Research in organizational behavior and management

Essay add: 29-10-2015, 11:23   /   Views: 96


People's behavior in an organization is a complex issue, yet understanding the underlying reasons and norms of such behaviors would enhance organizational effectiveness. Numerous research methods and statistical analysis were therefore invented and practiced with the prime objective of knowing more about people's attitudes, learning mode, attributes, values etc., so that companies would utilize the analytical results to explore ways on how to improve its operation, management skills, how to treat people in the ways they desire, so that win-win-win situations would take place, benefiting both the employer, the employees, external customers, and eventually the industry. This paper would present the scientific process involved in the study of organizational behavior, discuss the different types of research designs that are used throughout the scientific process, leverage the applicability of quantitative or qualitative methods, explore the various research methods and the challenges of each of these methods. Although it may seem scientific in majority of the research studies, it remains argumentative that many internal factors from the individuals, external factors from the researcher's skills and ethics, the macro economy, social and micro organizational culture would greatly impact the authenticity and reliability of the research of organizational behavior. These various factors will be discussed in this paper to illustrate if research in organizational behavior can be completely scientific or not.

Relationship of Research and Organizational Behavior

In order to distinguish the relationship between research and organizational behavior, I will start off by explaining what each of the topic, research and organizational behavior, is all about.

What is Research

Research is a systematic process of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting information or data so as to increase the understanding of a phenomenon of which we are interested (Leedy & Ormrod, 2010). In other words, research is concerned with the systematic gathering of information and its purpose is to gain information in search for the truth in a consistent and rigorous manner; broadly speaking, research methods refer to using a set of techniques to acquire knowledge or learn about something of interest.

To Roberts (2007, pp. 4-5), research is a process rather than a single event, and the process demands planning, forethought, commitment, and persistence which needs to be managed, navigated and negotiated from early conception to the final destination.

Leedy & Ormrod (2010) identified that research has to be originated with a question or problem; it requires a clear goal, a specific plan; and the researcher normally divides the principal problem into more manageable sub-problems, and requires the collection and interpretation of data. Research is guided by the specific research problem, question, or hypothesis which is a logical supposition, a reasonable conjecture which may provide a temporary explanation for a phenomenon under investigation or guided by theory which is an organized component of concepts and principles aimed to explain a special phenomenon, so in doing researches, one accepts certain critical assumptions.

What is Organizational Behavior [OB]

Organizational behavior is the study of human behavior in the workplace, of the interaction between people and the organization, and of the organization itself. The major roles of OB are to explain, predict, and control behavior (DuBrin, 2007, p.2).

George & Jones (1999) defined that an organization is a collection of people adhering to one another and working to achieve different variety of goals. By being members in an organization, individuals may try to accomplish their goals such as earning more money, achieving certain levels of power and prestige, promoting a worthy cause, or enjoying satisfying work experience. Organizations exist to provide things or services that customers want, and the quantity and quality of these goods and services are exactly the products of the behaviors and performance of the workers in the organization, from top managers, highly skilled technical people, sales and service people, down to the front-line rank-and-file laboring workers. So to speak, organizational behavior is the study of many factors that will impact how individuals and groups respond and act in organizations and how organizations direct, manage and control their environments. Northcraft and Neale (1990, p.5) has similar idea that organizations may be capable to fulfill some individual goals, people therefore come together and form organizations because organizations can assist people to accomplish things that each person cannot accomplish individually. A full understanding of organizational behavior must therefore include a thorough examination of the factors that affect behaviors of the three folded relationship, that is, the individual, the group, and the organization.

The relationship of OB with research

In order to know precisely how any person would behave in any organizational context, conducting continuous researches will add to the understanding of people's behavior in an organization. Muchinsky (2006, pp. 32-33) interpreted the focus of qualitative research methods in OB is the techniques used to learn about the industrial and organizational psychology in order to increase the understanding of what it means to the employees of a particular organization so that employees would feel committed to the company they serve.

Understanding of the research methods is crucial as it allows researchers, managers to learn about why the people feel and behave as they do in organizations, it also helps people to solve problems in organizations and come up with ways to increase performance, productivity and well being. It can help managers to use the OB research findings done by others to improve the conditions in their organizations, help members of an organization properly evaluate advice and recommendations provided by the consultants, with the aim to increase organizational effectiveness and achieve its goals, therefore having knowledge of organizational behavior is particularly important to managers.

Many researches in organizational behavior focus on the way in which the characteristics of individuals, such as personality, attitude and values, perception and attribution, learning, motivation, stress and work-life linkages, that affect how well people do their jobs, whether they like what they do, whether they get along with the people they work with, and so forth. OB researches facilitate management to really think about what their company's programs and practices are, realize employees' reactions and feelings indicators, their learning needs (enhanced attitudes, perceptions or knowledge), their need for changes in skills or behaviors in order to improve overall performance, eventually benefiting the organization.

Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn (1997) gave a hypothesis example in OB on the increase in the number of rest time allowed workers in a work-day will increase productivity. Robbins (1998) also said the most popular dependent variables in OB can be productivity, absenteeism, turnover and organizational commitment. In OB research, correlation coefficient is a means of measurement, it is used to indicate that strength of the relationship between two or more variables, correlation coefficient is expressed as a number between -1.00 (a perfect negative relationship) to +1.00 which is a positive correlation. When two variables vary directly with one another, the correlation will be expressed as a positive number. But if they vary inversely, that is, one increases as the other decreases, the correlation will be said as a negative number. If the two variables vary independently of each other, we say that the correlation between them is zero, for example, a researcher may survey a group of employees to determine the satisfaction of each with his/her job. Then, using company absenteeism reports, the researcher could correlate the job satisfaction scores against individual attendance records to determine whether employees who are more satisfied with their jobs have better attendance records than their counterparts who indicated lower job satisfaction.

Literature Review on the Scientific Process in the Research of OB

Before we explore the various comments on the scientific process in OB research, I will first reveal the initiators for scientific studies on human behavior in organizations.

The Hawthorne Studies and Taylor machine model - Initiators for scientific studies on human behavior in organizations

The Hawthorne experiments from 1924 to 1932 conducted at the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company, later became part of AT&T, started an attempt to investigate how the characteristics of the work setting, in the level of lighting or illumination, affects worker's performance (George & Jones, 1999, pp. 722-723). Harvard psychologist then conducted subsequent experiments to investigate the effects of other aspects of the work context on job performance, such as the number and length of rest periods and hours of work on fatigue and monotony with the goal of raising productivity, it was found that many other factors also influenced worker behavior. One of the main implications of the Hawthorne studies was that the characteristics of the social setting or group in which behavior takes place is as important as the technical aspects of the task. The studies demonstrated the importance of understanding how the feelings, thoughts and behavior of work group members and managers affect performance. It was becoming clear to researchers that understanding behavior in organizations is a complex process and that simple solutions to increasing performance are hard to come by.

Frederick Taylor (1856-1915) was another pioneer of applying scientific approach to management. He was the first to analyze human behavior scientifically by assuming individuals equivalently into different machine parts. He then disseminated the tasks to its smallest unit to find out the best approach to work, and after cautious analysis of the job, workers were trained to only act on motions essential to the task. Taylor tried to make a scientific analysis for each unit of work and restricted behavioral alternatives, people's interaction, social and physical environments (Terpstra, 2005). Taylor's machine model was successful somehow in the areas of having increased production and profits because rational formulated rules replaced human errors, which led to sustained efficiency consequently. But Taylor's treatment of human beings like machine models confronted a lot of resistance from both the management and workers who regarded this method as "dehumanization of work". Regardless of its criticisms, Taylor's methods commenced a scientific theoretical study and affected working styles greatly.

Sherri Jackson (2008), a professor of psychology, wrote that research requires scientific methods and the scientific method requires developing an attitude of skepticism, of which a person needs to question the validity, authenticity or truth of something purportedly factual, and the skeptic needs data to support an idea and proper testing procedures when the data are collected. She believed that scientific research has three basic goals which are to describe behavior, to predict behavior and to explain behavior and all of these goals lead to a better understanding of behavior and mental processes.

With the review of above sayings and experiments, it seems that organizational behavior can be studied and measured by scientific research methods, in that case, we need to take a look at the scientific process of OB research.

The Scientific Process

According to DuBrin (2007), in order to explain, predict and control behavior, specialists must collect information systematically and conduct scientific researches while George & Jones (1999) even applied a Three-Point model as the basic model of the scientific process, as shown in Figure 1.0. They explained their concept that a researcher should start at Point (A) to observe, for example, why is absenteeism higher in some groups than in others, why do some workers put in more effort than others. After making observations, the researcher will move on to Point (B) to come up with a general explanation through induction to explain the specific observations or instances of organizational behavior. Once a researcher has an explanation to account for a phenomenon, then, through deduction as in Point (C), researcher makes specific predictions that seem likely to be true if the general explanation was a good one. Once the researcher has made a prediction, the next step in the scientific process is to test this prediction and determine if it is accurate. This is known as the verification process.

Schermerhorn et al. (1997, pp.419-420) also supports the idea that scientific method is a key part of OB research and it involves four steps, as shown in Figure 2.0: Firstly a research question or problem is specified, then one or more hypotheses or explanations of what the research parties expect to find are formulated, which may come from sources like previous experience and review of the literature on the problem area. Thirdly is the creation of a research design, which is an overall plan for conducting the research to test the hypothesis(es). Finally is data gathering, analysis, and interpretation are carried out.

Jackson (2008, p.13) referred the scientific method with similar concepts but presented with a three basics model. The first basic is the systematic empiricism which means making observations in a systematic manner aimed to develop a theory or hypotheses; secondly is the public verification which is presenting the research to the public so that it can be observed, criticized and tested for determining the veracity of a theory; lastly is the solvable problems to state questions in such a manner that they are answerable by means of currently available research techniques, aimed to determine whether a theory can potentially be tested using empirical techniques and whether it is falsifiable.

With the knowledge of above processes, we understand that OB research can be performed systematically and analyzed scientifically to a certain extent, for this reason, I proceed to understand the research strategy, designs and various research methods.

Research Strategy, Designs, Methods in OB and the critical aspects

Bryman and Bell (2003, p.25) made it very clear that a research strategy simply means a general orientation aimed to conduct a business research. After forming a strategy, a researcher has to decide on the relevant methods to conduct the research.

As for the research philosophy, Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill (2003, p.16) explained there are two streams of thoughts, namely the Realist (Objectivist) and the Relativist (Subjectivist). The realist approach is traditional and positive, the investigator is essentially someone who is a technician or a trained, qualified expert in a certain field, who examines a subject with detachment and objectivity, with the viewpoint of a natural scientist, who trusts in quantitative data research, any personal life, attitudes and feelings are to be isolated from the research practice. On the contrary, the relativist approach believes in the social reality and concentrates comparatively more on qualitative data, researchers can act in ways that are participative and collaborative, and subjectively value bound. So we need to explore should research in OB be qualitative or quantitative.

Is Research in OB qualitative or quantitative?

Qualitative research is a type of scientific method, consisting an investigation that seeks answers to a question, systematically uses a predefined set of procedures to answer the question, collects evidence and finally produces findings that are not determined in advance. Additionally, qualitative research seeks to understand a given research problem or topic from the perspectives of the local population. It is especially effective in obtaining culturally specific information about the values, opinions, behaviors, and social contexts of particular populations. Qualitative research, compared with traditional research methods, requires the investigator to become more personally immersed in the entire research process, as opposed to being just a detached, objective investigator. On the other hand, quantitative research uses predefined variables, for example organizational commitment, that are assumed to have meaning across multiple settings, such as different organizations.

Quantitative approach has its strength, due to its reliability, that is, the same measurements would yield the same results time after time. For quantitative ratings and rankings, a mean, or average, for each question will be computed, example of the analysis could be: 20 people ranked "1" = 28.55%, 30 ranked "2" = 42.9%, and 20 people ranked "3" = 28.55%; quantitative researchers are concerned to establish correlations between variables (Treiman, 2009). As for qualitative approach, its main strength is its ability to study phenomena which are simply unavailable elsewhere. Silverman (2006, pp. 43-45) stated its strength counts on its closeness to the truth, touching the core of the situation, identifying the patterns, or causal relationships in the themes. An example of the answer could be: "all people who attended programs in the evening had similar concerns, most people came from the same geographic area, most people were in the same salary range". The contribution of qualitative research is it addresses socio-behavioral attributes such as cultural specific norms, ethnic backgrounds, gender norms, and socio-economic status.

The key difference between quantitative and qualitative methods is their flexibility. Generally, quantitative methods are fairly in-flexible, researchers ask all participants identical questions in the same order and the response categories from which participants may choose are "closed-ended" or fixed. The advantage of this inflexibility is that it allows for meaningful comparison of responses across participants and study sites. However, it requires a thorough understanding of the important questions to ask, the best way to ask, and the range of possible responses. Qualitative methods are typically more flexible, that is, they allow greater spontaneity and adaptation of the interaction between the researcher and the participant. For example, qualitative methods ask mostly "open-ended" questions that are not necessarily worded in exactly the same way with each participant. With open-ended questions, participants are free to respond in their own words, and these responses tend to be more complex than by simply responding a "yes" or "no". In addition, with qualitative methods, the relationship between the researcher and the participant is often less formal than in quantitative research. Participants have the opportunity to respond more elaborately and in greater detail than is typically the case with quantitative methods, in turn, researchers have the opportunity to respond immediately to what participants say.

Research in OB should therefore be based on a relativist philosophy because it is more sensible to collect and concentrate on qualitative data, because the research will conjecture on the attitudes of people and thereafter interpret the possible effects onto the organization because they provide valuable insights into the overall perspectives of the study population. It is important to note, however, that there is a range of flexibility among methods used in both quantitative and qualitative research and that flexibility is not an indication of how scientifically rigorous a method is. Rather, we should consider the degree of flexibility which could help to reflect the understanding of the problem that is being pursued using the method. Although the objectives of quantitative and qualitative research are not mutually exclusive, their approaches to interpreting people's behaviors involve distinctive research techniques and therefore require separate skill sets.

Research Designs

A research design is an overall plan or strategy for conducting the research to test the hypothesis(es). The design can be open or exploratory or apply strict procedures to test a hypothesis. Four most popular research designs are laboratory experiments, field experiments, case studies and field surveys (Schermerhorn et al., 1997) while Leedy & Ormrod (2010) interpreted the qualitative research designs in different terminology, which are ethnography, phenomenological study, grounded theory study, and content analysis; however these terms are similar to the idea of the commonly used terms as explained and analyzed in the following table.

Research Methods, Data Sources and the Challenges

Research encompasses a very broad set of styles and methodologies in the collection of materials or data. Research methods can also involve quantitative or qualitative approaches, and the study can be in large scale or small scale, short or long term and in various forms. The crucial part is to gain insights from people ranging from different age groups, ethnics, nationalities and employment backgrounds and gender shall be considered. There are four major methods used by qualitative researchers and applicable to OB researches, which are summarized as follows:

Questionnaire design

Questionnaires are usually intended to gain quantitative data, however they are also used to collect qualitative data, and using questionnaires to conduct OB research is common. The construction of a questionnaire is very important since it deals with fast input and expected to achieving plenty of responses information so we have to be cautious in designing a questionnaire. Foddy (1993) and Bulmer (2004) both suggested abundance of issues that would need to be considered, such as: the design layout is important so as to avoid confusion; wording because respondents often misinterpret questions; sequence of questions because earlier answers will affect the responses to next questions; be careful when formulating sensible questions; and last of all, beware that human memory has its limitations, thus researcher has to be aware on raising questions that require good memory.

Other comprehension problems that may crop up on questionnaire surveys include grammatical ambiguity, excessive complexity, faulty assumption, vague concepts, vague quantifiers, unfamiliar terms or false inferences. Unavoidably, all questionnaires need to be pre-tested to ensure the limit to only having one interpretation of the questions. A sample of a questionnaire is attached in Appendix 1.0.

Selecting Which Methods to Use

The overall goal in selecting which research method(s) is to get the most useful information to key decision makers in the most cost-effective and realistic manner. Questions that a researcher could consider before deciding on selecting which methods could be by asking oneself: what information is needed to make the decisions on the project after analyzing the research result; consider how the information can be collected in a low-cost and practical manner; will the participants conform to the methods, that is, will they fill out questionnaires carefully, engage in interviews or focus groups, let you examine their documentations; will the methods get all of the information needed; how accurate will the information be and will the information be credible to the decision makers or sponsor of the research; what additional methods could be used if additional information is needed; who can administer the methods or is training required; and how the information can be analyzed.

To conclude, an OB researcher should consider using more than one method for different programs or objectives.

OB research is difficult to be 100% scientific as there are areas that OB researchers should be alert on

Human behavior in organizations is complex and determined by many factors, it is often the case that part of the predictions researchers make have to be verified or found to be true by observations of actual organizational behavior.

Reliability, Validity and Ethical Considerations in OB Research

According to Muchinsky (2006, pp. 91-93), reliability is a standard for evaluating tests or measures that refer to the consistency, stability, or equivalence of test scores. The test-retest reliability is the simplest assessment by measuring something at two different times and compare the scores so if the test is reliable, those who scored high the first time will also score high the second time, and vice versa, this correlation is called the coefficient of stability. While reliability refers to consistency of the measuring device, validity refers to accuracy, so to speak, a valid measure is one that yields correct estimates of what is being assessed or from the test scores.

Bryman and Bell (2003) suggested there are certain features of research in OB that must be cautioned on. Firstly, it is unlikely possible to interview everyone who may contribute an opinion on the subject matter, so only a sample can be interviewed but as for how representing this sample will be, nobody can guarantee. Failure to measure all sample persons creates "non-response error" which is the non-observational gap between the sample and the respondent pool, causing non-response bias, which is expressed as an average over all samples as in the following formula (Dillman, 2007, p.11). Figure 3.0 illustrates the gap of actual responses versus the expected sample size.

Another sampling error is the post survey "adjustment error" which often arises in the construction of statistical estimators to describe the full target population. All of these error sources can have varying effects on different statistics from the same survey. We have to note that one test would be appropriate to draw inferences, for example, about "employee productivity" but the same test is inappropriate to draw inferences about "absenteeism", so Groves et al. (2004, pp.58-62) suggested researchers to aim at a high response rate so as to reduce the risk of non-response bias, they also recommended that the validity of qualitative methods can be greatly improved by using a combination of research methods, and also provide independent analysis of the data by more than one researcher, follow by using a template analysis to analyze the data.

Other factor that affects the OB research result is the error in responses, such as, failure of respondents to encode the information sought, misinterpretation of the questions, forgetting and other memory problems, flawed judgment, problems in formatting an answer, more or less deliberate misreporting, failure to follow instructions.

Researchers' role is also crucial for project design because collecting the data requires conscious effort at objectivity so researchers are better be trained on their ethical approach before and during conducting the research. During any data collection activities, these ethical practices include telling the participant on the purpose of the research, getting consent from the person, the approximate amount of time required, what is expected from the participant, informing the person the expected risks and benefits, and that the participation is voluntary so that one can withdraw at any time with no nega-tive repercussions, how confidentiality will be respected and protected, the name and contact information of the researcher for any questions raised by respondents. Besides, this information must be provided in a language and at an educational level that the participant can understand. All of these rights need to be communicated and adhered to by all parties.

To conclude, sampling errors, response errors and ethics of researcher will possibly affect the accuracy of the research, thus making it hard to indicate a holistic overview of the whole subject matter. Let me now explore some human factors that affect the respondents in how they may view OB research.

Factors that affect the reaction of people in OB research

An internal social system of the organization is made up with people. This system consists of individuals and groups, be it large groups or small ones and an organizational structure is filled with people carrying different functions and performing different tasks. Despite their roles or ranks or achievement levels, they bring with them different talents, experiences, interests, qualifications, backgrounds and behavior that contribute to the future success or failure of the organization, therefore, understanding how people behave in an organization is important.

However, even prominent personality tests and studies, such as EQ Emotional Quotient intelligence (Goleman, 1996), four characteristics represented by D.I.S.C. (Demanding, Interactive, Stable and Conscientious), nine characteristics represented by Ennegram (Goldberg, 1997), the 16 characteristics MBTI study and NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming (O'Connor & McDermott, 1996) prove that people differ in their need as a by-product of their personality and occupational interests. For example, some people can work alone while others could be restless in social conversations; with the Ennegram saying, one personality can shift from high level to low level and behave differently if that personality tends to shift towards another score. Quality of people varies because people vary in their propensity for achieving high quality results when some people naturally strive for high quality while others may not. Empowerment is effective with some workers, but not with all depending on what they want to be empowered; some prefer to make decisions by themselves for self fulfillment on the job while others may prefer jobs that only require a minimum of responsibility and mentality; there are people who are analytical, others practical and some creative. No consultant or psychologist can tell which study is more correct and predictive in human behavior, least to mention predicting the behavior in an OB research.

People might tell another person different things, if a different researcher repeats the study on the same person, then the results will be different and interpretations will differ. Besides, the truth may be diversified by what people say, actually believe, and what really is the truth. Also there is possibility of variations in what participants tell they do and what they have actually done. This argument may be specifically true when asking people questions on a subject, but the answer could already have been given by the society through indirect societal influence. We must note that respondents' attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, voices of opinions, habits and interests seem to be unstable; such people's inconsistency in responses will make it very hard to generate a reliable picture on people's behaviors.

George & Jones (1999) revealed a series of research studies in many different disciplines that all affect behavior in organizations. These disciplines include psychology's findings on personality, attitudes, learning, motivation and stress which have been applied in organizational behavior to understand work-related phenomena, such as performance, job satisfaction, commitment, absenteeism, turnover, and worker well-being etc. so as to improve important processes such as goal setting, design of jobs and reward systems.

Social psychology, a subfield of psychology and sociology, is another discipline providing studies on the structure and function of the foundations of a society, including its political, economic, educational, and ethnic issues. It focuses on understanding the behavior of individuals in social groups, such as families and work groups. Several other disciplines have contributed to the understanding of the different aspects of organizational behavior, such as political science helps to understand how differences in preferences and interests lead to conflict and power struggles between groups within organizations. Anthropology has shed light on the way organizations develop different cultures and systems of beliefs and values. All these disciplines help us to understand the many dimensions of organizational behavior.

Demographic diversity of people in an organization, sex and gender differences, racial and cultural differences, age-based differences all cause variation of responses to the OB research, for example, baby boomers are perceived more optimistic, ambitious yet cooperative, while Generation X (born between 1961 to 1980) are perceived to be more skeptical, risk taking and self reliant, then for Generation Y (born between 1981 to present) are hopeful, technology savvy and ask for meaningful work. The Department of Management at City University of Hong Kong conducted a survey in February 2010 on "Employee Engagement and Common Weaknesses of Superiors in Hong Kong with Special Reference to the Post-1980 Generation Analysis". The survey results revealed that a lack of opportunities for development and further education and training is the major factor that prompts Hong Kong's post-1980 generation to quit their jobs. It was also found that when compared with their older counterparts, this younger group of employees has fewer complaints about their superiors. This explains the difference of thoughts among different age groups.

We are certain that a systematic OB research can help to grasp a glimpse of different behavior in different situations yet we come to realize that characteristics, social, political, ethnic backgrounds, education, age, gender of individuals and groups all affect people's viewpoints and behavior in organizations, and these intangible factors would make the research study difficult to be unanimous or 100% scientifically authentic.

Nowadays environment that impact people's behavior in an organization and Other Situations that affect the OB research to be 100% scientific or not

People differ in productivity largely due to environmental differences. This includes economy which has helped OB researchers to appreciate how competition for scarce resources both within and between organizations leads organizations to increase their efficiency and productivity. However, in recent economy slump time, employees would choose to stay quiet so as to ensure security of their jobs. Further more, external physical work environment also impact different behavior and performance result, for example, if employees are transferred to another branch or office or store in a different location although in the same country under the same organization.

The Reina sisters (2006, pp. 9-11) specified that manager's personality and leadership styles lead to different behavior of subordinates and team members. Leaders only earn trustworthiness by practicing such behaviors as honoring their agreements, behaving consistently, providing feedback and acknowledging the contribution of employees. One leadership style does not work for all people. Besides, if an employee is transferred to another team led by a different leader (manager or supervisor) or the team has changed its leader, the individual's behavior could be different and achievement level will vary from his/her previous role. Staff betrayal which is the breach of trust thus occur if organization does not care for their employees or worse if the organization's leadership behavior is unpredictable, such betrayal act could then be reflected in OB researches as respondents would be reluctant to state the truth, or respond negatively in the survey.

Words from public media can help or tear apart the organization image too. In this critical economy recovery time, when business leaders in organizations announce or publish any move of the organization, the voice should be in a positive mode either by announcing the downsizing openly, or making committed promises, or giving remarks on next prominent move of the organization. This enhances the confidence from internal staff and trust from external parties, if otherwise, the morale of staff will greatly drop (Gomez-Mejia et al., 2007, p.190). Conducting internal researches in this time would undoubtedly come up with large amount of staff complaints and discontent than conducting the researches at another time. Although Reynolds (1997, p.15) said business process reengineering [BPR] is profoundly destructive to a corporation, it is no longer true as nowadays business enterprises frequently call for BPR, but the destruction can be minimized for as long as the corporation handles it wisely. The merging of MTR Corporation and KCRC (Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation) in December 2007 in Hong Kong is a positive example. Sir C.K. Chow, CEO of MTRC, shared to the public the company's research in the City University breakfast seminar on 12 March 2010, that a year after the merge, the research result showed 90% of employees were positive on the merge, leaving only 10% of employees responded negatively. The result was encouraging comparing to Reynolds' saying, because two years before the grand merging, MTRC already launched a thorough campaign to minimize staff anxieties, they appointed 108 merger leaders, held 450 meetings with employees, over 100 workshops, had 11 functional taskforces, added 24 hour hotlines and other channels for staff communication, adjusted staff compensation and grading policies to harmonize a "Total Package" approach. Figure 4.0 shows a Staff Attitude Survey conducted in December 2008 by MTRC.

When people face changes in their working environments, it is common that they show demolishing behaviors like rejection, avoidance or oppositions and aggression, and these behavioral patterns tremendously affect the overall organizational effectiveness negatively. George & Jones (1999, pp. 348-355) revealed that there are informal rules of conduct for group behaviors known as 'group cohesiveness', such internalized group norms or socialization vastly affect one's behavior such as an employee in group may withdraw any willingness to disclose or voice their opinions if the group does not prefer, least to mention, this behavior also affects their responses to any OB research result.

On the contrary, when trust is present in the organization, people are excited about what they do, they collaborate freely, channels of communication open up, the sharing of ideas becomes the norm and employees take pride in the organization they work for. M.R. Covey (2006) mentioned 'Trust Tax' of an organization comes from poor customer retention rate, casual hiring process, frequent redundancies, bureaucracy and politics in company, lack of staff communication, disengagement from employees, high staff turnover and fraud. On the contrary, a gaining 'Trust Dividend' was earned from positive results of above areas and smart organization could turn a negative Tax into a positive Dividend, to enhance stronger partnership with employees. Reynolds (1997, pp. 28-29) raised the same idea that high-trust organizations do not assume what is best for people, they take the time and effort to find out what really concerns their customers, employees, suppliers and business partners. In other words, high trust organization breeds high research rating, adversely, low trust organization will generate discouraging result in OB research.

Each organization has its own identity, a vision, a strategy, different sets of policies and an organization culture which involves its values, missions, norms, and people's attitudes who make up the corporation. Harris and Hartman (2002, p.97) said the ideal culture is that the organization norms and values leverage with those of their people: individuals and groups. If the norms and values of people are hostile to the organizational goals, productivity would be defeated. The February 2010 City University survey in Hong Kong regarding Staff Engagement supported this concept as the survey results showed that employees of all age groups have a higher engagement when they have values similar to those of the organization.

In terms of environmental influence, organization itself has to be accountable. The organizations have to maintain the being of a high trust company, value their people and live according to their values, then despite of economy slump, difficulties and changes, people will support their company, if not, people will be affected by their internal or group's fluctuating emotions, causing the OB research inconsistent and impossible to be 100% scientific.


Many researches in OB focus to discover the characteristics of individuals, such as personality, attitude and values, perception, learning, motivation, stress and work-life balance, that affect how well people do their jobs. However, it is becoming clear to researchers that understanding behavior in organizations is a complex process and that simple solutions to increasing performance are hard to reach any consensus. I agree that through conducting research on organizational behavior, progress can be made to comprehend how and why individuals and groups respond and act in organizations and how organizations react to the findings to improve themselves. OB research methodologies are better to be qualitative and systematically pertained with respect to individuals and groups, yet it is highly difficult to be completely scientific due to all kinds of internal emotional factors, external factors and organizational performance. Nothing is perfect and it is just normal for people to behave differently, either voluntary or involuntarily affected by group's norm. Since there is no perfect organization or any perfect laws governing the operation of businesses so there is also no perfect behavior at work; worldly changes are infinitive and inevitable, including environments, economy, management, politics, people can change, so regardless of how systematic the scientific analysis are derived, it can only be true for a certain period of time and therefore hard to believe the analysis can be 100% perfectly scientific in the long run.

Article name: Research in organizational behavior and management essay, research paper, dissertation