Importance of Organizational Behavior
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An efficient manager uses organizational behavior tools to understand and work with the psyche of individuals, using the resources available to create a lucrative work environment and a successful company. These tools in the arsenal of a well-informed manager include the use of various people skills (hard & soft) to bring out the best within the individuals working for their organization. Today’s manager needs to use these skills in harmony to achieve the objectives of their company. The illustration of good use of these organizational behaviors by Southwest airlines to stay on top of business highlights its impact for achieving success. The metamorphosis of these companies to become “The High Performance Organization” takes them to another level, with good application of these organizational behavior principles. When managers use these principles to create a better team force, which achieves the desired objectives and goals, it emphasizes the fact that organizational behavior is an important tool for today’s workplace and organization.
Importance of Organizational Behavior
Organizational behavior is the study and application of knowledge about how individuals and groups act within an organization. Its purpose is to build better relationships, by achieving human, organizational, and social objectives. The effects of organizational behavior are complex because of the combination of four concepts: anthropology, sociology, psychology, and political science, which help to define methods used by managers to understand the reasons why individuals behave differently at a workplace. Organizations are social systems, with interpersonal relationships involved in innovation, planning, implementation, evaluation, and the production of goals, utilizing human resources. The goal of any organization is to increase profitability, improve growth rate, and innovation, while introducing new values and culture into the organization. Ideally, in order for an organization to remain competitive, it must have maximum quality, minimum costs, and be able to consistently maintain peak performance. The importance of organizational behavior theory and practice has become more important today than in previous years because of the rapidly changing and competitive global economy.
Organizational behavior examines the organization as a whole, and individuals, from a holistic viewpoint. Organizational behavior applies various disciplines of study together to work for the betterment of the organization. “An example of Altruism is helping a co-worker who has fallen behind in his or her work. Examples of Civic Virtue include attending meetings, keeping abreast of organizational decisions and issues, and expressing opinions. Sportsmanship refers to tolerating the inconveniences and annoyances of organizational life without complaining and filing grievances. (p. 283).” Some individuals in the status quo would argue that organizational behavior is too “touchy-feely”. This concept, which focuses only on one aspect of the organizational culture, would not lead to an organization that was open to change and productivity, but instead there needs to be a fine balance between both perspectives. Organizations must understand and develop the skill levels needed for all levels of employment through regular training, as well as incorporate and apply organizational behavior for optimal operational success.
In an organization, successful leaders make effective use of soft skills they have to vision, communicate well, listen, interact, make effective decisions, and motivate their coworkers. Usually hard skills such as those required for carrying out engineering and scientific functions, have been prioritized in business, because they are essential.
There is a difference between technical skills and interpersonal skills in an organization. Although both are important, sometimes it is easier to evaluate one than the other. With technical skills, it is often easier to evaluate whether or not an individual has the skills desired for a specific task, whereas with interpersonal skills, it can be more difficult to evaluate. This is where value and attitude comes into play. Interpersonal and technical skills are equally important for an organization to evaluate and monitor. “Any steps you can take to identify the right people and create a productive environment will greatly assist you in achieving the organization’s goals. An understanding of the areas of passion, focus, and balance is essential (Rosenberg, 2003, p. 30).” This statement is true to the idea of a balance between the technical skills and interpersonal skills in an organization. This balance produces a well-rounded employee and inturn the organization.
Soft skills, such as the ability to create, develop, and maintain relationships; while hard skills are utilizing one’s scientific and engineering intellect or experience. The hard skills had so much value in the past, but now they work synergistically with soft skills, such as use of teamwork, quality communication, listening well, interacting well, motivating each other, problem solving, and mutual respect for the workforce. In many companies, people skills are greatly overlooked, or they are not valued as highly as technical skills. “Diversity, if positively managed, can increase creativity and innovation in organizations as well as improve decision making by providing different perspectives on problems.” (Robbins, 2001, p.16). Robbins also states, “One of the most and broad-based challenges currently facing organizations is in adapting to people who are different”.
Whichever job one looks at nowadays focuses on a technical field such as computer programming, which is a hard skill. A majority of managers did not require having any soft skills in the programming field when they began their career in the technical side of programming. When programmers are hired, it is expected that they have many of the technical skills required to be successful. Whatever they do not know can be easily learned from reading a book, or taking a tutorial on the Internet. A training in soft skills usually ends up by requiring of a company to hire an outside consultant. Many of the managers with hard skills know what needs to be done and how the work could be accomplished, but have difficulty in communicating with others and motivating employees to produce the best results. Important issues related to organizational behavior, such as individual development, employee empowerment, and socialization of the organization, can be used for the employees to maximize their effectiveness.
I believe that productivity would increase dramatically if employees in an organization had a better understanding of organizational behavior. There could be major challenges if employees have not developed soft, interpersonal skills. If companies would take the time to train their employees in this area, the team would communicate more effectively, and be more aware and tolerant of the differences within the group, and different cultures. An unpleasant work environment for each member of the team could turn into an opportunity for team members to use their strengths to their fullest potential. The speed in which the project is completed will increase, and the employees will be much happier, as they will each be doing what they do best. Additionally, organizational behavior training can be used to help employees understand the cultural differences among the various people in an organization.
If a company spends millions of dollars developing top products, and then, at the last minute, hire untrained, untested employees who are expected to sale this product; management has over-estimated the importance of hard-technical skills and also under-estimated the importance of the soft-people skills. If this has been done, then, organization behavior and what has worked in the past have largely been ignored. Because organizational behavior affords the manager the ability to learn from the actions, the company can revisit their methodology and make changes. The production company spent millions of dollars in product development while ignoring the soft, people skills needed to actually market the package. They need a way to combine the technical expertise already in-house with the required people-skills for revenue generation. They also need to realize that the best product in the world will not sell unless someone can tell the story and bring it out in the market.
This would show how important both technical and soft skills are in the business, regardless of the era. There should be a balance of hard and soft skills within an organization, to allow employees to work harder and more efficiently. The higher the degree of job satisfaction, the more employees are willing to contribute to the success of the business. “Managers should be interested in their employees’ attitudes because attitudes influence behavior. Satisfied employees for instance, have lower rates of turnover and absenteeism, than dissatisfied employees. (Robbins, 2001, p.38).”
The airlines like, Southwest has been profitable every year for 31 years-an unsurpassed records in the highly turbulent, frequently unprofitable, airline industry. Most successful airline in the history, they achieved high levels of employee satisfaction, as one of the best companies to work for in America, and has consistently enjoyed lower turnover rates than other U.S. airlines. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, southwest still maintained a steady presence, refusing to lay off employees, while other carriers got rid of both employees and unprofitable routes. Southwest used these difficult times to increase its presence and expand the availability of its low-cost model to the flying public. Four factors: leadership, culture, strategy, and coordination-offer important insights into Southwest’s success. Southwest focused its commitment and passion for shared goals, shared knowledge, and mutual respect along with timely, problem-solving communication to form a powerful force called “relational coordination”. They build high performance relationships among managers, employees, unions, and suppliers. The “relational coordination” helped to support frequent, timely, problem-solving dialogue among employees, which provide high-quality service to its passengers with a highly efficient use of resources.
A new type of organization has entered the corporate world called “The High Performance Organization”. This is an organization, which is intentionally designed to bring out the best in people and to create an extraordinary organizational capability that delivers sustainable high performance results. The companies such as Southwest Airlines use organizational behavior practices to get better performance out of their workforce. If companies want to keep up with the fast pace of today’s global economy, they will have to mirror the fundamentals of these high performance organizations.
In conclusion, the business world has evolved from local companies to a global economy, as international organizations. They must accommodate individual, cultural, and social differences as well as guaranteed workdays, holidays, and employee privileges. The success of an organization is employee dependent, bottom to top, and is by design, not by coincidence. As mentioned in the above examples, organizational behavior is an extremely valuable tool for today’s workplace and organizations. Even if, it is a relatively new field of study and it is not yet widely accepted, I foresee that it will have a rising trend of popularity in the near future. When companies fully support the concept and importance of organizational behavior, I believe they will see an efficient team, by having an increase in productivity with a more friendly and pleasant work environment.
Citizenship Behavior Research. Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology, 76 (3), 283. Retrieved October 13, 2003, from Academic Source Premier Database
Gittell, J.H. (2003). The Southwest Airlines way. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Robbins, Stephen P. (2001). Organizational Behavior [University of Phoenix Custom Edition]. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing.
Rosenberg, R. (2003). The Eight Rings of Organizational Influence How to Structure Your Organization for Successful Change. Journal for Quality & Participation, (26) 2, 30. Retrieved October 30, 2003, from Academic Source Premier Database.