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Organizational Behavior, 9/e
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Introduction to Organizational Behavior
Organizational Behavior

Chapter Summary

This chapter first gives a brief overview of the significant challenges currently facing management. Besides the new workplace, environmental changes such as advanced information technology, globalization, and recognition and management of diversity and ethics represent a paradigm shift. This shift is characterized by new rules, new boundaries, and, importantly, new behaviors that are essential for organizations and managers to be successful or even survive. This new paradigm facing management requires a new perspective and an appreciation of the human, behavioral side of management. Thus, the field of organizational behavior becomes important now and in the future.

Organizational behavior is a relatively recent field of study and application. The beginnings are usually attributed to the famous Hawthorne studies, which had several phases (illumination, relay, bank wiring studies) and often-overlooked implications for modern management. Whereas the Hawthorne studies are often criticized for methodological flaws, today’s organizational behavior field is characterized by rigorous scientific methodology. Both theory development and research designs are given considerable attention. Specifically, the threats to internal validity are attempted to be eliminated or minimized through carefully designed experiments. Field studies are used over laboratory studies whenever possible in order to have more external (generalizable) validity.

Because organizational behavior is a relatively new field, it must be precisely defined: the understanding, prediction, and management of human behavior in organizations. It is also important to see how OB (micro, theoretical) relates to other closely related disciplines such as organization theory or OT (macro, theoretical), organizational development or OD (macro, applied), and human resource management or HRM (micro, applied). Finally, it is important to provide a theoretical foundation to develop a specific model that can be used as a conceptual framework for this text. The cognitive, the behavioristic, and the emerging and more integrative social cognitive theories are used for such a foundation. The cognitive model gives the human being more “credit” and assumes that behavior is purposive and goal oriented. Cognitive processes such as expectancy and perception help explain behavior. The behavioristic approach deals with observable behavior and the environmental contingencies of the behavior. Classical behaviorism explained behavior in terms of S-R, whereas more modern behaviorism gives increased emphasis to contingent consequences, or R-S. The social cognitive approach emphasizes that the person, the environment, and the behavior itself are in constant interaction with one another and reciprocally determine one another. This social cognitive approach incorporates both cognitive and behavioristic elements and is used as the theoretical foundation for the organizational behavior model used as the conceptual framework to structure this text.