McGraw-Hill OnlineMcGraw-Hill Higher EducationLearning Center
Student Center | Instructor Center | Information Center | Home
Discussion Board
Additional Case Studies
Guide to Electronic Research
Learning Objectives
Chapter Outline
Multiple Choice Quiz
True or False
Internet Exercises
Chapter Related Readings
Self Assessment Personality Pr
Video Discussion Questions
Help Center

Organizational Behavior: Solutions for Management
Paul D. Sweeney, University of Central Florida
Dean B. McFarlin, University of Dayton

Organizational Behavior and Effective Management

Chapter Objectives


Organizational behavior is the study of how people act, think, and feel in organizational settings. The roots of the field go back thousands of years. Since the 1900s, major perspectives on organizational behavior have included scientific management, the human relations approach, and the contingency approach.


Adopting a contingency orientation means recognizing that organizational behavior is complex and driven by a variety of factors. Consequently, pat (or "cookbook") answers are elusive. Managers must develop their own answers, at least to an extent.


Outstanding managers possess four sets of skills that allow them to effectively navigate the process of managing behavior. That process involves 1) identifying the behavioral challenge; 2) identifying the causes of current behavior; 3) choosing a strategy for attaining behavioral goals; and 4) implementing and adjusting the chosen strategy as needed.


The behavioral challenges managers face today are exacerbated by the increasing complexity of the work environment and the fast pace of demographic and technological changes.


The work force is becoming increasing diverse. Most of the growth in the workforce is being driven by women and various racial or ethnic minorities. Increasing internationalization is also bringing people from a variety of cultural backgrounds together in the workplace.


Being able to manage diversity well is more important than ever because decisions are increasingly made in cross-functional teams and task forces. But most corporations still have a long way to go to create a work environment in which diversity is embraced.


Likewise, managers need to understand that people who have traditionally been discriminated against (e.g., gays, people with disabilities) represent valuable pools of employee talent.


Business practices, cultural values, and market structures usually vary-sometimes dramatically-from country to country. These factors impact all aspects of behavior management and raise the bar when it comes to managers skills.


As workplace demands increase, they may spill over into family life. Exacerbating the issue is the fact that family structures have shifted over the years-toward more dual-career couples and single parents. Managers who can recognize these work-family issues and craft flexible solutions will be rewarded with greater employee loyalty and performance.