Saturday, June 16, 2012

Organizational Behavior: The Paradigm Shift

“In a few hundred years, when the history of our time will be written from a long-term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology, not the Internet, not e-commerce. It is an unprecedented change in the human condition. For the first time - literally - substantial and rapidly growing numbers of people have choices. For the first time, they will have to manage themselves. And society is totally unprepared for it.” --Peter F. Drucker

A prelude to organizational behavior study
Traditional management education focuses on competency such as accounting, finance, marketing, operations and information technology related areas. However, with the growth and expansion of organizational needs, it has become essential to understand the process of management to be successful in the competitive global market place. Within this process view of management now the attention is given to the roles, behaviors, and skills that are necessary for effective managerial performance. Some of these behavioral ‘soft’ skills are communicating with peers, subordinates, and bosses; obtaining and sharing information; running meetings; allocating resources to different groups; and handling conflict within or between teams,
The understanding of management processes, often referred to as organizational behavior (OB) extends managerial education to the study of people, groups, and their interactions in organizations. Changing business environment demands broader skill sets that helps in problem solving, decision-making, and handling communication and interpersonal relationships.
Historical background of organizational development
Essence of leadership was first recorded by the Greek philosopher Plato. Aristotle introduced persuasive communication in leadership. Niccolò Machiavelli in 16th century laid the foundation for organizational power and politics. Adam Smith in 1776 brought in organizational structure based-on division of labor. In late 18th century, German sociologist Max Weber introduced the idea of rational organizations. Weber also initiated discussion of charismatic leadership. Soon after, systematic goal setting, and reward was introduced by Frederick Winslow Taylor.  Elton Mayo and his colleagues in 1920’s have done productivity studies in Hawthorne laboratory.
Schools of historical thought on organizational theory
Studies show systematic transformation of the orientation from machine into human potential. In general, while examining the history of organizational behavior, a marked shift from scientific management era to more human behavior approach in organizations is evident. The basic assumptions underlying human behavior were now perceived to be oriented to personal growth, accomplishment, and inner development.  If managers were to become truly effective, it was argued, they must go beyond simply providing fair pay and treatment and attempt to make organizational members feel important.
Understanding an organization
An organization is a tool used by people to coordinate actions to obtain something desire or value—that is, to achieve their goals. The production of goods and services most often takes place in an organizational setting because people working together to produce goods and services usually can create more value than people working separately. Organizations exist because of their ability to create value and acceptable outcomes for various groups of stakeholders, people who have an interest, claim, or stake in the organization, in what it does, and in how well it performs.  Most people have a casual attitude toward organizations because organizations are intangible. Today, many organizations being founded, and particularly those experiencing the fastest growth, are producing goods and services related in some way to new information technology. The increasing use of computers and new information technologies such as the Internet are revolutionizing the way all organizations operate.
Organizational theory is the study of how organizations function and how they affect and are affected by the environment in which they operate.  For any organization, an appropriate structure to facilitates effective responses to problems of coordination and motivation—problems that can arise for any number of environmental, technological, or human reasons that need to be addressed. As organizations grow and differentiate, the structure likewise evolves. Organizational structure and culture are the means the organization uses to achieve its goals; organizational design is about how and why various means are chosen. Further, organizational structure can be managed through the process of organizational design and change.
Global Dimensions of Organizational Behavior
In the globalization age corporate success is increasingly linked to worldwide operations and a global staff. Top executive teams have learned first-hand one of the foremost lessons of doing business in international markets to understand the local culture. All around the globe, people working in large and small businesses alike are facing the many challenges and opportunities associated with business competition in an increasingly complex and “borderless” world.  The ability to respect differences and value diversity is an important key to success in managing organizational behavior across cultures.
Summary and conclusions
Today’s organizations need managers with global awareness and cultural sensitivity. This does not mean that they all must work in foreign lands. But it does mean that they must be aware of how international events may affect the well-being of organizations. They must know how to deal with people from other countries and cultures. Especially for those who cross cultural and national boundaries, understanding these differences is critical for success working in an interconnected world.
Today, managers must be inquisitive and willing to learn quickly from management practices around the globe. Insights into effective management and high performance organizations are not restricted to any one location or culture. Contributions to our understanding about people and organizations can be found from Africa to Asia and from Europe to North and South America. Finally, in the interest of effective and efficient organizational performance, managers should create jobs and organizational structures that allowed people an opportunity to develop their abilities and to experience personal growth.
 I wish you good luck and see you next week!

Saju Skaria

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