive experiences of using them, and believe that they actually matter (Pfeffer 1998, p. 12). As a result, only a small fraction of organisations consistently implement and devote sufficient attention to high performance HRM practices. This further increases the degree of scepticism amongst workers, as more and more of them encounter poorly implemented practices that are often abandoned due to a lack of time and effort (Luthans and Youssef, 2004 p. 143). This can lead to the spread of a negative and pessimistic form of organisational behaviour spreading throughout organisations that are using traditional forms of human resource management.

As a result, it appears that a new form of human resource management and organisational behaviour approach will be needed to address these issues. According to Luthans (2008 p. 219) this approach needs to not only create a more supportive and positive organizational climate, but also needs to connect this climate to employee behaviour and outcomes to ensure that the approach is supporting the employees who are critical to organisational success. As such, this approach needs to rely on the core construct of positive psychological capital, which consists of hope, resilience, optimism, and efficacy (Luthans 2008, p. 219). This construct not only helps an organisation to develop a supportive organisational climate, but also helps to ensure that employees feel the benefit of this climate, and hence are intrinsically motivated to work harder and more effectively within it. For example, by creating an optimistic organisational climate, the organisation can help to make its employees more optimistic. This will help the employees feel more confident about finding the solution to issues, and willing to put more work in as they believe that the solution will present itself once enough high quality work has been put it (Luthans et al. 2008, p. 219).

This concept has also been studied by others, with Bakker and Schaufeli (2008) specifically referring to positive organizational behaviour and stating that it "emphasizes the need for more focused theory building, research, and effective application of positive traits, states, and behaviours of employees in organizations" (p. 147). This implies that not only do organisations need to work on developing positive organisational behaviour, but also on ensuring that this behaviour is effectively applied and thus produces the desired outcomes. Otherwise, if the positive organisational behaviour fails to produce noticeable improvements, employees may lose heart and much of the optimism in their behaviour may be lost. Further to this, the concept of positive organisational behaviour needs to "show the added value of the positive over and above the negative" (Bakker and Schaufeli, 2008, p. 147) in order to gain wide acceptance and the attention needed to develop further.

One of the main potential methods through which this added value could be demonstrated is that positive organisational behaviour is strongly linked to levels of work engagement. According to Bakker et al (2008, p. 187) this implies that the development of positive organisational behaviour can lead to "a positive, fulfilling, affective-motivational state of work-related well-being that is characterized by vigour, dedication, and absorption". In other words, developing positive organisational behaviour is more likely to make employees feel positive about their work, and also to engage more strongly with it. This in turn will lead to the employees caring more about the outcomes of their work as outcomes in their own right, rather than simply as tasks they have to complete in order to gain promotions or justify their salaries. This argument is supported by Bakker et al's (2008, p. 187) empirical research, which showed that work engagement is influences strongly by the level of job resources that employees have access to, and the level of personal resources that are inherent to the employee themselves. Of these, job resources focus on factors such as the supervisory coaching and feedback that the employee receives, whilst personal resources include many of the resources associated with positive organisational behaviour, such as optimism, self-efficacy and self-esteem. In addition to this, the research shows that work engagement is a valid predictor of job performance and client satisfaction, indicating that it can help to achieve the employee performance boost needed by modern organisations (Bakker et al, 2008, p. 187).

Article name: The Role Of Behaviour And Work Outcomes Management essay, research paper, dissertation