Summary with the 14th edition of Essentials of Organizational Behavior by Robbins & Judge

What is organizational behavior? - Chapter 1

Why is organizational behavior important?

To understand the importance of organizational behavior, it is important to look at history. Until the 1980s, business schools focused on the technical aspects of management, such as economics, financing and quantitative techniques. Human behavior and skills to deal with people were not seen as very important. But, since then, business schools became aware of the fact that interpersonal skills are very important when it comes to a manager's effectiveness. A lack of interpersonal skills can even lead to the top reason why employees fail to advance in their position.

In organizational behavior, one of the key principles is to improve interpersonal skills. When managers have good developed interpersonal skills, this will lead to attraction of more high-performing employees for the organizations. A second important benefit of studying organizational behavior is that it can help to make a workplace great, instead of just good. And, since it is known that companies that are seen as a 'good place to work' generate superior financial performance, it is good to make companies a good place to work. Thirdly, the quality of workplace relationships has strong connections to things such as job satisfaction, stress and turnover. Social relationships among coworkers and supervisors is also strongly related to overall job satisfaction, lower stress at work and lower intentions to quit. The fourth benefit of having knowledge about organizational behavior is that it can foster social responsibility awareness. This is important because corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an important topic. CSR will be discussed in Chapter 2.

Management and organizational behavior

The role of a manager is becoming increasingly demanding. Contemporary, it seems common that individuals are placed in management positions, without receiving decent training to fulfill these positions. The demands of the jobs that they get placed into have also increased. For example, managers now has seven direct reports, when five was the norm before. They also have less time to spend with them than before. A Gallup poll also found that organizations often choose the wrong candidate for management positions 82 percent of the time!

Organizational behavior (OB) defined

Organizational behavior studies the impact of three determinants of behavior within organizations: individuals, groups and structure. The goal of organizational behavior is to make organizations more effective, by using knowledge about these three determinants of behavior within organizations. In other words, organizational behavior is the study of people in organizations and the way that their actions affect the organization. Organizational behavior is especially concenred with employment-related situations, such as job satisfaction, absenteeism, employment turnover, productivity, human performance and management.

The core topics in organizational behavior are: motivation; leader behavior and power; interpersonal communication; group structure and processes; attitude development and perception; change processes; conflict and negotiation and work design.

Effective versus Successful Management Activities

There is a difference between effective and succesful managers. Effective managers are those who have a good quality of performance and have satisfied employees, which they are committed to. Succesful managers are those who promote fastly in organizations. Luthan and associates looked at this difference by studying 450 managers, who engaged in four managerial activities:

  1. Traditional management; decision making, planning, controlling;

  2. Communication: exchanging routine information and processing paperwork;

  3. Human resources (HR) management: motivating, disciplining, managing conflict, staffing and training;

  4. Networking: socializing, politiciking and interacting with outsiders.

The average manager spent most time in traditional management, then in communicating, then in human resource activities and the least amount of time in networking.

The succesful, fast moving managers spent the most time in networking and the least time in human resources management activities.

The effective managers spent the most time in communication activities and the least time in networking. So, there is a clear connection beween communication and being an effective manager. Managers who explain their decisions to their employees and seek information from colleagues and employees are the most effective!

Complementing intuition with systematic study

Most people use a causal approach to understanding others. This means that they look at other people's actions and try to interpret these or that they try to predict other people's behavior in different situations. This often leads to mistakes or erronous predictions. A systematic approach to 'reading others' can help by making more accurate predictions.

The systematic approach is based on the belief that behavior is not random and that there are fundemental consistencies underlying the behavior of individuals. Because of these fundamental consistencies, behavior is generally predictable. Systematic studying of the behavior of individuals involves looking at relationships, attempting to attribute causes and effects and basing conclusions on scientific evidence.

Evidence-based management (EBM) is when manager decisions are based on scientific evidence. Most of the managers do not practice evidence-based management. When combining systematic study, EBM and intuition, a manager is most expected to be effective.

Big Data

Data is the key to EBM. Earlier, the word "statistic" meant "a description of the state". Statistics were then used for governant purposes only. However, there were not a lot of sophisticated methods to collect data and therefore there were no strong conclusions. Later, when computers were sophisticated enough, big data become possible. Big data is the name for the extensive use of statistical compilation and analysis. Online retailers were the first to make use of big data, but now almost every business makes use of it.

The current usage

There are three main reasons for making use of data. First, data is used to predict events such as: will someone buy this book? Second, data is used to detect how much risk there is at any time: what is the risk on a fire? Thirdly and lastly, it is used to prevent events such as catastrophes or the over- or understocking of a product. Concrete examples of the use of big data are for example the U.S. defense contractor, who uses big data to protect themselves from cyber-attacks or the London's analyzes to look at which snack samples their customers pick with their orders.

New trends

The use of big data in management is relatively new, but seems promising. This is good news for businesses, because a manager who makes use of data can determine which employee activities are relevant to chosen objectives (outcomes). Big data is also applied to making effective decisions and managing organizational change. Even employees with mental illness may benefit from the use of big data.

Limitations of big data

Next to benefits, there are also some limitations in the use of big data. This is especially true when the instruments that are used are surveillance instruments. For example, in Brooklyn, researchers made use of infrared cameras, sensors and smartphone-signals to try to improve the qualiy of life for residents. When using these kind of techniques, privacy issues are abound.

What are disciplines that contribute to the organizational behavior field?

Organizational behavior is an applied behavioural science. There are multiple behavioral disciplines that contribute to the understanding of organizational behavior, such as psychology and social psychology, sociology and anthropology. Psychology and social psychology are the main contributors. Psychology is mostly focused at the individual or micro-level of analysis, while the other disciplines are more focused at understanding macro concepts such as group processes and organization.


Psychology is about measuring, explaining and sometimes changing the behavior of humans (and other animals). Learning theorists, personality theorists, counseling psychologists and most importantly industrial and organizational psychologists are contributors to the knowledge of organizational behavior. Earlier, industrial and organizational psychologists were concerned with problems such as fatigue and boredom, which were not of good influence on work performance. Contemporary psychologists focus more on topics such as learning, perception, personality, emotions, training, leadership effectiveness, needs and motivational forces, job satisfaction, decision-making processes, performance appraisals, attitude measurement, employee-selection techniques, work design and job stress.

Social psychology

This is a branch of psychology. Social psychology makes use of concepts from psychology and sociology to look at how people influence each other. One big area of research is in change: how to get people to change and how to reduce barriers. It also focuses on measuring, understanding and changing attitudes, identifying communication patterns and building trust. Social psychology has also contributed to the understanding of group behavior, power and conflict.


Sociology studies people in relation to their culture or social environments. Sociology has contributed to organizational behavior by increasing knowledge about group behaviors in formal and complex organizations. The most important contribution of sociology to organizational behavior is knowledge about organizational culture, formal organization theory and structure, organizational technology, communications, power and conflict.


Anthropology is the study of societies with the goal of learning about human beings and their activities. A lot of the current understanding of organizational culture, organizational climate and differences among national cultures is due to the work of anthropologists or others who use the same methods.

A few absolutes in organizational behavior

Because human behavior is complex, it is not easy to make generalizations about individuals. Two people often act very differently in the same situation. However, it is still possible to provide accurate explanations for behavior and to make valid predictions. Organizational behavior concepts must reflect the situational or also called contingency situations. For example, we can state that x leads to y, but only under the conditions that are specified in z (the contingency variables). Often, general effects (people are motivated by money) and contingency effects (some people are more motivated by money than others) guide behavior. For organizational behavior, it is important to understand this and to look at how general effects and contingencies influence behavior.

What are challenges and opportunities for organizational behavior?

There are a lot of changes in organizations, such as that the typical employee is getting older, the workforce is becoming increasingly diverse and global competition leads to that employees have to be flexible and be able to cope with rapid changes. Therefore, new employment options have become available. For example, an individual can be employed full time or flextime or work overseas or even virtual.

Continuing globalization

The world is becoming globalised: organizations are no longer constrained by national borders. Therefore, effective managers need to be able to deal with some issues regarding this globalization.

Working with people from different cultures

To work effectively with people from different cultures, it is important to understand how their specific culture and background shapes them and how to adapt the management style to fit any differences. Managers need to know the cultural norms in each country where they work. For example, in some countries it is common for employees to have long holidays. Managers also need to be aware of regulatory norms, such as banking laws.

Workforce Demographics

The workforce is under the influence of variations in economy, longevity, birth rates, socioeconomic conditions and other changes. Organizational behavior looks at how these changes affect the behavior of individuals. For example, the recession in 2008 lead to that some people are still unemployed, have several part-time jobs. Younger people face issues such as that they need specialized industry training after college and that they often need to accept lower-level full-time jobs.

Longevity has also increased by six years in a very short time, while birth rates are decreasing for many developed countries. This leads to a on average older workforce. Organizational behavior looks at what the effect of this older workforce is. Also, socioeconomic shifts have an effect on workforce demographics. For example, more women are working. Organizational behavior then looks at how these women experience their work and how their conditions could be improved.

Workforce Diversity

Organizations are becoming more variated in terms of employees' gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and other characteristics. This leads to more workforce diversity. Diversity leads to opportunities as well as challenges. Questions such as: should we treat all employees alike? Which cultural differences are there? Is increasing diversity important? become relevant.

Social Media

Many organizations have policies about the use of social media at work. The use of social media also has an effect on employee well-being. It was found that checking Facebook frequently when at work lead to a worsened mood during the day for the employee. Also, employees who checked Facebook frequently reported a decreased level of satisfaction with their lives.

Employee Well-Being at Work

Due to the advances in communication technology, many employees now are able to work from a virtual workplace. This makes a lot of them feel excluded and not a part of a team. So this is a challenge for employee well-being. Other challenges for well-being at work are the higher demands (more hours) which can lead to burn-out and balancing outside commitments such as being a parent with work (work-life conflicts).

Positive Work Environment

Positive organizational scholarship (POS) is a growing field in OB. This studies how organizations develop human strengths, foster vitality and resilience and unlock potential. It pushes organizations to focus on employees' strengths instead of at their limitatins. One aspect of POS is the culture of the organization (Chapter 16).

Ethical Behavior

Employees face ethical dilemmas and ethical choices. Organizations that create a strong ethical mission, encourage employees to behave with integrity and that provide strong leadership can influence employees to behave ethically.

What is an organizational behavior model?

A model is a simplified representation of a real-world phenomenon. The OB model consists of three types of variables; inputs, processes and utcomes at three different levels of analysis (individual, group, organizational).


Variables such as personality, group structure and organizational culture that lead to processes.


Processes are actions that individuals, groups and organizations engage in as a result of inputs and that lead to certain outcomes. For the individual level this is for example emotions and moods, at the group level this is communication, leadership, power and at the organizational level, the processes are HR management and change practices.


These are the variables that you want to explain or predict and that are affected by other variables. Again this changes for the three levels of analysis.

Some outcomes in organizational behavior

Attitudes and stress

This is an outcome at an indiviudal-level of analysis. Attitudes are the evaluations that employees make, such as: "I think my job is great".

Stress occurs in response to environmental pressures and is an unpleasant psychological condition.

Attitudes have a big influence on organizational effectiveness.

Task performance

The combination of effectiveness and effiiency in one's core job tasks is what makes up the task performance.

What is organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB)?

This is about that employees do tasks that are not part of their core tasks, that contribute to the psychological and social environment of the workplace.

Withdrawal behavior

Withdrawal behavior is about the actions that employees take that lead them to be seperated from the organization, such as showing up late or not attending meetings.

Group cohesion

This is the extent to which members of a group support and validate one another at work.

Group functioning

Group functioning is about the quantity and quality of a group's work output.


This belongs to the highest level of analysis in OB (organizational). Productivity is when inputs are transformed into outputs at the lowest costs. It requires effectiveness and efficiency.


This is the degree to which an organization is able to exist and grow over the long term.

What are attitudes and how do they influence behavior? - Chapter 2

What are attitudes?

Attitudes are evaluative statements or judgements concerning objects, people or events. They are complex. To understand them better, they are seperated in three components: cognitive, affective and behavioral. The cognitive component of attitudes are the thought individuals have about something. This leads to a feeling, the affective component. The behavioral component is the description of how someone is behaving or is going to behave. These three components often overlap each other.

The behavioral component of attitudes is the most important for organizations.

Attitudes and behavior

Cognitive dissonance happens when people experience incompatibility between two or more attitudes or between their behavior and their attitudes. For example, someone may know that texting while driving is dangerous, but might still engage in it. This is a form of dissonance.

This dissonance or incongruency is often unpleasent and people want to reduce it. The desire to reduce this cognitive dissonance depends on three factors: the importance of the elements that create dissonance; the degree of influence we believe we have over the elements and the rewards of the dissonance. When individuals perceive that the attitudes are important or when they believe that they can control the dissonance, they are more motivated to reduce it.

For attitudes, the most important moderators are the importance of the attitude; the correspondence to behavior; the accessibility; the presence of social pressures and whether a person has direct experience with the attitude. Discrepancies between attitude and behavior occur when social pressures (such as organizations) lead individuals to behave in certain ways. Attitudes that are frequently expressed are more likely to be remembered and attitudes that our memory can easily access are more likely to predict our behavior. Another predictor of when attitudes lead to behavior is when an attitude refers to something that someone had personal experience with.

What are job attitudes?

Research in organizational behavior focusses mostly on three attitudes: job satisfaction, job involvement and organizational commitment. Other important attitudes are perceived organizational suport and employee engagement.

Job Satisfaction and Job Involvement

Job satisfaction is a positive feeling about one's job. Job involvement is about the degree to which a person identifies with a job, actively participates in it and considers performance important to their degree of self-worth. Psychological empowerment is related to job involvement. This is about employees' beliefs regarding the degree to which they influence their work environment, their competence, the meaningfulness of their job and their perceived autonomy in their work.

Organizational Commitment

This is about the degree to which an employee identifies with a particular organization and its goals and wishes to maintain membership in the organization.

Perceived Organizational Support (POS)

POS is the degree to which employees believe an organization values their contribution and cares about their well-being.

POS is a predictor of employment outcomes, but cultural influences are also important.

Employee Engagement

An individual's involvement with, satisfaction with, and enthusiasm for the work he or she does. It is difficult to determine what creates engagement. Research has found that the top two reasons for engagement seem to be: having a good manager that they enjoy working for and feeling appreciated by their supervisor.

How can we measure job satisfaction?

There are two manners of measuring job satisfaction. One is the single global rating (the response to a question such as: "How satisfied are you with your job?".) The other is the summation of job facets. This identifies key elements in a job (type of work, skills needed) and respondents rate these on a standardized scale. Both approaches are equally valid.

Most people seem to be satisfied with their jobs. Economic conditions tend to influence job satisfaction rates. There are other influences on job satisfaction, such as;

Job conditions

Job conditions such as the instrinsic nature of the work, social interactions and supervision are important predictors of job satisfaction. The intrinsic nature of the work is the most important, which means that someone has to like what he or she does.


People who believe in their inner worth and basic competence and therefore have positive core self-evaluations (CSEs) experience more satisfaction with their jobs than people with negative CSEs.


Money relates to job satisfaction, but the effect is smaller once someone reaches a standard level of comfortable living. Also, it motivates people but that does not mean that it makes people happier.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Corporate social responsibility is about the actions of an organization to benefit the society or environment, without that this is prescribed by the law. Employees who hold beliefs that match with the CSR actions, experience more satisfaction with their jobs. This relationship is especially strong for millennials.

What are the outcomes of job satisfaction?

Job satisfaction leads to different outcomes, such as:

Job performance

Happy employees (employees with higher job satisfaction) perform better and organizations with more satisfied employees tend to be more effective than organizations with non-satisfied employees.

Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB)

Organizational citizenship behavior is about employees talking positively about their organizations, helping others and doing more than what is expected of them. Job satisfaction leads to OCB, because it creates trust between colleagues. Personality also plays a role: employees who have certain personality traits (agreeableness) experience more job satisfaction and engage more in OCB. Also, receiving positive feedback from colleagues leads to continuation of citizenship behavior.

Customer Satisfaction

Satisfied employees lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. Zappo, an online shoe retailer, is a good example of this.

Life Satisfaction

Job satisfaction is positively correlated with life satisfaction. Life satisfaction also decreases when people are unemployed and this is not only due to the loss of income.

What is the impact of job dissatisfaction?

The exit-voice-loyalty-neglect framework model helps to understand the consequences of job dissatisfaction. It contains four responses that differ on two dimensions: constructiv/destructive and active/passive:

  1. Exit: The exit response is dissatisfaction expressed through leaving an organization (looking for a new position or resigning). To measure the effects of this response, researchers look at the collective turnover, which is the total loss to the organization of employee knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics;

  2. Voice: The voice response is dissatisfaction expressed through actively and constructively attempting to improve conditions;

  3. Loyalty: The loyalty response is dissatisfaction expressed by passively waiting for the conditions to improve. This also includes fighting against external criticism and trusting the organization and management in that they will do the right thing;

  4. Neglect: The neglect response means that dissatisfaction is expressed through allowing that conditions worsen and includes things such as chronic absenteeism or showing up late, reducing effort and increased error rates.

Exit is active and destructive, voice is active and constructive, loyalty is active and constructive, neglect is passive and destructive.

What is counterproductive Work Behavior (CWB)?

Job dissatisfaction predicts counterproductive work behavior. Counterproductive work behavior is about employee behavior that is not beneficial to the organization and is even counterproductive. Things included are stealing at work, gossiping, absenteeism, undue socializing and tardiness. Employees often choose different behaviors, due to idiosyncratic factors (individual factors). One might choose to quit, another might choose to surf the Internet instead of working at something for their job. Therefore it is not simple to fight against CWB. The best thing an employer can do is to increase the job satisfaction of the employees.


When there are alternative jobs available, dissatisfied employees have high absence rates. When there are no alternative jobs available, dissatisfied employees do not show a higher absence rate than satisfied employees.

Providing liberal sick days (days off while still getting paid) encourage all their employees to take days off.


Turnover is the rate in which the employees leave an organization and get replaced. Job dissatisfaction is the highest predictor of intent to leave. If the workplace of someone who leaves is one of a bad quality, turnover might be contagious. Job embeddedness, the extent to which an employee's connections to the job and community result in an increased commitment to the organization, is linked to job satisfaction and turnover. So, if job embeddedness is higher, turnover might be less. If an employee accepts an offered job, this has not a lot to do with satisfaction (because the job pulled him, he did not get pushed away from his current job). Also, when there are a lot of other jobs available, turnover might be higher. Also, when employees are higher employed (and have higher 'human capital'), they might be more tempted to leave their jobs, because they have or just perceive a lot of available alternatives.

Research has looked at organizations with high versus low morale. High morale is when more than 70 percent of the employees are satisfied with their jobs, and medium or low morale is when this is less than 70 percent. The stock prices of organizations with high morale grew 9.4 percent more than organizations with low morale. A lot of managers underestimate the amount of employees who are dissatisfied with their jobs, so there is a gap between what managers feel and what is true.

What is the role of emotions in organizational behavior? - Chapter 3

What is the difference between affect, emotions and moods?

There are three different terms that are closely related: affect, emotions and moods. Affect means the broad range of feelings that people experience, emotions are intense feelings towards something or someone and moods are feelings that are less intense than emotions and that have no direct specific contextual cause. So, emotions are more likely to be caused by a specific event than moods. Emotions are also seen as more action-oriened (lead to immediate action) than moods, which may be more cognitive which means that they might cause people to think.

The basic emotions

There is a lot of debate about which basic emotions there are. There are six different universal emotions decided on right now: anger, fear, sadness, happiness, disgust and surprise.

Cultures have different 'rules' regarding emotional expression, so while in the U.S. a smile can be seen as a sign of happiness, in the Middle East a smile is often seen as an expression of sexual attraction.

There also seems to be a difference between individualistic countries and collectivistic countries regarding emotions. Individualistic countries are those in which people see themselves as independent and desire personal goals and personal control. Collectivistic countries are those in which people see themselves as interdependent and the group and community is very important. In collectivistic countries, people think that emotional expressions are connected to the personal relationship one has with another. In individualistic countries, people often do not think that emotional expressions are directed at them.

Moral emotions

Moral emotions are emotions that have moral implications because of our instant judgement of the situation that evokes them. Examples are sympathy for others, guilt about our own behavior and contempt for those who behave unethically.

Moral disgust is when you see or experience something that offends the moral laws, such as a police offer who makes racists comments.

The basic moods

Emotions can be classified as positive or negative. For moods, this is called positive and negative affect. Positive affect is a mood dimension that consists of positive emotions at the high end (excitement, cheerfulness) and negative emotions (boredom, sluggishness) at the low end. Negative affect conists of negative emotions at the high end (stress, anxiety) and positive emotions (relaxation, tranquility) at the low end.

There seems to be a positivity offset. This means that, when there is zero input (when nothing particular is going on), most people tend to experience a mildly positive mood.

What are sources of emotions and moods?


People differ in affect intensity: the experience of the same emotions with different intensities. So, when someone has high affect intensity, they experience positive emotions deeply and negative emotions too.

Time of day

It seems that negative affect is lowest in the mornign and tends to increase over the course of the day and evening.

Day of the week

In most cultures, such as the U.S., adults experience the highest positive affect on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and the lowest positive affect on Monday. This is also true for Germans and Chinese.

In Japan, positive affect is higher on Monday than on Friday or Saturday.

Accross cultures, Monday is the day with the highest negative affect. In some countries, on sunday there is a higher negative affect than on Friday and Saturday, probably because of the stress of the upcoming week.


It seems that the weather has little effect on mood. Many people think that the weather influences them. Researchers state that this is due to illusory correlations, which mean that people associate two events, when there is actually no relationship. So, people think that the weather influences them, while this is not the case. So, while employees may be more productive on bad weather days, this is often not due to their mood, but due to that some distractions are removed and so they can focus better on their tasks.


Stressful events at work negatively affect mood. The effects of stress also build over time. When people are in stressful situations, there is a natural response for them to disengage (to look away).


Sleep (quality) is important for moods and decision making. When employees are fatigued, they are at a higher risk of disease, injury and depression. Poor sleep also makes it more difficult to control one's emotions, make someone more angry, impairs job satisfaction and makes people less able to make ethical judgments.


It seems that exercise leads to enhancemement of people's positive moods. This effect is the strongest for people who are depressed.


Positive moods seems to increase with age.


Studies have confirmed that women experience emotions more intensely, hold on to them longer and display more frequent expressions of positive as well as negative emotions, except for anger, compared to men.

Men report higher levels of powerful emotions such as anger and women more often report powerless emotions such as sadness and fear.

What is emotional labor?

Employees have to follow rules regarding emotional expressions during certain work situations. For example, flight attentdants have to be cheerful, funeral directors have to be sad and police officers have to be serious. This is called emotional labor.

Emotional displays

Emotions can be divided in felt and displayed emotions. Felt emotions are what people actually feel, displayed emotions are emotions that employees need to show regarding their work and their job. These are learnt emotions (think about the flight attendants who need to be cheerful).

When people display fake emotions, they suppress their real ones. Surface acting is the term for when someone's inner emotions are hidden and instead of that they show a fake emotion, because that is required for their job. It is also called 'putting on a face'. Surface acting can lead to exhaustion, work-family conflict and insomnia. In the workplace, surface acting leads to exhaustion and fewer OCBs, increased stress and decreased job satisfaction. Employees that have to vary their surface-acting responses, show lower job satisfaction than those who have stable surface-acting responses. For employees that engage in surface acting, relaxation and rest is important to experience less negative consequences.

Deep acting is when the emotions that one needs to express, are also tried to be felt. So, if someone has to smile for their job, but also tries to feel good at the same time, this is called deep acting. This may have positive effects on job satisfaction and leads to less exhaustion than surface acting.

Emotional dissonance and mindfulness

When employees project one emotion, but feel another, this is called emotional dissonance. Long-term emotional dissonance predicts burnout, lower job perfomance and lower job satisfaction.

Mindfulness, objectively and deliberately evaluating an emotional situation in the moment, leads to lower emotional exhaustion and higher job satisfaction.

What is the Affective Events Theory?

The Affective Events Theory (AET) states that workplace events lead to emotional reactions for employees that influence their workplace attitudes and behaviors.

So, work events trigger positive or negative emotional reactions. Personality factors of the employees, such as low emotional stability, moderates the emotional response to a given event. Emotions also infuence things such as organizational corporate behavior, organizational commitment, level of effort, intention to quit and workplace deviance.

AET has two important messages: emotions provide insight into how workplace events influence employee performance and satisfaction; employees and managers should not ignore the events that cause emotions, even when they are small, because emotions accumulate.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a person's ability to: perceive emotions in themselves and others; understand the meaning of these emotions and regulate his or her own emotions accordingly.

It is still unclear what the effect of high or low EI is in organizations.

What is emotion regulation?

Emotion regulation is about processesing, identifying and modifying felt emotion. Research suggests that this ability is a strong predictor of task performance and for OCB.

There are some influences on emotion regulation. Personality factors, such as neuroticism, influence people their ability to emotion regulate. Workplace factors also influence the likelihood of emotion regulation. For example, in diverse groups, more people regulate their emotions to integrate the whole group.

Research suggests that avoiding negative emotions has less effect than seeking out positive emotions.

Emotion regulation techniques

One emotion regulation technique is emotional suppression. This means that initial emotional responses to situations are blocked or ignored. This only appears to be helpful when in crisis situations, such as when a shareholder has to stay calm in face of a sudden drop in a stock, to think clearly. When suppression is used in daily life situations, this has a negative effect on mental health and relationships. It seems best for managers to be able to regulate their emotions and for employees it is important to know when to regulate their emotions and when to speak up.

What are organizational behavior applications of emotions and moods?

Knowledge of emotions and moods influence many aspects of organizational behavior, such as:


Emotional intelligence should be considered as a factor when employees are hired. A higher emotional intelligence could lead to higher performances, especially in jobs where there is a lot of social interaction.

Decision making

Moods and emotions influence decision making. Positive emotions can help to make good decisions and enhance problem-solving skills.


Positive emotions and good moods lead people to be more creative than when they are in a bad mood. People in good moods produce more ideas and more options and are more flexible in their thinking. It seems that all activating moods (whether positive or negative) lead to more creativity, while deactivating moods lead to less creativity. Being fatigued also seems to increase creativity.


When people receive feedback on their performance, this influences their mood and their motivation.


Leaders are more effective when they share positive emotions. When leaders focus on inspirational goals, this leads to greater optimism, cooperation and enthusiasm in employees. When leaders are sad, this increases the analytic performance of his or her followers, because followers pay more attention to the tasks so that they can help the leader.

Customer service

The moods of employees influence the moods of the customers, this is probably due to emotional contagion. Emotional contagion is the process by which people's emotions are caused by the emotions of others.

Job attitudes

Moods at work influence people's moods at home and vice versa. Also, when one member of a couple had a bad day at work and is in a negative mood, this mood spills over to the spouse at night. So, the relationship between moods and job attitudes is reciprocal.

Deviant workplace behaviors

People who experience negative emotions are more likely to engage in short-term deviant behavior at work, such as gossiping or surfing the Internet.

Safety and injury at work

Bad moods can lead to injury at work. People who are in a bad mood tend to be more anxious and therefore they might be less able to cope effectively with hazards. Negative moods can also make people more distracted.

How is personality relevant in organizational behavior? - Chapter 4

What is personality?

Defining personality

Personality can be defined as the sum of total ways in which an individual reacts to and interacts with others. When someone exhibits certain traits such as shyness, laziness, dominant, ambitious over a long period of time and in different situations, these are called personality traits.

Assessing personality

Personality tests can be useful when hiring new employees.

Measuring results

The common way to measure personality is through self-report surveys in which participants rate themselves on different factors, such as: "I worry a lot about the future". There are some issues with this, such as that when people are aware of that the test will be used for hiring decisions, they rate themselves as more conscientious and emotionally stable than when they do not know that the test is used for hiring decisions.

Accuracy is also an issue when doing self-report surveys. Participants who are in a bad mood have different scores compared to when they are in a good mood.

Culture and ratings

Cultures influence the way in which people rate themselves. In individualistic countries such as the United States, people trend toward self-enhancement, while in collectivistic countries such as Taiwan, China and South-Korea, people trend toward self-diminishment (underrating).

Self-reports and observer-ratings

Self-reports and observer reports correlate highly with each other, but it seems that observer ratings predict job success more than self ratings do. It is recommended to use both self-reports as well as observer ratings when making decisions regarding employment.

Personality determinants

It seems that heredity, the factors that someone gets at conception, is more important for personality than environment. The heredity approach states that an individual's personality exists because of the molecular structure on the genes that are located on the chromosomes. But, personality can still change. Adolescents' personality changes more than that of adults.

What are personality frameworks?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is the most used personality-assessment instrument in the world. This is a 100-question personality test that asks people to state how they feel or act in certain situations. The respondents can be classified as extraverted or introverted (E or I), sensing or intuitive (S or N), thinking or feeling (T or F) and judging or perceiving (J or P).

  • Extraverted versus Introverted: Extraverted individuals are outgoing, sociable and assertive. Introverted individuals are quiet and shy.

  • Sensing versus Intuitive: Sensing individuals are practical and prefer routine and order and focus on details. Intuitive individuals rely on unconscious processes and look at the 'big picture'.

  • Thinking versus Feeling: Thinking individuals use reason and logic to handle their problems. Feeling individuals rely on their personal values and emotions.

  • Judging versus Perceiving: Judging individuals want control and prefer order and structure. Perceiving individuals are more flexible and spontaneous.

When classified by the MBTI, an individual's personality is described by one trait from each of the pairs. For example, when someone is classified as INTJ, they are Introverted/Intuitive/Thinking/Judging.

There are some issues with the MBTI, such as that it classifies people into one of two. There is no middle, in-between. Another issue is that of reliability. When people retake the test, they often receive different results. Also there are some difficulties with interpretation. Finally, the results of the MBTI do not seem to be related to job performance.

The Big Five Personality Model

Unlike the MBTI, the Big Five Model has a lot of supporting evidence. The test scores on these five traits predict how people act in a variety of real-life situations. The test scores are also reliable, with some daily fluctuations. The Big Five factors are:

  • Conscientiousness. This measures one's reliability. Someone who scores high on conscientiousness is responsible, organized, dependable and persistent. People low on conscientiousness are easily distracted, disorganized and unreliable.

  • Emotional stability. This measures how well someone can withstand stress. People who score high on emotional stability are calm, self-confident and secure. They are also more likely to be positive and optimistic. The converse of emotional stability is neuroticism. High neuroticism is linked with nervosity, anxiety, depression and insecurity.

  • Extraversion. This is about one's comfort level with relationships. People who are highly extravert are assertive and sociable. They are also often happier than the converse, introversion. Introverts are more thoughtful, reserved, timid and quiet.

  • Openness to experience. This dimension is about the range of a person's interest and their fascination with novelty. People who score high on openness to experience are creative, curious and artistically sensitive. People who score low on openness to experience are conventional and like the familiar.

  • Agreeableness. This dimension describes someone as good natured, cooperative and trusting. People who score low on agreeableness are often cold and antagonistic.

How do the Big Five traits affect behavior at work?

Conscientiousness is the strongest predictor of job performance.


Employees with higher scores in conscientiousness have higher job knowledge, probably because people high in conscientiousness learn more. They are also more able to maintain their job when faced with abused supervision. There are also some downsides of high conscientiousness. Highly conscientious individuals sometimes prioritize work over family, which leads to more work-family conflict. They may also be too focused on their own work and therefore lack helping others. These people also don't adapt well to changing contexts. Conscientious people may also have trouble with learning complex skills early in a training process, because they are more focused on performance than on learning. Finally, highly conscientious people are often less creative.

Emotional stability

Emotional stability, out of all the Big Five traits, is most related to life satisfaction, job satisfaction and low stress levels. People who score high on emotional stability adapt well to changes in the workplace.


Extraverts do well in jobs with significant interpersonal interaction. They are socially dominant and 'take charge'. Downsides of high extraversion is that of more impulsivity, more absenteeism and that they are more likely to lie compared to introverts during job interviews.

Openness to experience

People who score high on the dimension openness to experience, are more effective leaders. They are more comfortable with ambiguity, cope better with organizational change and are more adaptable. Finally, they are less susceptible to declines in performance over a longer time period and they experience less work-family conflict.


People with high scores on agreeableness, are better liked than disagreeable people. They are also more compliant and rule abiding, less likely to get into accidents and more satisfied in their jobs. They also show more OCB. Disagreeable people are more likely to engage in CWB. Low agreeableness also predicts involvement in work accidents and it also predicts lower levels of career success.

The Dark Triad

Next to the Big Five traits, researchers have identified three other socially undesirable traits that all people have in varying degrees and which are also relevant to organizational behavior: machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy.


Someone who is high in Machiavellianism is pragmatic, maintains emotional distance and believes that ends can justify means. They manipulate more, win more, are persuades less by others and persuade others more than people who score low on Machiavellianism.

It does not predict overall job performance.


Narcissism is about a person who has a grandiose sense of self-importance, requires excessive admiration and is arrogant. They often have fantasies of a grand success, a tendency to exploit situations and people, a sense of entitlement and a lack of empathy. However, they can also be hypersensitive and fragile.

Narcissism is one of the largest predictors of increased CWB in individualistic cultures, but not in collectivistic cultures.

Narcissists often feel that they are overqualified for their positions. When they receive feedback about their performance, they often only focus on the positive things that are said to them and tune out the information that conflicts with their positive self-perception.

Positive things about narcissism are that may be more charismatic than others. They are also more often in businesses than in other fields and are more likely to be chosen for leadership positions. Some research also shows that narcissists are more adaptable and make better business decisions than others when the issue is complex.


In the context of the OB, psychopathy is defined as a lack of concern for others and a lack of guilt or remorse when actions cause harm. The literature is not consistent about whether psychopathy is important to work behavior.

Other traits

Next to The Dark Triad, there are other traits that researchers are exploring at the moment. Antisocial people are indifferent and callous towards other people. Borderline people have low self-esteem and high uncertainty: they are unpredictable in their interactions at work, are inefficient and may have low job satisfaction. The third trait, schizotypical people are eccentric and disorganized. In their workplaces they can be creative, but they are susceptible to stress. Obsessive-compulsive people are perfectionists and can be stubborn, but they do attend to details, carry a strong work ethic and are motivated by achievement. The last trait, avoidant indiviudals, feel inadequate and they hate criticism. They can only function in environments where there is little interaction needed.

What are other personality attributes that are relevant to organizational behavior?

Core Self-Evaluation (CSE)

Core Self-Evaluations are the thoughts and beliefs that individuals have about themselves with regards to capabilities, competence and worth as a person. Having high CSE's may benefit people in the workplace.


Self-monitoring is about that an individual adapts their behavior to external and situational factors. High self-monitoring people adapt to others, while low self-monitoring individuals 'stay true to themselves'.

Proactive personality

Individuals with a proactive personality identify opportunities, show initiative, take action and persevere until they reach the change that they want. People who score high on this trait, have higher job performances and often achieve career success. It might also be important when working in teams.

How does the situation affect personality traits?

The Situation Strength Theory

The Situation strength theory states that the way that personality translates into behavior, depends on the strength on the situation. So, strong situations are in which norms, cues and standards dictate the appropriate behavior (for example, when you are in a meeting with your department from work). Weak situations are those in which there are no strong cues, such as when you are alone at home. Personality traits are more shown in weak than in strong situations.

Components of situation strength

There are four components to situation strength:

  1. Clarity. This is the degree to which cues are clear and available. For instance, when you work as a banker, you have more clear cues than when you are a nanny.

  2. Consistency. This is when all the cues are pointing at the same direction. For example, you have two bosses, and they both expect you to do the same.

  3. Constraints. Jobs with many constraints are strong situations, because someone gets forced to adapt to the norms.

  4. Consequences. Jobs with important consequences are strong situations, because the environment is heavily structured against mistakes. For example, a surgeon's job has higher consequences than a foreign language teacher's.

Trait Activation Theory (TAT)

The Trait Activation Theory predicts that some situations, events, or interventions 'activate' a trait more than others.

When using TAT, jobs can be matched to personalities. For example, in jobs where creativity is needed, differences in openness predict behavior better than differences in extraversion.

Another example of the use of TAT is that of an online study in which people had to learn online while their behavior was monitored. Those who had a high fear of failure, disliked the monitoring more than those with a low fear of failure. Other findings using the TAT were that in a supportive environment, everyone behaved prosocially. When the environment was not supportive however, only people with prosocial tendencies exhibited prosocial behavior.

So, the situation strength theory and the trait activation theory shows that as well as personality as well as the situation influence the behavior that people exhibit.

What are values?

Value are basic convictions that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence. Values are the an individual's ideas about what is right, good or desirable. They have content as well as intensity attributes.

The content attribute states if a mode of conduct or end-state is important, while the intensity attribute states how important it is. When an individual's values are ranked in terms of intensity, the result is called a value system.

The values one has influences their attitudes and behavior at work.

Terminal versus Instrumental Values

Rokeach argues that values can be seperated into two categories: terminal values and instrumental values. Terminal values are the goals a person would like to achieve during his or her lifetime (economic success, freedom, well-being, world peace). Instrumental values are the means of achieving the terminal values (autonomy, self-reliance, discipline, goal-orientation). A balance between these two values is important.

How can we link an individual's personality and values to the workplace?

Person-Job Fit

The Person-job fit theory identifies six personality types and proposes that the fit between personality type and occupational environment determines satisfaction and turnover.

Person-Organization Fit

The Person-organization fit is a theory that states that people are attracted to and selected by organizations that match their values, and leave when there is no compatibility (fit).

Other Dimensions of Fit

There are other dimensions of fit that are considered important for workplace outcomes, such as the person-group fit and person-supervisor fit. The person-group fit is important in team settings, while the person-supervisor fit became important in the area of research.

All of these five dimensions of fit are combined in the term person-environment fit. Each dimension predicts attitude, which is also moderated by culture. For example, research has shown that the dimensions of person-organization fit and person-job fit are the strongest predictors of positive work attitudes and performances in North America. These dimensions are least important in East Asia.

What are cultural values?

Values are learned, vary by culture and are passed on through generations. There are two different frameworks for understanding cultural value differences:

Hofstede's Framework

Hofstede found that managers and employees vary on five value dimensions of national culture:

  1. Power distance. This is the degree to which people in a country accept that the power in institutions and organizations is distributed unequally. A high rating on power distance means that there are large inequalities of power and wealth that are tolerated in the culture (for example, a class system). A low power distance means that it is a society that stresses equality and opportunity.

  2. Individualism versus collectivism. Individualism is the degree to which people prefer to act as individuals rather than as members of a group. Collectivism is when people in a group expect others in their group to look after them and protect them. In collectivist cultures, people see themselves as interdependent and community and group goals are important. The U.S. and the Netherlands are examples of individualistic cultures, while countries such as Japan and China are collectivistic.

  3. Masculinity versus feminity. Masculinity is the degree to which the cultue facors traditional masculine roles such as achievement, power, and control. High masculinity means that the culture has seperate roles for men and women, in which men dominate. High feminity means that a culture sees little difference between men and women and treats them as equals of men in all respect.

  4. Uncertainty avoidance. This is the extent to which a society feels threatened by uncertain and ambiguous situations and tries to avoid them. Cultures with high uncertainty have people that worry about uncertainty and ambiguity and they use laws and controls to reduce uncertainty.

  5. Long-term versus short-term orientation. In cultures with a long-term orientation, people look to the future and value thrift, persistence and tradition. People in a short-term orientation value the here and now and accept change easier.

This framework by Hofstede can be very useful to understand differences between people, but it should be kept in mind that not all people in a culture have the same values.

The GLOBE Framework

The Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) research program came up with nine dimensions on which national cultures differ. Some resemble that of Hofstede's. The main difference is that there are some dimensions added in the GLOBE framework compared to Hofstede's (such as humane orientation and performance orientation).

What are perceptual processes? - Chapter 5

What is perception?

Perception can be defined as the process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment. What someone perceives can be very different from the objective reality. For organizational behavior, perception is important because people their behavior is based on their perception: it becomes the reality for them.

Factors that influence perception

There are some factors that shape and sometimes distort perception:

  • Perceiver. The perceiver's personal characteristics such as attitude, personality, motives, interests, past experiences and expectations influence what he or she sees.

  • Target. We do not see targets in isolation: we see them in relationship to the background. We also have a tendency to group close and similar things together.

  • Context. The time at which an object is seen, the location, the light, heat and situational factors can all influence the way we perceive it.

How do we create perceptions about others?

Person perceptions are most important in OB. The attribution theory tries to explain how we explain other's behavior. We do this by determining causation, distinctiveness, consensus and consistency.

  • Internal and external causation. When we observe someone's behavior, we determine whether this was internally or externally caused. Internally caused means that someone's behavior is in his or her own personal control. Externally caused behavior is when we think that the situation has forced someone to act in a certain way. There are three criteria for distinguishing between internal and externally caused behavior: distinctiveness; consensus and consistency.

  • Distinctiveness refers to whether an individual displays different behaviors in different situations. In other words, is this behavior unusual for this person? If it is unusual for the person to show some kind of behavior, we will probably judge it as external.

  • Consensus is when everyone in the same situation responds the same. If someone's behavior is something that everyone else is doing, there is a lot of consensus and we will probably not say that it is caused by internal factors. An example is that of when all employees take the same route and are all late. We will say that there is something about the situation. However, if all employees take the same route and one person is late, there is not a lot of consensus and we would attribute his or her lateness to an internal cause.

  • Consistency is about whether a person responds in the same way over time. The more consistent a person's behavior is, the more we are inclined to attribute it to internal causes. For example, does someone always come late or was it just this one time?

Errors and biases

Errors and biases lead us to make wrong attributions. One of such an error is that when we look at other people's behaviour, we underestimate the influence of external factors and overestimate the influence of internal personal factors. This is called the fundamental attribution error.

It is also true that individuals and organizations tend to attribute their own successes to internal factors, and their failures to external factors. This is called a self-serving bias.

Selective perception

We can not observe everything that is going on around us. Therefore, we have to select certain information based on our interests, background, experiences and attitudes. This leads to 'seeing what we want to see'.

The halo effect

This is the tendency to draw a general impression about an individual solely based on the basis of a single characteristic. For example, you see a beautiful person and therefore you think that he or she is also very smart and kind.

Contrast effects

This means that we evaluate people on the basis of other people that we have seen and met.


Stereotyping is when we judge someone on the basis of our perception of the group to which he or she belongs.

What is the link between perception and individual decision making?

The way that individuals make decisions is highly influenced by their perceptions. Decision making is a reaction to a problem. Perceiving a problem differs between individuals. Some people may see a problem, while others might see the same thing as 'a satisfactory state of affairs' (a good thing).

Organizational behavior and decision making

In organizational behavior there are generally accepted constructs of decision making: rational decision making, bounded rationality and intuiton.

Rational decision making

The rational decision-making model is a model that describes how individuals should behave in order to maximize some outcome. In this model it is assumd that the decision maker has complete information, is able to identify all relevant options in an unbiased manner and chooses the option with the highest utility. In reality, most decisions do not follow this model.

This is due to that our information-processing capability is limited. We can not solve problems with full rationality and therefore we operate within a 'bounded reality'. This means that we construct simplified models that extract the features from problems without capturing all their complexity.

We often look for 'good enough'. This might be better than using the rational decision making model, since for this model it is necessary to collect a lot of information, which may not always be available.


This is the least rational way of making decisions. Intuitive decision making is outside of conscious thought and is affectively charged, so it has to do with someone's emotions. Intuition is hard to measure and analyze. So it is recommended to come up with hypothesis based on your intuition, but for real proof it would be good to get objective data and rational analysis.

What are common biases in decision making?

Overconfidence bias

This bias means that people tend to be overconfident about their own and about other's abilities.

Anchoring bias

This bias is about a tendency to fixate on initial information, without adapting when you get new, subsequent information.

Confirmation bias

This bias is about that we seek out information that reaffirms our past choices and we discount information that contradicts them.

Availability bias

This bias is described as the tendency for people to base their judgements on what is available to them (in their mind). Events that evoke emotion, are vivid or are more recent are often more available to people.

Escalation of commitment

This is when someone stays committed to a decision, even when he or she knows that it is not the right decision. This often happens when individuals feel that they are responsible for the outcome.

Randomness error

This error is about that people often think that they have control over a random event. Decision making can be influenced by this error. For example, some people never make decisions on Friday the 13th. This is an example of an imaginery pattern that has turned into a superstition.

Risk aversion

This is the tendency to prefer a sure thing over a risky outcome. For example, when you can choose to gamble and have a fifty-fifty chance on 200 dollars or get 50 dollars immediately, most people will choose the 50 dollars.

Hindsight bias

This is the tendency to believe, after something has happened, that it could have been predicted (which is in many cases not true). For example, when the online industry took over the home rental video industry, some people say that the home rental video industry could have foreseen this. Even though things make a lot of sense in hindsight, this is often not so obvious before the event happens.

What are individual differences in decision making?


Some facets of conscientiousness, such as achievement striving and dutifulness, may lead to escalation of commitment. Achievement-oriented people do not want to fail, so they escalate their commitment. Dutiful people are more inclined to do what is the best for the organization, so they are less likely to escalate their commitment. Achievement-oriented people may also be more susceptible to hindsight bias.


When the situation is neutral, men and women make decisions of the same quality. When a situation is stressful, men make more egocentric and risky decisions, while women become more empathic and their decision making improves.

General mental ability

Even people with higher intelligence make errors such as anchoring, overconfidence and escalation of commitment. But, once these people learn about decision making errors, they learn more quickly how to avoid them than people with lower intelligence.

Cultural differences

Cultures differ in time orientation, the value they place on rationality, their belief in the ability of people to solve problems, and their preference for collective decision making. Some cultures also emphasize solving problems, while others focus on accepting the situations as they are.


This is a way to influence the perception of individuals (about a product) and the decision of people (to get that product). It has also been used in the development of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

What are some organizational constraints?

Performance evaluation systems

If a manager believes that things are going good when there is no negative news (so that is the performance evaluation system), this might lead to that his employees make sure that negative information does not reach the manager.

Reward systems

The reward systems of organizations influence decision makers by suggesting which choices are better, based on the payoffs. This influences the managers in their decision making.

Formal regulations

All organizations create rules and policies. Therefore, decision choices are often limited.

System-imposed time constraints

A lot of important decisions come with time constraints. This means that they have to be taken before a certain deadline. This makes decision making difficult and sometimes even impossible, because managers need to gather a lot of information before making a decision.

Historical precedents

This is about that the choices that individuals (or managers) make is based on results of earlier decisions.

What is the role of ethics during decision making?

There are three ways to frame decisions ethically.

  1. First is utilitarianism. This is a system that proposes that decisions should be made that provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

  2. A second ethical criterion is that of making decisions that are consistent with fundamental liberties and rights. This criterion protects whistle-blowers (people who reveal an organization's unethical practices to the press or to other agencies). They can call on their 'right to free speech'.

  3. A third ethical criterion is that of justice: an equitable distribution of benefits and costs.

Many organizations go for the 'utilitarianism' criterion when making decisions.

What are behavioral ethics?

Behavioral ethics is the area of study that analyzes how people behave when they are confronted with ethical dilemmas. There are ethical standards in societies and organizations, but people do not always follow these standards. They even violate their own standards. Individual's ethical behavior therefore varies widely from one situation to the next.


Lying is one of the top unethical activities that people engage in on a daily basis. One reason for this is that lying is often difficult to detect for others. Lying is very bad for decision making, because it is hard to make a good decision when you are presented with distorted or incomplete information. There is no hard solution for it, though OB is studying ways in which lying can be prevented by creating environments that are non-conducive to lying.

What is the importance of creativity in decision making?

Creativity is needed for a decision maker to improve his or her decisions. Creativity is the ability to produce novel and useful ideas. Creativity is a complex thing. To simplify creativity, researchers came up with a three-stage model of creativity in organizations.

The core of the model is creative behavior, which has both causes and effects (outcomes).

Creative behavior

Creative behavior occurs in four steps, each of which leads to the next:

  1. Problem formulation. This is the stage in which a problem or opportunity is identified that requires a solution.

  2. Information gathering. This is the stage in which knowledge is sought and possible solutions to a problem are gathered.

  3. Idea generation. This is the process of creative behavior in which we develop possible solutions to a problem from relevant information and knowledge.

  4. Idea evaluation. This is the process in which potential solutions to the problem are evaluated and the best one is chosen.

Which things can lead to creativity?

Creative potential

Creative potential is the degree to which someone has characteristics shared by exceptionally creative people.

There are four characteristics:

Intelligence and creativity

Smart people are more creative, because they are better at solving complex problems. They also have a greater 'working memory'. Also an individual's need for cognition (desire to learn) is correlated with greater creativity.

Personality and creativity

The Big Five personality trait openness to experience correlates with creativity, because open individuals are more divergent in thinking. Other traits that creative people have are a proactive personality, self-confidence, risk taking tolerance for ambiguity and perseverance. Also self-efficacy (belief in your capabilities) and positive affect are correlated with an individual's creativity.

Expertise and creativity

Expertise is the single most important predictor of creative potential. For example, Tarantino spent his youth working in a video rental store, where he built up a lot of knowledge about movies.

Ethics and creativity

Creativity is not linked to ethicality. People who cheat may be more creative than those who do not, maybe because dishonesty and creativity both stem from a desire to break rules.

Creative outcomes

For innovation to occur, it is important that creative ideas are implemented. This is a social process that requires leadership.

What is the value of diversity? - Chapter 6

What kind of changes are there in the workforce?

Demographic changes

There have been some rapid changes in the workplace demographics. Demographics are characteristics of a population such as race, sex, age, education and profession. The most noticeable change in demographics is that the workforce is now more gender-balanced and multiethnic compared to being predominantly white male.

Women are also more likely than before to be employed full time. The earning gap in the United States between Whites and other racial and ethnic groups has decreased due to the increase of minorities in the workplace.

Levels of diversity

Demographics reflect surface-level diversity and not thoughts and feelings and can lead to things such as stereotyping and discrimination. Deep-level diversity is when diferences in values, personality and work preferences become progressively more important for determining similarity. So, when people see themselves as sharing deep-level diversity, than they are less concerned with demographic differences such as race. So deep-level similarities can overshadow surface-level differences.


Diversity offers many opportunities for organizations to get benefits. One thing that is important for diversity management in organizations is also to eliminate discrimination. Discrimination is noting a difference between things. When you read about discrimination, that is often about unfair discrimination, which is making judgements about people based on the stereotypes about their demographic group (for example, white blondes are dumb).

Stereotype threat

We stereotype others, but we also stereotype ourselves. Stereotype threat refers to the degree to which we internally agree with the negative stereotypes that others have about our groups. So, when an older person assumes that someone that just meets him or her thinks that he or she is out of date (stereotype). Along with this comes that someone fears being negatively judged. The degree to which this older person internally agrees with the negative stereotype, is called the degree of stereotype threat. Stereotype threat has strong implications for the workplace. When employees believe their stereotype threats, this may lead to lower performance, lower satisfaction, negative job attitudes, absenteeisim and more health issues.

By treating employees as individuals and not highlighting group differences could help to combat stereotype threat. The following changes be successful in reducing stereotype threat:

  • Increasing awareness of how stereotypes may be perpetuated;

  • Reducing differential and preferential treatment through objective assessment;

  • Banning stereotyped practices and messages;

  • Confronting even small, seemingly harmless aggressions against minority groups and adopting transparent practices that signal the value of all employees.

Discrimination occurs in many ways and its effects vary depending on the organizational context and the personal biases of employees. Some forms like exclusion or incivility (disrespectful treatment, behaving in an agressive manner) are especially hard to get rid of, mostly because it may occur without the actor (the person acting it out) being aware of it.

Types of discrimination are discriminatory policies or practices; sexual harassment; intimidation; mockery and insults; exclusion and incivility.

What are some surface-level characteristics that differentiate members of the workforce?

Biographical characteristics

Biographical characteristics are personal characteristics such as age, gender, range, length that are objective and easily obtained. These are surface-level characteristics.


The workforce is aging in most developed countries. Stereotypes about older people are also changing, even though they are still perceived as less adaptable and less motivated to learn new technology.

Age and job performance

There seems to be no relation between age and job performance.

Age and job satisfaction

Satisfaction increases among professionals as they age whereas in non-professionals it falls during middle age and then rises in the later years.


There are no differences between men and women regarding job performance. There are no consistent male-female differences in problem solving ability, analytical skills or learning ability. One meta-analysis showed that women scored slightly higher than men on performance measures. Men and women are rated equally effective as leaders.

Race and ethnicity

Race is defined as the heritage people use to identify themselves, ethnicity is the additional set of cultural characteristics that often overlap with race. Individuals in the workplace may favor colleagues of their own race during performance evaluations, promotion decisions, pay raises, but such differences are not found consistently. Some industries, such as U.S. advertising and media orgnizations suffer from a lack racial diversity in their management ranks, even though their clients are ethnically diverse.

Members of racial and ethnic minorities report higher levels of discrimination in the workplace. One study found, for example, that African American applicants with no criminal history received fewer job offers than White applicants with criminal records.


Disability is defined as long-term physical, mental or sensory impairments, which may hinder one's full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others (UNCRPD, 2006). Workplace policies regarding individuals with physical or mental disabilities vary from country to country. Australia, the U.S., the United Kingdom and Japan have specific laws to protect disabled individuals.

Disabilities and outcomes

Individuals with disabilities tend to encounter lower performance expectations and are less likely to be hired. Mental disabilities also have higher impact than physical disabilities on performance. Individuals with depression are anxiety are more likely to be absent from work than individuals with physical disabilities.

Hidden disabilities

Hidden disabilities are invisible disabilities, such as sensory disabilities (impaired hearing), autoimmune disorders (rheumatoid arthritis), sleep disorders (insomnia), chronic illness or pain (carpal tunnel syndrome), cognitive or learning impairments (ADHD) and psychological disorders (PTSD).

Research suggests that disclosure helps for the employee as well as for others and for organizations, because disclosure leads to more job satisfaction and well-being for the individual, helps others to understand the individual and allow the organization to accomodate the situation to achieve top performance.

What are other differentiating characteristics?


Religious and nonreligious people often experience conflicts with each other. Islam is one of the most popular religions in the world. In the U.S., the muslims are a minority group that is growing and is experiencing discrimination in the U.S. For example, U.S. job applicants who dressed like muslims had shorter and more interpersonal negative interviews than applicants who did not dress like muslims.

Sexual orientation and gender identity

There is still no full acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) employees. Members of the LBGT group receive less call backs than non-members.

There are some laws against LBGT discrimination, but these are often not broad enough. Researchers came up with the acronym QUILTBAG to describe individuals who are queer, questioning, undecided, intersex, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, asexual or gay.

Cultural identity

A cultural identity is a link with the culture of family ancestry that lasts a lifetime, no matter where in the world the individual lives. People choose their cultural identity. Cultural norms influence the workplace.


Ability is defined as an individual's current capacity to perform the various tasks of a job. Abilities are made up of intellectual and physical abilities. For managers, it is important to understand the differences to increase the chance that a given employee will do well.

Intellectual abilities

Intellectual ability is the capacity to do mental activities such as thinking, reasoning and problem solving. Most societies place a high value on intellectual ability. Measuring intellectual ability is not easy.


There are seven dimensions of intellectual ability: number aptitude, verbal comprehension, perceptual speed, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, spatial visualization, and memory. Intelligence dimensions are positively correlated. They are even so highly correlated that researchers think there is a general factor of intelligence, instead of multiple dimensions, the general mental ability (GMA).

The Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test

The test that is most used in hiring decisions is the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test. It contains of 50 questions. It measures both speed and power.

Intelligence does not seem to make people happier or more satisfied with their jobs. They may perform better and have more interesting jobs, at the same time they are more critical when they evaluate their job conditions, so they expect more.

Physical abilities

For physical tasks, nine needed basic physical abilities are needed that are identified. These are strength factors (dynamic strength, trunk strength, static strength, explosive strength), flexibility factors (extent flexibility, dynamic flexibility) and other factors (body coordination, balance, stamina).

How can we implement diversity management strategies?

A member of a minority racial group may be less likely to leave an organization if he or she feels included. A feeling of inclusiveness is called a positive diversity climate. A positive climate for diversity may also increase sales.

Evidence suggests that some people find it uncomfortable to interact with other racial groups, unless there are clear behavioral scripts that guide their behavior.

Diversity management is meant to make everyone more aware of and sensitive to the needs and differences of others.

How can we attract, select, develop and retain diverse employees?

A way to enhance diversity in the workplace is to send recruitment messages to specific demographic groups that are underrepresented.

Diversity in groups

Groups of individuals with different types of expertise and education are more effective than homogenous groups. However, a group made entirely out of assertive people will be less effective than a mixed group.

To achieve superior performance in groups, managers should emphasize similarities among the members of the group.

Diversity programs

Effective workforce programs that encourage diversity have three components. First, they teach managers about the legal framework for equal employment opportunity and encourage fair treatment of all people regardless of their demographic characteristics. Second, they teach managers how a diverse workforce will be better able to serve a diverse market of customers and clients. Third, they foster personal development practices that bring out the skills and abilities of all workers, acknowledging how differences in perspective can be a valuable way to improve performance for everyone.

What is basic motivation? - Chapter 7

What is motivation?

Motivation is defined as the processes that account for an individual's intensity, direction and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal.

Intensity is about how hard a person tries. High intensiy can turn into wanted outcomes, but only if the effort is directed towards a specific goal. Persistence is about how long an individual maintains their effort.

Theories of motivation

Hierarchy of Needs theory

Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs is the best known theory of motivation. This theory states that every individual has five needs: physiological (hunger, thirst, shelter, sex, and other bodily needs), safety-security (security and protection from physical and emotional harm), social-belongingness (affection, belongingness, acceptance and friendship), esteem (self-respect, autonomy and achievement, and external factors such as status, recognition and attention), self-actualization (the drive to become what we are capable of becoming; growth, achieving our potential, self-fulfillment).

So to reach the fifth need, self-actualization, someone needs to be fulfilled and satisfied regarding the other needs. When one need is satisfied, the next one beccomes dominant. So, when you want to motivate someone, you should determine in which level of the hierarchy the person is at the moment and focus on satisfying the needs at or above that level.

Maslow's theory is widely accepted, although research has not shown it's cross-cultural validity.

Two-Factor theory

This is also called the motivation-hygiene theory. Herzberg asked people: "what do you want from your job?". The responses he got differed and therefore he came up with the two-factor theory. Hygiene factors are things such as quality of supervision, pay, company policies, physical work conditions, relationships with others and job security. When these are fulfilled, then people will not be dissatisfied neither will they be satisfied.

When the goal is to get people motivated on their jobs, factors that are associated with the work itself should be emphasized, such as promotional opportunities, personal growth opportunities, recognition, responsibility and achievement. These are the things that people find intrinsically rewarding.

The two-factor theory is not well supported in research, but it is still influential and is used in research in Asia a lot.

McClelland's Theory of Needs

McClelland describes needs as motivating factors, as opposed to needs for survival (as Maslow did). There are three motivating factors or needs:

  1. Need for achievement (nAch). This is the drive to excel, to achieve in relationship to a set of standards, and to strive to succeed;

  2. Need for power (nPow). This is the need to make others behave in a way they would not have otherwise.

  3. Need for affiliation (nAff). This is the desire for friendly and close interpersonal relationships.

Most of the research is focused on nAch. High achievers perform the best when they think their chance of success is a 50-50 chance. They do not like gambling, because they get no satisfaction when success is the result of pure chance. They also do not like a high probability of success, because then they do not feel as is their skills are challenged.

The three needs as described by McClelland are important for job outcomes. First, high achievers are strongly motivated when a job has a high degree of personal responsibility and feedback and an intermediate degree of risk. Second, high nAch does not necessarily make someone a good manager, because people with high nAch are often more interested in theirselves than in influencing others. Third, the most effective leaders are high in nPow and nAch.

What are contemporary theories of motivation?

The contemporary theories of motivation are supported by research.

Self-Determination Theory

The determinaton theory is a theory about the beneficial effects of instrinsic motivation and the harmful effects of extrinsic motivation. It suggests that when someone enjoys a task (intrinsic motivation) their motivation will be higher compared to when they feel like the task is an obligation (when they get paid for it).

Cognitive Evaluation Theory

This is connected to the self-determination theory. It suggests that providing people with external rewards such as money will lead to a decrease in the overall level of motivation if the rewards are seen as controlling.


Self-concordance is the degree to which people pursue goals and interest that are consistent with their own interess and core values. If individuals pursue goals out of their intrinsic motivation and interest, they are more likely to attain goals and are happier.

Goal-Setting Theory

The goal-setting theory is a theory that says that specifies that goal performance is increased when individuals set specific and difficult goals and that when they receive feedback.

Difficulty and feedback

Specific goals increase performance, difficult goals produce higher performances than easy goals and feedback leads to higher performance than non-feedback. The more difficult the goal is, the higher the level of performance, because someone has to put in more effort. Lastly, people do better when they get feedback on how they are doing in their progression towards their goals. Feedback thus guides behavior, but self-generated feedback (monitoring one's own progress or receiving feedback from the task itself) is more powerful than externally generated feedback.

Goal commitment, task characteristics and national culture factors

There are three factors of influence on the goal-performance relationship: goal commitment, task characteristics and national culture.

  1. Goal commitment. Goal commitment is when an individual is committed to their goal and determined not to lower or abandon it. Goal commitment is likely to occur when goals are made public, when the individual has an internal locus of control, when the goals are self-set rather than assigned, and when they are based on individual ability. When there is goal commitment, the individual believes that he or she can achieve the goal and the individual wants to achieve it.

  2. Task characteristics. The characteristics of the goal affect performance more when they are simple rather than complex, when they are well learned rather than novel, when they are independent rather than interdependent, and when they are on the high end of achievable.

  3. National culture. Goals have different effects varying from culture to culture. In collectivistic cultures with high power-distance, moderate goals can be more motivating than difficult ones. More research is needed to assess how goals differ accros cultures.

Individual and promotion foci

The way in which people regulate their thoughts and their behaviors during goal pursuit can be divided into two categories: promotion focus and prevention focus.

Promotion focus is a self-regulation strategy that involves striving for goals thorugh advancement and accomplishment. A prevention focus is a self-regulation strategy that means that people strive to fulfill duties and obligatins, as well as avoid conditions that stand in the way of achieving their goals.

It is the best to be as well promotion as prevention focused.


A systematic way to utilize goal settings is with management by objectives (MBO). This emphasizes specific goals that are participatively set for an explicit time period and including feedback on goal progress.

What are other contemporary theories of motivation?

Self-Efficacy Theory

The self-efficacy theory is also known as the social cognitive theory or social learning theory. This theory refers to an individual's belief that he or she is capable of performing a task. So, the higher one's self-efficacy is, the more confidence someone has in their ability to succeed.

In difficult situations, individuals with lower self-efficacy give up more easily than individuals with higher self-efficacy. Managers who set difficult goals for their employees increase their self-efficacy too, because it communicates that the manager has confidence in the ability of the employee.

Albert Bandura, the researcher who developed the self-efficacy theory, came up with four ways in which self-efficacy can be increased:

  1. Enactive mastery. This means gaining relevant experience with the task or job.

  2. Vicarious modeling. This means that you see someone else doing a task and this increases your confidence in your own abilities.

  3. Verbal persuasion. When someone convinces us of our own abilities, we become more confident.

  4. Arousal. Arousal, being in a state of being 'psyched up' can increase self-efficacy. But, when the task is one with little arousal required (such as when you are writing a summary), arousal might make you hurry through the task, which can be detrimental for your performance.

Influencing other's self-efficacy

For managers it is recommended to use verbal persuasion through the Pygmalion effect. This is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy. This means that when someone believes in something, it can become true. An example of this is telling teachers that certain students of them have a very high IQ, when in fact this was not true. The teachers therefore spent more time with these students and this lead to higher self-efficacy in the students and also better achievement outcomes. This strategy is also used in the workplace. Training programs that are interactive and that contain providing feedback are able to increase the self-efficacy of the trainees.

The reinforcement Theory

The reinforcement theory is a behavioristic view on people their actions. Behaviorism is the theory that behavior follows stimuli automatically. This means that reinforcement theorists see behavior as caused by environmental influences. It ignores the inner state of the individual and therefore it can not be called a theory of mtotivation. Said in other words, the reinforcement theory is a theory that behavior is a function of its consequences (for example, people only go to work because they get paid for it).

Operant Conditioning/Behaviorism and Reinforcement

Operant conditioning theory argues that people learn (!) to behave in certain ways to either get something that they want or to avoid something that they do not want. So, the behavior of people is influenced by reinforcement. Reinforcement strengthens a behavior and increases the likelihood of that the behavior will be repeated. For example, a dog barks. The owner then gives the dog a treat, so that he will not bark anymore. The dog gets the treat. This happens for a few more times. The dog then learns that barking (behavior) will lead him to get a treat (reinforcement). Therefore, he will probably repeat this behavior.

Social-learning theory and reinforcement

The social-learning theory is the view that we can learn through both observation and direct experience. It is an extension of operant conditioning, because it assumes that behavior is a function of consequences, but it also acknowledges the effects of observational learning and perception.

Equity Theory

The equity theory is a theory that individuals compare their job inputs and outcomes with those of others (such as coworkers) and then respond to eliminate any inequities. If someone believes that he or she gets paid equal to those with who he or she compares then there is a state of equity (fairness). When employees perceive inequity (so someone who they compare with gets paid more), then they will make one out of the following six choices according to the equity theory:

  1. They will change their inputs (exert less effort when they are underpaid, exert more effort when they are overpaid);

  2. They will change their outcomes (individuals who get paid on a piece-rate basis will produce higher quantity of units of lower quality);

  3. Distort perceptions of self ("I used to think I worked at an average pace, but now I realize that I work harder than everyone else);

  4. Distort perceptions of others ("Julia's job isn't as desirable as I thought it was");

  5. Choose a different referent ("I may not make as much money as my brother-in-law, but I'm doing better than my dad did when he was my age);

  6. Leave the field (quit the job).

The equity theory has not a lot of support from researchers. However, it served as a precursor to the study of organizational justice. Organizational justice (fairness) is an overall perception of what is fair in the workplace and consists of distributive, procedural, informational and interpersonal justice. So, organizational justice is concerned with how employees feel authorities and decision makers at work treat them.

What are the different forms of organizational justice?

Distributive justice

Distributive justice is about how fair rewards are allocated among individuals. Employees see the outcomes as the fairest when they are distributed equally. When talking about (sport)teams, it seems that differentiating the pay of team members based on their inputs attracted better players, made it more likely that they would stay and increased team performance.

Procedural justice

Procedural justice is concerned with how fair the process is that is used to determine how rewards are distributed. It seems that employees perceive that procedures are fairer when they have something to say in the decision-making process. Having influence over how decisions are made creates a sense of control and helps to feel empowered. When distributions are perceived to be fair, employees do not care a lot about the procedures. It is only when outcomes are distributed in an unfair manner when people start paying close attention to the process.

Informational justice

Informational justice reflects whether managers provide employees with explanations for key decisions and keep them informed of important organizational matters. The more detailed and honest managers are with their employees, the more informational justice is.

Interpersonal justice

Interpersonal justice is the degree to which employees are treated with dignity and respect. This form of justice is unique, because it can occur in everyday interactions between managers and employees.

Justice outcomes

Justice matters to employees, because fair treatment has many implications in the workfield. For one, when employees feel fairly treated, they exhibit higher task performance and citizenship behavior such as helping coworkers and lower levels of counterproductive behaviors such as surfing the Internet instead of working on their jobs. Distributive and procedural justice are more associated with task performance, while informational and interpersonal justice is more strongly associated with citizenship behavior. Even physiological outcomes, such as the quality of sleep and the state of the health of employees have been linked to fair treatment.

Expectancy Theory

Expectancy theory is supported by evidence and is most oen of the most widely accepted theories for explaining motivation. This theory argues that the strength of a tendency to act in a certain way depends on the strength of an expectation that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the attractiveness of that outcome to the individual.

For example, employees are motivated to exert a high level of effort when they believe that this will lead to a good performance appraisal, that a good appraisal will lead to organizational rewards such as a pay raise and that this reward (the pay raise) will satisfy the personal goals of the employee.

The theory focuses on three relationships:

  • Effort-performance relationship. This is the perceived probability that exerting a given amount of effort will lead to performance.

  • Performance-reward relationship. This is the degree to which the individual believes performing at a particular level will lead to the attainment of a desired outcome.

  • Rewards-personal goals relationship. This is the degree to which organizational rewards satisfy an individual's personal goals or needs and the attractiveness of these potential rewards for the individual.

What is job engagement?

Job engagement is the investment of an employee's physical, cognitive and emotional energies into job performance. Higher levels of job engagement lead to higher task performance and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB).

The degree to which an employee feels that it is meaningful to engage in work is one of the determinants of job engagement. Another determinant is that of a match between the individual's values and those of the organization. Lastly, leadership behaviors that inspire workers to achieve a greater sense of 'mission' also increases employee engagement.

How can we apply motivation on the organizational behavior? - Chapter 8

What is the Job Characteristics Model (JCM)?

Job design refers to the way in which elements in a job are organized. This can influence employee effort. The job characteristics model (JCM) describes jobs in terms of five core job dimensions.

  1. Skill variety. This refers to the degree to which a job requires different activities using specialized skills and talents. For example, the work of a garage-owner is more varied than that of a body shop worker who sprays paint eight hours a day.

  2. Task identity. This is the degree to which a job requires completion of a whole and identifiable piece of work. For example, a cabinetmaker who designs furniture scores high on task identity, while a job scoring low in task identity is that of someone who only has to do one thing (for example, operating a lathe solely to make table legs).

  3. Task significance. This is the degree to which a job affects the lives or work of other people. The job of a nurse is one with high task significance, because it has a lot of influence on other people's lives.

  4. Autonomy. This is the degree to which a job provides freedom, independence and discretion in scheduling work. For example, someone who sets her own schedule and has not a lot of supervision, has a highly autonomous job.

  5. Feedback. This is the degree to which carrying out work activities generate direct and clear information about one's performance. A job with high feedback is testing and inspecting iPads.

Elements of the job characteristics model

The job characteristics model proposes that individuals get internal rewards when they learn (knowledge of results) that they have personally performed well (experienced responsibility) on a task they care about (experienced meaningfulness). When these three elements are present, this will lead to higher motivation, performance and satisfaction. It will also lead to lower absenteeism and lower likelihood of leaving.

Motivating Potential Score (MPS)

The core dimensions of the JCM are combined into a single predictive index called the motivating potential score (MPS).

To get a high MPS, jobs must be high in at least one of the three factors that lead to experienced meaningfulness (skill variety, task identity an task significance) and high in both autonomy and feedback.

How can we use redesign jobs in order to motivate employees?

Job rotation

Sometimes employees suffer from feeling over-routinized in their work. One solution to this is job rotation, which is the periodic shifting of an employee with similar skill requirements at the same organizational level from one task to another. This is also called cross-training. Using job rotation increases job satisfaction and organizational commitment. It reduces boredom, increases motivation and helps employees to understand how their work contributes to the organization. It also has its drawbacks. First, work that is done repeatedly may become habitual and routine which makes decision making more automatic and efficient, but less thoughtfully considered. Second, training costs increase when employees need to learn skills for a rotation. Third, moving a worker into a new position reduces overall productivity for that role. Fourth, job rotation creates disruptions when members of the work group have to adapt and adjust to a new colleague. Fifth, supervisors may have to spend more time answering questions and monitoring the work of recently rotated employees.

Relational job design

Researchers are looking into how managers can design work so that their employees are motivated to promote the well-being of the organization's beneficiaries (such as customers, clients, patients and employees). This is called prosocial behavior. Relational job design is a way to achieve prosocial motivation. Relational job design means that jobs are constructed so that employees see what positive difference they make in the lives of others through their work. This can be reached by relating stories from customers who found the services to be helpful. Also meeting beneficiaries firsthand or seeing pictures of them, shows employees that their actions affect real people. It also makes customers and clients more memorable and emotionally vidid, which will lead to that the employees will consider the effects of their work actions more. Connections to the beneficiaries of an organization also leads to that employees better understand the perspectives of them, which leads to more commitment.

What are alternative work arrangements to motivate employees?

Considering alternative work arrangements such as flextime, job sharing and telecommuting is an approach that can be used to motivate people.


Flextime refers to flexible working hours. People who work flextime must work a specific number of hours per week, but may vary their hours.

Flextime increases profitability, but only when it is promoted as a way to balance work-life. It also reduces absenteeism.

Job sharing

Job sharing is an arrangement that allows two or more individuals to split a traditional full-time job. However, it is sometimes difficult to find comparable partners. For the employee, it can increase motivation and job satisfaction. Some companies may want to increase job-sharing, so that they do not have to provide health care to full-time employees.


Telecommuting refers to working from home at least two days a week on a computer that is linked to the employer's office. For the employee, telecommuting can increase feelings of isolation and reduce job satisfaction. Telecommuters may also be susceptible to the 'out of sight, out of mind' effect, which means that employees may be at a disadvantage when it comes to raises and promotions, because they miss out of day-to-day informal interactions.

Telecommuting does not seem to lead to reduced car driving: telecommuters drive over 45 miles more per day, due to increased personal trips.

Employee Involvement and Participation (EIP)

EIP is a process that uses the input of the employees to increase employee commitment to organizational success. When employees are engaged in decisions that increase their autonomy and control over their work lives, they will become more motivated, more committed to the organization, more productive and satisfied with their jobs. This is also true for teams.

What are forms of employee involvement?

There are two major forms of employee involvement: participative management and representative participation.

Participative management

Participative management refers to the process in which subordinates share a significant degree of decision-making power with their immediate superiors. This can be formally (briefings or surveys) or informally (daily consultations). For participative management to be effective, followers must have trust and confidence in their leaders. It is not a sure means for improving performance.

Representative participation

Representative participation is about workers participating in organizational decision making thorugh a small group of representative employees. The two most common forms of representative participation are works councils and board representatives. Works councils are groups of nominated or elected employees who must be consulted when management makes decisions about employees. Board representatives are employees who sit on a company's board of directors and represent employee's interests.

How can extrinsic rewards be used to motivate employees?

What to pay: estabilishing a pay structure

To set pay levels, internal equity (the worth of the job to the organization) and external equity (an organization's pay relative to pay in its industry) must be balanced. The more organizations pay, the better-qualified and more highly motivated employees they will get. However, paying too much may lead to that the organization's products get too expensive. So, it is a strategic decision that organizations must make.

How to pay: rewarding individual employees through variable-pay programs

Basing a portion of an employee's pay on some individual and/or organizational measure of performance is called a variable-pay program or pay-for-performance.

Piece-rate pay

A piece-rate pay is a pay plan in which workers are paid a fixed amount for each unit of production completed. When something is purely piece-rated, then there is no base salary and the employee gets paid only for what he or she produces. These plans produce higher productivity and wages. Risk-averse individuals and high achievers may prefer this kind of pay, because they like that they can control their pay based on their own work.

Merit-based pay

A merit-based pay plan pays employees for their individual performance which is assessed with performance appraisal ratings. So, high performers get higher raises. They have several limitations, such as that they are only as valid as the performance ratings, which are subjective (think of discrimination). Another limitation is that the pay-raise pool (the amount of raise that is available) is heavily dependent on things such as economic conditions that have nothing to do with personal peformance.


Bonusses are rewards for recent performance. The difference with merit-based pay is that merit based pays are based on previous performances.

Bonus plans are motivating for employees.

Profit-sharing plan

A profit-sharing plan means that compensation is distributed based on some established formula designed around a company's profitability. These can be direct cash outlays or allocations of stock options. Profit sharing at the organizational level has positive impacts on employee's attitudes. They report a greater feeling of psychological ownership. Profit-sharing plans also motivate individuals to higher job performance when they are used in combination with other pay-for-performance plans.

Employee stock ownership

An employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) is a company-established benefit plan in which employees acquire stock, often at below market prices, as part of their benefits. EOSPs increase employee satisfaction and innovation. Job satisfaction is only increased when employees experience a sense of ownership. However, it does not seem to lead to greater motivation or lower absenteeism, probably because the benefit is cashed in on a later date.

How can benefits be used to motivate employees?

A standardized benefit plan would not work well, because all employees have different goals. For example, one would want to have a good medical plan and enough life insurance to support his family. Another might want to have extra vacation time. Flexible benefits, a benefits plan that allows each employee to put together a benefits package that is tailored to his or her own needs and situations, may be better. More research is needed to decide what the effects are of providing flexible benefits. What is known now is that some organizations that provided flexible benefits, have seen increasings in job satisfactions and productivity. A downside of flexible benefits is that overall motivation will decrease, because people will see it as a standard work provision. Other downsides can also be that they may be more costly to manage and that identifying the motivational impact of different provisions is difficult.

Using intrinsic rewards to motivate employees

Employee recognition programs are plans that are designed to encourage specific employee behaviors by formally appreciating specific employee contributions. For example, thanking an employee or making an employee the Employee of the Month may increase self-esteem, self-efficacy and job satisfaction. What is nice about recognition programs is that they are often free, since praising someone with a thank-you is free!

What is communication? - Chapter 9

What is communication?

Communication is needed in groups and organizations to share meaning among its members. Communication includes both the transfer and the understanding of meaning.

The functions of communication

Communication has five functions within a group or organization: management, feedback, emotional sharing, persuasion and information exchange. They are all equally important and almost every communication that takes place involves one of these five functions.

Management function

When communication acts to manage members to behave in specific ways, this is called a managing function of communication. Also, when colleagues tease each other for working too much (and making the others look bad), this is informally communicating and managing the member's behavior.


Communication is sometimes in the form of feedback, which means that it clarifies to employees what they must do, how well they are doing it and how they can improve their performance.

Emotional sharing

In a group, communication can be used to show satisfaction and frustration. This is called emotional sharing of feelings.


Persuasion as a form of communication can be good, but also bad. For example, when a leader is trying to increase corporate social responsbility (CSR), it is seen as good. However, a leader who persuades group members to break the laws of an organization, is using a bad form of persuasion.

Information exchange

Communication can facilitate decision making by means of information exchange. This means that individuals in a group are provided with information.

The process of communication

For communication to take place, there needs to be a purpose. One message has to be sent between a sender and a receiver. The sender encodes the message and passes it to the receiver, who decodes it. This results in transfer of meaning from one person to another.

The communication process consists of the sender; encoding; the message; the channel; decoding; the receiver; noise and feedback.

The message is the result of the sender's encoding. When we speak, the speech is the message and when we write, the writing is the message. The channel is the medium through which the message is transfered. The sender decides on the channel and chooses between formal channels and informal channels. Formal channels are communication channels that are established by an organization to transmit messages related to professional activities. Informal channels are communication channels that are created spontaneously and that emerge as responses to individual choices (personal or social messages). The receiver is the person to who the message is directed and who has to translate the 'symbols' of the message into an understandable form. This is what called decoding of the message. Noise is the term for barriers that lead to less clarity in perception, such as perceptual issues, information overload, cultural differences or literally too much noise in the environment in which the message is conveyed. The final part of communication, feedback, is the check on how successful the message has been transfered.

What are the different directions of communication?

Communication can flow vertically, laterally, through formal small-group networks or the informal grapevine.

Downward communication

Downward communication means that communication flows from one level of a group or organization to a lower level. For example, when managers assign goals, provide job instructions, explain policies and procedures, they engage in downward communication.

Upward communication

Upward communication means that information flows from a lower to a higher level in a group or organization. It is used to provide feedback, to inform them of progression toward goals and to relay current problems. This kind of communication keeps managers aware of how employees are feeling about their jobs and the organization. Upward communication can therefore be used for ideas on how conditions can be improved. This kind of communication can be difficult, because the job responsibilities of managers have increased. Therefore it is recommended to only give short summaries to managers, instead of long explanations.

Lateral communication

Lateral communication is the term for communication between members of the same workgroup, members at the same level in seperate workgroups, or any other horizontally equivalent workers.

Formal small-group networks

Formal organization networks can be divided in three common small groups of five people each: chain, wheel and all channel.

Chain follows the formal chain of command. This is often the kind of groups you find in a three-level organization. Wheel relies on a central figure to act as a conduit for all group communication. This is often the case in a communication network with a strong leader. All channel means that group members are free to contribute and no one person takes a leadership role. Many organizations like to see theselves all channel, which means that anyone can communicate with anyone.

Each networks' effectiveness is determined by which goals a group has. For example, the chain of command is most effective when accuracy is important, the wheel is effective for leadership and the all channel is the best if you desire high member satisfaction.

There is not one single network that works for all organizations.

The Grapevine

Grapevine is an organization's informal communication network. This is also called word-of-mouth information from peers about a company. It is especially important for employees: it creates a sense of closeness and friendship among those who share information.

What are modes of communication?

Communication can occur oral, written and nonverbal.

Oral communication

Speeches, formal one-on-one groups and group discussions and grapevine are popular forms or oral communication. Using oral communication leads to advantages in speed, feedback and exchange. Speed, because we can convey a verbal message in little time. Feedback is also immediately available, because the sender can see and hear the effect of the message on the receiver. The exchange that is given through oral communication has social, cultural and emotional components. Cultural social exchange, exchanging information that transcend cultural boundaries, builds trust, cooperation and agreemeent between individuals and teams.

A big disadvantage of oral communication is that the initial message often gets distorted when it has to travel from one person to others. The message's content when it reaches it's final destination is often very different than the initial message.

Written communication

Written communication is communication through letters, e-mail, instant messaging, organizational periodicals and other methods that convey written words or symbols. Which written mode is used decides the advantages of it. The disadvantages are also specific to each written mode.

Nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication includes body movements, the intonations or emphasis we give to words, facial expressions and the physical distance between the sender and the receiver.

How can we choose which communication channel to use?

Channel richness

Channel richness refers to the amount of information that can be transmitted during a communication episode. Channels are called rich when they can handle multiple cues simultaneously; facilitate rapid feedback; and be very personal. The opposite of richness is called lean. Lean channels score low on these factors. Face-to-face conversations have the highest channel richness.

Choosing communication methods

When messages are routine, they have minimal ambiguity and therefore lean channels can be used. When there is nonroutine communication, then this communication is likely to be complicated and can lead to misunderstandings. To effectively communicate nonroutine messages, managers should choose rich channels.

Choosing oral communication

When it is important to see how a receiver reacts to a message, then oral communication is a good choice. For example, when you have a marketing plan for a new product, it is important to see how your coworkers react on it. There are also differences regarding preferred mode in receivers. Some like written information, while others like to hear you talk about it. In oral communication, speaking skills are important. The sound of one's voice seems twice as important as what they are saying.

Choosing written communication

When communication is complex and lengthy, written communication may be a good mode. It can also be effective in cases of short communication, in which a two-sentence text is more efficient than a 10-minute call. When you want information to be tangible, identifiable and 'on the record', written communication is also preferred. Examples of written communication are letters, instant messages, texts and social media.

Choosing nonverbal communication

When focusing on nonverbal communication, you should be especially aware of contradictions between the verbal and nonverbal messages.

What is persuasive communication?

Persuasion is one of the functions of communication. There are features that make messages more or less persuasive to an audience.

Automatic and controlled processing

There are two kinds of processing that humans use for information. The first is automatic processing, which is the relatively superficial consideration of evidence and information making use of heuristics. It takes little time and effort, so it is especially useful when messages are related to topics that you do not care a lot about. However, when you want to make a good decision, it would be better to engage in controlled processing. Controlled processing is a detailed consideration of evidence and information that relies on facts, figures and logic. It requires effort and energy.

There are different factors that decide whether an audience makes use of automatic or controlled processing.

Interest level

Someone's level of interest in a topic is one of the best predictors of whether they will use automatic or controlled processing of information. When people are very interested in something, they will process the information more carefully.

Prior knowledge

When someone is well informed about a topic, they are more likely to use controlled processing strategies. So, a better-informed audience is harder to persuade than a non-informed audience.


People who are high in need for cognition are more likely to use controlled processing compared to those who are lower in need for cognition.

Message characteristics

The channels through which messages are conveyed also influence whether people use automatic or controlled processing. For example, messages conveyed through lean channels often lead to automatic processing. Messages conveyed through rich channels encourage controlled processing.

It is important to tailor the message to the type of processing that the audience uses. When the audience is more likely to use automatic processing, it would be recommended to use messages that are emotionally laden and to associate positive images with the preferred outcome. When an audience is interested in a topic and therefore more likely to use controlled procesing, make sure to have rational arguments and evidence to support your message.

What are barriers to effective communication?

There are some barriers that slows down or distorts effective communication.


Filtering means that a sender manipulates their message, so that it will be perceived more favorable by the receiver.

Selective perception

Selective perception refers to the automatic selection of information. Receivers selectively see and hear, based on their needs, motivations, experience, background and other personal characteristics. Receivers also use their own interests and expectations into communication when they decode them.

Information overload

Information overload happens when the information one receives exceeds their processing capacity. When there is information overload, individuals tend to select, ignore, pass over or forget information.


Messages can be interpreted differently, based on which emotions the receiver has at the moment. People in negative moods are more likely to pay close attention to the message, while people in positive moods tend to accept communication more easily.


Words mean different things to different people. The two biggest factors of influence on this are age and context.


Silence can be the way to convey non-interest or inability to deal with a topic. Silence can also be the result of information overload.

Communication apprehension

Social anxiety is called communication apprehension. Thi sis the undue tension and anxiety about oral communication, written communication or both. For example, people with social anxiety may find it very difficult to talk to others (on the phone).


People seem to tell two lies a day. So, in organizations with a lot of people, there is a lot of lying going on. Research shows that people are more comfortable lying over the phone than face-to-face and more comfortable lying in e-mail than when they have to write pen and paper.

What are cultural factors in communication?

Cultural barriers

There are some barriers related to language difficulties in different cultural. First, barriers are caused by semantics. This mean that words mean different things to different people from different cultures. Some words do not even transfer between cultures. Second, there are barriers caused by word connotations. For example, the Japanese use "hai" as "yes", but not as "yes, i agree". Rather they use it as "yes, I am listening". This is different than in the U.S., where executives use "yes" to convey "yes, I agree". Third, there are barriers caused by tone differences. Fourth, there are differences in tolerance for conflict and methods for resolving conflict. For example, people in individualistic cultures tend to be more comfortable with direct conflict and to openly discuss their disagreement. However, people from collectivistic cultures are more likely to acknowledge conflict only implicitly and avoid direct expression of their disagreement.

Cultural context

There is a difference between high-context cultures and low-context cultures. In high-context cultures such as China. Japan, Korea and Vietnam, people rely heavily on nonverbal and subtle situational cues in communication. In low-context cultures, people rely heavily on words to convey meaning in communication.

Reducing miscommunications when communicating with people from different cultures

Casmir and others suggest the following when you experience miscommunication during communication with people from different cultures.

  • Know yourself. To understand the unique perspective of others, you should recognize your own cultural identity and biases.

  • Foster a climate of mutual respect, fairness and democracy. Establishing an environment of equality and mutual concern can reduce miscommunication. This is called creating a "third culture", in which everyone is equal.

  • State facts and not your interpretation.

  • Consider the other person's viewpoint.

  • Proactively maintain the identity of the group. Remind members of the group of your common goals, mutual respect and adapt to individual communication preferences, to keep the third culture in tact.

What are groups? - Chapter 10

What are groups?

Groups consist of two or more individuals who interact and depend on each other and who together must achieve certain goals or outcomes (objectives). Groups can be both formal and informal. Formal groups are groups that belong to organizations and in which organizational goals are pursued. Informal groups are social groups. An example is a group consisting of three individuals who have lunch or go to the movies together.

Social identity

The social identity theory is a theory that explains when and why individuals see themselves as part of (one or more) groups.

In- and outgroups

An in-group has different degrees and variants. A very strong in-group is a group in which there is a strong sense of cohesion and a sense of security. There is a “we versus them”-mentality. Another example of this is a very close group of friends who do not tolerate others in their group. In-group favoritism means that people who belong to the in-group are seen as better. Also members of the in-group are not all seen the same. The out-group is the counterpart of the in-group and people belonging to this out-group are seen as 'unsafe and dangerous outsiders'. When talking about an out-group, people immediately refer to several people who pose a threat to the unity of the out-group. However, an out-group does not always have to be considered threatening and can simply be a collective name for 'all others who do not belong to the in-group'.

How do groups develop?

The punctuated-equilibrium model means that groups of a temporary nature go through a number of steps from inertia to activity. The steps are:

The first meeting in which the goals of the group become clear; the first phase is slow and causes little progression; transition takes place exactly on the half of the deadline; this transition causes many changes; there is a delay again; finally there is accelerated activity.

Group attribute 1: Roles

All group members have a role. A role is assigned to an individual. This individual is then expected to show certain behaviors that fit this role.

Role perceptions

Role perceptions are the beliefs of an individual about how he or she should behave in a certain situation.

Role expectations

These are the expectations of others about how an individual should behave in a certain situation.

Psychological construct

A psychological contract is an unwritten agreement in which the mutual expectations of the organization and the employee are stated.

Role conflict

Role conflict arises in situations where an individual is confronted with different expectations. An inter-role conflict means that an individual has different groups which have different expectations from the individual.

Group attribute 2: Norms

All groups have norms. Norms are acceptable behaviors that everyone in a group agrees on.

Norms and conformity

Conforming means that an individual adapts to the norms of the group. An example of a well-known experiment is that of Asch. The experiment in which Asch demonstrated this was as follows: participants in the study were each given a map with a line on it. The participants were then given another card with three lines with the names a, b and c. The participants then had to answer the question which line on the second ticket corresponded with the line on the first ticket. Initially, the subjects had no trouble with the experiment, since it was not difficult to give the correct answer. The other test subjects in the same room also gave the same answer. After that, however, the other "participants" (in reality colleagues of Asch) all started to give the same wrong answer. Solomon Asch had expected that the majority of people would not give in (conform) to what was clearly not correct, but the results were different: an alarming number of participants gave the wrong answer and followed the group instead of their minds.

People adapt most to their reference groups. Reference groups are groups to which individuals belong or to which they would like to belong.

Negative norms and outcomes

Deviant behavior in the workplace are behaviors that exceed the norms of an organization and therefore have a negative effect on the overall organization or on the members of the organization. Deviant behavior can occur in production (early departure, deliberate slow work), property (stealing the organization), politics (gossiping) and personal aggression (sexual harassment).

Group attribute 3: Status

Status is defined as the position or rank that an individual has in a group. According to the status characteristics theory, status arises from one of these sources: the power that a person has over others; the ability of an individual to contribute to the goals of the group and the individual characteristics of an individual.

Group feature 4: Size

Large groups are more effective when the goal is to come up with ideas. Smaller groups of about seven members are better when the goal is to be productive. Social loafing means that people exert less effort when in a group. It is therefore recommended for managers to identify individual contributions. Other ways to prevent social loafing are:

Setting group goals so that there is a common goal to work on; increasing inter-group competition; using peer evaluations; selecting members who have a lot of motivation and who like to work in teams; providing rewards based on each member's unique contribution.

Group feature 5: Cohesiveness

Cohesiveness refers to the extent to which group members are attracted to each other and are motivated to stay in the group. Cohesion affects the productivity of the group. If the standards for quality and output are high, then high group cohesion leads to more productivity. However, if the standards and requirements are not clear, then high group cohesion can lead to less productivity. If both standards and group cohesion are not present, then there is average productivity.

To improve group cohesion, group sizes can be reduced; agreement between group members can be encouraged; the time that group members spend together can be increased; the status of the group can be increased; competition with other groups can be increased; providing rewards to the whole group rather than to individuals and to physically isolate the group.

Group feature 6: Diversity

Diversity is the degree to which group members are the same or different from each other. More diversity leads to more conflict, especially at the start of a group's cooperation. Effective group leaders are capable of reducing these conflicts.

A disadvantage of diverse teams is that there may be faultlines. These are observed differences (in gender, race, age, work experience) that can cause a group to split into multiple subgroups. These splits are not good for group performance, because subgroups can compete with each other. Groups with subgroups also learn less quickly, take more risky decisions and experience more conflict. However, when subgroups are formed based on skills, knowledge or expertise, this can lead to positive group performance.

How choices made in a group?

Groups ensure that there is more complete information and knowledge, because they consist of several members with each unique experiences and perspectives. The disadvantages of groups are that it takes more time to make choices. It is also possible that one member is very dominant in the group. When these dominant members have little knowledge and skills, this results in poorer group performance. There may also be ambiguous responsibility, in which it is not always clear who is responsible for the choices that are made.

Individuals therefore perform better when compared to groups when speed is important. However, when creativity is important, groups beat individuals.


Groupthink is a phenomenon in which the norm for consensus overrides the realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action. Managers can prevent groupthink by keeping an eye on group size. They can also appoint leaders who ensure that all individual members are heard. One member can also be given the role of the devil. This means that he or she critically assesses the input of the group members.

Group polarization

Group polarization means that in group discussions, more extreme choices are made compared to individual choices. Explanations for this are that group discussions ensure that group members feel more at ease with each other and therefore dare to express more extreme opinions. Another explanation is that because it is sometimes unclear who has responsibility in groups (ambiguous responsibility), it is easier to take a more extreme position. Group members may also express an extreme opinion to show that they are different from the out-group.

Group decision techniques


Brainstorming means that a fair number of members come together. The group leader mentions a problem and clarifies it for everyone. Subsequently, members can name as many solutions as possible. There is no criticism, so even bizarre solutions may be mentioned. Brainstorming can lead to ideas, but is often not effective. An explanation for this is "production blocking". This means that many people talk in a group at the same time, which means that individuals cannot think properly and therefore cannot share their ideas.

Nominal group technique

The nominal group technique means that individuals come together, but act independently of each other. A problem is presented and then the following steps are followed:

Each member writes down his idea about the problem. After this period, each member presents one idea to the group. After each member has presented an idea, there is a period of discussion. Finally, each member organizes the ideas. The idea with the highest score wins.

Nominal group techniques are more effective than brainstorming.

What are teams? - Chapter 11

What is the difference between teams and groups?

Teams have become very popular because they can achieve things that individuals cannot achieve. Teams are more flexible and can respond better to changes compared to individuals. A workgroup is a group that works together to exchange information and to help each member perform within his or her area of responsibility. A work team is a group in which the efforts of all individuals together ensure higher performance compared to individual efforts.

The difference between workgroups and work teams is therefore in the goals, the synergy, the responsibilities and the skills. The purpose of working groups is to exchange information and that of working teams is collective performance. The synergy of working groups is neutral, and that of working teams is positive. The responsibilities in workgroups lie with the individuals, and with work teams the individuals and the team both are responsible. Finally, the skills of working groups vary, while the skills of working teams are complementary.

What types of teams are there?

There are four common types of teams in organizations: problem-solving teams, self-managing teams, cross-functional teams and virtual teams.

Problem-solving teams

Problem-solving teams consist of five to twelve group members from the same department who meet a few hours a week to discuss ways to improve the quality and efficiency of the work environment.

Self-managing teams

These teams consist of ten to fifteen members, who take on the responsibilities of their managers. Examples are planning work, dividing tasks among employees and working with customers and suppliers.

Cross-functional teams

Cross-functional teams consist of employees who are of the same level, but from different work areas. This is an effective way to come up with new ideas. However, cross-functional teams are difficult to manage because it takes time for members to adapt to each other. It also takes time to build mutual trust and teamwork, especially because the mutual perspectives of the members differ.

Virtual teams

Virtual teams are teams that use computer technology to enable people who are physically distant from each other to work together. Before virtual teams can be effective, trust must first be established between members; progress must be closely monitored and the efforts of these teams must be recognized by everyone in the organization.

Multiteam systems

Multiteams are teams that consist of two or more dependent teams, who pursue one goal. It is therefore a team of teams. A multi team is a good option when a team is too large, or when two teams that have different functions have to be coordinated.

How can effective teams be created?

Characteristics of effective teams can be divided into: the context, the composition and the process.

Team context

There are four contextual factors that influence team performance: adequate resources, leadership and structure, a climate of trust and performance evaluations and reward systems.

Adequate resources

Resources that are important for team performance are things such as adequate information, sufficient staff and encouragement.

Leadership and structure

Leadership and structure are needed to determine who does what in a team.

Climate of trust

Trust is the basis of leadership. Also, when team members trust each other, this leads to more cooperation and eventually to better team performance.

Performance evaluation and reward systems

By applying performance evaluations, it can be ensured that all individuals contribute sufficiently to team performance.

Team composition

The composition of teams is about what kind of individuals teams consist of. A number of variables are important here: the skills and personalities of the team members, the allocation of roles, diversity, cultural differences, the size of the team and the preferences of team members.

The skills of the team members

Teams consisting of intelligent individuals are more effective than teams consisting of less intelligent members. They are better able to adapt to changes. An intelligent leader is also more effective.

The personalities of team members

Conscientiousness is particularly important in teams. Having a performance orientation also leads to higher team performance.

High scores on openness also lead to better team performance. Openness ensures better communication and more creativity.

Allocation of roles

Nine types of roles can be identified in teams: a linker, a creator, a promoter, an assessor, an organizer, a producer, an inspector, a maintainer and an adviser. Effective teams are teams in which all these roles are fulfilled.

Diversity of team members

Organizational demography is the degree to which members of a team agree on demographic characteristics such as age, gender, race, level of education or tenure. Diversity seems to have a negative impact on team performance.

Cultural differences

Cultural diversity in teams creates more difficulty in solving problems. However, when team members work with each other for longer, this negative effect disappears.

The size of teams

Most experts state that teams must be kept small in order to create the most effective teams. The "two pizza rule" states that two pizzas should be enough for a team. If two pizzas are not enough, the group is too large. Another rule is that or the seven plus minus two for the ideal group size.

Preferences of team members

Some individuals like to work in groups. When selecting team members, this can be taken into account. Often high performing teams are teams that consist of these types of individuals.

How does the team process work?

There are also variables that have to do with the process, which can influence the effectiveness of teams. These are: a common plan or goal, specific goals, team efficacy, team identity, team cohesion, mental models, levels of conflict and social loafing.

Common plan or goal

Effective teams have a clear mission. Reflectivity is important here: reflecting on the plan and adjusting where necessary.

Specific goals

Successful teams can translate their mission into clear, difficult but achievable goals.

Team efficacy

Team efficacy refers to the degree to which team members believe that they can achieve their goals. Managers can increase team efficacy by rewarding small successes in the right direction and by providing training to team members to increase their skills.

Team identity

Team identity refers to the degree to which a team member feels connected to his or her team. Organizational identity is also important.

Team cohesion

Team cohesion is a situation in which team members are emotionally attached to each oher and motivated toward the team because of their attachment.

Mental models

Mental models are the beliefs of team members about how work is performed in the team.

Conflict levels

Relationship conflicts are usually dysfunctional in teams, while task conflicts can be functional. Task conflicts can stimulate discussion and can lead to better choices.

Social loafing

Social loafing means that individuals do not exert a lot of effort in a group. Social loafing can be prevented by applying individual performance evaluations.

What are the characteristics of a leader? - Chapter 12

What is leadership?

Leadership is defined as the capacity to influence others in order to achieve certain group goals. There are theories about personality traits that influence leadership. There are now two conclusions about personality traits in relation to leadership: personality traits can predict leadership and these traits are better at predicting the emergence of leadership, rather than predicting the effectiveness of leadership.

Personality traits and Leadership

Extraversion is the most predictive personality trait for leadership. Accuracy and openness to experience also predict leadership, and especially the effectiveness of leadership. Accuracy and extraversion have a positive effect on the self-efficacy levels of an individual. The more confident a person seems, the more others are inclined to follow this person.

The Dark Triad

Research has shown that an average score on the dark-side personality traits of machiavellianism, narcissism and psychopathy are optimal for effective leadership. Too high and too low scores lead to ineffective leadership.

Emotional intelligence and leadership

Empathy is an important part of emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence also predicts effective leadership. This is probably because empathic leaders can better sense the wishes of others and are therefore able to express genuine sympathy. This creates trust and more therefore leads to effective leadership.

What do behavioral theories say about leadership?

Personality traits help to predict leadership. However, they do not explain leadership. Behavioral theories help to distinguish between leaders and non-leaders and answer the question of what specific behavior belongs to leadership. There are two dimensions that belong to leadership: initiation structure and consideration.

Initiation structure

The initiation structure is the extent to which a leader organizes work well and roles are well distributed. The tasks are divided among followers, a standard for performance is set and deadlines are emphasized. A good initiation structure leads to more productivity and positive performance evaluations.


Considerations are about the degree of the relationships that a leader has with his followers that are characterized by trust and respect. A leader who scores high on consideration, helps employees with their personal problems, is friendly and approachable.

What do contingency theories say about leadership?

There are situations in which certain leadership styles are more effective than in other situations.

Fiedler contingency theory

This theory states that group performance depends on a good match between the leadership style and the extent to which a situation gives a leader control and power. The first step in this model is to determine whether a leader has a task or a relationship orientation. This is done with the help of the least preferred coworker (LPC) questionnaire. In this questionnaire, people must describe which colleague they least like to work with. If people describe that person in favorable terms, the respondent is relationship-oriented. When the respondent describes his or her colleague in unfavorable terms, he or she is task-oriented.

After finding a score, a fit must be found between the organizational situation and the leadership style of a person in order to predict the effectiveness of leadership.

Fiedler distinguishes three situational dimensions:

  1. Leader-member relations. This is about the degree of trust and respect that followers have for their leader.

  2. Task structure. This is about the extent to which tasks are standardized.

  3. Position power. This is about the degree of influence the leader has over power variables such as hiring, firing, promotions and salary increases.

Based on these three factors in combination with the leadership style, effective leadership can be predicted.

Situational leadership theory (SLT)

This theory states that effective leadership depends on whether the chosen leadership style fits the readiness and capacity of followers. Readiness is about the extent to which followers are willing to complete a specific task. Based on this readiness, a leader must choose one of four specific behaviors.

If the followers do not have sufficient capacity and are not willing, then the leader must give (direct) specific and clear instructions. If followers do not have sufficient capacity, but are willing to perform a task, the leader must show a high task orientation and encourage progress (coaching). If followers have capacity but are not willing to complete the task, then leaders must support them and ensure more participation (support). Finally, if followers have capacity and are willing, the leader does not have to do much.

The path-goal theory

The path-goal theory states that it is the leader's job to provide followers with sufficient information, support or other means. In this theory it is therefore assumed that a manager supplements his employees and compensates for their shortages. The managers therefore give their employees a clear path, which they must follow in order to achieve the goal.

There are three types of leadership styles that suit different situations. Directive leadership is best when tasks are ambiguous or stressful. However, when employees possess good abilities and skills, this style is seen as undesirable. Supportive leadership works best when employees have to perform structured tasks.

The leader-participation model

This theory states that the participation of followers in making choices is important.

What are contemporary theories about leadership?

The Leader-Member Exchange Theory (LMX)

The leader-member exchange theory states that leaders create in- and outgroups. Subordinates (followers) with ingroup status will have higher performance ratings, less turnover and greater job satisfaction.


There are two theories about leadership that share a common idea. They see managers as individuals who are able to inspire others through their ideas, words and behaviors.

Charismatic leadership

This form of leadership is based on the personal qualities of the leader and the recognition of these qualities by their followers. Charismatic leaders often have a clear vision, are willing to take risks to achieve that vision, and are sensitive to the needs of their followers show extraordinary behavior. A vision is a long-term strategy for achieving goals.

Individuals can be born with traits that make them charismatic. Personality is also related to charisma. People with charisma are often extrovert, confident and performance-oriented.

Individuals are especially sensitive to charismatic leadership when there is a crisis, when they are under stress or when their lives are threatened.

The dark side of charismatic leadership

Not all charismatic leaders do things that are good for their organization or society. Narcissism is also related to charismatic leadership.

What is transactional and transformational leadership?

Transactional leaders are leaders who motivate their followers to achieve a certain goal by setting clear roles and requirements. Transformational leaders are leaders who focus on change, in which the leader has an inspiring vision and motivates his employees to follow this vision. This leads to more results in the long term.

A combination of transactional leadership with transformational leadership is best.

The leadership model

Laissez-faire, or otherwise called “let it be” is the least effective form of leadership. Contingency leadership can be effective, but does not ensure that followers do more than what is expected of them. The four I's: individual consideration, intelligent stimulation, inspirational motivation and idealized influence ensure more motivation, more effort and less absenteeism. These four I's belong to transformational leadership and the use of these four I's ensures effective leadership.

What is responsible leadership?

Authentic leadership

Authentic leaders are leaders who know who they are, what they believe in and value and who openly pursue these values ​​and beliefs. They share information, encourage open communication and stick to their ideals. Followers see authentic leaders as reliable.

Ethical leadership

Ethical leadership is determined by the way a leader tries to achieve his or her goals. Unethical leaders are leaders who use their charisma to convince others to do things that are in the interest of the leader alone.

Charismatic social leadership, on the other hand, is leadership that aligns the interests of the leader with those of the follower.

Servant leadership

This is a leadership style that is characterized by the focus on the interests of followers and the stimulation of development and growth in followers, rather than being focused on their own interests. Servant leadership leads to more dedication and self-efficacy in the followers. The team also increases potential. This is the idea that the team to who someone belongs is, has above-average abilities and skills. This idea leads to increased group performance.

What is positive leadership?

Trust is important for leaders. It has a number of effects, such as that it encourages risk-taking, encourages information exchange, leads to more effective groups and increases productivity.

Creating trust

There are three factors that influence becoming a reliable leader. These are integrity, benevolence and ability.

  • Integrity is about honesty. Benevolence is about the leader taking your interests into account, even if these do not match his or her own interests.

  • Ability is about the skills that a leader possesses.

  • Trust propensity refers to how likely it is that an employee trusts a leader.


A mentor in professional organizations is a senior employee who takes care of less experienced employees, who are often called protégés.

Attribution theory of leadership

This theory states that leadership arises from the attributions that one makes about another. According to this theory, it is more important to appear as a leader, than to focus on actual accomplishments.

Substitutes and neutralizers of leadership

According to a theory about leadership, there are substitutes that are useful in certain situations. Examples are experience and training. When there is experience and training, a leader can be superfluous.

Neutralization means that there are things that ensure that it does not matter to followers or their leader. Examples are, for example, that someone is not sensitive to pay.

Both factors therefore ensure ineffective leadership.

Online leadership

Online leadership is emerging. Trust is the most important here, because people are separated from each other and there is no face-to-face interaction.

What is the role of politics and power in organizations? - Chapter 13

What is the difference between power and leadership?

In organizations, power refers to the fact that A influences the behavior of B so that it fits A's wishes, just because A has something that B would like. Power is a potential: someone can have power without using it. The most important part of power is that of dependence. Dependence arises when B sees no other alternatives and considers what A has to be important. So someone only has power over you when he or she has something that you would like to have.

Leaders use power as a means to achieve goals, often in groups. The difference between power and leadership is that with leadership there must be compatibility between the goals of the leader and those of the group. With power this is not necessary, there just has to be dependence. The direction of influence is also different. With leadership this influence is from top to bottom, with power this is not always the case. A third difference is that in research, the style of leadership is often emphasized. Research into power often looks at tactics that can be used. The final difference between power and leadership is that leadership is often about an individual, while power can be used by multiple groups and / or individuals.

The bases of power

Power can be divided into two categories: formal and personal.

Formal power

Formal power is due to the position of an individual in an organization. It can arise when someone has the ability to reward or force others. It can also arise through formal authority.

Coercive power

Coercive power has influence because an individual is afraid of failing. This is often about physical threats, such as hurting someone when he or she does not comply.

In organizations this is of course different: A has power over B, when A could decide to dismiss or suspend B. For this, it is important that B values ​​the job.

Reward power

Reward power is about power that arises as a result of the positive effects that one obtains by conforming to a person. This could be financial rewards (bonuses, salary increases) or non-financial rewards (recognition, promotion).

Legitimate power

In organizations, legitimate power is the most common form of power. This is the power a person has through his or her position in a formal hierarchy of an organization.

What is personal power?

Personal power arises from the unique characteristics of an individual. There are two types of power: expertise and respect and the respect and admiration of others.


Expertise is power that arises as a result of very specialized skills or knowledge. For example, doctors have power because their advice can have a significant impact on people.

Reference power

Reference power arises when an individual has certain characteristics or characteristics that another person would also like. This is the influence of celebrities and the reason that many people want the shoes that LeBron is wearing.

The personal forms of power are the most effective. Reference power can also help to increase motivation.

What is dependence?

Dependence is the most important aspect of power. The general postulate of dependence states that the greater the dependence of B on A, the more power A has over B. By having something that someone else would like, others become dependent on you and you gain power over them. However, if something is abundant, then possessing it will not lead to more power.

So the more you have yourself, the less you depend on others and others are less powerful. This explains why many organizations have multiple suppliers instead of one supplier. This also explains why many people want to be financially independent: others have less power on you.

Dependence arises when something is important, scarce and nonsubstitutable.

Social network analysis

To view the exchange of resources in organizations, the social network analysis can be used. This analysis looks at the different patterns of communication between members of the organization, to determine how the information flows between them. Every individual in the network is a node and the links between them are called connections. The more often individuals communicate with each other, the stronger the connection. There are also people who serve as 'brokers’ in communication.

The representation of these connections in a social network is called a sociogram. The difference with an organization chart is that an organization chart shows how authority should go, while a sociogram shows how the connections really work.

The individuals who play the role of brokers in a sociogram have the most power because they have contact with multiple groups. Many people depend on these brokers.

What are power tactics?

Researchers have identified nine different power tactics. Power tactics are ways of using power to achieve a specific action.

  1. Legitimacy. This means that people use their authoritarian position to get things done.

  2. Rational persuasion. This means that people use arguments and facts to show that a certain goal is desired.

  3. Inspirational appeals. This means that people try to unleash emotions by appealing to someone's values, needs and hopes.

  4. Consultation. This means that someone is involved in the plan in order to increase support for the plan.

  5. Exchange. This means that people are rewarded for following a request.

  6. Personal considerations. This means that someone is asked to comply by pointing him or her to friendship or loyalty.

  7. Ingratiation. This means that someone flatters, praises or behaves very kindly in order to achieve a certain goal.

  8. Pressure. This means that someone is threatened and thus put under pressure to adapt.

  9. Coalitions. This means that others are used to help convince someone.

Some of these tactics are more effective than others. Rational persuasion and consultation seem particularly effective. The application of pressure is the least effective. Combining two or more tactics also increases the chance of success. In general it is effective to start with "soft" tactics such as rational persuasion and consultation. If this does not have the desired effect, "harder" tactics such as exchange, coalitions and pressure can be used. The effectiveness of the tactics also depends on the audience.

Political skills

There is a difference in political skills between individuals. Political skills are about how well people are able to influence others, to achieve their own goals. People with good political skills are able to use power tactics well. Political skills are also more effective when it is important that people adapt, such as with important organizational outcomes. Also people who have good political skills and can use them without others noticing, are more effective.

How does power affect individuals?

Power can be corruptive. Power leads to individuals putting their own interests above those of others. Power also leads individuals to 'objectify' others, meaning that they see others as a way to achieve their goals (as an instrument). Powerful people also often react negatively when their competence is threatened. Finally, power ensures that there is a denigrating view of others and can also lead to too much confidence in making decisions.

Power variables

There are a number of variables that affect the effect that power has. For example, if someone has an anxious personality, power will not usually be abused by him, because he or she does not think that the use of power will help him or her. Organizations can also ensure that there is no abuse of power. Expressing gratitude to powerful people can also make them behave less aggressively. In addition, it seems that people who are low in status are more likely to abuse power because they feel threatened.

Power can also have positive effects. Power can provide energy and motivation to achieve certain goals.

The difference lies mainly in a weak or strong moral identity. Having a weak moral identity leads to abuse of power, while individuals with a strong moral identity are more inclined to use and use their power in positive ways.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is about all unwanted activities that are sexual in nature, that affect the work of an individual and that create a hostile and unsafe work environment. It is most common in organizations in male-dominant workforces.

What is political behavior?

Political behavior is about activities that do not belong to someone's formal role within an organization, which attempts to influence distributions and benefits within an organization.

The causes and consequences of political behavior

There are a number of factors that influence political behavior.

Individual factors

Personality traits such as a high degree of self-monitoring, having an internal locus of control and a high need for power, lead to more political behavior. Someone with a machiavellian personality is also more likely to show political behavior.

The level of investment in an organization and the perceived alternatives also influence the extent to which an individual will use illegitimate political behavior. Even if someone expects to be able to win a lot, or if there is a lot at stake, it influences how badly people display illegitimate political behavior. Some individuals also display political behavior simply because they are good at it. They are then often indirectly rewarded for this behavior.

Organizational factors

When an organization's resources are threatened or when profits can be made (such as promotion), employees are more likely to display political behavior. All changes in an organization affect the political behavior of employees.

Organizations in which there is little trust, high levels of role ambiguity, unclear performance evaluations, high pressure for performance, and democratic decision-making systems are organizations in which political behavior also occurs more frequently.

The zero sum game

This is a negotiation approach that is about a fixed value. If a promotion of € 15,000 is to be divided between five employees, one employee who receives more than € 3,000 will ensure that the other employees receive less money.

Impression management

Impression management means that individuals try to influence the image that others have of them. This is often done during interviews and performance evaluations. Examples of impression management are avoiding action, avoiding blame, avoiding change, conformity, favors, excuses, apologies, self-promotion, enhancement, flattery and exempflication.

What is conflict in organizations? - Chapter 14

What is conflict?

Conflict is about difference in perceptions. Before anything can be a conflict, both parties must realize that there is a conflict. Conflict is defined as the process that starts when a party thinks that another party (another person) has influenced or will negatively influence something that one party cares about.

Conflict starts during interaction when people begin to disagree with each other. Some approaches say that there are types of conflict based on their effect. Functional conflict is a type of conflict that supports the goals of the group and ensures better performance. Dysfunctional conflict is conflict that hinders the performance of a group, also known as destructive conflict.

The different types of conflict

By looking at the type of disagreement that exists, conflict can be better understood. Researchers have established three categories for conflict: relationship conflicts, task conflicts and process conflicts. Relationship conflict is about conflict in interpersonal relationships.

  1. Task conflicts are about conflicts that have to do with the content and goals of a certain task. Process conflicts are about how work is completed.

  2. Relationship conflicts are almost always dysfunctional and often very exhausting for the individuals in the conflict. This kind of conflict is often concerned with problems related to personality. Because personality cannot be easily changed, relationship conflicts are destructive to the working atmosphere.An average level of task conflicts is considered optimal for performance. For example, a study has shown that it would increase creativity. Too high a level of task conflicts reduced team performance. The personalities of the team members also had influence. For example, individuals who scored high in openness and emotional stability were better able to experience the positive effects of task conflicts.

  3. Process conflicts are often about roles and these conflicts are very personal. Therefore, process conflicts often change quickly into relationship conflicts, which are therefore destructive.

Loci of conflict

Instead of looking at the type of conflict, it is also possible to look at the locus. The locus is the specific place or situation in which a conflict occurs. There are three types of locus: dyadic conflict, intragroup conflict and intergroup conflict. Dyadic conflict is conflict between two individuals. Intragroup conflict is about conflict within a group or team. Intergroup conflict is conflict between different groups or teams.

Intragroup conflict can lead to better performance, but for this to happen, it is important that the group has a positive climate in which mistakes are not penalized and the team members support each other.

The process of conflict

There are five phases in the process of conflict: potential incompatibility, cognition and personalization, intentions, behavior and outcomes.

Phase 1: Potential incompatibility

This is the first phase of conflict. At this stage there are certain conditions that could cause conflict. The conditions can be divided into three categories: communication, structure and personal variables.


Conflicts through communication can arise due to differences in semantics (being unable to understand each other), misunderstandings, noise in the environment, jargon and unclear information. If communication is too little or too much, this can also increase the chance of conflicts.


Structure is about things like the size of the group, the degree of specialization in tasks, leadership styles, reward systems and the degree of dependence between groups. The larger a group is, the greater the chance of conflict. Tenure is also related to conflict. This means that someone who has been with an organization for longer has less chance of conflicts. The chance of conflicts is therefore highest when group members are just new.

Personal variables

Personal variables are things such as personality, emotions and values. Individuals who score high on disagreeableness, neuroticism or self-monitoring, more often have conflicts and also respond to conflicts in an efficient manner. Differences in preferences can also cause conflicts.

Phase 2: Cognition and personalization

In the second phase, the potential conditions for conflict become a conflict. This is because there is a difference between a perceived conflict, which takes place in the first phase, and a felt conflict. In the second phase there is a felt conflict. In this phase it is also decided what the conflict is about. Emotions play a role in this. When people experience negative emotions, others are assessed more negatively. Positive emotions, on the other hand, ensure that people are more open to other people's perspectives.

Phase 3: Intentions

Intentions are the intentions behind certain behaviors. There is a gap between intention and behavior. This means that people often do not match their intentions with their behavior.

There are two dimensions: assertiveness (the extent to which someone tries to satisfy his own needs) and cooperativity (the extent to which someone tries to satisfy the other's needs). There are five conflicts that have to do with intentions: competitive (assertive and non-cooperative), cooperative (assertive and cooperative), avoiding (unassertive and non-cooperative), adaptive (unassertive and non-cooperative) and compromising (average on assertive and cooperative). Intentions are dynamic: they can change when individuals in a conflict open up to the other's perspective.


Competition means that someone only focuses on his or her own needs, without thinking about the effects of this behavior on the other party in a conflict.


During a cooperating conflict, both parties are focused on satisfying the needs of both parties.


Avoiding conflicts are conflicts in which someone wants to prevent a conflict or does not want to participate. Examples are that someone ignores conflicts or avoids individuals with different opinions.


Adapting conflicts are conflicts in which one party puts the interests of the other above his or her own interests and adapts.


In a compromising conflict, there is no winner or loser. Both parties give up something in this conflict.

Phase 4: Behavior

The fourth phase explains how differences in perceptions (phase 1), changes to tensions (phase 2) and ultimately overt attacks (wars, riots, strikes) (phase 3).

Conflicts in the first phase are often functional conflicts. When conflicts are in the second or third phase, they are usually dysfunctional. Conflict management focuses on how conflicts can be functional instead of dysfunctional.

Phase 5: Outcomes

Conflicts can therefore be functional or dysfunctional. Functional conflicts are conflicts that, for example, lead to improvements in the quality of choices and lead to more creativity and innovation. Open discussions can turn conflict into functional conflicts.

Dysfunctional outcomes are conflicts that reduce the effectiveness of groups through worsened communication and lower group cohesion.

All forms (functional or dysfunctional) of conflict lead to less confidence in other members and less satisfaction.

Dealing with conflict

Recognizing disagreements can lead to less dysfunctional conflicts. By allowing different groups to choose from a solution based on what is most important to them, conflicts can be reduced. Open discussion can therefore lead to fewer conflicts. Multiple interests must also be emphasized. Groups that use a cooperative style and identify strongly with the goals of the group are more effective than groups where there is a competitive style.

What is negotiation?

Negotiation is a process in which there are two or more parties that exchange services or products and negotiate what price is charged for this. In organizations, negotiations have an effect on the relationship between the negotiators.

Negotiation strategies

There are two types of negotiation: distributive negotiation and integrative negotiation. These types differ in goals, motivation, focus, interests, information exchange and the duration of the relationship.

Distributive negotiation

Distributive negotiation means that there is a win-loss situation. One party wins and the other loses. Distributive negotiation is about negotiating about a fixed pie (a standard amount of services or products) that must be distributed. Negotiators who negotiate distributively have a specific target. This is what the negotiator wants to achieve or achieve. Each also has a resistance point. This is the lowest possible outcome of the negotiation. The space between the target and the resistance point is called the aspiration area. If both aspiration areas match, then a point can be chosen in which both interests are satisfied. It is recommended to make an aggressive bid first during distributive negotiation. This radiates power. There is also anchoring bias, which means that people often focus on initial information.

Integrative negotiation

Integrative negotiation is negotiation in which the aim is to achieve a win-win situation.

What is the best method to negotiate?

In organizations, integrative negotiation is better than distributive negotiation, because integrative negotiation can lead to long-term relationships. Distributive negotiation involves one winner and one loser. However, before integrative negotiation can be effective and successful, both parties must be honest and sensitive to the wishes of the other party.

How does the negotiation process work?

The negotiation process can be divided into five steps: preparation and planning, defining basic rules, clarification and justification, negotiation and problem solving and closure and implementation.

Preparation and planning

This is the most important step of the negotiation process. Good preparation is needed for effective negotiation. One way to do this is by developing a strategy. This is also called batna: the best alternative to negotiated agreement. This is the least that an individual wants to accept.

Defining basic rules

This is about determining things such as who leads the negotiation and where it will take place. Also things like a time limit or certain restrictions of negotiation are determined in this phase.

Clarification and justification

In this phase both parties explain to each other what their wishes are, why this is important and how they came to these wishes. Documents can also be useful in this phase, to clarify to the other person what his or her goal is.

Negotiation and problem solving

In this phase the parties must negotiate and come to a solution.

Conclusion and implementation

In this phase, the negotiation is formally recorded. Also further actions to achieve the outcomes are specified.

What is the effect of individual differences on the effectiveness of negotiations?

There are four factors that determine how effectively individuals negotiate: personality, mood or emotions, culture and gender.


Self-efficacy in particular is a difference in personality that is related to the outcome of negotiations. People who think they can negotiate better appear to be more confident.

Mood or emotions

Showing power during negotiations is effective, but only if you have at least as much power as the other. Faking anger is not effective, but showing real anger is.

Disappointment also plays a role during negotiations. If one party perceives disappointment in the other party, he or she gives in more. Anxiety also has an effect. Individuals who experience more anxiety during negotiations use more fraud during negotiations. They also often expect lower outcomes and step out of negotiation faster, while they have not achieved their optimum profit. Emotional instability also affects the effectiveness of negotiations. When one party shows emotional instability, the other party complies more because it makes them feel less in control.


Individuals negotiate more effectively within a culture than between cultures. Cross-cultural negotiations can be especially successful when both cultures are high in openness.


Men attach more value to things such as status, power and recognition. Women place more value on compassion and altruism. Women also care more about relationships, while men are more focused on economic profit.


Reputation is about how others think and talk about you. Having a good reputation is useful during negotiations. Because of trust, integrative negotiation is more likely to occur. To build a good reputation, it is good to behave honest and frankly in many different situations. Showing competence and integrity leads to a trustworthy reputation. Individuals with a good reputation are also appreciated more and have more friends and more connections.

Third party negotiations

There are a number of third parties that can help when negotiations cannot be resolved between the parties themselves. This could be mediators and arbitrations. Mediators are neutral third parties who provide a solution through reasoning, conviction and suggestions for alternatives. Arbitrations are third parties that have a certain authority to force a certain choice. This can be applied for voluntarily, but can also be imposed by law.

What is organizational structure and design? - Chapter 15

What is an organizational structure?

The structure of an organization is about how tasks are divided, grouped and coordinated. There are seven important elements in the design of an organizational structure:

  1. Work specialization

  2. Departmentalization

  3. Chain of command,

  4. Span of control

  5. Centralization and decentralization

  6. Formalization

  7. Boundary spanning

There is a key question for each element.

Work specialization

The key question associated with work specialization is: to what extent are tasks subdivided into different tasks?

Work specialization is about the extent to which tasks in an organization are divided into different tasks. Each task is divided into a number of steps, each performed by a different individual. Individuals therefore specialize in a particular task, rather than completing the entire task. With the help of specialization, the skills of an employee are used efficiently and can even be improved through repetition.


The key question associated with departmentalization is: on what basis are jobs grouped.

There are four ways of grouping activities. The first is functional departmentalization. This means that, for example, a factory is subdivided into a department for engineering, a department for finance, etc. Departmentalization can also take place based on the type of product or service that the organization produces. A major advantage of the latter is that there is one manager who is responsible for the quality of a specific product, which facilitates communication and problems can be solved faster. A third way of departmentalization is geographic departmentalization. This means that an organization is divided on the basis of geography (area). This is especially useful when the customer base is located all over the world. The final method of departmentalization is process and customer departmentalization. This means that activities are grouped based on a product, service or customers.

Chain of command

The key question is: to whom do individuals and groups report?

The team of control in an organizational structure is about the level of authority in an organization. This often goes from top to bottom: the higher members in an organization have more authority and power than the members in lower levels. Information goes down from these higher members (to the lower members). Unity of command is important here. This means that in the most ideal case each employee has a maximum of one superior to which he or she must account.

Span of control

The key question is: how many individuals can a manager efficiently and effectively direct?

The span of control is about how many employees a manager can communicate with directly and efficiently. The larger this scale or span of control, the more employees per level and the more efficient an organization is.

Centralization and decentralization

The key question is: where does decision-making authority lie?

Centralization is about the extent to which choices are made primarily at one specific point in the organization (in a central area). This often means that top managers make choices and that the lower managers implement these choices. Decentralized decision making means that the managers who are closest to the topic or the working group make the decisions.


The key question is: to what degree will there be rules and regulations to direct employees and managers?

Formalization is about the degree to which jobs are standardized. If a job scores high on formalization, this means that the employee has clear guidelines that he or she must follow. This ensures consistency in output (the things that are produced). When a job is low in formalization, this means that employees have a lot of freedom and can choose how they want to perform their duties.

Boundary spanning

The key question is: do individuals from different areas need to regularly interact?

Boundary spanning is about when employees have contact and form relationships outside of their own groups. This provides more creativity within an organization.

What are common organizational structures?

There are three common organizational structures: the simple structure, the bureaucracy and the matrix structure.

The simple structure

Organizations with a simple and flat structure are called organizations with a simple structure. This means that there is a low degree of departmentalization, wide spans of control, authority centralized in a single person and little formalization. The advantages of this structure are that it is fast and flexible. In addition, it is also cheaper than other structures. A disadvantage of the simple structure is that this structure could be insufficient when an organization grows, because there is little formalization, and a lot of centralization that leads to that the leading person experiences an overload of information.

The bureaucracy

In this structure, rules and procedures are very important. The work processes are all standardized, so there is high formalization. There is also departmentalization, centralization, low spans of control and there is a command structure. The advantage of a bureaucratic structure is that standardized activities can be carried out quickly and efficiently. The disadvantages are that it could be too much focused on profit, production and rules.

There are two aspects of bureaucracies: functional and divisional structures. The functional structure is about employees being grouped based on their common skills, roles and or duties. This works well if an organization focuses on one product or service. Communication between the different departments can be difficult, because sometimes there are many different departments. This is a disadvantage of a functional structure. The divisional structure means that employees are grouped on the basis of products, services, customers or geographical area. There is high formalization. This structure facilitates communication within the groups.

The matrix structure

The matrix structure means that employees report to several people. This facilitates communication when an organization performs multiple tasks. However, it can cause confusion, power conflicts and can be uncomfortable for employees.

What are alternative organizational structures?

Organizations today focus primarily on creating organizations with fewer levels of hierarchy and more opening of borders. There are three structures that have been designed based on this idea: the virtual structure, the team structure and the circular structure.

The virtual organization structure

This is an organization structure that is characterized by the absence of a physical space. There is a lot of centralization and almost no departmentalization. The advantage of a virtual organization structure is the flexibility. Individuals with innovative ideas but few financial resources can still participate via this structure, partly because there are no costs for offices.

The team structure

With the help of a team structure, attempts are made to eliminate the command structure and departments are replaced by powerful teams.

The circular structure

In this structure the leaders of an organization are not seen as the top of an organization. Instead they are in the middle and their vision is expressed to the outside world through groups such as managers, specialists and employees. A circular structure is intended to facilitate communication between the different parts of an organization.

Why do structures differ?

There are two extreme models of designing an organizational structure. The first is a mechanistic model. This means that there is a lot of specialization, tight task grouping, clear hierarchy, small span of control, centralization and a lot of formalization.

An organic model is a structure that is characterized by low formalization, high span of control, decentralization and cross-functional teams. It is flexible and therefore easier to respond to a dynamic environment.

Organizational strategies

The structure that is chosen must be determined on the basis of a strategy. There are three strategies that are most used when creating a structure: innovation, cost minimization and imitation.

Innovative strategy

This means that we aim to create new products or services as much as possible.

Cost minimization strategy

This means focusing on cost control, avoiding unnecessary innovation, marketing and price reductions.

Imitation strategy

The imitation strategy means that products or markets are only used when the viability of these products or markets is already clear.

With every strategy, there is a structure that fits or matches. With the innovation strategy fits an organic structure, with the cost minimization strategy fits a mechanistic structure and with the strategy imitation fits a combination of both a mechanistic and organic structure.

Other important terms

Organizational size refers to how large an organization is. This size is important when designing a structure. However, the larger an organization, the less the size is important for the difference in structure.

Technology refers to how an organization translates its inputs into outputs. The environment refers to the forces outside an organization that influence the structure of an organization, such as suppliers, customers and competitors. Every environment has three dimensions: capacity, volatility and complexity. Capacity is about the extent to which an environment is open to growth. Volatility is about how unstable the environment is. When the environment is dynamic, it can be difficult to make accurate decisions. For many organizations, volatility is an increasing problem because technology is changing rapidly. Complexity refers to the degree to which there is heterogeneity within environmental elements.

Institutions are cultural factors that determine what desirable behavior is.

What is the influence of organizational designs on employee behavior?

Work specialization

It seems that specializing tasks creates more productivity but lead to less job satisfaction.

The span of control

There is no relationship between the span of control and job satisfaction or performance.

How can one create and mantain an organzational culture? - Chapter 16

What is an organizational culture?

The definition of an organizational culture is that it is a system in which members have a shared opinion that distinguishes them from other organizations. There are seven characteristics of an organizational culture:

  1. Innovation and risk-taking. This is about the extent to which employees are encouraged to be innovative and take risks.

  2. Attention to detail. This is about the extent to which employees are expected to be precise and attentive to detail.

  3. Outcome orientation. This is about the extent to which management focuses on results or outcomes rather than on techniques and processes.

  4. People orientation. This is about the extent to which management choices take into account the effect of the outcomes on people within an organization.

  5. Team orientation. This is about the extent to which work activities are organized around teams rather than around individuals.

  6. Aggressiveness. This is about the extent to which people are aggressive and competitive instead of easygoing.

  7. Stability. This is about the extent to which organizational activities emphasize maintaining the status quo rather than focusing on growth and development.

These characteristics are on a continuum from low to high. Therefore, each characteristic can be be low or high.

Organizational culture is about how employees perceive the characteristics of the organization and not about what they think of it. It is a descriptive term. An evaluative term tells something about what employees think of their work and an example of an evaluative term is work satisfaction.

Within an organization there is a dominant culture and there are subcultures. The dominant culture consists of the majority of the members of an organization that reflect the core values ​​of an organization and that distinguishes the organization from other organizations. Core values ​​are the primary values ​​that apply throughout the whole organization. Subcultures are mini-cultures within an organization, which usually arise as a reaction to common problems or experiences of members. Most organizations have a dominant culture and multiple subcultures.

Strong and weak cultures

Strong cultures are cultures in which the observers share the same opinions about the missions of the organization and the values. If opinions differ greatly, there is a weak culture. A strong culture ensures less staff turnover, because it leads to agreement between employees. This in turn leads to more cohesion, loyalty and organizational commitment.

The stronger a culture is, the less an organization has to establish rules of conduct.

What are the functions of an organisation culture?

Rules are determined through culture. First, a culture has a border-defining role: it provides a distinction between different organizations. Second, it creates an identity for members of the organization. Third, it ensures commitment to a larger goal. It also ensures the stability of the social system. Culture can serve as a 'social glue' that holds the organization together by setting standards for behavior. Finally, culture can serve as a way to design and guide the attitudes and behaviors of employees.

Culture and climate

The term organizational climate refers to the shared perceptions of the members about their organization and the working environment. It can also be defined as 'team spirit'. A positive working climate ensures more customer satisfaction and higher organizational performance. There are multiple dimensions of climate, such as innovation, creativity, communication, warmth and support and safety. Climates can also interact with each other and also influence the habits that people adopt.

The ethical dimensions of culture

An ethical work climate (EWC) is the shared concept about what is right and wrong in the workplace that reflects the values ​​of an organization and is the basis for the ethical decisions that employees make. Researchers came up with the ethical climate theory (ECT) and the ethical climate index (ECI) to determine the ethical dimensions of organizational cultures. There are nine identified climates and five of them are most common in organizations: instrumental, caring, independence, law and code and rules. Each dimension explains the general mind-set, expectations and values ​​of managers and employees in relation to the organization.

Culture and sustainability

Sustainability means that organizational practices can be implemented over a longer period of time without damaging resources. Sustainability is more often about practices that are in harmony with the natural environment. Social sustainability is about how social systems are affected by the actions of an organization and how social systems can affect an organization.

To create a sustainable organization, the organization must develop a long-term culture and put it into practice. One way to persuade employees to adopt more sustainable behavior is to talk about sustainable behavior.

Culture and innovation

The most innovative organizations are those with open, unconventional, collaborative and vision-driven cultures. Start-up companies are often innovative because they are small and focused on problem-solving in order to survive and grow.

Culture as a liability

An organization can also have a negative culture. There are a number of factors that decide whether a culture leads to inefficiency.

  • Institutionalization. If an organization has high institutionalization, this means that the organization becomes known for the organization itself, and not for the products or services that it creates.

  • Barriers to change. Sometimes there are things that prevent change. For example, when an organization changes very quickly, the current culture may no longer be appropriate.

  • Barriers to diversity. Creating diversity by hiring staff that differ in age, gender or culture, for example, creates a paradox. This is about that organizations want diversity, but it is still important that new employees assimilate to the prevailing culture as quickly as possible.

  • Strengthening dysfunctions. Dysfunctional management has negative effects on an organization. Local organization cultures in which there are low levels of job satisfaction is lead to higher staff turnover, even if the general culture of an organization is a positive culture.

  • Barriers to acquisitions and mergers. When companies merged in the past, financial benefit was an important determining factor. Now it is more important that cultures are compatible: that they match. If two cultures do not match, this can be disastrous for the new organization.

Creating and sustaining culture

The traditions of an organization usually arise from things that the organization has done before. This usually has to do with the founders of an organization. The founders have a clear vision of what they want to achieve and because organizations are initially small, they can well impose this vision on the members of the organization. However, creating a culture can be done in three ways. The first way is that the founders only hire employees who fit their vision. The second is that they 'indoctrinate' their employees to think and feel in the same way as they do. Finally, the behavior of the founders can ensure that employees identify with them and internalize their beliefs.

How can a culture be preserved?

There are three factors that influence the maintenance of a culture: selection, top management and socialization.

  1. Selection. This means that individuals with specific knowledge, skills and capacities are chosen. People are also chosen based on how well their values ​​match the values ​​of the organization. Selection is a two-way street, because employees can also withdraw if they find that they do not fit well with the organization or vice versa.

  2. Top management. The actions that the top executives perform are very important for the culture of an organization. Senior executives create standards, such as whether or not it is good to take risks, what suitable clothing is and which actions are rewarded.

  3. Socialization. Socialization is the process in which a new employee adapts to the organizational culture. It consists of three phases: the prearrival, the encounter and the metamorphosis phase.

There are also three phases that a newcomer goes through when entering an organization:

  1. The prearrival. In this phase, individuals with a set of values, attitudes and expectations about the organization enter the organization. How accurately people assess the organizational culture and how proactive they are determines how well they adapt to the organization.

  2. The encounter phase. This is the phase in which the new employee perceives how the organization really is. In this phase it can also happen that an employee sees that his or her expectations do not match the organization.

  3. The metamorphosis phase. This is the phase in which a new employee adapts to their job and organization based on what he or she has seen in the meeting phase.

Institutional practices are practices in which newcomers are expected to fully adapt to the organizational culture. This is often the case with the police, fire brigades and other organizations where rules are important. Individual practices are practices in which newcomers can express their own values ​​and norms. This is usually the case with creative professions and with research.

How do employees learn culture?

Culture is conveyed to employees through stories, rituals, symbols and language. Symbols are things such as the size of offices and the appearance of the workplaces (modern). Language contains jargon and acronyms that belong to a specific organization.

How can an organizational culture be influenced?

Managers can influence an organizational culture by being a role model, expressing ethical expectations, providing ethical training, visibly rewarding ethical practices and punishing unethical practices and by offering protective mechanisms (appointing ethical counselors).

To have a positive ethical climate, it is important that this happens from the top of the organization. This will then also flow to lower departments. This mainly relates to being a role model.

A positive culture

A positive organizational culture emphasizes the strengths of employees, rewards more than it punishes and encourages individuality and growth.

A spiritual culture

Spirituality at work means that it is recognized that people have an inner life that can be nurtured by performing meaningful work. There are a number of characteristics of a spiritual organization:

  • Benevolence. Organizations that can be called spiritual value appreciation of kindness to others and consider the happiness of employees.

  • Strong sense of purpose. Profit is important, but it is not the main goal of spiritual organizations.

  • Trust and respect. Mutual trust, honesty and openness are characteristic of spiritual organizations.

  • Open-mindedness. Spiritual organizations value flexible thinking and creativity among their employees.

There are also a number of criticisms of spiritual organizations. First, there is often a lack of scientific evidence. Second, a strong emphasis on spirituality can cause some employees to feel uncomfortable. Third, the question is whether spirituality and profit can go together. Research suggests that they can.

How can change be achieved in organizations? - Chapter 17

What is change?

Change can be planned or reactionary. It usually takes place in one or more of the following six dimensions:

  1. The characteristics of the staff are changing. Changes that organizations now have to deal with are things such as multiculturalism, demographic changes and immigration.

  2. Technology. This causes many changes and it may even be that offices no longer have to exist in the future.

  3. Economic shocks. These are things like crises that have a lot of influence on organizations.

  4. Competition. Due to globalization, there is now much more competition located around the whole world.

  5. Social trends. Consumers, employees and organizational leaders are under the influence of changing social trends.

  6. Changes in world politics. There have been many different changes in world politics lately. Examples are the financial crisses, the increased influence and power of China and the problems in the Arab countries.

Reactionary versus planned change

Change means that things are changed. Planned change means that change takes place based on an intentional and goal-oriented process. The goals of planned change are that the organization is better able to respond to changes in the environment. Change agents are people who cause this change in organizations. They plan a future for an organization, called a vision. Change agents can be managers, non-managers, current or new employees and outside consultants.

Why is there resistance to change?

People often see change as threatening. When employees are not interested in changes, they try avoid thinking of it, increase their use of sick time or quit their job. Resistance can be positive if it leads to open discussion. Resistance can also be used by change agents to monitor what effect the change has on the members of an organization. Resistance can be overt, implicit, direct or delayed. It is more difficult to deal with resistance when it is implicit or delayed, because the consequences of this form of resistance (loss of motivation, more errors) are less salient (less visible).

Overcoming resistance to change

There are eight ways in which change agents can reduce resistance.

  1. Communication. Changes are most effective when they are communicated with employees. Formal information sessions reduce the fears of the employees and ensure more commitment from their side.

  2. Participation. Employee participation during decision making can also reduce resistance. In addition, it increases the commitment and can increase the quality of the choice for change. The disadvantages of participation can be that it can lead to a poor choice and that it often takes a lot of time.

  3. Building support and commitment. Employees show more commitment and dedication to change when they are committed to the organization. Thus, increasing commitment can lead to less resistance. Tools for this are counseling, therapy, learning new skills or offering short, paid leave.

  4. Developing positive relationships. Employees accept change faster when they trust the managers who want to implement the changes.

  5. Implementing changes fairly. Resistance is reduced when employees see the reasons for change and when they think the changes have been implemented in a fair way.

  6. Manipulation and cooptation. Manipulation is trying to influence someone else in a covert way. Examples of manipulation are distorting facts, withholding information and creating false rumors. Cooptation is a combination of manipulation and participation. An example of cooptation means is buying off the leaders of a resistance group.

  7. Selecting people who accept change. Some personality traits, such as being open to new experiences, influence how resistant or open people are to change. People with a higher need for growth or development and people with a higher general intelligence are also more open to change. This can be taken into account when selecting employees.
  8. Coercion. Coercion means trying to persuade people to think differently through threating them. Examples are threatening with withholding a promotion or giving negative peformance evaluations.

What are ways to manage organizational change?

A number of theories and models have been developed to manage change. These are Lewin's three-step model for change, Kotter's eight-step plan, action research and organizational development.

Lewin's three step model

According to Kurt Lewin, successful change in organizations follows three steps: unfreezing the status quo, movement to a desired end state and refreezing the new change.

In the phase of unfreezing the status quo, you must create an urgency for change. This can be done in three ways: the driving forces that move behavior away from the status quo can be increased, the restraining forces for change can be reduced and lastly, these two approaches can be combined.

Once there is movement, it is important to continue that movement. It is better to go through this process of change quickly than to build it up. Once change has taken place, it is important that this change is frozen. Freezing a change ensures that the change continues and that employees do not return to the old process. Freezing can also be called anchoring.

Kotter’s Eight-Step Plan

Kotter builds on Lewin's model, by providing a more detailed view for implementing change. He started by drawing up a list of the most common mistakes that managers make. These are: insufficiently realizing that change is needed; not being able to create a coalition to manage the change process; having no clear vision for change and being unable to communicate it effectively; not being able to anchor changes in the organizational culture and accepting change too quickly if it is not yet complete.

Kotter has come up with eight steps to deal with these problems. The first four steps belong to the "unfreezing phase", steps five, six and seven belong to the movement phase and the last step belongs to the freezing or anchoring phase.

  1. Provide a sufficient sense of urgency

  2. Form a leading coalition

  3. Develop vision and strategy

  4. Communicate and create certainty

  5. Create the right preconditions

  6. Create short-term successes

  7. Monitor the changes

  8. Guarantee the change

Action research

Action research is a change process based on the systematic collection of data and the selection of a change action bsed on the analyzed data. Action research consists of five steps: diagnosis, analysis, feedback, action and evaluation. This mainly concerns solving problems in order to achieve social change. There are two advantages: it is problem-oriented and it leads to a reduction in the resistance of employees, because they are involved in the process.

Organization development (OD)

Organizational development is a collection of change methods that aim to improve organizational effectiveness and the well-being of employees. These methods are based on humanistic and democratic values.

There are six examples of organizational development techniques.

Sensitivity training

Sensitivity training is a way to change behavior through group interactions. There are different forms. It is intended for people without psychological problems.

Survey feedback

This is an OO technique that consists of the use of surveys to determine the attitudes of employees and the discrepancies between employee perceptions. However, surveys are not always reliable. Often there is a high non-response (employees who do not want to participate), which may indicate dysfunctions in the organization. However, this non-response is not reflected in the data.

Process consultation

Process consultation means that a manager is supported by an outsider, often a consultant. Process consultation is different from sensitivity training, because it is more task-oriented. In addition, the consultants are not responsible for solving problems, they only support the managers.

Team building

Team building is used to increase trust and openness in teams through group activities in which there is a lot of interaction. As organizations consist largely of teams, team building is an important point.

Intergroup development

With intergroup development, the goal is to change attitudes, stereotypes and perceptions between colleagues about each other. This is similar to diversity training, with the difference being that there is no focus on demographic differences. Instead, intergroup development focuses on differences in professions, departments or divisions in an organization.

Appreciative inquiry

This is an approach for change that seeks to identify the unique strengths and qualities of an organization, which can then be built on to improve performance. It consists of four steps: discovery, dreaming, design and destiny.

During discovery, it is identified what employees think is positive about their organizations. During the phase of dreaming, employees use information from the discovery phase to speculate on possible futures (dreams). For example, they talk about what the organization should look like in five years. In the design phase, a common vision is found. In the last step, destine, participants write their action plans and develop implementation strategies to fulfill their dream.

How can you stimulate a culture for change?

Organizations can use three approaches that can lead to a more proactive attitude to change. These approaches are: the management paradox, the stimulation of an innovative culture and the creating a learning organization.

The management paradox

The paradox theory with regard to management means that there is never a perfect, optimal status for an organization. There is a constant process of trying to find a balance, an equilibrium. This is because things are constantly changing, such as the environment and staff of the organization.

Stimulating an innovative culture


Innovation is a special kind of change which has to do with improving a product, process or service. All innovations are therefore changes, but this does not mean that all changes are innovative.

What are some sources of innovation?

There are structural variables that can lead to innovation. Four are discussed.

  1. Organic structures. These are organizations with less vertical differentiation, formalization and centralization. These organizations facilitate innovation because they are more flexible and more open to adaptation.

  2. Long tenure in management. Managers who have been employed for a long time can ensure innovation through credibility and knowledge.

  3. Slack resources. If an organization has an abundance of resources, then innovation is easier to achieve.

  4. High interunit communication. Organizations with high interunit communication are organizations where there are many committees, task groups and cross-functional teams that ensure a lot of interaction between different departments. This is desirable for creating innovation.

Organizations that are innovative encourage experimentation. They also reward failures as well as successes.

Idea champions and innovation

When a new idea is developed, idea champions are the people who actively and enthusiastically promote this idea, develop support, overcome resistance and ensure that the idea is applied. Idea champions often have similar personality traits: high self-confidence, persistence, energy and a tendency to take risks. They inspire others with their vision, which fits with transformational leadership.

Creating a learning organization

Organizations can proactively manage change by creating a learning organization. A learning organization is an organization that has developed the capacity to constantly adapt and change. There are five characteristics of learning organizations:

  1. There is a shared vision that everyone agrees with

  2. Old ways of thinking and standard routines for solving problems are discarded

  3. All organizational processes, activities, functions and interactions with the environment are seen as part of a system of interrelations

  4. People communicate with each other without fear of criticism or punishment

  5. People sublimate their self-interest to job together to achieve the vision of the organization

Managers can turn organizations into learning organizations through establishing a strategy. Managers must make explicit their commitment to change and innovation.

Redesigning the structure of an organization. Sometimes the structure of an organization is a barrier to achieving change. By flattening the structure (so that people are more equal), combining departments or using cross-functional teams, boundaries can be removed.

Reshaping the culture of the organization. Managers can create a learning organization by showing that taking risks and recognizing failures is desirable. This can be done by rewarding people who take risks and make mistakes.

How does stress affect someone's job?

It appears that employees have mental problems much more often than ever, caused by stress at job. Stress can be a very unpleasant and harmful condition that arises as a reaction to the environment. It often occurs when people have a certain goal, but are uncertain about achieving it. Stress can also have positive effects when things are seen as a challenge and when people are encouraged to job harder. However, when a situation is negative, stress is harmful and can cause physiological effects such as increased blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat.


Stressors are things that lead to stress. Challenge stressors are stressors that have to do with job pressure and time urgency. Hindrance stressors are stressors that stand in the way of achieving goals. Challenge stressors appear to have fewer negative effects than hindrance stressors.

Demands and resources

Stress is associated with demands and resources. Demands can be responsibilities, pressures, obligations and uncertainties that people experience at job. Resources are the things that people use to deal with the demands.


Research used to focus on homeostasis: a perfect balance (equilibrium). Now it is known that there is not a perfect balance and instead there is something called allostasis. Allostasis means that stability is sought by changing behavior and attitudes. The allostatic charge is the amount of stress built up as a result. So, a high allostatic load means that someone has built up a lot of stress.

What are stressors at work?

Things such as role ambiguity, role conflict, role overload, job insecurity, environmental uncertainty and situational limitations are examples of stressors that lead to reduced job performance.

Environmental uncertainties

There are three forms of environmental uncertainty: economic, political and technological. Economic uncertainty is about the economy. When this is uncertain, people experience job insecurity. Political uncertainties are concerned with the political systems. Technological uncertainty is about an employee feeling insecure about his ability to adapt to rapid changes and innovations in technology.

Organizational factors

There are different types of stressors within organizations. These can be divided into task, role and interpersonal demands.

  • Task demands. This has to do with the job of an employee. The biggest stress here is the amount of job that needs to be done. Jobing in a busy space can also lead to increased stress and anxiety.

  • Role demands. This is about the pressure that is placed on a person based on the role he or she has in an organization. There may be role conflict, role ambiguity and role overload.

  • Interpersonal demands. This is pressure created by other employees through bullying and intimidation.

Which individual factors can lead to stress?

There are also factors in an employee's personal life that can lead to more stress at job. These are family issues and personal economic problems. Family issues can cause a lot of stress that can lead to increased conflicts at job.

Stressors are also cumulative, so they build up. One person can handle more stress than another. There are four factors that influence the difference between potential stressors and real, experienced stress: perception, job experience, social support and personality traits.


An employee's perception influences how an employee responds to a potential stressor.

Job experience

Employees who have been with an organization for longer have experienced more stress and that is why they can be expected to be more resistant to stress. People also learn how to deal with stress (coping). This takes time, so again people who are with an organization for longer are probably better able to deal with stressors.

Social support

Social support, good relationships between colleagues, can serve as a buffer against stress.

Personality traits

Neuroticism can lead to more psychological problems. People who score high on neuroticism are more likely to see stressors at job (perception). They also use less good coping mechanisms, such as avoidance.

What are the consequences of stress at work?

There are three types of ways in which stress can manifest itself: physiologically, psychologically and in behavior.

Physiological symptoms

Stress can lead to changes in metabolism, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, headache and even heart attacks. Job pressure is also associated with higher levels of ischemic heart disease.

Psychological symptoms

Being dissatisfied with your job can lead to tension, anxiety, irritation, boredom and delay.

Behavioral symptoms

When employees experience a lot of stress at work, they are more likely to report sick. Behaviors such as increased smoking, increased alcohol consumption, rapid speech, fidgeting and sleep disorders can occur.

How can we deal with stress?

An employee can also try to learn how to deal with stress. Strategies are time management techniques, physical exercise, relaxation techniques and social support networks.

Time management techniques

Learning to deal with deadlines and good planning can lead to less procastination because it ensures a good focus on immediate goals. It also increases someone's motivation, even for tasks that are less fun.

Physical exercise

Doing things like walking, swimming and cycling can be a way to deal with stress. This mainly reduces the physiological effects of stress and ensures that people recover faster.

Relaxation techniques

Things like meditation, hypnosis and deep breathing can ensure physical relaxation. In these techniques, all attention is focused on achieving deep, physical relaxation.

Social support

Having a good network of social support ensures that people cope better with stress.

What can organizations do to reduce stress?

There are a number of strategies that organizations can apply to reduce stress among their employees.


Individuals with less experience or with a high score on neuroticism are more sensitive to stress. This can be taken into account when selecting personnel.


When there are specific, clear goals with feedback, employees perform better.

Redesigning jobs

By giving employees more responsibility, more meaningful jobs, more autonomy and more feedback, they get a higher sense of control, which ultimately leads to less stress. Nevertheless, individual differences must be taken into account here: for some, a routine job is a means to experience less stress.

Involving employees

By involving employees in choices, the feeling of control is again increased for employees and this leads to less stress.

Organizational communication

By stimulating organizational communication with employees, uncertainty regarding the role of employees can be reduced.

Employee sabbaticals

Offering sabbaticals ranging from a week to months, can help against burn-outs.

Wellness programs

Workshops that help people to quit smoking, handle alcohol better, lose weight, eat better and exercise more, can improve the physical and mental conditions of employees.

Summary of edition

Booksummary with the 14th edition of Essentials of Organizational Behavior by Robbins & Judge

Booksummary with the 14th edition of Essentials of Organizational Behavior by Robbins & Judge

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Summary with the 14th edition of Essentials of Organizational Behavior by Robbins & Judge

Summary with the 14th edition of Essentials of Organizational Behavior by Robbins & Judge

What is organizational behavior? - Chapter 1

Why is organizational behavior important?

To understand the importance of organizational behavior, it is important to look at history. Until the 1980s, business schools focused on the technical aspects of management, such as economics, financing and quantitative techniques. Human behavior and skills to deal with people were not seen as very important. But, since then, business schools became aware of the fact that interpersonal skills are very important when it comes to a manager's effectiveness. A lack of interpersonal skills can even lead to the top reason why employees fail to advance in their position.

In organizational behavior, one of the key principles is to improve interpersonal skills. When managers have good developed interpersonal skills, this will lead to attraction of more high-performing employees for the organizations. A second important benefit of studying organizational behavior is that it can help to make a workplace great, instead of just good. And, since it is known that companies that are seen as a 'good place to work' generate superior financial performance, it is good to make companies a good place to work. Thirdly, the quality of workplace relationships has strong connections to things such as job satisfaction, stress and turnover. Social relationships among coworkers and supervisors is also strongly related to overall job satisfaction, lower stress at work and lower intentions to quit. The fourth benefit of having knowledge about organizational behavior is that it can foster social responsibility awareness. This is important because corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an important topic. CSR will be discussed in Chapter 2.

Management and organizational behavior

The role of a more
BulletPointsummary per chapter with the 14th edition of Essentials of Organizational Behavior by Robbins & Judge - Chapter

BulletPointsummary per chapter with the 14th edition of Essentials of Organizational Behavior by Robbins & Judge - Chapter

What is organizational behavior? - BulletPoints 1

  • In organizational behavior, one of the key principles is to improve interpersonal skills. When managers have good developed interpersonal skills, this will lead to attraction of more high-performing employees for the organizations. A second important benefit of studying organizational behavior is that it can help to make a workplace great, instead of just good. And, since it is known that companies that are seen as a 'good place to work'  generate superior financial performance, it is good to make companies a good place to work. Thirdly, the quality of workplace relationships has strong connections to things such as job satisfaction, stress and turnover. Social relationships among coworkers and supervisors is also strongly related to overall job satisfaction, lower stress at work and lower intentions to quit. The fourth benefit of having knowledge about organizational behavior is that it can foster social responsibility awareness. This is important because corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an important topic. CSR will be discussed in Chapter 2.

  • Organizational behavior studies the impact of three determinants of behavior within organizations: individuals, groups and structure. The goal of organizational behavior is to make organizations more effective, by using knowledge about these three determinants of behavior within organizations. In other words, organizational behavior is the study of people in organizations and the way that their actions affect the organization. Organizational behavior is especially concenred with employment-related situations, such as job satisfaction, absenteeism, employment turnover, productivity, human performance and management.

  • The core topics in organizational behavior are: motivation; leader behavior and power; interpersonal communication; group structure and processes; attitude development and perception; change processes; conflict and negotiation and work design.

  • There is more
BulletPointsummary per chapter with the 14th edition of Essentials of Organizational Behavior by Robbins & Judge - Chapter

BulletPointsummary per chapter with the 14th edition of Essentials of Organizational Behavior by Robbins & Judge - Chapter

What is organizational behavior? - BulletPoints 1

  • In organizational behavior, one of the key principles is to improve interpersonal skills. When managers have good developed interpersonal skills, this will lead to attraction of more high-performing employees for the organizations. A second important benefit of studying organizational behavior is that it can help to make a workplace great, instead of just good. And, since it is known that companies that are seen as a 'good place to work'  generate superior financial performance, it is good to make companies a good place to work. Thirdly, the quality of workplace relationships has strong connections to things such as job satisfaction, stress and turnover. Social relationships among coworkers and supervisors is also strongly related to overall job satisfaction, lower stress at work and lower intentions to quit. The fourth benefit of having knowledge about organizational behavior is that it can foster social responsibility awareness. This is important because corporate social responsibility (CSR) is an important topic. CSR will be discussed in Chapter 2.

  • Organizational behavior studies the impact of three determinants of behavior within organizations: individuals, groups and structure. The goal of organizational behavior is to make organizations more effective, by using knowledge about these three determinants of behavior within organizations. In other words, organizational behavior is the study of people in organizations and the way that their actions affect the organization. Organizational behavior is especially concenred with employment-related situations, such as job satisfaction, absenteeism, employment turnover, productivity, human performance and management.

  • The core topics in organizational behavior are: motivation; leader behavior and power; interpersonal communication; group structure and processes; attitude development and perception; change processes; conflict and negotiation and work design.

  • There is more
Examtests with the 14th edition of Essentials of Organizational Behavior - Robbins & Judge

Examtests with the 14th edition of Essentials of Organizational Behavior - Robbins & Judge

What is organizational behavior? - Practice questions 1


Question 1

What is organisational behaviour?


Question 1

It is an interdisciplinary field which tries to better understand how to manage employees.

What are attitudes and how do they influence behavior? - Practice questions 2


Question 1

What are the three components of attitudes?

Question 2

Other than attitudes, which other two variables can explain behavior?


Question 1

A cognitive component, affective component and a behavioral component

Question 2

Subjective norm and observed behavioral control

What is the role of emotions in organizational behavior? - Practice questions 3


Question 1

What is the difference between emotions and affect?


Question 1

Emotions are complex human personal reactions on situations or events. Affection is a more general feeling which contains emotions as well as moods.

How is personality relevant in organizational behavior? - Practice questions 4


Question 1

What are the different personality types?

Question 2

What is the difference between instrumental and terminal values?

Question 3

Schwartz distinguishes two dimensions of values. Which two dimensions are these?

  1. Self-transcendence - self-enhancement ; openness to change - conservation
  2. Personal values - social values ; moral values - competence values
  3. Security - self-direction ; more
Summary of Essentials of Organizational Behavior - Robbins & Judge - 12th edition

Summary of Essentials of Organizational Behavior - Robbins & Judge - 12th edition

Chapter 1. Introduction to Organizational Behavior

Organizational behavior (OB): The study field of how individuals, people, groups and structure behave and act in organizations.

The study field is individuals, groups of people and the structure of the people and groups within the organization. The purpose of OB is to obtain information and knowledge about the behavior of an organization so they can work more efficient and effective.

OB’s core themes:

  • Motivation

  • Leader behavior and power

  • Interpersonal communication

  • Group structure and process

  • Personality, emotions and values

  • Attitude development and perception

  • Change processes

  • Conflict and negotiation

  • Work design

Systematic study: Study that looks at relationships, and let’s scientific evidence helps us find causes, effects and conclusions.

Evidence based management (EBM): Management that uses scientific evidence to make decisions.

Organizational behavior is built on contributions from a number of behavioral disciplines:

  • Psychology: A study of the behavior of humans. With contributions to learning, motivation, personality, job satisfaction and work design. (Micro-level)

  • Social psychology: How people focus on each other and influence each other in a social way. With contributions to behavioral change, attitude change, communication, power and intergroup behavior. (Micro-level)

  • Sociology: The study of how people react and what their relations are with culture, environment and organizations.

With contributions to communication, intergroup behavior, organizational technology, change and culture (Macro-level)

  • Anthropology: The study of people and their activities in groups, cultures and different countries. With contributions to comparative values, attitudes, organizational culture and power. (Macro-level)

Contingency variables: Variables that lead to each other, but with special conditions. ‘One’ leads to ‘two’ under the condition that ‘three’.

There are some opportunities for Organizational Behavior, which make it important to look at OB. These challenges include:

  • Responding to the Economic Pressures

  • Responding to Globalization: where there is an increased amount of foreign assignments, more different cultures and countries with low-cost labor. Globalization: Focuses on the differences of people in different countries.

  • Managing workforce diversity. Workforce diversity: Differences and similarities of people within an organization. This could be in terms of cultural background, sex, race, religion, etc. more
Summary Organizational Behavior by Robbins and Judge

Summary Organizational Behavior by Robbins and Judge

Chapter 1: What is Organizational Behavior?

Being a good manager requires strong interpersonal skills, as communication is crucial, as one must manage different types of resources: people, money, and time in order to achieve specific goals.

A Manager’s Four Main Functions

Planning function refers to setting goals, creating strategies, and preparation of plans that make different activities work coherently and effectively.

Organising function concerns tasks identification and division, assignment of tasks to individuals, setting reporting and decision- making systems.

Leading function relates to motivating workers and directing others’ actions, choosing communication canals and solving conflicts.

Controlling function refers to controlling others’ work outcomes and checking whether everything is being done as planned; and when necessary undertaking corrective actions.

Management roles

They can be divided into 3 main categories: interpersonal roles, informational roles and decisional roles. The concept was developed by Henry Mintzberg and is called Mintzberg’s Managerial Roles (below).







Roles which involve ceremonial/symbolic duties


Symbolic head, needs to perform duties of social/legal nature


Motivates and directs employees


Maintains a network of outside contacts



Collection and dissemination of information


Receives information, serves as nerve centre of internal and external information


Transmits information from outsiders to the organisation’s members


Transmits information about the organisation to outside parties



Refers to making choices


Analyses the organisation and its environment for opportunities and initiates projects to bring about change

Disturbance handler

Undertakes corrective actions in case of problems

Resource allocator

Makes or approves important organizational decisions


Represents the organization more
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