People & Organizations

These are not the materials to study from, or the ready texts to read and understand. These are not promoting learning concepts by heart. Furthermore, these are not for the purpose of sharing ideas of others but rather aim uncovering your thoughts, attitudes and interpretation of the concepts in the most relevant and most efficient ways for you. Your turn!..

Questions that Need to be Addressed First

  1. What is the importance of interpersonal skills? — Good employers vs bad employers perceptions and costs.
  2. What do managers do in terms of functions, roles, and skills? — Functions: Planning, Organizing, Leading, Controlling; Roles: Interpersonal, Informational, Decisional; Skills: Technical, Human, Conceptual. 
  1. What is organizational behavior (OB)? – Core Topics: motivation, leader behavior and power, interpersonal communication, group structure and processes, learning, attitude development and perception, change processes, conflict, work design, and work stress.
  2. Why is it important to complement intuition with systematic study? – Scientific evidence and best practices are not against intuition – they compliment the intuition with more information. 
  1. What are the major behavioral science disciplines that contribute to OB? – Psychology, Social Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology. 
  2. Why are there few absolutes in OB? – As long OB studies human behavior: We can say x leads to y, but only under conditions specified in z —the contingency variables. 
  1. What are the challenges and opportunities for managers in using OB concepts? – Economic Pressures, Globalization, Workforce Diversity, Customer Service Improvement, Improving People Skills, Stimulating Innovation & Change, Coping with Temporariness – Agility, Working in Networked Organizations, Balance Work-Life Conflicts, Positive Work Environment, Ethical Behavior. 
  2. What are the three levels of analysis in the OB model? – Inputs, Processes, Outcomes 

Cases: Matrix – A residential real estate developer

Situation 1

Finance Department has been pushing hard the CEO of the Company to cut on the expenditures, as they were predicting bad times ahead considering the economic downturn. There are requests to identify the personnel to lay off and the specific numbers to decrease expenses. Key areas to look at, according to them: Sales Units; Engineering and Architecture Units, Procurement and Transportation Unit. However the CEO has recently taken a two-week vacation and the Deputy in charge is very reluctant to come up with any proposals at all.

Situation 2

With the economic downturn, most sales representatives in the Sales Unit consider bad times are ahead. They try to push hard for the sales, but there’s a pressure for the discounts. It is within the authority limit of the Finance Director to accept discounts but he has been turning down all this requests, or not answering at all. Sales Unit Head is eager to raise this point as soon as possible to the Board of Directors.

Situation 3

Head of Marketing has been “out of shape” recently. The deputy knows of his alcohol problems. There are a lot of issues to be resolved though. The Deputy doesn’t know how to behave. He can’t go to the CEO to say his boss is absent all the time as he is afraid of the consequences. On the other hand Marketing unit employees are already under fire for not performing and in case they do not act efficiently and deal with all the outstanding issues, there will be adverse consequences for everyone in the Unit.

Situation 4

One of the projects currently close to its completion has been widely criticized by many buyers and the information has been made public as well via social media. It was a combination of an error on the internal control and the main contractor, which provided defective materials. The company has not yet made any official statements on this matter but was discussing privately with each affected buyer to replace the defective windows (more than 30% of window frames were affected and need to be replaced). Separately the contractor was pushed hard to replace the defects as soon as possible at its expense.

Situation 5

A lot of employees in Engineering and Architectural Department (total 20 Persons Employed) are currently afraid of potential downsizing and layoffs, – they see the work amount has significantly reduced and the company is turning down many development projects at the moment. The current works are going as usual, but there’s definitely less work.

Situation 6

There are more than 15 development projects with pending decisions and the project owners are threatening that they will go to the competition and start discussing with them unless they receive some attention to their projects discussion. This issue has been raised to the Finance Department and their Head, but the Head of Department is reluctant to bring new projects to the CEO in these reluctant times.