Foundation of Individual Behaviour
Foundation of Individual Behaviour B102
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This 13 page Class Notes was uploaded by Reshu on Thursday July 7, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to B102 at BITS Pilani taught by in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 10 views. For similar materials see Organisational behaviour in Management at BITS Pilani.
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Date Created: 07/07/16
Foundation of Individual Behaviour INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR Meaning of Individual Behavior Individual behavior means some concrete action by a person. For instance, how a teacher behaves in the class reflects his behavior. The behavior of an individual is influenced by various factors. Some of the factors lie Within himself, e.g., his instincts, personality traits, internal feelings, etc., while some lie outside him Comprising the external environment of which he is a part, e.g., weather conditions, events conveying some information, and other peoples’ behavior that directly influence his behavior. The environment acts as a 'stimulus' and the person responds to it. The process of human behavior may thus be regarded as a' stimulusresponse' process. The teacher is affected by students' behavior and in turn affects their behavior. This takes place through interaction between them, and is subject to the environment in which they interact. Thus, individual behavior is not a selfinduced phenomenon, but is affected by a larger system, for example, group, family, and the society within which one functions. Individuals behave differently to different stimuli because of a multitude of factors. These include an individual's age, sex, education, intelligence, personality, physical characteristics, experience, values, and family and cultural background. For instance, a young railway ticket collector would behave differently from one who is more experienced and mature, Situational variables affecting individual behavior include organizational and social variables, for example, type of organization, nature of supervision, and physical and job variables like method of work, design of work, and physical work environment. Factors Influencing Individual Behavior The important factors which influence the behavior of individuals are explained below: 1) Personality: Personality refers to personal traits such as dominance, aggressiveness, persistence and other qualities reflected through a person’s behavior. An individual’s personality determines the type of activities that he or she is suited for, and the likelihood that the person would be able to perform the task effectively. Thus, personality factors must be taken into account in determining the suitability of an individual for a position/task in an organization. 2) Ability: Ability refers to the actual skills and capabilities that a person possesses and is required for the effective performance of activities. Railways need to ensure that its employees possess the necessary abilities to engage in the behavior required for effective performance. This is accomplished either by careful selection of people or by a combination of selection and training. 3) Perception: Perception is the viewpoint by which one interprets a situation. For instance, a railway booking clerk facing a welldressed person perceives him to be of a high status and talks to him nicely, whereas he may tend to ignore an illdressed person, or make him wait, though both the passengers want 'first class' tickets. In an organizational setting, messages that the organization sends to its members regarding the kind of behavior and activities expected of them are significant. The messages are communicated in a variety of ways (job descriptions, policies, procedures and discussion with supervisors, etc.). A key factor is that an individual’s behavior is influenced not by the organization’s actual expectation of him, but by how these are perceived by the person. 4) Motivation: Motivation refers to all the forces operating within a person to cause him or her to engage in certain kinds of behavior rather than others. Even if all the factors are present to facilitate effective individual behavior on a particular job, these factors would amount to nothing unless the person is motivated to perform well. Motivation may be internal, e.g., a person's skill, ability, and intelligence; or external, e.g., incentives, training, etc. Further, a person's motivation is influenced by his or her attitudes, beliefs, values and goals. 5) Organizational Factors: Individual behavior is influenced by a wide variety of organizational systems and resources. Systems such as the organizational structure and hierarchy strongly influence and constrain both what individuals do and how they do. In addition, individual behavior is influenced by various types of resources provided by the organization such as advice and directions from leaders, physical support in terms of facilities and technology. 6) SocioCultural Factors: The social environment of an individual includes relationship with family members, friends, coworkers, supervisors and subordinates. The behavior of others (as distinct from the individual's relationship with them) is also a part of an individual’s social environment. Similarly, every individual has a cultural background which shapes his values and beliefs. The sociocultural factors moderate the effect of other factors to determine the behavior of an individual. 1) Personal Factors/ Biographical Factors Personal factors include age, sex, education, abilities, marital status, and number of dependents 1) Age: The issue of age is multifaceted and individualistic. It has impact on performance, turnover, absenteeism, productivity, and satisfaction. Performance is dependent on age. As age advances, performance is likely to decline. Similarly, aging also has an impact on turnover. The older one grows, the less likely one is to quit the job. Ageabsence relationship depends on whether absenteeism is avoidable or unavoidable. Generally, older employees have lower rates of avoidable absence than do younger employees. However, they do have high rates of unavoidable absence. This is probably because of poor health associated with old age. With regard to productivity, old age results in reduced productivity. This is because of the decline in an individual’s skill as he or she grows older in age. There is a positive association between age and satisfaction. 2) Sex: The issue of male and female employees has received considerable attention from academics, sociologists, and researchers. Research has proved that problem solving ability, analytical skill, competitive drive, motivation, leadership, sociability, or learning ability are not genderdependent. However, in our maledominated society, the presence of women employees in organization is not appreciated or encouraged. Sex also has an impact on turnover and absenteeism. It has been proved that the tendency to change job s and to abstain from work is likely to be higher among female than among male employees. The most logical explanation for this phenomenon is that our society has historically placed home and family responsibilities on the female. 3) Education: This has its effect upon individual behavior, largely through the level and type of education received. Increased levels of education serve to increase an individual's expectations about positive outcomes. These outcomes are generally perceived to be a more satisfying job, higher income level, and greater alternative sources for occupational choice, i.e., the 'good life'. Disillusionment occurs when outcomes do not match expectations. 4) Abilities: It refers to an individual's capacity to perform various tasks in a job. The ability of an individual is made up of two sets of skillsintellectual and physical. Intellectual abilities are needed to perform mental activities. IQ tests, for example, are designed toascertain one's intellectual abilities. So, too, are popular college admission tests like GRE, GMAT, and CAT. Physical abilities manifest in one's stamina, manual dexterity, leg strength and the like. Management must identify an employee's physical abilities if these are the major inputs required to perform a task. 5) Marital Status: This has an influence on absenteeism, turnover, and satisfaction. Married employees have fewer absences, undergo less turnover, and are more satisfied with their jobs than the unmarried ones. Marriage imposes additional responsibility, hence the need for a steady job and steady income. 6) Number of Dependents: There is correlation between the number of dependents an employee has and his or her absences and satisfaction. The number of children an employee has is positively related to absence, especially among females. Similarly, there is positive correlation between number of dependents and satisfaction. 7) Creativity: This is yet another personal factor that influences individual behavior. Creativity refers to the cognitive activity that results in a new or novel way of viewing or solving a problem. Creativity is highly desirable, as it is from creativity that major inventions, scientific breakthroughs, and great works of music, literature, and art emanate. 2) Environmental Factors Environmental factors include such variables as economics, social, political and the like. The factors are mainly external and will influence (and are not generally influenced by) individual behavior considerably: 1) Economic Factors: The economic environment is an important determinant of individual behavior. All work is performed within economic framework that, both directly and indirectly, impinges on an organizational environment. Economic environment is a synthesis of several factors, prominent among them being the employment level, wage rates, economic outlook, and technological change. i) Employment opportunities will have a strong influence on individual behavior. Fewer job opportunities (create fear of losing the present job) increase the emphasis on job security and can change the basic motivation pattern of the individual. ii) Wages satisfy various individual needs. They provide food and shelter, are measures of achievement, and can serve as a status symbol. Money is a complex variable and its effect on behavior varies tremendously. iii) The general economic outlook also influences individual expectations, especially of those employed in industries severely affected by economic cycles. In fact, some employees experience layoffs and recalls in the course of their working life, while others (e.g., public sector employees) are insulated from the economy. iv) Technological change is considered as an economic factor because of its potential effects upon individual job opportunities. Technological change has the strongest impact on lower level jobs, although increased automation, robotics, computerization, and more sophisticated production technologies can affect individuals at all level. 2) Cultural Environment: Cultural environment is made up of institutions and other forces that affect society's basic values, perceptions, work ethics, preferences, and behaviors. People grow up in a particular society that shapes their basic beliefs, values, and behaviors. Culture varies from country to country (even within a country) and these variations result in different behaviors across countries. Work ethics, achievement needs, and effortreward expectations and values are important cultural factors, having behavioral implications. 3) Political Factors: The political climate in which an individual live scan affect individual behavior in several ways. The stability of the government can affect employment opportunities, both in quantity and quality. A politically unstable environment has difficulty in attracting industry and therefore experiences problems in maintaining a steady level of employment. 3) Organizational Factors : Individual behavior is also influenced by physical facilities, organization structure and design, leadership, and reward systems. 1) Physical Facilities: Physical facilities such as lighting, ventilation, airconditioning, decor, space provided for each employee, equipment, and the like, have an influence on employee performance. In addition, adequate provision of secretarial support and other staff can allow a senior manager to focus his or her attention on issues more critical to the organization’s effectiveness. 2) Organization Structure and Design: These have to do with the way in which the different groups and departments in an organization are set up and the way in which, the reporting relationships and lines of communication are established among different positions in the organization. The behavior and performance of an individual is influenced by wherethat person fits into the overall structure and design of the organization. 3) Leadership :An organization establishes a system of leadership and supervision to provide direction, assistance, advice, and coaching to individual members. The leader's behavior is, therefore, a potential source of influence on an individual. 4) Reward Systems: Organizations establish reward systems to compensate their employees for good work done. The behavior and performance of an individual is influenced by the reward system his or her organization has established. 5) Work Related Behavior :An individual's behavior is influenced by what stage he or she occupies in an organization. The five stages of the individual's stay in the organization may be distinguishedjoining the organization, remaining with the organization, maintaining work attendance, performing required tasks ,and exhibiting organizational citizenship. i) Joining the Organization :An individual joins an organization of his or her choice. He or she needs the job just as the organization needs the services of the individual. In the induction stage, the new employee experiences excitement because of the new assignment and expectations from it, and anxiety because of the fear that the expectations might not be realized. ii) Remaining with the Organization: The most challenging task before organizations today is to attract talent and retain it for the benefit of the firm. The organization may succeed in attracting competent employees by offering lucrative remuneration packages and arousing high expectations. Retaining such competent employees is much more difficult. Knowledge workers constitute intellectual capital and the longer they stay, more knowledge they have about work processes, corporate values, and customer needs. Thus, knowledge management involves ensuring that valuable employees stay with the organization. Towards this end, managers adopt different interventions. iii) Maintaining Work Attendance: Those who stay with the organization are expected to report to work as scheduled. But some of the employees fail to show up for work and their absences are caused by problems relating to health (of selves or of families), family responsibilities, vehicles breakdown, job dissatisfaction, and lack of motivation in the workplace. These account for absenteeism among the employees. iv) Performing Required Tasks: People are hired to perform tasks, generally, above minimum standards. Task performance refers to goaldirected activities that are under the individual's control. These include physical behaviors as well as mental processing leading to behaviors. These abilities need to be harnessed and put to use for organizational effectiveness. v) Exhibiting Organizational Citizenship : Organizational effectiveness depends on more than just satisfactory job performance. It also relies on organizational citizenship. Organizational citizenship behaviors extend beyond jobrelated tasks. They include tolerating ambiguities, accepting occasional impositions, sharing resources, and cooperating with fellow employees. 4) Psychological Factors : Psychological factors are an individual's mental characteristics and attributes that can affect behavior. Though not always observable, their role in affecting individual behavior is considerable. There are several psychological factors, but the more prominent among them are personality, perception, attitudes, values and learning. 1) Personality: Personality refers to personal traits such as dominance, aggressiveness, persistence and other qualities reflected through a person’s behavior. An individual’s personality determines the type of activities that he or she is suited for, and the likelihood that the person would be able to perform the task effectively. Thus, personality factors must be taken into account in determining the suitability of an individual for a position/task in an organization. 2) Perception: Perception is the viewpoint by which one interprets a situation. For instance, a railway booking clerk facing a welldressed person perceives him tobe of a high status and talks to him nicely, whereas he may tend to ignore an illdressed person, or make him wait, though both the passengers want 'first class' tickets. In an organizational setting, messages that the organization sends to its members regarding the kind of behavior and activities expected of them are significant. The messages are communicated in a variety of ways (job descriptions, policies, procedures and discussion with supervisors, etc.). A key factor is that an individual's behavior is influenced not by the organization’s actual expectation of him, but by how these are perceived by the person. 3) Motivation: Motivation refers to all the forces operating within a person to cause him or her to engage in certain kinds of behavior rather than others. Even if all the factors are present to facilitate effective individual behavior on a particular job, these factors would amount to nothing unless the person is motivated to perform well. Motivation may be internal, e.g., a person's skill, ability, and intelligence; or external, e.g., incentives, training, etc. Further, a person's motivation is influenced by his or her attitudes, beliefs, values and goals. 4) Attitude: Attitude is a relatively permanent organizing or cognitive, perceptual, emotional, and motivational process with respect to some aspect of our environment. It is primarily a learned predisposition to respond in a consistently favorable or unfavorable manner with respect to a given object. Thus, an attitude is the way we think, feel, and act toward some aspect of our environment. 5) Value: Milton Rokeach, a noted psychologist, has defined values as global beliefs that guide actions and judgments across a variety of situations. He further said, "Values represent basic convictions that a specific mode of conduct (or endstate of existence) is personally or socially preferable to an opposite mode of conduct (or endstate of existence)". They contain a judgmental element, i.e., they carry an individual's ideas as to what is right, good, or desirable. Values have both content and intensity attributes. The content attribute emphasizes that a mode of conduct or endstate of existence is important. The intensity attribute specifies how important it is. When we rank an individual's values in terms of their intensity, we obtain the value system of that person. All of us have a hierarchy of values that forms our value system. This system is identified by the relative importance we assign to such values as freedom, selfrespect, honesty, obedience, equality, and so on. 6) Learning: Learning may be described as “the process of acquiring the ability to respond adequately to a situation which may or may not have been previously encountered, the favorable modification of response tendencies consequent upon previous experience, particularly the building of a new series of complex coordinated motor response; the fixation of times in memory so that they can be recalled or organized ;the process of acquiring insight into situation”. Thus ,learning can be defined as a relatively permanent change in behavior as a result of prior experiences. Models of Individual Behavior OB experts have constructed certain models which are useful in understanding individual behavior. The models are: Theory X and Theory Y model, Economic and Selfactualizing model, Behavioristics and Humanistic model, and Rational and Emotional model. 1) Theory X and Theory Y Model: Theory X assumes the individual to be lazy, non creative, and in need of constant prodding. Theory Y views the individual as having tremendous potential, which effective management can channelize towards organizational goals. Obviously, depending on the individual manager’s philosophy of human behavior, there may be a divergence of managerial practices in the same organization. 2) Economic and SelfActualizing Model: The economic model of the human being conceptualizes the individual as totally economic in orientation. The concept has been derived from the scientific management philosophy of the late 1880s. At the heart of scientific management was the concern for standardizing jobs, specializing work functions, and providing economic incentives to those whose performance was near or in excess of standard performance. In contrast to the economic model is the selfactualizing model, which postulates that an individual is motivated by the opportunity to grow, mature, and become all he or she is capable of becoming. The model underlines that the individual cannot be adequately described by economic or physiological consideration alone. People strive for loftier goals, like selffulfillment and selfactualization. Adherents of this model see the individual as craving for personal growth, job competence, and selffulfillment. 3) Behavioristics and Humanistic Model: Some scholars believe that individuals can be described solely in terms of behavior. These theorists are interested only in observable behavior as contrasted with thoughts or feelings. In its most radical form, the behavioristics model holds that all behavior is environmentally determined. In the humanistic model, scholars believe that an individual is more philosophical than scientific. Humanists see the individual as capable of surmounting irrational impulses through conscious reasoning. In their view, people control their own destiny to a great degree and their potential cannot be underestimated. 4) Rational and Emotional Model: In the rational model, an individual is perceive to be a highly rational entity, having computerlike characteristics. Whenever faced with a problem, the individual is supposed to collect all relevant information, analyze the data ,and then arrive at a solution. Human beings are, thus, deliberative, serious, and computational. In the emotional model, human beings are understood to be guided by emotions, many of which are unconscious responses. Scholars of the Freudian persuasion rely on this model. Freudians perceive human beings as irrational because of the constant conflicts among the Id, Ego and the Superego. These inner conflicts, according to Freudians, cause individuals to be subject to their emotions. ABILITY Ability refers to an individual’s capacity to perform the various tasks in a job. It is a current assessment of what one can do. Contrary to what we were taught in grade school, we weren’t all created equal. Most of us are to the left or to the right of the median on some normally distributed ability curve. For example, regardless of how motivated you are, it’s unlikely that you can act as well as Rani Mukherjee, play cricket as well as Sachin Tendulkar, write as well as J. K. Rowling, or play the guitar as well as Jimmy Hendrix. Of course, just because we aren’t all equal in abilities does not imply that some individuals are inherently inferior to others. What we are acknowledging is that everyone has strengths and weaknesses in terms of ability that make him or her relatively superior or inferior to others in performing certain tasks or activities. From management’s standpoint, the issue is not whether people differ in terms of their abilities. They clearly do. The issue is to know how people differ in abilities and using that knowledge to increase the likelihood that an employee will perform his or her job well. Intellectual Abilities Intellectual abilities are those needed to perform mental activities – for thinking, reasoning, and problem solving. People in most societies place a high value on intelligence, and for good reason. Smart people generally earn more money and attain higher levels of education. Smart people are also more likely to emerge as leaders of groups. Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests, e.g., are designed to ascertain one’s general intellectual abilities. Jobs differ in the demands they place on incumbents to use their intellectual abilities. The more complex a job is in terms of informationprocessing demands, the more general intelligence and verbal abilities will be necessary to perform the job successfully. Of course, a high IQ is not a requirement for all jobs. For jobs in which employee behavior is highly routine and there are little or no opportunities to exercise discretion, a high IQ is not as important to performing well. However, that does not mean that people with high IQs cannot have an impact on jobs that are traditionally less complex. Interestingly, while intelligence is a big help in performing a job well, it doesn’t make people happier or more satisfied with their jobs. The correlation between intelligence and job satisfaction is about zero. Why? Research suggests that although intelligent people perform better and tend to have more interesting jobs, they also are more critical in evaluating their job conditions. Thus, smart people have it better, but they also expect more. In the past decade and a half, researchers have begun to expand the meaning of intelligence beyond mental abilities. Some researchers believe that intelligence can be better understood by breaking it down into four subparts: cognitive, social, emotional, and cultural. 1) Cognitive intelligence: compasses the aptitudes that have long been tapped by traditional intelligence tests. 2) Social intelligence is a person’s ability to relate effectively to others. 3) Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, and manage emotions. 4) Cultural intelligence is awareness of crosscultural differences and the ability to function successfully in crosscultural situations. Physical Abilities To the same degree that intellectual abilities play a larger role in complex jobs with demanding informationprocessing requirements, specific physical abilities gain importance for successfully doing lessskilled and morestandardized jobs. For example, jobs in which success demands stamina, manual dexterity, leg strength, or similar talents require management to identify an employee’s physical capabilities.
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