Introduction to Sociology/Organizational Behavior
Organizational Behavior is the study of individual behavior and group dynamics in organizations.
Flexible Working Conditions
A recent review by the Cochrane Collaboration has found that flexible working arrangements, such as flextime and telecommuting can have positive effects on health, but the effects are primarily seen when employees have some control over their new schedules. Additionally, individuals who telecommute to work most of the work week are more satisfied with their jobs than are traditional employees who commute into a physical office location.
Diversity in the Workplace
Gender and racial diversity in the workplace actually increases sales revenue, brings more customers, results in greater market share, and greater relative profits. Despite this fact, racial and ethnic minorities and women are still under-represented in management in U.S. corporations. The figure below illustrates their under-representation:
The blue bars indicate the actual percentage of managers made up by that group. The red bars indicate the percentages of those people in the U.S. population. If the blue bar is larger than the red bar, than people in that group are over-represented among managers. If it is smaller, than that group is under-represented. One group is substantially over-represented, white males, while almost all other groups are under-represented, particularly black and Hispanic females.
Current research suggests that two factors contribute to the under-representation of racial, ethnic, and gender minorities in the workplace: small social networks and lack of mentors. Providing mentors for minorities is probably the best solution to address this problem.
Job insecurity has a deleterious effect on social capital and social involvement of workers. Individuals who have experienced an involuntary job loss (through layoff, downsizing, etc.), are 35# less likely to be involved in their communities than are individuals who have never experienced an involuntary job loss.
Personality, Perception, and Attribution
Individual Differences and Organizational Behavior
T.A. Judge and R. Ilies links the five factor model of personality in the workplace to the individual and overall satisfaction in the workplace. The “Big Five” personality traits; extraversion (assertiveness), agreeableness (cooperative), conscientiousness (dependable), emotional stability (self-confident), and openness to experience (curious), make up the basic framework as a model of behavior in the workplace. Judge and Ilies performed extensive research at the universities of Florida and Iowa finding all the correlations these five factors have on the overall job satisfaction of a given professional environment. Although the control factors, methods, and results that Judge and Ilies came up with were impressive, there are many more studies that have produced varying results.
Perception is used everyday. Perception is how we, as individuals, asses situations. A burning stove top is perceived to be hot. Traffic is perceived to be speeding up or slowing down. People are perceived to be friendly or threatening. Yet when it comes to perceiving people, there are many more perceptions that are made. These social settings and environments are what make up social perception. The same settings can be applied to a smaller scale. This scale can be school, family, or the work force. The work setting can be one of many challenging social perceptions. From the job interview, to leaving the company, and everything in between, employers are evaluating their employee’s job performances, and employees are not only assessing one another, but their employer as well.
Perhaps the most important part of social perception is the first meeting of a person, or the first impression. When two people meet for the first time, an instant anchor is dropped. This is a mental anchor that gives a brief, and very general, view of the new individual. Clothes that are worn, the way the hair is combed, the way the person stands or sits, all create the impression a person gets when they are met for the first time. From this impression, an individual makes instant reactions to whether the person is friendly, outspoken, quite, etc. It allows one to make a brief judgment on the personality of an individual. This is necessary in order to be able to interact with people. Although a first impression does not provide an in depth characterization of an individual, it does allow one to be able to initially interact with them. This process allows employers in a job interview to make quick decisions that will either be positive or negative for both the employer and the employee. Mentally the decision is made in the first few moments of contact. As time goes on the employer can justify further, with continuous questions, that the interviewee will be good for the company, or if they employer needs to search for a new candidates.
First impressions can be slowly swayed over time. It is not easy to change someone’s first impression, nor is it ever changed much. The anchor can only be pulled in one direction or another so far, and after much effort, in this case continuous interactions. Familiarity is the only way to obtain the truest sense of who a person really is. By learning the personality and tendencies of a person, one can better understand that person’s behaviors and actions.
Each individual has their own unique personality. This personality can show how a person behaves and reacts to certain situations. There are many different factors to consider when determining personality, like environment settings and heredity traits. A person’s personality can also have an effect on self-esteem, which is an individual’s general feeling of self-worth, as well as self-monitoring, the ability to base behavior on social cues. Different theories are used today to help measure a person’s personality such as trait theory, psychodynamic theory, humanistic theory, and integrative approach.
In measuring self-esteem, Rosenberg's Self-Esteem Scale can be used to help measure the trait self-esteem of individuals in a given environment or situation. This will help determine who could have high or low self-esteem and what caused them to have it. “…persons low in self-esteem are less likely to make effective use of self-protection strategies, we hypothesized that this strategy of deflecting the threat involved in upward comparison would be used primarily by persons who are characteristically high in self-esteem.” (Musssweiler, Gabriel, Bodenhausen, 2000) According to the social comparison research by Mussweiler, Gabriel, and Bodenhausen, the majority of the individuals tested used the gender and ethnicity to either separate themselves from another or to use this factor to help them achieve a higher self esteem, or it could have the opposite effect of putting down one’s own self-worth. The overall outcome in all situations is that people will develop different methods to block out unpleasant feelings of being outperformed, the experience of inferiority.
Application of Personality Theory in Organizations: The Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator Instrument
As a follow up to Carl Jung’s theory that every individual is fundamentally different, the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator Instrument, the MBTI, measures an individual’s personality preferences in a variety of organizational settings, including: team building, management, decision making, leadership, career counseling, and many more. The MBTI examines four dichotomies: Extroversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving. Each dichotomy has an explanation about the characteristics associated with each type.
The MBTI is based on the Jungian theory of personality; meaning, it can be used in all populations, including non-clinical settings. Meyers and Briggs, authors of the MBTI, used Jung’s theory to predict people’s patterns of behavior. “Because the results of the MBTI are subject to a variety of environmental influences, such as work tasks and organizational climates and values, interpretations have to be treated with caution and individually verified” (Michael, 2003). Many people use the MBTI test in a rigid fashion causing the results to be an inaccurate assessment of people’s personalities. If the weaknesses of the test were considered, and people would use the test with caution, adjustments can be made to determine an accurate assessment of any changes in an individual’s behavior.
Attribution in Organizations and Managerial Implications: Using Personality, Perception, and Attribution at Work
The attribution theory explains how individuals pinpoint the causes of their own behavior and that of other people. There are two sources of “power” that human beings believe are responsible for the outcome of their own actions. One source is internal; we normally relate success and elements under our control as an internal attribution. The second source is external: we normally relate failure and elements out of our control as an external attribution. Success in the workplace can simultaneously alternate between internal and external. You might have been prepared and researched for a project and believed your success was internal. On the other hand, you may believe you were lucky to have done such a great job on a project, attributing your success to external forces.
Perception of internal and external forces has resulted in the fundamental attribution error. The fundamental attribution error occurs when one views the bad behavior of others as internal and their own bad behavior as external. It is much more difficult for others to see the external forces surrounding the individual conducting the bad behavior, where as, it is clear to the individual conducting the bad behavior, to relate their own behavior to their surrounding forces. Managers who acknowledge the personality differences between themselves and other employees can begin to appreciate those personality differences and create a more effective communication environment.
Everyday, we use communication to express our thoughts and feelings. There are many different types and styles of communication. From verbal to nonverbal communication and from face-to-face to electronic, every word said and move made is communicating different emotions and ideas to those around us.
Interpersonal Communication contains four key elements: the communicator, the receiver, perceptual screens, and the message. The communicator is the person speaking or sending the message. The receiver is the person listening or receiving the message. Perceptual screens are window through which we interact with people in the world. They are the specifics rather: age, race, religion, value, beliefs, etc. These specifics have a large impact on how to send and receive messages. The message should have two working components. Perceptual components are the words and concepts used to deliver the message and the emotional component is the demeanor in which the individual receives the message. Feedback is also important in communication so the two parties are clear that they sent and received the same message and that one party is not under the wrong impression. Language has become increasingly important due to growing global relations in organizations. Because of language barriers, it is difficult to send and to receive messages. Data is the information intended to communicate a message to someone and the information is the data translated in the message already.
Reflective Listening focuses on personal elements of the communication and not the abstract ideas. Reflective listening should be feeling oriented and responsive. The listener should show empathy and concern for the person communicating. A good reflective listener would concentrate on the discussion at hand and worry about the main components of focus while allowing the speaker to lead you in the communication. Verbal response is primary in reflective listening and there are four important parts of verbal response.
When responding to the communicator, making contact is affirming contact. For example, use simple phrases such as "yes" or "I understand."
Paraphrasing the Expressed
Paraphrase expressed thoughts and feelings by waiting for the appropriate time to tell them your thoughts and feelings about them and the message you received.
Clarifying the Implicit
Clarify implicit thoughts and feelings by assuring your assumptions are correct and you received the implicit message accurately.
Reflecting "Core" Feelings
Reflect core feelings with caution knowing that the core feelings could bring new awareness to the speaker they were not aware prior. When reflecting core feelings, be precise and assertive without being overly pushy.
Long silences may cause awkward feelings for both the communicator and receiver but shorter silences can be good for both parties to have time to think and sort out what is going on and what they want to say next.
Eye contact can also play a part by letting the other person know you can focused, listening, and want to communicate with them.
One-Way Versus Two-Way Communication
These four levels of verbal response will help to insure two-way communication where both the communicator and the receiver are active in the communication. One-way communication can be good in the right circumstances. If someone needs to state a lot of information and a response is not necessary, then one-way would be a good form of communication.
Five Keys To Effective Supervisory Communication
It is important that both managers and supervisors are open communicators. They should feel comfortable in communicating to others their personal thoughts and feelings in relation to a subject so their employees, in turn, are fully educated on their total outlook.
Active listening is a key trait in many successful supervisors. Included in active listening are insightful listening skills. In other words, responding to problems brought to their attention by all individuals for and with which they work. Additionally, it is important the supervisors react to the worries of the individuals in a timely manner.
In order to attain goals, successful supervisors must be persuasive leaders. In other words, they are much more likely to obtain others to follow their ideas and beliefs if they can successfully persuade them to do so.
Sensitive to Feelings
When an employee needs to be corrected, it is important the supervisor does so while taking into consideration the feelings and esteem of the employee. Sometimes, an individual will seek correction when they know they have performed less than adequately; however when employees perform less than adequately and do not seek correction it is then the employee is trying to “not only preserve their self-images, but also mange their impressions on others” (Moss). A successful supervisor is both secure and positive in their feedback; never scolding in public, for public scolding does not reserve the esteem of the employee. Instead, a successful supervisor will use public areas in times of praise.
Successful managers take the time to inform properly all employees in areas related to their job. Before a manager gives information, however, a successful one will be sure to sift through the information. As a result, the employee remains informed but not overwhelmed.
Barriers and Gateways to Communication
There are five types of barriers of communication. These include Physical Separation, Status Differences, Gender Differences, Cultural Diversity, and Language.
Physical Separation differs with technology but works best face-to-face.
Status Differences can vary if you are a low-income person talking to someone that looks wealthy, which occurs in a manager-employee situation.
Gender Differences can be difficult because women and men communicate in different ways.
Cultural Diversity can be a barrier of communication because other cultures have different morals and ways of life. In addition, dealing with stereotypes can be completing as well.
Languages can be hard to get over if someone is speaking a different language that you do not understand.
Defensive and Nondefensive Communication
Defensive communication is that which can be aggressive and attacking or passive and withdrawing. This form of communication will usually elicit a defensive response. Defensive communication can create barriers and conflicts within an organization and make it difficult to accomplish tasks
Subordinate defensiveness is withdrawing behavior and the attitude of the individual is commonly "you are right, and I am wrong." These individuals do not accurately show their thoughts and feelings and can have a low self-esteem. This kind of behavior can seem passive on the outside; however, the behavior fuels with hostility on the inside. Passive aggressive behavior for example is a form of defensiveness that begins as subordinate defensiveness and ends up as dominant defensive.
Dominant defensiveness is an offensive behavior pattern with aggression and attacking attitudes. For example, people who are higher up on the ladder often want to get their point across but fail to do it accurately. Instead, they resort to telling people how to accomplish something with no room for support or advice. The attitude of the individual is commonly, "I am right and you are wrong."
To act out the defensive communication, defensive tactics are used. Examples are labeling, put downs, deception, or hostile jokes. Not only are these defensive tactics but they will receive defensive responses.
Non-defensive communication is an assertive, direct, and powerful form of communication. It can open communication lines and help achieve goals quickly and appropriately. This kind of communication shows self-control, helps others to understand you in working situations, and helps to reduce negative responses. Assertiveness is a key aspect in non-defensive communication because it is an accurate and informative statement. Additionally, it is self-affirming and gets your point across without seeming demanding.
Nonverbal communication includes all the elements of communication that do not involve words or speech. It involves how you move your body, eyes, mouth, the expressions that you make, and all other ways of communicating without speaking. Nonverbal communication varies greatly with culture.
Proxemics deals with our territory, and the space around us. We form barriers and need a certain amount of space between us and other people in order to feel comfortable. We will be very close with our loved ones- with whom we have an intimate or personal relationship. Next, our friends will be farther away, followed by associates and acquaintances, and finally strangers or the public will be held at the farthest distance.
Facial and Eye Behavior
Facial and Eye Behavior is how we convey messages or feelings with our face and eyes. Many times we convey our feelings or true intent through our facial expressions, giving others cues as to what we are truly thinking or feeling. As humans, we tend to be much more observant and aware of emotions conveyed through the face than by other means, such as leg movements and arm movements (Frank and Ekman)
Paralanguage are the variations that we put into our speech. For example, talking fast means we are in a hurry, yelling that we are angry, and using interruptions or interjections such as “hey” to convey that we want to say something.
How Accurately Do We Decode Nonverbal Cues?
Through study, general understandings of nonverbal cues were developed and interpreted with a decent amount of accuracy. Understanding nonverbal cues can be useful and important in an organization when trying to understand the full meaning of an interaction. Nonverbal cues are only a portion of the message; one should consider every aspect of the interaction.
Positive, Healthy Communication
Communicating head-to-heart dialog and emotional competence is the way to achieve a positive and healthy communication. When we communicate it is suggested that we try to be heartfelt it shows well-being and a healthy way to express yourself. When not using this method one may tend to isolate and be lonely. In the work environment working together is it important to use positive and healthy communication because when speaking your ideas, feelings, and emotions it displays positive behaviors. In addition, this open communication shows a base for trust and truth. When honest it can bring out the best in the people when working together. When working together talking through challenging issue, personal or professional. We will be able to have a wider range of human relationships. “The need to communicate through his or her various formal roles, the executive has a deeper interpersonal need for communication and relationship that is seated at the limbic or emotional level of the brain. This deep interpersonal communication is the target of our coaching model as it reaches beyond the superficial mask of control, drive, and competition and develops within the executive awareness, understanding, and management of the emotions that are fundamental to his or her being”(Quick and Macik-Fray). Finally, in positive and healthy communication is a display that you are ethical and have integrity.
Communication Through New Technologies
In written communication, we use letters outside the organization and inside the organization. We use memos, forms, manuals, and reports, which are important to the office.
With communication technologies, we have database, electronic mail, voice mail, faxes, and cell phone. With any organization you will need to use at least one of these on a day-to-day base, it is fast and easier. Technologies affect our behavior because there is not any real face-to-face communication and no emotion is involved. It will be hard to have a relationship that has trust. When using these methods of communication we are able to say anything.
Attitudes, Values, and Ethics
ABC Model of Attitude
An attitude is a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating an entity with some degree of favor or disfavor. (dictionary.com) Our attitude affects the way we behave and react towards people. The ABC model breaks down the meaning of an attitude in three different components. The components are affect, behavioral intentions, and cognitions. All of these components greatly affect our attitudes. Affect has to do with how a person feels. Behavioral intentions are how a person acts, and cognition is how a person thinks. Attitudes are formed through life lessons, the people around, and personal experience.
How Attitudes Are Formed
Cognitive dissonance is the tension that is produced when there is a conflict between attitudes and behavior. (Dictionary of the English Language) It motivates a person to change there attitude and behavior. The experimenter pressures or offers a reward to a person to persuade them to be part of an experiment. An example of this theory is, a professor persuades a student to be part of an experiment, and offers them twenty dollars. When the student hesitates the professor says “It will only take a few minutes. The regular person that does it, is usually reliable. This is the first time she missed the experiment. If we need you we will call you in advance, and if you can’t make if we won’t expect you to come.” (Cognitive Dissonance) Their point is to see how much of and effect they have on a person’s thoughts, opinions, and behavior. 
Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment
Job satisfaction is a very important aspect into the amount of work and time a person is willing to put into a job. The five measurements to insure job satisfaction are: pay, the work itself, promotion opportunities, supervision, and coworkers. Different aspects are more important to different types of people. Managers in an organization can you different methods to test job satisfaction. Two possible ways are the Job Descriptive Index (JDI) or the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ). There is a common thought that satisfied employees are more productive workers. Whether satisfied employees have better performance, or employees with good performance will have satisfaction, there has been no proven links between the two. There are plenty of high performers who are not satisfied with their jobs to prove these theories to be true. Rewards that are contingent on performance can also enhance satisfaction in a job. When a person goes above and beyond their call of duty to help a coworker out, it can be called an Organizational Citizenship Behavior (or OCB; see Bommer, Miles, and Grover 2003). “Social information processing is predicated on the notion that people form ideas based on information drawn from their immediate environment, and the behavior of coworkers is a very salient component of an employee’s environment. Therefore, observing frequent citizenship episodes with in a workgroup is likely to lead to attitudes that such OCB is normal and appropriate. Consequently, the individual is likely to replicate this ‘normal’ behavior.” This is according to an article in the Journal of Organizational Behavior. This shows that people learn from their environments. Culture also has a big part to play in job satisfaction. People from different parts of the world may have a different view on the importance of work compared to family. In America, people tend to have their jobs as a central part of their life, as to Koreans who put family first.
Source, Target, and Message
Organizational commitments are what will influence a person to remain at a job. There are three different types of organizational commitment: affective, continuance, and normative. The affective commitment has to do with a person’s loyalty to their place of work. Continuance commitment is when a person might stay at a job because they have put so much into it, and feel that they might loose a great deal of investments if they leave. A normative commitment is when an employee feels obligated to stay with the company. When an employer involves their employees in decision making, and makes them feel needed, the chances of them leaving is less than if they did not. Affective and normative commitment people tend to have a lower absence at work. Employees want to know that their employers do care about their well being, and that they share their same values. The best way to make sure that employees are satisfied and committed is to talk to them, or give them job satisfaction tests, then change things in the organization accordingly.
Instrumental and Terminal Values
There are two states of values, Instrumental and Terminal values. Instrumental values are different behaviors that are used to achieve a goal or end; Honesty, ambition, obedience, politeness and etcetera. Terminal values would be the end states attained through; ambition, quality, liberty, prosperity, social respect.
Managing in Globalization
Just as there are different countries throughout the world, there are many different value systems. In today’s world, globalization is taking a bigger and bigger role, making it very important for these different groups to recognize and thoughtfully respect those values of their customers or associates even though they do not have the same values. Managers must learn that when working with these adverse values in their company, to avoid pre-judging the adverse values that they come into contact with throughout the course of their work. Values are culturally based. In a global society, tolerance is one of the most important aspects. When tolerance is not thoughtfully recognized it has the potential to divide societies from one another.
First, ethics is the concept of having moral values and behaviors. Ethical behavior is conducting ones self in a way that is common with a certain set of values whether personal or institutional. Businesses are dependent on their reputations, so when a company withholds strong ethical values it brings positive results. One effect of ethical behavior is the retention and attraction of employees. Employee turnover tends to be lower as well as an increase in applicants resulting in higher qualified employees. Unethical behavior can hurt a company, so through technology businesses are able to monitor Internet content.
In a business, there are individual and organizational influences that affect ethical behavior. The individual influences are value systems, which is a persons own set of moral values, locus control, which is a personality trait distinguishable between personal responsibility and fate or by chance, Machiavellianism, which is another personality trait where a person will do whatever it takes to get their way, and finally, cognitive moral development, which is a person stage of maturity. The organizational influences are a businesses own code of conduct, an ethics committee or officers, training programs, an ethics communication system, norms amongst the business, modeling, and a rewards and punishment system.
The individual influences of a company are extremely important for running a business with ethical behavior. Value systems are vital because ones ethics may be different that that of the company. This could be a serious conflict of interest. For example is a dishonest person is presented with a situation to lie for financial reasons will he follow his own ethical behavior or the organizations? The individual might think why be honest if honesty doesn’t pay? (A. Bhide & H. H. Stevens, 121) External locus of control where a individual believes that their actions are a result of an unknown force or chance can be damaging to ethical behavior because the individual doesn’t accept responsibility like internal locus control. Machiavellianism is not a standard of ethical behavior because the main method is being able to manipulate others around you for your own benefit rather than the organization. Cognitive moral development affects ethical behavior amongst an organization depending on the level an individual is at. Level 1 or premoral level, the individual bases their judgments on rewards and punishments. Level 2 is where the individual follows policy only if it is in their best interests. Level 3, people just perform to impress those close to them. Level 4 is where the individual starts to realize what the organization wants from them so they start to contribute in an all around positive way. Level 5, people are aware that others have different ways of thinking but hold onto their own. Finally, level 6, an individual will choose their own ethical behavior over a policy or law.
What is Stress?
Stress does not have an exact meaning. There are many different ways to look at it. Stress or the response to stress is defined as,” the unconscious preparation to the flight or fight that a person experiences when faced with any demand” (Peterson 1995). The demand on your body is known as the stressor. Once the stressor is applied there are many reactions, psychologically, physically, behaviorally, and organizationally.
The Four Approaches to Stress
Homeostatic (also known as the medical approach) was researched by Walter B. Cannon. He determined that our bodies have an emergency response, the flight or fight. He found that when aroused, the body goes out of homeostasis, the balanced state.
Cognitive Richard Lazarus emphasized that stress was caused by the environment that the person is in rather than the body itself. He found that people differ greatly in that respect.
Person Environment Fit approach-Robert Kahn focused on how expectations in a person’s life and their conflicting roles. The person becomes stressed when they aren’t able to meet the demands.
Psychoanalytic Harry Levinson took that Freudian approach. He believed that there were two parts being: #1 Ego-ideal, how they feel about their perfect self. #2 Self image, how they feel about themselves in respect to their perfect self. If there is any wrong thinking then there is stress because they feel that they cannot obtain that.
The Stress Response
What happens to the body when it is stressed? These are the steps that your nervous system goes through and how your body and mind are involved.
1. Blood from the skin, internal organs, and extremities, is directed to the brain and large muscles.
2. Your senses are heightened: vision and hearing.
3. Glucose and fatty acids are forced into the bloodstream for energy.
4. The immunes system and digestive system are virtually shut down to provide all the necessary energy to respond.
Work stress is caused by demands and pressure from inside and outside the workplace.
Four Categories of Work Demands
1. Task Demands - the sense of not knowing where the job will lead you and if the activities and tasks will change. The uncertainty will cause stress: lack of control, concern of career progress, new technology, time pressures, are just some of the many that could cause stress.
2. Role demands -role conflict happens when there are inconsistent or difficult expectations put on the person resulting in:
A. Interole conflict-when there are two or more expectations or separate roles: parent and employee.
B. Intrarole conflict-more expectations of one role: fast paced and quality work.
C. Person-role conflict-ethics are involved: challenging personal beliefs or principles.
Role ambiguity occurs when a person is confused about their experiences in relation with the expectations of others.
3. Interpersonal Demands
A. Emotional issues-abrasive personalities, offensive co-workers.
B. Sexual Harassment-directed mostly toward women
C. Poor Leadership-management, lack of experience, poor style, cannot deal with all the power
4. Physical Demands many environments offer physically demanding jobs and work.
A. Strenuous activity
B. Extreme working conditions
D. Hazardous materials
E. Working in an office-tight quarters, loud, cramped
Creates stress for work and the other way around creating stress outside of work.
Home Demands Marriage children and other family relationships can add stress and overload making it a role overload according to the Academy of Management Journal they state that when this happens this is,” an individual’s lack of personal resources needed to fulfill commitments obligations or requirements.”
Personal Demands These are demands brought on by the person themselves. When the person takes on too much outside of work or just brings on too much work.
Individual Differences in the Stress-Strain Relationships
Individual differences play an important role in the stress-strain relationships. Different individuals respond differently to types of stress, there are both eustress (good stress) and distress (bad stress).
Life expectancy for American women is approximately seven years longer than men, which suggests that women may be more resiliant to stress than men. Research (House, Landis, and Umberson 1988) has led to the suggestion that women not only respond to stress in a completely different way than men, they also encounter more stress - and are able to deal with it better.
Type A Behavior Pattern
Type A behavior are characteristics of personalities who are more affected by the stress-strain relationships than other personality types. Type A behavior includes; sense of urgency, quest for numbers, status insecurity, and aggression and hostility.
Personality Hardiness is a personality trait that is hesitant to distress and characterized by commitment, control, and challenge. They are more capable to resist stressful events as opposed to those who are not hardy. Transformational Coping is an act used by hardy people that helps to change unhealthy stressful events, into ones that are less harmful to their life.
Self-reliance is a personality attribute that is an interdependent pattern of behavior related to how people form and maintain attachments with others. Two insecure patterns of attachment are counterdependence, and overdependence. Both of these patterns of attachment are unhealthy, and impair creating healthy relationships with others. Through self-reliance, individuals are able to gain understanding with themselves, which helps them in their relation to their coworkers.
Consequences of Stress
Stress to the average person is usually looked at in a negative light. However, all stress is not bad stress. There are two very different forms of stress; distress and eustress. Some people thrive under pressure. That is because they have figured out how to condition themselves for “stressful” situations. This conditioning requires recovering energy. When one practices what they know frequently, they most often perform well on a “stress test”. Distress and eustress are the consequences of how one responds to and uses the stress that is applied to them. There are benefits to eustress and there are costs to distress. A healthy person would exude eustress. The opposite would be true of an unhealthy person. (Loehr and T. Schwartz 2001)
Performance and Health Benefits
A person’s overall performance with a any given task will have an optimum. A point where the individual is most productive while still performing at a comfortable level. In order to attain this optimum performance a certain level of stress must be applied. Any amount of stress level leading up to the optimum point would be eustress. Stress that would cause the person to overload and their productivity to drop would be distress. If a person is training their body by lifting weights, they can only grow their muscles so fast before they reach their growing limit. Once past that limit, an injury is bound to take place.
Individual distress manifests in three basic forms known as Psychological disorders, Medical illnesses, and Behavioral problems. A person’s extreme involvement with their work could reap an acute individual distress. Work - Related psychological disorders can lead to depression, burnout, and psychosomatic disorders. Psychosomatic disorders are physical problems that stem from a psychological root. A person could have a problem with public speaking; that problem would then be caused by so much stress that the persons brain would not allow the person to even speak. An individual’s stress can manifest itself in other more physical manners. Back aches, strokes, heart disease, and peptic ulcers are just a few ways that surface when too much stress is applied. A person can also show behavioral problems as a sign of distress. Some examples include aggression, substance abuse, and accidents. This behavior could be cause by conflicts with others or with work. It could also be brought on by variables outside of the workplace. Psychological disorders, medical illnesses, and behavioral problems are extremely burdensome to the individual. And when not taken care of will result in organizational distress.
Participation problems, Performance decrements, and compensation awards all have the ability to have very opposite affects upon an organization. Participation problems such as absenteeism, tardiness, strikes and work stoppages, and turnover bring serious costs to a company. Turnover, for example, can help or costs a company in a big way. An employee is not performing up to par. As a result he is fired and replaced with a more productive employee. Unfortunately, the new employee was hired on at a higher pay rate than the previous. The company has the productivity it needs, but at a cost.
Expectancy Theory of Motivation
The basis of the expectancy theory of motivation is that people desire certain outcomes of behavior and performance, and that they believe there are relationships between the effort, performance and outcomes. The key points in the expectancy theory of motivation are the valence which is the value or importance someone places on a reward. The expectancy which is the belief that effort leads to performance and instrumentality which is the belief that performance is related to rewards. These are all important to a person’s motivation. Motivation problems came from the expectancy theory. The causes are a disbelief in a relationship between effort and performance, a disbelief in a relationship between performance and rewards and an overall lack of desire for the offered rewards. If a problem is with the person’s effort or performance, the persons belief should be changed. If the problem is with the reward, then the value of the reward or the reward itself should be changed. “The Expectancy theory has held a major position in the study of work motivation.” (Van Eerde)
Theory Social Exchange and Equity
This takes a look at what is behind our behavior, why are we motivated and why do we act the way we act. When studying behavior, it is important to study exchange. There are three types of exchange relationships that people have with organizations.
The first type is a committed relationship, such as a club or a religious gathering. It is a relationship held together by moral obligation. A committed relationship is a high positive intensity. The second type of relationship, calculated, is a low positive intensity. These are relationships based on demands and contributions. A prime example would be business corporations who have a relationship based on their commercial and financial agreements. Each organization in this type of relationships makes demands. Demands are placed on the other organization in order to achieve an desired result. However, in most cases, a demanding organization must also contribute, therefore intertwining the responsibilities, thus making it a team effort.Finally, the third type of relationship, alienated, is of high negative intensity.
Within these relationships is inequity. Inequity is roughly defined as a situation when a person thinks that they are receiving less than they are giving or vice versa. According to Adams’s theory of Inequity, there are seven approaches to restore equity. 1) alter the person’s outcomes, 2) alter the person’s inputs, 3) alter the comparison other’s outcomes, 4) alter the comparison other’s inputs, 5) change who is used as a comparison other, 6) rationalize the inequity, and 7) leave the organizational situation.
There are three types of people when categorizing them into their preferences for equity. Equity sensitive people prefer an equity ratio equal to their own comparison other. A benevolent person is content when the equity ration that is less than that of their comparison other. Lastly, an entitled person is content with a ration that is more than that of their comparison other.
McClelland’s Need Theory
McClelland was intrigued by the thought of human needs and the reasons why one is successful. Before him though, Henry Murray had laid out most of the groundwork and made lists of motives and manifest needs. (H.A. Murray, 1938). McClellan took those ideas and organized them into three main categories of learned human behavior, which were called the manifest needs. The three main needs are the need for achievement, the need for power, and the need for affiliation. Each need is different for each person and varies throughout individuals. Sometimes it’s for the better and sometimes for the worse.
The need for achievement is important in the fact that those with a higher need for it will ultimately become more successful. People with this high need are very concerned with doing their best work and setting goals to help them get there. If one does not have a high need for achievement, there is usually a lack in motivation which can be detrimental not only in the workplace, but also in ones’ personal life as well.
Next is the need for power. McClelland makes a very important distinction between socialized power and personalized power. Socialized power is normally benefiting to a group of people, benefiting to others, while personalized power is selfish and can be very destructive and self-consuming. With that in mind socialized power can be very helpful in the business area, specifically with managers. When a manager craves socialized power he is looking out for the benefit of the company and wants everything to be done correctly and quickly and in turn success is achieved. These type of managers themselves are also more likely to be promoted when a higher up member of the organization sees the hard work and influence the manager has made on employees.
Last is the need for affiliation. The need for affiliation mostly deals with interpersonal relationships. People with a high need for it expect a more personalized relationship with everyone; such as people sharing their wants needs and feelings while the person will do the same. This high need can be good in relationships, for example, if there is some type of conflict between a person with a high need and another, than the person with the high need if more inclined to work through the problem until it is solved and everything is good in the relationship. “Managers frequently commented that consistent definitions and formats are important aids to communication, especially between people in different organizational units such as divisions or departments.” (McClelland)
Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory
Frederick Herzberg conducted a study that describes the experiences that satisfy and dissatisfy people in the work place. He wanted to know what motivates people to do well at work. The two-factors that he found in this study were motivation and hygiene.
He found motivation factors to be things like achievement, responsibility, advancement and growth. He also described the hygiene factors to be things such as working conditions, status, technical supervision, policy and administration. The one thing that he did find in common with the two factors was salary, which makes perfect sense. With the two-factors combined in the work place it results in four different types of behavior. When both factors are high there is nothing to complain about and the motivation is very good. When both factors are low the person becomes very unmotivated and complains about everything. The two-factors are not always on the high or low at the same time. So, even if the motivation is high, there may still be a lot of complaining going on and vice versa (Herzberg).
The Concept of Power
Symbols of Power
When thinking about power one doesn't think about what represents power but, in every organization there are certain symbols of power. Bellow is some ideas of power and powerless symbols. Also, if someone that wants to over coming powerlessness the person that has power needs to share the power. The meaning of symbols, include an object or image that an individual unconsciously uses to represent repressed thoughts, feelings, or impulses. Power means, the possession of control or command over others. There are two different approaches associated with symbols of power.
- A person that helps someone else in distress has power
- Giving someone a better procession in the organization constitutes a sign of power
- A person that can go greater than budget limitations without warning
- A manager acquires raises beyond standards for employee's
- Raise issues for action
- Having information before anyone
- Top manager asking questions to lower level managers, hence The lower manager has power
- In doing something for someone else, one receives power
- Excessively close administration
- Firm loyalty to regulations
- Doing a job themselves and not training an employee to do it
- People that have high profile positions
- Opposes change
- Safeguard their territory
- Focuses on cutting cost
- Penalizing others
- Overbearing others
- Better than communication
- Negative events result in accusations against others
“Making external attribution of negative events, though often considered “self- serving”, also implies that the attributor is not in control of critical resource. We hypothesized that making external attributions for negative events will lead to impressions of powerlessness.” (Lee and Tiedens 2001)
The other approach
Three symbols of power
Michael Korda has ideas of what power looks like; he writes about three of them. Objects in organizations such as furniture, clocks, watches, cell phones, and pagers are all symbols of power.
The proposal that he give on "Furniture" is that a manager that has filing cabinets that are locked, confirm a critical and restricted files in the office. Conference tables that are rectangular demonstrate that the most important person sits at the head of the table, instead of a round table. Also, desk size displays the quantity of ones power; most executives have large expensive desks.
The second approach, he calls it “Time power” what this suggest is that if an executive and or manager that removes their watch and puts it on your desk face down illustrates that he or she has their time. As well as managers that do not wear watches shows that no one will start anything with out them. If we look at this the other way by, a manager always wears a watch shows that they feel less powerful. Also, a full calendar is proof of power, along with a planner displayed on the desks.
The third approach is call “Standing by,” what Korda proposes is that cell phones, and pagers, along with other communicating devises, explains that if a high top person can inflict on your time at any time of the day has power. In addition people that cause inconvenience to others; such as doing simple tasks for them.
Sharing Power: Empowerment
Empowerment is a positive aspect within an organization that promotes shared power. In order to grasp the complete essence of empowerment, there are four separate necessities that must be met.
- Meaning suggests that one must have a sense of passion put into their work in order to feel empowered.
- Competence is a component in the work place that keeps an employee confident with the ability to do a job well done.
- Self-determination gives employees a certain trust-worthiness to handle the job independently.
- Impact is a contributing factor that enables the workers to believe that their job has a meaningful purpose. Without these four dimensions present, one cannot feel empowered.
Leaders within an organization can play a strong role in encouraging employees to put empowerment into practice. If leaders want to examine the possibility of an empowerment based company they need to have confidence in employees. This action should take place in order to set the bar at a high enough level. Employees should also be given the opportunities to make decisions. Rules and policies that get in the way of self-management need to become more lenient for a successful empowerment based organization. As well, leaders must set goals that can make one feel inspired.
One particular example of an empowered company is run by David Zipper and Peter Murray. Their organization began as a small painting business in run down areas of Philadelphia started by the two former economics students in 1999. The idea of the company is to empower its employees to the point where they own the company themselves. Since the renowned success of Empowered Painters, Peter Murray was awarded the Eli Segal Entrepreneurship award, and David Zipper received the Truman Scholarship.(Natsu, Furuichi, 2000)
Though the idea of empowerment can produce very successful results, the risks involved can be devastating. It is always safe to keep in mind, when giving up responsibility, there is a very real possibility of failure.
Political Behavior in Organizations
Political behavior and organizations doesn't always have to be negative. However, most the time it is looked upon as such. It has been said that organizations are arenas in which people have competing interest. It is the manager's responsibility to be effective in reconcile competing interest. Political behavior refers to actions not officially sanctioned by an organization that are taken to influence others in order to meet one person's goals.
Many people at the organizations are able to recognize and spot political behavior by their supervisor and at the top level of organizations. Many organizations encourage political activity these include unclear goals, autocratic decision making, ambiguous lines of authority, scarce resources, and uncertainty. Activity is often involved politics which includes performance appraisal process. Individuals who use power and organizations are organizational politicians. Political behaviors can way on the negative side when used to maximize self interest which can lead to being inattentive to the concerns of others. We the employees feeling as if the workplace are less helpful and more threatening.
Several personal characteristics of effect of political actors; here are four of thirteen.
- Articulate, must be able to clearly communicate ideas
- Popular, must be liked or admired by others at organization
- Extroverted, must be interested in what happens outside of his or her.
- Logical, must be capable of recently
Political organizational politicians can see the difference between ethical and unethical behavior. They understand that relationships drive the political process and use power with a sense of responsibility.
- Influence tactics
There are three types of influence, upward referring to a boss, downward referring to an employee and lateral influence which refers to a coworker. Also, there are eight basic types of influence tactics. The four most frequently used are consultation, rational persuasion, inspirational appeals, and ingratiation. Consultation, the person seeks your participation in making a decision or planning how to implement a proposed policy, strategy, or change. Rational persuasion, the person uses logical arguments and factual evidence to persuade you that a proposal or requests is viable and likely to result in attainment of task objectives. Inspirational appeals, the person makes an emotional request for proposal that arouses enthusiasm by appealing to your values and ideas or by increasing your confidence that you can do it. Ingratiation, the person seeks to influence you with a good mood or to think favorably of him or her before asking you to do something.
There is proven evidence that men and women view politics that influence attempt differently. The intended geopolitics behavior were federally that women do with both men and women witnessed political behavior they view it more positively if the agent is of their gender and the target is of the opposite gender. Not all tactics have negative affects there are some positivist be found. One example would be how small retailers often have incentive programs read get points for an amount of certain items you sell during that time. The person who sells the most usually wins a small gift or some type of bonus. “For example, research has shown that various aspects of performance-appraisal process itself can influence the mood states of the raters, and in turn, their ratings of employee.” (Hochwater)
There is a fine line between using power effectively, over using the power, and being dependent upon power within an organization. A manager must maintain positive relationships with everyone involved with the given company yet cannot become dependent on them; superiors, subordinate, peers, outside suppliers, customer competitors, unions, regulating agencies, the list goes on. Being overly dependent can create vulnerabilities, and weaknesses, causing the organization to not run as smooth, or worse. The entire above list has their own agenda and their own behaviors which it is the managers job to be able to adapt to them, which may in fact be the cause for dependency on people on that list. Dependency should not be associated as a negative term; dependency simply needs to be in moderation. Managers should make sure all involved subordinates know exactly their roles, so he or she need not use generally ineffective tactics such as persuasion. Successful managers are sensitive cope with dependence by being sensitive to, avoiding unnecessary dependence, and establishing power. That power thus equals plans, organization, good staff, budgets, etc., etc. which good evaluations. Effective management essentially comes down to the manager feeling a sense of obligation which trickles all around the company, and there should be a defined trust in the expertise of the manager, that his decisions are the correct ones.
Leadership and Followership
Cultural Differences in Leadership
With different culture every where, leaders need to be aware of these always so that they are combatable for what ever organization. Also, for an effective leader one needs to understand the culture he or she is about to venture into. Here is an example of cultural differences with diversity. “Cross-cultural researchers and international managers concur with the view that a diversity of management systems exist across contemporary Europe. In respect to predicting future developments, Calori and de Woot interviewed 51 chief executives of 40 large international organizations and concluded,that no advocate of diversity denied the existence of some common characteristic and no advocate of European identity denied some degree of diversity. On the basis of such observations, it would appear that Europeans will have to live with at least some diversity in management systems in the foreseeable future. Equally important to note is the fact that societal cultural diversity in Europe remains unquestioned. Indeed, it is frequently perceived to be preserved as much as possible.” (F. C. Brodback et al)
Conflict and Negotiation
Forms of Conflict in Organizations
There are several different forms of conflict that can occur in an organization. These forms include interorganizational, intergroup/intragroup, and interpersonal/intrapersonal. One of these forms of conflict is very interesting, intergroup conflict. This is considered conflict that occurs within a group. This kind of conflict can have positive and negative outcomes. Some of the positives are increased loyalty and group cooperation. One negative to this form of conflict is that groups tend to be more competitive than individuals. When a group is formed, as a whole the group tends to be more hostile than than just one of the individuals may be alone. There have been two experiments done to delineate the domain of discontinuity. The first was done by demonstrating its occurrence in a non-matrix situation. This experiment, when implemented, did not show a significant difference than a matrix-only situation. The second experiment used an analysis of degree of noncorrespondence of outcomes. This experiment showed that as noncorrespondence increased, the rate of competitive responding by groups increased as well. Individuals, however, did not increase.(Schopler, 2001)
Conflict Management Strategies and Techniques
Inevitably there will be conflicts surrounding and within an organization and how they are resolved can have a negative or positive effect.
Nonaction- This is when people do nothing in hopes that it will someday dissapear.
Secrecy- This is when a certain group of the organization try to hide the problem from the majority.
Administrative orbiting- This happens when people delay the conflict and tell others not to worry because it's being worked on.
Due process nonaction- This happens when a problem is too costly, or it will take to long, or is a big risk.
Character assassination- This action is to diminish an individuals/groups reputation and often leads to slander.
Superordinate goal- This is an organization goal that should be focused on by the conflicting parties rather than individual goals.
Expanding resources- This is where the conflict is limited resources, so the simple solution is to provide more.
Changing personnel- This happens when the conflict is pinpointed to an individual commonly with a low level emotional intelligence.
Changing structure- this is when the organization restructures and creates an integrator role, which becomes a moderator between the two conflicting parties.
Confronting and negotiating- this is when the parties confront and engage in an open discussion. there are negotiations in hopes of a mutually agreed upon compromise.
2 major negotiating approaches'
1)Distributive bargaining- Approach in which the goals of the parties are in conflict, and each party seeks to maximize its resources.
2)Integrative negotiation- This is when both parties want the outcome to be a win-win situation because both parties have wants.(Lewicki)
Ways To Manage Conflicts Between Work and Home
Chapter seventeen, part six, discusses ways to manage conflicts between work and home. This section discusses how to manage a dual-career partnership. It talks about how difficult it is for a couple who both have important career goals, and who have the responsibility of taking care of children. When things get too hard for those in a dual-career partnership the text suggest that they ask family, friends, or professional help with childcare, or any other responsibility that they can not take care of themselves. When things get really complicated at work and home, like dealing with a mean boss or a sick child at home, the stress has a big effect on a person when they are at work and at home. It is very important for people who are in a dual-career partnership to have a flexible work schedule in order for them to be able to be there for there child when they are sick, or need to be picked up from school. “We are making it less likely for people to have families. It is just too punitive. There is no formal childcare. There is no structural support. It is highly expensive.”(Barnett, (p.2) it is almost impossible for both parents to manage a good career and to have a family.
The Psychological Contracts
The psychological contract is an implied agreement between the employee and organization. The employee expects certain things from the organization like salary and advancement within the company. And the organization expects things like time and loyalty to the company. This is not a written contract, they exist between individuals. The psychological contract is important for newcomers in an organization. They need to work out something effective in order to make good relationships in the company
Years ago, many workers were able to begin working at a job at a young age and expect to remain in that career until retirement. Unfortunately, nowadays it sometimes takes many jobs until one can settle into a final career. This specified method of “job hunting” is most commonly referred to as occupational excellence. The text Organizational Behavior: Foundations, Realities and Challenges defines occupational excellence as “continually honing skills that can be marketed across organizations.” Businesses used to frown on job histories littered by frequent job hopping, but it can now be considered a part of an individual’s personal training. According to Lee (1998): “Career professionals agree that in terms of jobs, there are lots of opportunities worth taking risks for.” However, one is advised by business professionals to have a specified plan and reason for job hopping that will lead to a final and fruitful career. By practicing organizational excellence, one can also help in their company’s organizational empowerment. Organizational empowerment comes when an organization depends on and gives power to its employees to help remain competitive by being innovative and creative. When an employee has experience outside of a company doing a similar task or job, they can offer possible different methods that can help keep a business both competitive and innovative.
Organizational Design and Structure
15.1 Key Organizational Design Processes
To eliminate confusion and to successfully complete the goals within an organization one has to use a design process which with bring together tasks, enhance communication and superior relationships among employees in departments. Differentiation and Integration are essential in the foundation of an organizational design process. Differentiation has many dimensions which permit a decision on how to decide work loads. There are three different forms of differentiation; horizontal, vertical and spatial horizontal. Large organizations commonly use these methods to create departments and specialized jobs.
Integration is a process in which helps keep a dynamic balance within the organization. Integration has a vertical line which enables an individual to go up the hierarchical chart to get answers and find solutions to a problem. Vertical linkages will provide meaning and understanding to the individual and their job. Management information systems use vertical linkage between employee and manager to provide faster and more efficient communication. Information systems can definitely decrease the number of miscommunications and will allow the organization to focus more strongly on individuals, groups, departments and divisions to complete their tasks and goals. Horizontal integration provides links in organizations departments. Integration increases teams, roles and other integrator positions. Spatial differentiation gives organizations political and legal advantages within their country. In all horizontal, vertical, and differentiation are important structures for an organization because it shows the width, height, and breath or organization needs.
15.2 Basic Design Dimensions
There are six basic design dimensions of an organization. These are a way to establish a level of structural dimension from high to low and also develop a form of structure that is desired. One of these six basic designs is formalization. This is basically an employee’s role that is written down, such as a job description. Second of these six basic designs is centralization. Centralization is a form decision-making through out an organization. Third of these six basic designs is specialization. Meaning, when tasks are turned into separate jobs making job titles spell out the job description. Forth of these six basic designs is Standardization. When this is used, a job is the same thing everyday with little change. Fifth of these six basic designs is Complexity. This happens when there are multiple activities going on within the organization and the job force is more complex. Lastly, the sixth basic design is hierarchy of authority. Hierarchy of authority are the different levels of management throughout an organization.
15.3 Five Structural Configurations
Organizational Structures are classified into 5 categories that were proposed by Mintzberg. The 5 Structural configurations proposed by Mintzberg are: Simple Structure- centralized form of organization that emphasizes the upper echelon and direct supervision. Most small business is run this way. Machine Bureaucracy – a form of organization that emphasizes the technical staff and standardization of work processes. Professional Bureaucracy- decentralized form of organization that emphasized the operating core and standardization of skills. Hospitals are an example. Divisionalized form – moderately decentralized of organization that emphasizes the middle level and standardization of outputs. This configuration is composed of divisions that have their organizations structure. Adhocracy – a selectively decentralized form of organization that emphasizes the support of staff and mutual adjustment among people.
15.4 Contextual Variables
There are four contextual variables in the design process of an organization. The number of employees is considered to be the size of the organization. Size is an integral part in design process of an organization. The second variable that is technology is anything an organization can use to make the outputs of the organization less complicated. Organizations must be careful with the installation of technology because it usually increases the complexity of the organization and the difficulty of the task at hand. Third is everything outside of the organization is considered to be the environment. Situations where circumstances are directly and indirectly associated with organization are also considered to environment. Last there are strategy and goals which are the plans and objectives of the organizational design. No one variable appears to be more important than the other but they must all be utilized together in the design of an organization.
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