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Organizational Behaviour

The study of individuals and how they behave  within the context of the organization in a workplace setting is refered to as organizational behaviour. It ncludes different fields of study such as sociology, psychology, communication and management. 

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How are teams and groups developed within an organization?

Groups may be categorized into two types that are formal or informal. Teams on the other hand may be divided into: virtual teams, self directed work team, quality circles, problem solving and work teams. Development of a team requires five vital stages which include; forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning. In forming stage, members learn about each other, the nature and purpose of the group. Constraints that limit its activities, group structures, status hierarchies and patterns of interaction are determined. In Storming also called confrontation stage is where dispute and power struggle arises. In this stage, internal group conflicts, criticism and open questioning of the group goals are evident. In norming stage conflicts are resolved; division of work and responsibilities among group members is implemented. This is where specialization developments and individual differences are recognized. Norm’s beliefs and cultures are also established. Performing stage is where groups or team tasks are executed on the basis that has been agreed on. Depending on the cohesiveness of the group, productivity might increase because of collaboration among members and their commitment to the group. Depending on whether the group or team is temporary or permanent, the group moves to the next stage, (ASHRAF, 2008).

What is group cohesion and factors that contribute to it?

Group cohesion is the degree to which group members are prepared to co-operate and continue their association within the group and share common goals and perspectives. Cohesiveness can encourage the conformity to group norms and groups to be stable in their environments. Increased pressures can stifle initiatives. In a simple example, students at Harvard University experience a form of group cohesion because they share many characteristics, including admission into Harvard University.

There are different factors that contribute to cohesiveness. Frequency and interaction is a major factor since more contact leads to closer interaction and the more the members will percieve themselves as belonging to a distinct group. Nature of external environment in which a group operates consists of a multitude of physical, technical and social circumstances. If individuals see environment as hostile they feel great affinity to any group offering protection from external threat. Homogeneity and membership that is their likeness in terms of background, education, age and the sharing of common perspectives. Motivation is another key factor where the members become more cohesive if they realize that the activities they perform are relevant to the achievement of organization goals and individual goals. The ease of communicating within an organization is very important since the more freely information flows, the more cohesive the group becomes. Nature of a task may lead to cohesiveness since individuals engaged in an identical task, are likely to perceive themselves as a group. The nature of incentive system where group impose bonuses and punishments to its members thereby exerting pressure. If entry in a group is difficult the more cohesive it is. The size of a group is also a factor since small groups become more cohesive because of their ease of communication and formation.  

What is team building and its activities?

Team building refers to any formal intervention directed towards improving developments and functions of a team. It accelerates the team development process which in turn reshapes the team norms or strengthens cohesiveness. It has four activities; role development, interpersonal process, goal setting and problem solving. Role definition examines role expectations among team members and clarifies the future obligation to each other. Participants describe perception of their own role as well as the role expectation of other team members. After the discussion of this perception, team members revise their roles and present them for final acceptance. Interpersonal process is another activity. These are activities aimed at building trust and open communication among team members by resolving hidden agendas and misperceptions. For example team building activities are hiking and not climbing. When building a team it is also vital to consider goal setting. This involves clarifying the team’s performance goals, increasing the team’s motivation to accomplish these goals and establishing a mechanism for systematic feedback on team’s goal performance. Team building is also involved in problem solving. It examines team task related decisions, the various problems affecting the teams and identifies ways to make the team more effective. It is in this activity that each stage of decision making is examined.

What are the team malfunctions and their causes?

Team malfunction is where the team fails to accomplish its intended goal. There are different ways in which one can recognize start of malfunctions.  Poor performance is one of the major systems. This is evident when deadlines are missed; output is substandard and increased customer complaints. Decline from members where they reject their duties or responsibilities for their actions and for the group itself. They become involved in lobbying and sacking to blame others for their own shortcomings. Scapegoating occurs by showing destructive criticism towards others inside and outside the group. Some members become involved in grievances with other group members. There is increased personality and personal clashes and also overspill of professional argument into personal relationships. There is increased absenteeism, accidents and moves to other groups. The members lack interest in results, activities, plans and proposals of the group. Also there is general attitude between members of a group, that is, they lack pride and joy in the group and attracting new members.

There are various causes of malfunctioning which include: dominance and weakness, personal issues, rejection, favours, blame, attitude and behavioural problem and packing order. Dominance and weakness occurs when one weak member holds potential of the rest. Also it might happen when a group is dominated by one or two powerful individuals which is an extreme form of the big fish in the small pond. Personal issues influence the functioning of an organization when members have domestic, personal, professional problems. This affects perfection and morale of members. There is also balance to be struck between clear obligation to support and care for a particular individual and at the same time maintain group harmony. Rejection happens when an individual is rejected by the rest. It occurs in two ways; when one makes an error which is seen to be extremely costly or defer mental by members of the group and when new members are not given a chance to settle in and become effective. Favourism is another cause which results out of bad relationship and management when a group leader identifies an individual whom they treat more favourably than the rest. The group may reject the person or may be manipulated as a channel for seeking for efficient resources by the rest. Individuals may blame the team of which they are members for their own failure to progress. Packing order is one of the strategies for management for giving everyone concerned the opportunity to do a particular thing, normally the most favoured and prestigious activity. When an individual doesn’t get this turn they feel short changed and aggrieved. Attitude and behavioural problem is in a case where one bad apple affects the whole box. The individual who takes no pride or joy in their work, no interest in results and who is constantly critical affects the rest of the group. The manifestation of this is absence, lateness, sleepiness in work, negative criticism and complaints, (Powell, 1994).

What are the factors that motivate employees?

Motivation is an act of minimizing strain and increasing pleasure at work place. For the employees to work with more pleasure and stress free they require motivation. Participation in planning is one major factor. This is achieved by giving employees a chance to plan their work and contribute in organization planning. This motivates them since the plans become more acceptable to them. Employees should have a challenging work because when work is not challenging, boredom sets in and it’s likely to cause sluggishness and dissatisfaction at the work place. Most of employees want approval by their peers and the whole society. Benefits that show status for example a company car, credit card and club membership may increase motivation. Recognition is shown by distinction for example an executive lift, reserved parking, reserved washrooms and carpeted offices. Some of the employees are motivated when they have authority, power and responsibility. Some stay in organizations with a hope of rising to upper levels. Management should therefore employ plans for advancement and growth. Most employees’ dont want to be supervised when they are working, that is, they need independence of actions. Security especially financial one which is mainly through secure and comprehensive labour contracts that involve medical cover and insurance. Advancement is another factor where people are recognized and promoted. If there is no upward trend at work place people become demoralized. As much as the organization want to grow, employees want to grow in aspects related to the job for example skills and ability and others outside the job for example potential talent in fields such as sports. Employees need a good working condition, that is, the environment in which people operate is very important. Excessively noisy, congested, dirty or poorly arranged places may demotivate employees. Income is a basic motivator and for many it could be the greatest motivational force. However other people look for other things in a job rather than money and they accept low paying jobs that have whatever they are looking for, (ASHRAF, 2008)

How do employees learn a culture of an organization?

Employees learn a culture of an organization through: stories, rituals, language and material symbols. People are able to learn from stories because there are stories told from one generation to the other within an organization as a lesson of how it was formed,the values of the organization and the early founders of the organization. Rituals are repetitive sequence and activities that express and reinforce key values of an organization. Through language , employees are able to learn the organization culture since it differs from one organization to another. In a high context culture, verbal communication tends not to carry adirect message meaning that body language and other nonverbal communication have to be taken into consideration for example Japan and Arabian countries. In a low context culture, spoken language carries the emphasize of communication, that is, what is said is what is meantas in USA and Australia. Material symbols refers tothe structures and material aspects of an organization such as office layout and office furnature, (Edgar, 1996).

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