Marketing case studies

The Hair Fuel uses Riddle quizmaker to prequalify potential customers

Case Study: The Hair fuel uses Riddle to give their customers product recommendations

About the Hair Fuel In 2019, Laura Sagen launched The Hair Fuel, a company that promotes holistic hair health, and developed a unique formulation for an all-natural hair growth product. She wanted to launch this business using new and more engaging marketing tools. – Traditional …

Case Study: The Hair fuel uses Riddle to give their customers product recommendations Find out more

Tr-ibu uses Riddle quizmaker to prequalify potential customers

Case study: Tr-ibu uses Riddle to prequalify potential customers

Why Francien van Eersels created a quiz marketing funnel Francien van Eersel from tr-ibu.nl is passionate about showing entrepreneurs that the best brands are true to their creators – reflecting their own dreams, ambitions, and personalities. She’s designed an entire philosophy around 12 brand archetypes …

Case study: Tr-ibu uses Riddle to prequalify potential customers Find out more

Sotic uses Riddle quizmaker to reach more users

Case study: Sotic uses Riddle to reach new users

Riddle quizmaker to reach new users Full service digital sports agency Sotic has used interactive quizzes in order to help their clients reach new fans and website users in a cost efficient way.Sotic works with some of the top sports brands in the world. Premiership …

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Minute Media uses Riddle quizmaker for audience engagement with quizzes

Case study: Minute Media uses Riddle for audience engagement through quizzes

Riddle quizmaker for audience engagement Minute Media, a digital group of premium sports and lifestyle brands, turned to Riddle to boost audience engagement through quizzes.The London-based media and technology company (including soccer powerhouse 90min.com ) is a global advertising-supported platform – that popularity is key …

Case study: Minute Media uses Riddle for audience engagement through quizzes Find out more

Which.co.uk uses Riddle quizmaker for cost-effective lead generation with quizzes

Case study: Which? uses Riddle for cost-effective lead generation with quizzes

Riddle quizmaker for lead generation The leading UK consumer awareness organization Which? faced a common marketing problem – and turned to lead generation with quizzes.Why? – Today’s media landscape is crowded – there is a daily deluge of advertising messages vying for customer attention.Existing marketing efforts …

Case study: Which? uses Riddle for cost-effective lead generation with quizzes Find out more

Riddle personality quiz from Red Bull

This Riddle personality quiz was created by Red Bull to help their readers discover their fan style Red Bull does more than just make energy drinks – they’re the leader in promoting extreme sports. Red Bull created this quiz packed with animated GIFS to power …

Red Bull Find out more

Riddle quiz from Oxfam

Oxfam created this Riddle quiz to test their readers on worldwide inequality Anti-poverty charity Oxfam has made it their mission to educate the world about income inequality. They know that quizzes are powerful awareness mechanisms – inspiring their ‘top of funnel’ of potential volunteers and …

Oxfam Find out more

Riddle personality quiz from RIA

RIA created this Riddle personality quiz to calculate their readers’ health score This health insurance tech start up creates insightful and challenging quizzes to better understand people’s health awareness. This Riddle personality quiz was created by RIA because it helps them to:– Grow their audience …

RIA Find out more

Riddle quiz from F1 Experiences

F1 Experiences

Formula 1 Experiences created this Riddle quiz to test their readers’ knowledge about F1’s record breakers Formula One, also known as F1, is a prestigious motor racing championship that attracts millions of fans from around the world. F1 is renowned for its high-octane thrills, cutting-edge …

F1 Experiences Find out more

Riddle personality quiz from "Her Mystery School"

Her Mystery School

Her Mystery School created this Riddle personality quiz for women to help them understand why they fall in love Quizzes work well in many verticals. In this case, this quiz was top of funnel engagement content – to engage then collect leads for an online …

Her Mystery School Find out more






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12th edition

ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR John R. Schermerhorn, Jr. | Richard N. Osborn | Mary Uhl-Bien | James G. Hunt

Ohio University Texas Tech UniversityWayne State University University of Nebraska

John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Dr. John R. Schermerhorn, Jr. is the Charles G. O’Bleness Professor Emeritus of Management in the College of Business at Ohio University where he teaches undergraduate and MBA courses in management, organizational behavior, and Asian business. He earned a Ph.D. in organizational behavior from Northwestern University, after receiving an M.B.A. (with distinction) in management and inter- national business from New York University, and a B.S. in business administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Dedicated to instructional excellence and serving the needs of practicing managers, Dr. Schermerhorn focuses on bridging the gap between the theory and practice of management in both the classroom and in his textbooks. He has won awards for teaching excellence at Tulane University, The University of Vermont, and Ohio University, where he was named a University Professor, the university’s leading campus-wide award for undergraduate teaching. He also received the excellence in leadership award for his service as Chair of the Management Educa- tion and Development Division of the Academy of Management.

Dr. Schermerhorn’s international experience adds a unique global dimension to his teaching and textbooks. He holds an honorary doctorate from the Univer- sity of Pécs in Hungary, awarded for his international scholarly contributions to management research and education. He has also served as a Visiting Professor of Management at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, as on-site Coordinator of the Ohio University MBA and Executive MBA programs in Malaysia, and as Kohei Miura visiting professor at the Chubu University of Japan. Presently he is Adjunct Professor at the National University of Ireland at Galway, a member of the gradu- ate faculty at Bangkok University in Thailand, and Permanent Lecturer in the PhD program at the University of Pécs in Hungary.

An enthusiastic scholar, Dr. Schermerhorn is a member of the Academy of Management, where he served as chairperson of the Management Education and Development Division. Educators and students alike know him as author of Man- agement 11e (Wiley, 2011) and Exploring Management 3e (2012), and senior co-author of Organizational Behavior 12/e (Wiley, 2012). His many books are available in Chinese, Dutch, French, Indonesian, Portuguese, Russian, and Span- ish language editions. Dr. Schermerhorn’s published articles are found in the Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review Academy of Management Executive, Organizational Dynamics, Journal of Management Edu- cation, and the Journal of Management Development.

Dr. Schermerhorn is a popular guest speaker at colleges and universi- ties. His recent student and faculty workshop topics include innovations in business education, teaching the millennial generation, global perspectives in management education, and textbook writing and scholarly manuscript development.

Dr. John R. Schermerhorn, Jr.

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vi About the Authors

The late Dr. James G. ( Jerry) Hunt was the Paul Whitfi eld Horn Professor of Management, Professor of Health Organization Management, Former Director, Institute for Leadership Research, and former department Chair of Manage- ment, Texas Tech University. He received his Ph.D. and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois after completing a B.S. (with honors) at Michigan Technological University. Dr. Hunt co-authored an organization theory text and Core Concepts of Organizational Behavior (Wiley, 2004) and authored or co-authored three leadership monographs. He founded the Leadership Sym- posia Series and co-edited the eight volumes based on the series. He was the former editor of the Journal of Management and The Leadership Quarterly. He presented or published some 200 articles, papers, and book chapters, and among his better-known books are Leadership: A New Synthesis, published by Sage, and Out-of-the-Box Leadership, published by JAI. The former was a fi nalist for the Academy of Management’s 1993 Terry Distinguished Book Award. Dr. Hunt received the Distinguished Service Award from the Academy of Management, the Sustained Outstanding Service Award from the Southern Management Association, and the Barnie E. Rushing, Jr. Distinguished Re- searcher Award from Texas Tech University for his long-term contributions to management research and scholarship. He also lived and taught in England, Finland, and Thailand, and taught in China.

Dr. Richard N. Osborn is a Wayne State University Distinguished Professor, Pro- fessor of Management Emeritus, and former Board of Governors Faculty Fellow. He has received teaching awards at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and Wayne State University, and he has also taught at Arizona State University, Monash University (Australia), Tulane University, University of Munich, and the University of Washington. He received a DBA from Kent State University after earning an MBA at Washington State University and a B.S. from Indiana Uni- versity. With over 200 presentations and publications, he is a charter member of the Academy of Management Journals Hall of Fame. Dr. Osborn is a lead- ing authority on international alliances in technology-intensive industries and is co-author of an organization theory text as well as Basic Organizational Behavior ( John Wiley & Sons, 1995, 1998). He has served as editor of interna- tional strategy for the Journal of World Business and Special Issue Editor for The Academy of Management Journal. He serves or has served as a member of the editorial boards for The Academy of Management Journal, The Academy of Management Review, Journal of High Technology Management, The Journal of Management, Leadership Quarterly, and Technology Studies, among others. He is very active in the Academy of Management, having served as divisional program chair and president, as well as the Academy representative for the In- ternational Federation of Scholarly Associations of Management. Dr. Osborn’s research has been sponsored by the Department of Defense, Ford Motor Com- pany, National Science Foundation, Nissan, and the Nuclear Regulatory Com- mission, among others. In addition to teaching, Dr. Osborn spent a number of years in private industry, including a position as a senior research scientist with the Battelle Memorial Institute in Seattle, where he worked on improving the safety of commercial nuclear power.

Dr. James G. (Jerry) Hunt

Dr. Richard N. Osborn

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About the Authors vii

Dr. Mary Uhl-Bien is the Howard Hawks Chair in Business Ethics and Leadership at the University of Nebraska. She earned her Ph.D. and M.B.A. in organizational behavior at the University of Cincinnati after completing an undergraduate degree in International Business and Spanish. She teaches organizational behavior, lead- ership, and ethics courses at the undergraduate and graduate (MBA and doctoral) levels, and has been heavily involved in executive education, teaching to business executives and physicians in the United States, China, Europe, and Saudi Arabia and to the senior executive service of the U.S. government for The Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C. She has been a visiting professor/scholar at Pablo de Olavide University in Seville, Spain, the Universidade Nova de Lisboa/Catolica Portuguesa in Lisbon, Portugal, and University Lund in Sweden.

Dr. Uhl-Bien’s research interests are in leadership, followership, and ethics. In addition to her conceptual work on complexity and relational leadership, some of the empirical projects she is currently involved in include investigations of “Lead- ership and Adaptability in the Healthcare Industry” (a $300,000 grant from Booz Allen Hamilton), “Adaptive Leadership and Innovation: A Focus on Idea Genera- tion and Flow” (at a major fi nancial institution in the U.S.), and “Social Construc- tions of Followership and Leading Up.” She has published in such journals as The Academy of Management Journal, the Journal of Applied Psychology, The Leader- ship Quarterly, the Journal of Management, and Human Relations. She won the Best Paper Award in The Leadership Quarterly in 2001 for her co-authored article on Complex Leadership. She has been on the editorial boards of The Academy of Management Journal, The Academy of Management Review, The Leadership Quarterly, Leadership, and The International Journal of Complexity in Leadership and Management, and is senior editor of the Leadership Horizons series (Infor- mation Age Publishers). Dr. Uhl-Bien has consulted with Disney, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, British Petroleum, and the General Accounting Offi ce, and served as the executive consultant for State Farm Insurance Co. from 1998–2004. She has been a Visiting Scholar in Spain, Portugal, and Sweden. Dr. Uhl-Bien has trained Russian businesspeople for the American Russian Center at the University of Alaska Anchorage from 1993–1996, worked on a USAID grant at the Magadan Pedagogical Institute in Magadan, Russia from 1995–1996, and participated in a Fulbright-Hays grant to Mexico during the summer of 2003.

Dr. Mary Uhl-Bien

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Global warming, economic uncertainty, poverty, discrimination, unemployment, illiteracy . . . these are among the many issues and problems we face as citizens today. But how often do we stop and recognize our responsibilities for problem solving and positive action in this social context? What we do today will have a lasting impact on future generations. And whether we are talking about families, communities, nations, or the organizations in which we work and volunteer, the core question remains: How can we join together to best serve society?

Look again at the cover. Think about people working together and collaborat- ing in organizations around the world. Think about how organizations and their members grow, and how individuals can expand the positive impact of society’s institutions as their ideas and talents come together in supportive and nurturing work settings. And, think about the delicate balances between work and family, between individuals and teams, and between organizations and society that must be mastered in the quest for future prosperity.

Yes, our students do have a lot to consider in the complex and ever-shifting world of today. But, we believe they are up to the challenge. And, we believe that courses in organizational behavior have strong roles to play in building their capabilities to make good judgments and move organizational performance for- ward in positive and responsible ways.

That message is a fi tting place to begin Organizational Behavior, 12th Edi- tion. Everyone wants to have a useful and satisfying job and career; everyone wants all the organizations of society—small and large businesses, hospitals, schools, governments, nonprofi ts, and more—to perform well; everyone seeks a healthy and sustainable environment. In this context the lessons of our discipline are strong and applicable. Armed with an understanding of organizational behav- ior, great things are possible as people work, pursue careers, and contribute to society through positive personal and organizational accomplishments.

Organizational behavior is a discipline rich with insights for career and life skills. As educators, our job is to bring to the classroom and to students the great power of knowledge, understanding, and inquiry that characterizes our discipline and its commitment to understanding human behavior in organizations. What our students do with their talents will not only shape how organizations all contrib- ute to society, but also fundamentally alter lives around the globe. We must do our parts as educators to help them gain the understanding and confi dence to become leaders of tomorrow’s organizations.


RICHARD N. OSBORN Wayne State University

MARY UHL-BIEN University of Nebraska

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Organizational Behavior, 12th Edition, brings to its readers the solid and com- plete content core of prior editions, an enriched and exciting “OB Skills Work- book,” and many revisions, updates, and enhancements that refl ect today’s dy- namic times.

Content All chapters are written so that they can be used in any sequence that best fi ts the instructor’s course design. Each has also been updated to refl ect new research fi ndings and current applications and issues. For this edition, major changes were made to strengthen the research component, expand and refocus the chapters dealing with individual behavior and performance, and more fully treat the emerging directions in leadership research and thinking. A module on Research Methods in OB has been placed online to offer easy ways to further enrich the course experience.

Ethics Focus To help students anticipate, understand, and confront the ethical challenges of work and careers today, we have continued our special feature in each chapter— Ethics in OB. This feature presents a situation or issue from an actual case or news report and asks a question of the student reader that requires personal refl ection on the ethics and ethics implications. Examples include “Workers Concerned about Ethical Workplace, Personality Testing, Social Loafi ng May Be Closer than You Think, Privacy in an Age of Social Networking, and Cheat Now . . . Cheat Later.”

Leadership Focus To focus students on their roles in demonstrating leadership in organizations, we revised the leadership feature to “Finding the Leader in You.” This feature helps students think about how they can develop their own leadership skills and capabilities to enhance organizational performance. Examples include Patricia Karter of Dancing Deer Baking, Jim Senegal of Costco, Karen Bryant of the Seattle Storm, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon.

Research Focus To better communicate the timely research foundations of OB, we have continued the popular Research Insights found in each chapter. Each high- lights an article from a respected journal such as the Academy of Manage- ment Journal and the Journal of Applied Psychology. Sample topics include

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x About This Book

interactional justice, racial bias, social loafi ng, demographic faultlines, and workplace identities.

Applications Focus To help students apply the insights of OB to real situations and problems, each chapter includes Visual Sidebars that highlight key action points to re- member—such as “Things Are Changing as the Facebook Generation Goes to Work”; Margin Essays that provide brief and timely examples—such as “Employee Morale Varies Around the World,” and OB and Popular Culture that links movies and television to management insights—such as Moral Man- agement and John Q.

Pedagogy As always, our primary goal is to create a textbook that appeals to the student reader while still offering solid content. Through market research surveys and focus groups with students and professors, we continue to learn what features worked best from previous editions, what can be improved, and what can be added to accomplish this goal both effectively and effi ciently. Our response is a pedagogical frame that combines popular elements from the last edition with new ones.

• Chapter Opening—a timely, real-world vignette introduces the chapter, The Key Point helps clarify the topic, Chapter at a Glance highlights major study questions, and What’s Inside highlights the key features.

• Inside the Chapter—a variety of thematic embedded boxes as previously noted—Ethics in OB, Finding the Leader in You, OB in Popular Culture, and Research Insight, highlight relevant, timely, and global themes and situations that reinforce chapter content. Margin Photo Essays provide further short examples highlighting events and issues. To assist with chapter study and test preparation, each chapter has a running Margin Glossary and Margin List Identifi ers.

• End of Chapter—a Study Guide helps students review and test their mastery of chapter content. Key components are Key Questions and Answers (keyed to opening Chapter at a Glance topics), Key Terms, and a Self-Test (with multiple choice, short response, and essay questions). Next Steps: Top Choices from the OB Skills Workbook highlight the Cases for Critical Think- ing, Team and Experiential Exercises, and Self-Assessments found in the back of the book that complement each chapter.

The OB Skills Workbook The end-of-text OB Skills Workbook has become a hallmark feature of the text- book, and it has been updated and expanded for the new edition. This edi- tion features the Learning Style Inventory and Kouzes/Posner Student Leadership Practices Inventory. Both fi t well in an OB course as opportunities for substantial

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About This Book xi

student refl ection and course enhancement. The fi ve sections in the new updated workbook that offer many ways to extend the OB learning experience in creative and helpful ways are:

• Learning Style Inventory

• Student Leadership Practices Inventory

• Self-Assessment Portfolio

• Team and Experiential Exercises

• Cases for Critical Thinking

New Student and Instructor Support Organizational Behavior, 12th Edition, is supported by a comprehensive learn- ing package that assists the instructor in creating a motivating and enthusiastic environment.

Instructor’s Resource Guide The Instructor’s Resource Guide, written by Andrea Smith-Hunter, Siena College, offers helpful teaching ideas, advice on course development, sample assignments, and chapter-by-chapter text highlights, learning objectives, lecture outlines, class exercises, lecture notes, answers to end-of-chapter material, and tips on using cases.

Test Bank This comprehensive Test Bank, written by Amit Shah, Frostburg University, is available on the instructor portion of the Web site and consists of over 200 questions per chapter. Each chapter has true/false, multiple choice, and short answer questions. The questions are designed to vary in degree of diffi - culty to challenge your OB students.

The Computerized Test Bank is for use on a PC running Windows. It contains content from the Test Bank provided within a test-generating program that allows instructors to customize their exams.

PowerPoint This robust set of lecture/interactive PowerPoints prepared by Karen Edwards, Chemeketa Community College, is provided for each chapter to enhance your students’ overall experience in the OB classroom. The PowerPoint slides can be accessed on the instructor portion of the Web site and include lec- ture notes to accompany each slide.

Web Quizzes This online study guide with online quizzes varies in level of diffi culty. Written by Amit Shah, Frostburg University, it is designed to help your students evaluate their individual progress through a chapter. Web quizzes are available on the student portion of the Web site. Here students will have the abil- ity to test themselves with 15–25 questions per chapter and include true-false and multiple choice questions.

Personal Response System The Personal Response System questions (PRS or “Clickers”) for each chapter of Organizational Behavior 12th Edition is

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xii About This Book

designed to spark discussion/debate in the OB classroom. For more information on PRS, please contact your local Wiley sales representative.

Companion Web Site The text’s Web site at http://www.wiley.com/college/ schermerhorn contains myriad tools and links to aid both teaching and learning, including nearly all of the student and instructor resources.

Business Extra Select Online Courseware System http://www.wiley. com/college/bxs. Wiley has launched this program that provides an instructor with millions of content resources from an extensive database of cases, jour- nals, periodicals, newspapers, and supplemental readings. This courseware system lends itself extremely well to the integration of real-world content and allows instructors to convey the relevance of the course content to their students.

Videos and Video Teaching Guide Short video clips tied to the major topics in organizational behavior are available. These clips provide an excellent starting point for lectures or for general class discussion. Teaching notes for using the video clips, written by Stacy Shriver, University of Colorado, Boulder, are available on the instructor’s portion of the Web site.

WileyPLUS WileyPLUS is an innovative, research-based, online environment for effective teaching and learning.

What do students receive with WileyPLUS?

A Research-based Design WileyPLUS provides an online environment that integrates relevant resources, including the entire digital textbook, in an easy-to- navigate framework that helps students study more effectively.

• WileyPLUS adds structure by organizing textbook content into smaller, more manageable “chunks.”

• Related media, examples, and sample practice items reinforce the learning objectives.

One-on-One Engagement With WileyPLUS for Organizational Behavior, 12e, students receive 24/7 access to resources that promote positive learning out- comes. Students engage with related examples (in various media) and sample practice items, including:

• Animated Figures

• CBS/BBC Videos

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About This Book xiii

• Self-Assessments quizzes students can use to test themselves on topics such as emotional intelligence, diversity awareness, and intuitive ability.

• Management Calendar Including Daily Management Tips

• iPhone Applications for Download

• Flash Cards

• Hot Topic Modules

• Crossword Puzzles

• Self-Study Questions

Measurable Outcomes Throughout each study session, students can assess their progress and gain immediate feedback. WileyPLUS provides precise report- ing of strengths and weaknesses, as well as individualized quizzes, so that stu- dents are confi dent they are spending their time on the right things. With Wiley- PLUS, students always know the exact outcome of their efforts.

What do instructors receive with WileyPLUS?

WileyPLUS provides reliable, customizable resources that reinforce course goals inside and outside of the classroom as well as visibility into individual student progress. Pre-created materials and activities help instructors optimize their time:

Customizable Course Plan WileyPLUS comes with a pre-created Course Plan designed by a subject matter expert uniquely for this course. Simple drag-and- drop tools make it easy to assign the course plan as-is or modify it to refl ect your course syllabus.

Pre-created Activity Types Include:

• Questions

• Readings and Resources

• Presentation

• Print Tests

• Concept Mastery

• Project

Course Materials and Assessment Content:

• Lecture Notes PowerPoint Slides

• Classroom Response System (Clicker) Questions

• Image Gallery

• Instructor’s Manual

• Gradable Reading Assignment Questions (embedded with online text)

• Question Assignments: all end-of-chapter problems

• Testbank

• Pre- and Post-Lecture Quizzes

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xiv About This Book

• Web Quizzes

• Video Teaching Notes—includes questions geared towards applying text concepts to current videos

Gradebook WileyPLUS provides instant access to reports on trends in class performance, student use of course materials, and progress towards learning objectives, helping inform decisions and drive classroom discussions.

WileyPLUS. Learn More. www.wileyplus.com. Powered by proven technology and built on a foundation of cognitive re-

search, WileyPLUS has enriched the education of millions of students in over 20 countries around the world.

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Cases for Critical Thinking Barry R. Armandi, State University of New York, David S. Chappell, Ohio Univer- sity, Bernardo M. Ferdman, Alliant International University, Placido L. Gallegos, Southwest Communications Resources, Inc. and the Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group. Inc., Carol Harvey, Assumption College, Ellen Ernst Kossek, Michigan State University, Barbara McCain, Oklahoma City University, Mary McGarry, Empire State College, Marc Osborn, R&R Partners, Phoenix, AZ, Franklin Ramsoomair, Wilfrid Laurier University, Hal Babson and John Bowen of Columbus State Com- munity College.

Experiential Exercises and Self-Assessment Inventories Barry R. Armandi, State University of New York, Old Westbury, Ariel Fishman, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Barbara K. Goza, University of California, Santa Cruz, D.T. Hall, Boston University, F.S. Hall, University of New Hampshire, Lady Hanson, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Conrad N. Jackson, MPC, Inc., Mary Khalili, Oklahoma City University, Robert Led- man, Morehouse College, Paul Lyons, Frostburg State University, J. Marcus Maier, Chapman University, Michael R. Manning, New Mexico State University, Barbara McCain, Oklahoma City University, Annie McKee, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Bonnie McNeely, Murray State University, W. Alan Randolph, University of Baltimore, Joseph Raelin, Boston College, Paula J. Schmidt, New Mexico State University, Susan Schor, Pace University, Timothy T. Serey, Northern Kentucky University, Barbara Walker, Diversity Consultant, Paula S. Weber, New Mexico Highlands University, Susan Rawson Zacur, University of Baltimore.

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Organizational Behavior, 12th Edition, benefi ts from insights provided by a dedi- cated group of management educators from around the globe who carefully read and critiqued draft chapters of this edition. We are pleased to express our ap- preciation to the following colleagues for their contributions to this new edition.

Merle Ace Chi Anyansi-Archibong Terry Armstrong Leanne Atwater Forrest Aven Steve Axley Abdul Aziz Richard Babcock David Baldridge Michael Banutu-Gomez Robert Barbato Richard Barrett Nancy Bartell Anna Bavetta Robb Bay Hrach Bedrosian Bonnie Betters-Reed Gerald Biberman Melinda Blackman Lisa Bleich Mauritz Blonder Dale Blount G. B. Bohn William Bommer H. Michal Boyd Pat Buhler Gene E. Burton Roosevelt Butler Ken Butterfi eld

Joseph F. Byrnes Michal Cakrt Tom Callahan Daniel R. Cillis Nina Cole Paul Collins Ann Cowden Deborah Crown Roger A. Dean Robert Delprino Emmeline De Pillis Pam Dobies Delf Dodge Dennis Duchon Michael Dumler Ken Eastman Norb Elbert Theresa Feener Janice M. Feldbauer Claudia Ferrante Mark Fichman Dalmar Fisher J. Benjamin Forbes Dean Frear Cynthia V. Fukami Normandie Gaitley Daniel Ganster Joe Garcia Virginia Geurin

Robert Giambatista Manton Gibbs Eugene Gomolka Barbara Goodman Stephen Gourlay Frederick Greene Richard Grover Bengt Gustafsson Peter Gustavson Lady Alice Hanson Don Hantula Kristi Harrison William Hart Nell Hartley Neil J. Humphreys David Hunt Eugene Hunt Howard Kahn Harriet Kandelman Paul N. Keaton Andrew Klein Leslie Korb Peter Kreiner Eric Lamm Donald Lantham Jim Lessner Les Lewchuk Kristi M. Lewis Robert Liden

Heidi Barclay, Metropolitan State Nancy Fredericks, San Diego State Cindy Geppert, Palm Beach State

College Jim Maddox, Friends University Randy McCamey, Tarleton State Wendy Smith, U Del Barcley Johnson, Western Michigan U. Lam Nguyen, Palm Beach State

Robert Blanchard, Salem State Suzanne Crampton, Grand Valley State

University Jody Tolan, USC Marshall Gary J. Falcone, Ed.D., LaSalle

University Marcia Marriott, Monroe CC Edward Kass, USFCA Sidney Siegel, Drexel

We also thank those reviewers who contributed to the success of previous editions.

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Acknowledgments xvii

Beverly Linnell Kathy Lippert Michael London Michael Lounsbury Carol Lucchesi David Luther Lorna Martin Tom Mayes Daniel McAllister Douglas McCabe James McFillen Jeanne McNett Charles Milton Herff L. Moore David Morand David Morean Sandra Morgan Paula Morrow Richard Mowday Christopher Neck Linda Neider Judy C. Nixon Regina O’Neill Dennis Pappas Edward B. Parks Robert F. Pearse Lawrence Peters Prudence Pollard

Joseph Porac Samuel Rabinowitz Franklin Ramsoomair Clint Relyea Bobby Remington Charles L. Roegiers Steven Ross Joel Rudin Michael Rush Robert Salitore Terri Scandura Mel Schnake Holly Schroth L. David Schuelke Richard J. Sebastian Anson Seers William Sharbrough R. Murray Sharp Ted Shore Allen N. Shub Sidney Siegal Dayle Smith Mary Alice Smith Walter W. Smock Pat Sniderman Ritch L. Sorenson Shanthi Srinivas Paul L. Starkey

Robert Steel Ronni Stephens Ron Stone Tom Thompson Ed Tomlinson Sharon Tucker Nicholas Twigg Tony Urban Ted Valvoda Joyce Vincelette David Vollrath Andy Wagstaff W. Fran Waller Charles Wankel Edward Ward Fred A. Ware, Jr. Andrea F. Warfi eld Harry Waters, Jr. Joseph W. Weiss Deborah Wells Robert Whitcomb Donald White Bobbie Williams Barry L. Wisdom Wayne Wormley Barry Wright Kimberly Young Raymond Zammuto

We are grateful for all the hard work of the supplements authors who worked to develop the comprehensive ancillary package described above. We thank Andrea Smith-Hunter, Siena College, for preparing the Instructor’s Resource Guide, Amit Shah, Frostburg University, for creating the Test Bank and the web quizzes, Karen Edwards, Chemeketa Community College, for developing the PowerPoint presen- tations, and Stacy Shriver, University of Colorado, Boulder, for writing the Video Teaching Notes. We thank Brandon Warga of Kenyon College for his chapter open- ing vignettes, and Robert (Lenie) Holbrook of Ohio University for both the OB in Popular Culture feature and the creative instructor’s guide Art Imitates Life.

As always, the support staff at John Wiley & Sons was most helpful in the various stages of developing and producing this edition. We would especially like to thank Lisé Johnson (Acquisitions Editor), George Hoffman (Publisher), Susan McLaughlin (Developmental Editor), Sarah Vernon (Associate Editor), and Melissa Solarz (Editorial Assistant) for their extraordinary efforts in support of this project. They took OB to heart and did their very best to build a high-performance team in support of this book. We thank everyone at Wiley for maintaining the quest for quality and timeliness in all aspects of the book’s content and design. Special grat- itude goes to Maddy Lesure as the creative force behind the new design. We also thank Erin Bascom and Suzanne Ingrao of Ingrao Associates for their excellent production and design assistance, Allie Morris for overseeing the media develop- ment, and Amy Scholz for leading the marketing campaign. Thank you everyone!!

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1 Introducing Organizational Behavior 3

2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity 25 3 Emotions, Attitudes, and Job Satisfaction 53 4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning 75 5 Motivation Theories 101 6 Motivation and Performance 121

7 Teams in Organizations 145 8 Teamwork and Team Performance 169 9 Decision Making and Creativity 195 10 Confl ict and Negotiation 219

11 Communication and Collaboration 241 12 Power and Politics 263 13 Leadership Essentials 291 14 Leadership Challenges and Organizational Change 319

15 Organizational Culture and Innovation 347 16 Organizational Goals and Structures 373 17 Strategy, Technology, and Organizational Design 399

Learning Style Inventory W-9 Student Leadership Practices Inventory W-13 Self-Assessment Portfolio W-33 Team and Experiential Exercises W-55 Cases for Critical Thinking W-99

Research Methods in OB

part 4 Infl uence Processes and Leadership

OB Module Online

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part 1 Organizational Behavior Today 1 Introducing Organizational Behavior 3 Introducing Organizational Behavior 4

Why Organizational Behavior Is Important 4 Scientifi c Foundations of Organizational Behavior 4 Organizational Behavior in a Changing World 6

Organizations as Work Settings 8 Organizational Behavior in Context 9 Organizational Environments and Stakeholders 9 Diversity and Multiculturalism 10

Management and Leadership 11 Managerial Activities and Roles 12 Managerial Skills 13 Leadership in Organizations 14 Ethical Management and Leadership 16

Learning about Organizational Behavior 17 Learning from Experience 18 Learning Styles 18 Learning Guide to Organizational Behavior 12/E 19

Chapter 1 Study Guide 20

part 2 Individual Behavior and Performance 2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity 25 Individual Differences 26

Self-Awareness and Awareness of Others 26 Components of Self 26 Nature versus Nurture 27

Personality 29 Big Five Personality Traits 29 Social Traits 29 Personal Conception Traits 31 Emotional Adjustment Traits 34

Personality and Stress 35 Sources of Stress 35 Outcomes of Stress 36 Managing Stress 37

Values 38 Sources of Values 38 Personal Values 39 Cultures Values 40

Diversity 42 Importance of Diversity 42 Types of Diversity 42 Challenges in Managing Diversity 47

Chapter 2 Study Guide 48

3 Emotions, Attitudes, and Job Satisfaction 53 Understanding Emotions and Moods 54

The Nature of Emotions 54 Emotional Intelligence 54 Types of Emotions 56 The Nature of Moods 56

How Emotions and Moods Infl uence Behavior 57 Emotion and Mood Contagion 58 Emotional Labor 58 Cultural Aspects of Emotions and Moods 59 Emotions and Moods as Affective Events 60

How Attitudes Infl uence Behavior 60 Components of Attitudes 61 Linking Attitudes and Behavior 62 Attitudes and Cognitive Consistency 62 Types of Job Attitudes 62

Job Satisfaction and Its Importance 63 Components of Job Satisfaction 64 Job Satisfaction Trends 65 How Job Satisfaction Infl uences Work Behavior 66 Linking Job Satisfaction and Job Performance 67

Chapter 3 Study Guide 70

4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning 75 The Perception Process 76

Factors Infl uencing Perception 76 Information Processing and the Perception Process 78 Perception, Impression Management, and Social

Common Perceptual Distortions 81 Stereotypes 81 Halo Effects 83 Selective Perception 83 Projection 84

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xx Contents

Contrast Effects 84 Self-Fulfi lling Prophecies 85

Perception, Attribution, and Social Learning 86 Importance of Attributions 86 Attribution Errors 87 Attribution and Social Learning 87

Learning by Reinforcement 89 Operant Conditioning and the Law of Effect 89 Positive Reinforcement 90 Negative Reinforcement 94 Punishment 94 Extinction 94 Reinforcement Pros and Cons 95

Chapter 4 Study Guide 95

5 Motivation Theories 101 What Is Motivation? 102

Motivation Defi ned 102 Types of Motivation Theories 102

Needs Theories of Motivation 103 Hierarchy of Needs Theory 103 ERG Theory 104 Acquired Needs Theory 104 Two-Factor Theory 106

Equity Theory of Motivation 107 Equity and Social Comparisons 107 Equity Theory Predictions and Findings 108 Equity and Organizational Justice 109

Expectancy Theory of Motivation 111 Expectancy Terms and Concepts 111 Expectancy Theory Predictions 111 Expectancy Implications and Research 112

Goal-Setting Theory of Motivation 112 Motivational Properties of Goals 113 Goal-Setting Guidelines 113 Goal Setting and the Management Process 115

Chapter 5 Study Guide 116

6 Motivation and Performance 121 Motivation and Rewards 122

Integrated Model of Motivation 122 Intrinsic and Extrinsic Rewards 122 Pay for Performance 124

Motivation and Performance Management 127 Performance Management Process 127

Performance Measurement Methods 128 Performance Measurement Errors 131

Motivation and Job Design 131 Scientifi c Management 132 Job Enlargement and Job Rotation 133 Job Enrichment 133 Job Characteristics Model 134

Alternative Work Schedules 136 Compressed Workweeks 137 Flexible Working Hours 137 Job Sharing 138 Telecommuting 138 Part-Time Work 138

Chapter 6 Study Guide 139

part 3 Teams and Teamwork 7 Teams in Organizations 145 Teams in Organizations 146

Teams and Teamwork 146 What Teams Do 147 Organizations as Networks of Teams 147 Cross-Functional and Problem-Solving

Teams 149 Self-Managing Teams 150 Virtual Teams 151

Team Effectiveness 152 Criteria of an Effective Team 152 Synergy and Team Benefi ts 153 Social Facilitation 153 Social Loafi ng and Team Problems 153

Stages of Team Development 156 Forming Stage 156 Storming Stage 156 Norming Stage 157 Performing Stage 157 Adjourning Stage 158

Understanding Teams at Work 158 Open Systems Model of Teams 158 Team Resources and Setting 159 Nature of the Team Task 160 Team Size 160 Membership Composition of the Team 161 Diversity and Team Performance 162 Team Processes 164

Chapter 7 Study Guide 164

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Contents xxi

8 Teamwork and Team Performance 169 High Performance Teams 170

Characteristics of High-Performance Teams 170

The Team-Building Process 171 Team-Building Alternatives 172

Improving Team Processes 173 Entry of New Members 174 Task and Maintenance Leadership 174 Roles and Role Dynamics 175 Team Norms 176 Team Cohesiveness 179 Inter-Team Dynamics 180

Improving Team Communications 182 Communication Networks 183 Proxemics and Use of Space 184 Communication Technologies 184

Improving Team Decisions 185 Ways Teams Make Decisions 185 Assets and Liabilities of Team Decisions 187 Groupthink Symptoms and Remedies 188 Team Decision Techniques 189

Chapter 8 Study Guide 190

9 Decision Making and Creativity 195 The Decision-Making Process 196

Steps in Decision Making 196 Ethical Reasoning and Decision Making 197 Types of Decisions 200 Decision Environments 201 Risk Management in Decision Making 202

Decision-Making Models 202 Classical Decision Model 203 Behavioral Decision Model 203 Systematic and Intuitive Thinking 204

Decision-Making Traps and Issues 205 Judgmental Heuristics 205 Decision Biases 206 Knowing When to Decide 206 Knowing Who to Involve 207 Knowing When to Quit 209

Creativity in Decision Making 211 Stages of Creative Thinking 211 Personal Creativity Drivers 212 Team Creativity Drivers 212

Chapter 9 Study Guide 214

10 Confl ict and Negotiation 219 Confl ict in Organizations 220

Types of Confl ict 220 Levels of Confl ict 220 Functional and Dysfunctional Confl ict 222 Culture and Confl ict 223

Confl ict Management 224 Stages of Confl ict 224 Hierarchical Causes of Confl ict 225 Contextual Causes of Confl ict 225 Indirect Confl ict Management

Strategies 226 Direct Confl ict Management Strategies 228

Negotiation 230 Negotiation Goals and Outcomes 230 Ethical Aspects of Negotiation 232 Organizational Settings for Negotiation 232

Negotiation Strategies 232 Approaches to Distributive

Negotiation 233 How to Gain Integrative Agreements 234 Common Negotiation Pitfalls 235 Third-Party Roles in Negotiation 235

Chapter 10 Study Guide 237

part 4 Infl uence Processes and Leadership 11 Communication and Collaboration 241 The Nature of Communication 242

The Communication Process 242 Feedback and Communication 243 Nonverbal Communication 244

Interpersonal Communication 245 Communication Barriers 245 Active Listening 246 Cross-Cultural Communication 248

Organizational Communication 251 Communication Channels 251 Communication Flows 252 Status Effects 255

Collaborative Work Environments 255 Collaboration Technologies 255 Interactional Transparency 256 Supportive Communication Principles 257

Chapter 11 Study Guide 258

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xxii Contents

12 Power and Politics 263 Power and Infl uence 264

Interdependence, Legitimacy, and Power 264 Obedience 265 Acceptance of Authority and the Zone of Indifference 266

Sources of Power and Infl uence 268 Position Power 268 Personal Power 270 Power and Infl uence Capacity 272 Relational Infl uence Techniques 274

Empowerment 275 Keys to Empowerment 275 Power as an Expanding Pie 276 From Empowerment to Valuing People 277

Organizational Politics 278 Traditions of Organizational Politics 278 Politics of Self-Protection 281 Politics and Governance 283

Chapter 12 Study Guide 286

13 Leadership Essentials 291 Leadership 292

Managers versus Leaders 292 Trait Leadership Perspectives 293 Behavioral Leadership Perspectives 294

Situational Contingency Leadership 296 Fiedler’s Leadership Contingency View 296 Path-Goal View of Leadership 300 Hersey and Blanchard Situational Leadership

Model 301 Substitutes for Leadership 304

Follower-Centered Approaches 305 Implicit Leadership Theories (ILTs) 305 Implicit Followership Theories 307

Inspirational and Relational Leadership Perspectives 309

Charismatic Leadership 309 Transactional and Transformational

Leadership 310 Leader—Member Exchange Theory 313

Chapter 13 Study Guide 314

14 Leadership Challenges and Organizational Change 319 Moral Leadership 320

Authentic Leadership 320

Spiritual Leadership 320 Servant Leadership 322 Ethical Leadership 323

Shared Leadership 324 Shared Leadership in Work Teams 324 Shared Leadership and Self-Leadership 326

Leadership across Cultures 327 The GLOBE Perspective 328 Leadership Aspects and Culture 329 Culturally Endorsed Leadership Matches 330 Universally Endorsed Aspects of Leadership 331

Leading Organizational Change 332 Contexts for Leadership Action 332 Leaders as Change Agents 335 Planned Change Strategies 338 Resistance to Change 339

Chapter 14 Study Guide 342

part 5 Organizational Context 15 Organizational Culture and Innovation 347 Organizational Culture 348

Functions of Organizational Culture 348 Subcultures and Countercultures 350 National Culture and Corporate Culture 351

Understanding Organizational Cultures 353 Layers of Cultural Analysis 353 Stories, Rites, Rituals, and Symbols 354 Cultural Rules and Roles 355 Shared Values, Meanings, and Organizational

Innovation in Organizations 360 The Process of Innovation 361 Product and Process Innovations 362 Balancing Exploration and Exploitation 364

Managing Organizational Culture and Innovation 365

Management Philosophy and Strategy 365 Building, Reinforcing, and Changing Culture 366 Tensions Between Cultural Stability

and Innovation 367

Chapter 15 Study Guide 368

16 Organizational Goals and Structures 373 Organizational Goals 374

Societal Goals 374

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Output Goals 375 Systems Goals 375

Hierarchy and Control 377 Organizations as Hierarchies 377 Controls Are a Basic Feature 380 Centralization and Decentralization 383

Organizing and Coordinating Work 384 Traditional Types of Departments 385 Coordination 388

Bureaucracy and Beyond 392 Mechanistic Structures and the Machine

Bureaucracy 392 Organic Structures and the Professional

Bureaucracy 393 Hybrid Structures 393

Chapter 16 Study Guide 394

17 Strategy, Technology, and Organizational Design 399 Strategy and Organizational Learning 400

Strategy 400 Organizational Learning 401 Linking Strategy and Organizational Learning 403

Strategy and Organizational Design 404 Organizational Design and Strategic Decisions 404 Organizational Design, Age, and Growth 405 Smaller Size and the Simple Design 406

Technology and Organizational Design 408 Operations Technology and Organizational

Adhocracy as a Design Option for Innovation and Learning 409

Information Technology and Organizational Design 411

Environment and Organizational Design 413 Environmental Complexity 414 Using Networks and Alliances 415

Strategic Leadership of the Whole Organization 416 Strategic Leadership and the Challenges at Multiple

Levels 416 Developing a Top-Management Team 417 Using Top-Management Leadership Skills 419

Chapter 17 Study Guide 421

OB Skills Workbook W-1 Learning Style Inventory W-9

Student Leadership Practices Inventory W-13

Self-Assessment Portfolio W-33

Team and Experiential Exercises W-55

Cases for Critical Thinking W-99

Glossary G-1

Self-Test Answers ST-1

Photo Credits PC-1

Organization Index OI-1

Name Index NI-1

Subject Index SI-1

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The Tonight Show: Things Don’t Always Go as Planned

“So what does NBC do? If you are making buggy whips and no one is buying buggies anymore, do you keep making buggy whips?” —Jay Leno.b

The peacock was feeling the heat.

Affi liate station owners were grumbling to NBC that The Jay Leno Show, the comedian’s new prime-time project after passing the Tonight Show torch to Conan O’Brien, was bad for ratings and would turn off viewers. Even worse, Leno’s show wasn’t on the air yet.

High-ranking NBC exec Jeff Zucker, having earlier turned around The Today Show, offered a deal. Leno takes Conan’s slot but is shortened to 30 minutes. Conan keeps The Tonight Show but moves to midnight.

The deal: It came together like an “after-school special on the Don’ts of leadership transitions,” noted HR consultant J.P. Elliot.a The result: A PR nightmare dubbed The Jaypocalypse. Public trash-talking by all parties. And the defection of a serious chunk of viewers with strong brand loyalty and purchasing power.

Only one day after the deal was announced, Conan released his earnest “People of Earth” statement, quickly winning fans, a visible majority of

fellow comedians, and, seemingly, almost everyone on Twitter. In contrast, Leno often appeared befuddled in interviews, with only Jerry Seinfeld and Oprah supporting him in the press.

The aftermath: Eight months later, Leno was back behind the Tonight Show desk. Conan had a home on TBS. NBC was down viewers, sponsors, and cash, having paid $43 million to break Conan’s contract.

The lesson to be learned: “The real culprit here,” says consultant Elliot, “[is] NBC’s lack of ability to execute their succession plan.” But just whose failure was that? Perhaps that’s a question best answered by Jeff Zucker as he ponders the complexities of human behavior in organizations.

FYI 1. Time for Conan O’Brien’s Twitter followers to surpass Jay Leno’s: under 60 minutes.c

2. Cost of breaking Leno’s NBC contract: Estimated $150 million. Cost of breaking Conan’s NBC contract: $45 million.d

Quick Summary

• After fi ve years of waiting, Conan O’Brien takes the reins of The Tonight Show from Jay Leno.

• Leno, unwilling to step away, launches a prime-time talk show. Affi liates complain even before the show airs.

• To rescue Leno, NBC Universal proposes bumping Conan to 12:05 a.m., Leno to 11:35 p.m. Public acrimony ensues.

• NBC Universal spends an estimated one-third of the cost of breaking Leno’s contract to fi re Conan. Leno’s show airs, sputters. O’Brien sells out a 30-city comedy tour before launching Conan on TBS.

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3➠ the key point

People in all of their rich diversity are the basic building blocks of organizations. Everyone deserves to be respected at work and to be satisfi ed with their jobs and accomplishments. Problems like those with the Tonight Show don’t need to happen. The fi eld of organizational behavior offers many insights into managing individuals and teams for high performance in today’s new workplace.

chapter at a glance

What Is Organizational Behavior and Why Is It Important?

What Are Organizations Like as Work Settings?

What Is the Nature of Management and Leadership in Organizations?

How Do We Learn About Organizational Behavior?

what ’s inside?





people make the difference

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4 1 Introducing Organizational Behavior

Whether your career unfolds in entrepreneurship, corporate enterprise, public service, or any other occupational setting, it is always worth remembering that people are the basic building blocks of organizational success. Organizations do well when the people in them work hard to achieve high performance, as individuals and as members of teams. Creating success requires respect for everyone’s needs, talents, and aspirations, as well as an understanding of the dynamics of human behavior in organizational systems.

This book is about people, everyday people like you and like us, who work and pursue careers in today’s highly demanding settings. It is about people who seek fulfi llment in their lives and jobs in a variety of ways and in uncertain times. It is about the challenges of leadership, ethics, globalization, technology utilization, diversity, work–life balance, and other social issues. And this book is also about how our complex environment requires people and organizations to learn and to continuously develop in the quest for high performance and promising futures.

Why Organizational Behavior Is Important In this challenging era, the body of knowledge we call organizational behavior offers many insights of great value. Called OB for short, organizational behavior is the study of human behavior in organizations. It is an academic discipline devoted to understanding individual and group behavior, interpersonal pro- cesses, and organizational dynamics. Learning about OB can help you expand your potential for career success in the dynamic, shifting, and complex work- places of today—and tomorrow.

OB is a knowledge base

that helps people work together

to improve the performance of organizations.

Scientifi c Foundations of Organizational Behavior As far back as a century ago, consultants and scholars were giving increased attention to the systematic study of management and organizational practices. Although the early focus was initially on physical working conditions, princi- ples of administration, and industrial engineering, interest broadened to include the human factor. This gave impetus to research dealing with indi- vidual attitudes, group dynamics, and the relationships between managers and workers. From this historical foundation, organizational behavior emerged as a scholarly discipline devoted to scientifi c understanding of individuals and groups in organizations, and of the performance implications of organiza- tional processes, systems, and structures.1

Interdisciplinary Body of Knowledge Organizational behavior is an interdisci- plinary body of knowledge with strong ties to the behavioral sciences—psychology,

• Organizational behavior is the study of

individuals and groups in organizations.

LEARNING ROADMAP Why Organizational Behavior Is Important / Scientifi c Foundations of Organizational Behavior / Organizational Behavior in a Changing World

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Introducing Organizational Behavior 5

sociology, and anthropology—as well as to allied social sciences such as economics and political science. OB is unique, however, in its goals of integrating the diverse insights of these other disciplines and applying them to real-world organizational problems and opportunities. The ultimate goal of OB is to improve the performance of people, groups, and organizations, and to improve the quality of work life overall.

Use of Scientifi c Methods The fi eld of organizational behavior uses scien- tifi c methods to develop and empirically test generalizations about behavior in organizations. OB scholars often propose and test models—simplifi ed views of reality that attempt to identify major factors and forces underlying real-world phenomena. These models link independent variables—presumed causes— with dependent variables—outcomes of practical value and interest. Here, for example, is a very basic model that describes one of the fi ndings of OB research—job satisfaction (independent variable) infl uences absenteeism (dependent variable).

AbsenteeismJob Satisfaction � �


Notice that “�” and “�” signs in the above model indicate that as job satisfac- tion increases, absenteeism tends to go down, and as job satisfaction decreases, absenteeism often goes up. As you look at this model you might ask what other dependent variables are important to study in OB—perhaps things like task per- formance, ethical behavior, work stress, incivility, team cohesion, and leadership effectiveness. In fact, job satisfaction can also be a dependent variable in its own right. What independent variables do you believe might explain whether satisfac- tion will be high or low for someone doing a service job like an airline fl ight attendant or a managerial one like a school principal?

Figure 1.1 describes a set of research methods commonly used by OB researchers to study models and the relationships among variables. These meth- ods are based on scientifi c thinking. This means (1) the process of data collection is controlled and systematic, (2) proposed explanations are carefully tested, and (3) only explanations that can be rigorously verifi ed are accepted.

Focus on Application As already suggested, the science of organizational behavior focuses on applications that can make a real difference in how organiza- tions and people in them perform. Examples of the many practical research ques- tions addressed by the discipline of OB and reviewed in this book include: How should rewards such as merit pay raises be allocated? How can jobs be designed for both job satisfaction and high performance? What are the ingredients of suc- cessful teamwork? How can a manager deal with resistance to change? Should leaders make decisions by individual, consultative, or group methods? How can “win–win” outcomes be achieved in negotiations? What causes unethical and socially irresponsible behavior by people in organizations?

Contingency Thinking Rather than assuming that there is one “best” or univer- sal answer to questions such as those just posed, OB recognizes that management

• Models are simplifi ed views of reality that attempt to explain real- world phenomena. • Independent variables are presumed causes that infl uence dependent variables. • Dependent variables are outcomes of practical value and interest that are infl uenced by independent variables.

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6 1 Introducing Organizational Behavior

practices must be tailored to fi t the exact nature of each situation––this is called contingency thinking. In fact, one of the most accepted conclusions of scien- tifi c research to date is that there is no single best way to manage people and organizations. Stated a bit differently, contingency thinking recognizes that there are no cookie-cutter solutions that can be universally applied to solve organiza- tional problems. Responses must be crafted to best fi t the circumstances and people involved. As you might expect, this is where solid scientifi c fi ndings in organizational behavior become very helpful. Many examples are provided in the Research Insight feature found in each chapter.

An essential responsibility of any science is to create and test models that offer evidence-based foundations for decision making and action. A book by scholars Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton defi nes evidence-based management as making decisions on “hard facts”—that is about what really works, rather than on “dangerous half-truths”—things that sound good but lack empirical substantia- tion.2 One of the ways evidence-based thinking manifests itself in OB is through a contingency approach in which researchers identify how different situations can best be understood and handled.

In a time of complex globalization, for example, it’s important for everyone, from managers and employees to government leaders, to understand how OB theories and concepts apply in different countries.3 Although it is relatively easy to conclude that what works in one culture may not work as well in another, it is far harder to describe how specifi c cultural differences can affect such things as motivation, job satisfaction, leadership style, negotiating tendencies, and ethical behavior. Fortunately, OB is now rich with empirically based insights into cross- cultural issues.

Organizational Behavior in a Changing World With the recent economic turmoil, fi nancial crisis, and recession, there isn’t any doubt that organizations and their members face huge challenges. Talk to friends

• Contingency thinking seeks ways to meet the

needs of different management situations.

• Evidence-based management uses hard

facts and empirical evidence to make

Sources of research insight in OB

Field studies

in real-life organizational settings

Laboratory studies

in simulated and controlled settings

Meta analyses

using statistics to pool results of different empirical studies

Case studies

looking in depth at single situations

Survey studies

using questionnaires and interviews in sample populations

Figure 1.1 Common scientifi c research methods in organizational behavior.

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Introducing Organizational Behavior 7

and follow the news headlines. Jobs are still hard to come by for new college graduates; unemployment remains high; those with jobs often face the confl icting demands of work and family responsibilities. You’ll notice organizations adopting new features, changing work processes and practices, and trying different strate- gies. At the same time, they’re dealing with employees, customers, and clients whose needs, values, and tastes seem to be constantly shifting.

Things have actually been changing for quite some time in our work environ- ments, but recent events are especially dramatic in affecting both the nature and pace of change. The comments of consultant Tom Peters seem especially rele- vant. He once called the changing environment of organizations a “revolution that feels something like this: scary, guilty, painful, liberating, disorienting, exhilarat- ing, empowering, frustrating, fulfi lling, confusing, and challenging. In other words, it feels very much like chaos.”4

The environment of change in which we now live and work calls for lots of learning and continuous attention. The fi eld of OB recognizes these trends in what

No one doubts there are good and bad leaders of both genders. But research by Alice Eagley and her colleagues at Northwestern University suggests that women are often perceived as more likely than men to use leadership styles that result in high performance by followers.

In a meta-analysis that statistically compared the results of 45 research studies dealing with male and female leadership styles, Eagley and her team concluded that women are frequently described as leading by inspiring, exciting, mentoring, and stimulating creativity. They point out that these behaviors have “transformational” qualities that build stronger organizations through innovation and teamwork. Women also score higher on rewarding positive performance, while men score higher in punishing and correcting mistakes.

Eagley and her colleagues explain the fi ndings in part by the fact that followers are more accepting of a transformational style when the leader is

female, and that the style comes more naturally to women because of its emphasis on nurturing. They also suggest that because women may have to work harder than men to succeed, their leadership skills get tough tests and end up being better developed.

Women Might Make Better Leaders

Do the Research What do you think: is this study on track? Conduct an interview study of people working for female and male managers. Ask the question: Do women lead differently from men? Organize the responses and prepare an analysis that answers your research question. Although not scientifi c, your study could prove quite insightful.


• “Transformational” • Good at mentoring • Very inspiring • Encourage creativity • Show excitement about goals • Reward positive performance

Source: Alice H. Eagley, Mary C. Johannesen-Smith and Marloes I. van Engen, “Transformational, Transactional and Laissez-Faire Leadership: A Meta-Analysis of Women and Men,” Psychological Bulletin 24.4 (2003), pp. 569–591.


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8 1 Introducing Organizational Behavior

people expect and value in terms of human behav- ior in organizations.5

• Commitment to ethical behavior: Highly publicized scandals involving unethical and illegal practices prompt concerns for ethical behavior in the workplace; there is growing intolerance for breaches of public faith by organizations and those who run them.

• Broader views of leadership: New pressures and demands mean organizations can no longer rely on just managers for leadership: leadership is valued from all members, found at all levels, and fl ows in all directions—not just top-down.

• Emphasis on human capital and teamwork: Success is earned through knowledge, experi- ence, and commitments to people as valuable human assets; work is increasingly team based with a focus on peer contributions.

• Demise of command-and-control: Traditional hierarchical structures and practices are proving incapable of handling today’s chal- lenges; they are being replaced by shared leadership, fl exible structures, and participatory work settings that fully value human capital.

• Infl uence of information technology: As new technologies—including social media—penetrate all aspects of the workplace, implications for work arrangements, organizational systems and processes, and individual behavior are continu- ously evolving.

• Respect for new workforce expectations: The new generation of workers is less tolerant of hierarchy, more high tech, and less concerned about status; organizations are paying more attention to helping members balance work and non-work responsibilities.

• Changing concept of careers: New economy jobs require special skill sets and a capacity for continuous skill development; more people now work as independent contractors who shift among employers rather than hold traditional full-time jobs.

• Concern for sustainability: Issues of sustainability are top priorities; decision making and goal setting increasingly give attention to the environment, climate justice, and preservation of resources for future generations.

Things Are Changing as the Facebook Generation Goes to Work

Call them “Generation F,” short for the Facebook Generation. They are heavily into the world of social media, and they are bringing change to the workplace. Manage- ment scholar and consultant Gary Hamel says that managers

who want to work well with Gen F have to face up to a new set of expectations. Here’s his view of Gen F at work.

• No one kills an idea; all ideas deserve a hearing.

• Contributions overrule credentials.

• Authority is earned, not given.

• Leaders serve; they don’t command.

• People choose tasks that interest them.

• Groups are self-organizing and free formed.

• Resources fl ow toward good ideas and projects.

• Power comes from information sharing.

• Wisdom lies within the crowd; peer review counts.

• Community grows from shared decision making.

• Recognition and joy of accomplishment are great motivators.

• Rabble rousing is embraced, not discouraged.

In order to understand the complex fi eld of forces that relate to human behavior in organizations, we need to begin with the nature of the “organization” itself. Simply stated, an organization is a collection of people working together in a

• Organizations are collections of people working together to achieve a common

LEARNING ROADMAP Organizational Behavior in Context / Organizational Environments and Stakeholders / Diversity and Multiculturalism

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Organizations as Work Settings 9

division of labor to achieve a common purpose. This defi nition describes every- thing from clubs, voluntary organizations, and religious bodies to entities such as small and large businesses, schools, hospitals, and government agencies.

Organizational Behavior in Context The behavior of people in organizations is greatly affected by context. Think about yourself. Do you act differently when you are with your friends, at school, or at work? In many cases the answer is probably “yes,” and the question then becomes: “Why?” To understand behavior in any setting, we must ask ourselves how contextual factors infl uence it and in what ways. We also need to consider how we are affecting the context. How do our behaviors contribute to the dynam- ics that are happening to us and around us, and in both positive and negative ways? The bottom line is that a key aspect of understanding organizational behav- ior is considering the situations, or contexts, in which the behavior occurs.

One of the strongest contextual infl uences on OB is organizational culture— the shared beliefs and values that infl uence the behavior of organizational mem- bers. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman calls it the “character” of the organization. She says organization culture is “the set of values and principles by which you run a company” and becomes the “moral center” that helps every member understand what is right and wrong in terms of personal behavior.6

Organizational cultures infl uence the way we feel and act in organizations. In cultures that are more authoritarian and hierarchical, people are hesitant to make decisions and take action on their own, so they tend to show little initiative and wait for approval. In other cultures, people can be extremely competitive and aggressive in the quest for performance results and rewards. Still other cultures are known for their emphasis on speed and agility in dealing with markets and environments, and in generating new ideas and innovations. How these organi- zational cultures affect people depends on something called “fi t”—the match of organizational culture and individual characteristics. People who fi nd a good fi t tend to experience confi dence and satisfaction in their work; those who fi nd themselves in a bad fi t may be more prone to withdraw, experience work stress, and even become angry and aggressive due to dissatisfaction.

Just as organizations have cultures, they also have climates. Organizational climate represents the shared perceptions among members regarding what the organization is like in terms of management policies, practices, events, and pro- cedures. You have probably noticed and felt the climate in organizations that you have worked for. In some organizational climates relations among managers and employees are relaxed and informal, with lots of free-fl owing communication. But in other climates, managers act distant from employees and emphasize for- mal work procedures and interactions, with more structured and restricted com- munication.

Organizational Environments and Stakeholders Figure 1.2 shows that organizations are dynamic open systems. They obtain resource inputs from the environment and transform them into fi nished goods or services that are returned to the environment as product outputs. If every- thing works right, suppliers value the organization and continue to provide needed resources, employees value their work and infuse the transformation

• Organizational culture is a shared set of beliefs and values within an organization.

• Organizational climate represents shared perceptions of members regarding what the organization is like in terms of management policies and practices.

• Open systems transform human and material resource inputs into fi nished goods and services.

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10 1 Introducing Organizational Behavior

processes with their energies and intellects, and customers and clients value the organization’s outputs enough to create a continuing demand for them.

We have just described a value chain—the sequence of activities that results in the creation of goods and services of value to customers. It begins with the acquisition of inputs, continues through their transformation into product out- puts, and ends when products are distributed to customers and clients who are well served. When the value chain is well managed, the organization is able to sustain operations and, hopefully, prosper over the long run. But when the value chain breaks down due to input problems, transformation problems, or output problems, an organization’s performance suffers and its livelihood may be threat- ened. In extreme cases the organization can be forced into bankruptcy, such as happened to General Motors and Chrysler in the recent economic downturn, or even go out of existence altogether.

A popular and useful way to describe and analyze the external environment of organizations is in terms of stakeholders—people, groups, and institutions that are affected by and thus have an interest or “stake” in an organization’s perfor- mance. It is common in OB to recognize customers, owners, employees, suppliers, regulators, local communities, and future generations among the key stakeholders of organizations.

Although an organization should ideally operate in ways that best serve all stakeholders, the realities are that confl icting interests can create challenges for decision makers. Consider the possibilities: customers want value pricing and high-quality products, owners want profi ts and returns on investments, employ- ees want secure jobs with good pay and benefi ts, suppliers want reliable con- tracts and on-time payments, regulators want compliance with laws, local com- munities want good organizational citizenship and community support, and future generations want environmental protection and sustainability of natural resources.

Diversity and Multiculturalism Another important aspect of any organization is the makeup of the people within it. Consultant R. Roosevelt Thomas makes the point that positive organi-

• The value chain is a sequence of activities that creates valued goods and

services for customers.

• Stakeholders are people and groups with an

interest or “stake” in the performance of the





Work Activity

Consumer Feedback

Information Materials Technology Facilities Money People

Finished Goods and Services

Figure 1.2 Organizations are open systems that create value while interact- ing with their environments.

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Management and Leadership 11

zational cultures tap the talents, ideas, and creative potential of all members.7 His point focuses attention on workforce diversity, the presence of individual differences based on gender, race and ethnicity, age, able-bodiedness, and sex- ual orientation.8 It also highlights multiculturalism as an attribute of organiza- tions that emphasize pluralism, and genuine respect for diversity and individual differences.9

Demographic trends driving workforce diversity in American society are well recognized. There are more women working than ever before. They earn 60 percent of college degrees and fi ll a bit more than half of managerial jobs.10 The proportion of African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians in the labor force is increasing. By the year 2060, people of color will constitute over 60 percent of the U.S. population; close to 30 percent of the population will be Hispanic.11

A key issue in any organization is inclusion—the degree to which the cul- ture embraces diversity and is open to anyone who can perform a job, regard- less of their diversity attributes.12 In practice, however, valuing diversity must still be considered a work in progress. Data show, for example, that women earn only about 75 cents per dollar earned by men; female CEOs earn 85 cents per dollar earned by males. At Fortune 500 companies women hold only 15 CEO jobs and 6.2 percent of top-paying positions; women of color hold only 1.7 percent of corporate offi cer positions and 1 percent of top-paying jobs.13 Indeed, when Ursula Burns was named CEO of Xerox, she became the fi rst African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 fi rm.14

• Workforce diversity describes how people differ on attributes such as age, race, ethnicity, gender, physical ability, and sexual orientation. • Multiculturalism refers to pluralism and respect for diversity in the workplace.

• Inclusion is the degree to which an organization’s culture respects and values diversity.

A manager is someone whose job it is to directly support the work efforts of others. Being a manager is a unique challenge with responsibilities that link closely with the fi eld of organizational behavior. At the heart of the matter man- agers help other people get important things done in timely, high-quality, and personally satisfying ways. And in the workplaces of today this is accomplished more through “helping” and “supporting” than through traditional notions of “directing” and “controlling.”

You’ll fi nd the word “manager” is increasingly being replaced in conversa- tions by such terms as “coordinator,” “coach,” or “team leader.” Effective manag- ers help people achieve both high performance and job satisfaction. This defi ni- tion focuses attention on two key outcomes, or dependent variables, that are important in OB. The fi rst is task performance. You can think of it as the qual- ity and quantity of the work produced or the services provided by an individual, team or work unit, or organization as a whole. The second is job satisfaction. It indicates how people feel about their work and the work setting.

OB is quite clear in that managers should be held accountable for both of these results. The fi rst, performance, pretty much speaks for itself. The second, satisfaction, might give you some pause for thought. But just as a valuable machine should not be allowed to break down for lack of proper maintenance, the talents and enthusiasm of an organization’s workforce should never be lost

• Managers are persons who support the work efforts of other people.

• An effective manager helps others achieve high levels of both performance and satisfaction. • Task performance is the quantity and quality of work produced. • Job satisfaction is a positive feeling about one’s work and work setting.

LEARNING ROADMAP Managerial Activities and Roles / Managerial Skills / Leadership in Organizations / Ethical Management and Leadership

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12 1 Introducing Organizational Behavior

or compromised for lack of proper care. In this sense, taking care of job satis- faction today can be considered an investment in tomorrow’s performance potential.

Managerial Activities and Roles Anyone serving as a manager or team leader faces a challenging and complicated job. Among the ways that managerial work has been described and taught is through the four functions shown in Figure 1.3: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. These functions describe what managers are supposed to do in respect to:

• Planning—defi ning goals, setting specifi c performance objectives, and identifying the actions needed to achieve them

• Organizing—creating work structures and systems, and arranging resources to accomplish goals and objectives

• Leading—instilling enthusiasm by communicating with others, motivating them to work hard, and maintaining good interpersonal relations

• Controlling—ensuring that things go well by monitoring performance and taking corrective action as necessary

In what has become a classic study, Henry Mintzberg described how managers perform these functions while fulfi lling the set of 10 managerial roles shown in Figure 1.4.15

A manager’s interpersonal roles involve working directly with other people, hosting and attending offi cial ceremonies (fi gurehead), creating enthusiasm and serving people’s needs (leader), and maintaining contacts with important people and groups (liaison). The informational roles involve managers exchanging infor- mation with other people, seeking relevant information (monitor), sharing it with insiders (disseminator), and sharing it with outsiders (spokesperson). A manager’s decisional roles involve making decisions that affect other people, seeking prob- lems to solve and opportunities to explore (entrepreneur), helping to resolve

• Planning sets objectives and identifi es the actions needed to achieve them.

• Organizing divides up tasks and arranges

resources to accomplish them.

• Leading creates enthusiasm to work hard to

accomplish tasks successfully.

• Controlling monitors performance and takes any

needed corrective action.

Choosing goals and means to achieve them

Inspiring people to work hard


Measuring performance and ensuring results

Creating structures and work systems

Team leaders

Figure 1.3 The management process of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling.

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Management and Leadership 13

confl icts (disturbance handler), allocating resources to various uses (resource allocator), and negotiating with other parties (negotiator).

Managerial Skills A skill is an ability to translate knowledge into action that results in a desired per- formance. Robert Katz divides the essential managerial skills into three categories— technical, human, and conceptual.16 He further suggests that the relative impor- tance of these skills varies across the different levels of management. Technical skills are considered more important at entry levels, where supervisors and team leaders must deal with job- specifi c problems. Senior executives require more conceptual skills as they face sometimes ambiguous problems and deal with complex issues of organizational mission and strategy. Human skills, which are strongly grounded in the foundations of organizational behavior, are consistently important across all mana gerial levels.

Technical Skills A technical skill is an ability to perform specialized tasks using knowledge or expertise gained from education or experience. A good example is skill in using the latest communication and information technologies. In the high-tech workplaces of today, technical profi ciency in database manage- ment, spreadsheet analysis, presentation software, e-mail, video chats and confer- encing, and even social media is often a hiring prerequisite.

Human Skills Central to all aspects of managerial work and team leadership are human skills, or the ability to work well with other people. They show up as a spirit of trust, enthusiasm, and genuine involvement in interpersonal relation- ships. A person with good human skills will have a high degree of self-awareness and a capacity for understanding or empathizing with the feelings of others. People with this skill are able to interact well with others, engage in persuasive communications, and deal successfully with disagreements and confl icts.

An important aspect of human skills is emotional intelligence, or EI. As defi ned by Daniel Goleman, EI is the ability to understand and manage emotions

• A skill is an ability to turn knowledge into effective action.

• Technical skill is an ability to perform specialized tasks.

• Human skill is the ability to work well with other people.

• Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage oneself and one’s relationships effectively.

Interpersonal Roles

How a manager interacts with other

Informational Roles

How a manager exchanges and

processes information



Decisional Roles

How a manager uses information in

decision making


Disturbance handler

Resource allocator

Negotiator Figure 1.4 Mintzberg’s 10 roles of effective managers.

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14 1 Introducing Organizational Behavior

both personally and in relationships with others.17 The core elements in emo- tional intelligence are:

• Self-awareness—ability to understand your own moods and emotions

• Self-regulation—ability to think before acting and to control bad impulses

• Motivation—ability to work hard and persevere

• Empathy—ability to understand the emotions of others

• Social skill—ability to gain rapport with others and build good relationships

Human skills in emotional intelligence and interpersonal relationships are essential to success in each of the managerial activities and roles previously dis- cussed. Managers and team leaders need to develop, maintain, and work well with a wide variety of people, both inside and outside the organization.18 These include task networks of specifi c job-related contacts, career networks of career guidance and opportunity resources, and social networks of trustworthy friends and peers.19 It can be said in this sense that managers must develop and maintain social capital in the form of relationships and networks that they can call upon as needed to get work done through other people.

Conceptual Skills In addition to technical and human skills, managers should be able to view the organization or situation as a whole so that problems are always solved for the benefi t of everyone concerned. This capacity to think ana- lytically and solve complex and sometimes ambiguous problems is a conceptual skill. It involves the ability to see and understand how systems work and how their parts are interrelated, including human dynamics. Conceptual skill is used to identify problems and opportunities, gather and interpret relevant information, and make good problem-solving decisions.

Leadership in Organizations The job of a manager has never been more demanding than it is in today’s dynamic and hypercompetitive work environments. But it is also true that manag- ers alone cannot solve all the complex problems and address all the challenging

• Social capital is a capacity to get things done

due to relationships with other people.

• Conceptual skill is the ability to analyze and solve

complex problems.

Team Leadership and

Mentoring Give Manager

Lots of Satisfaction Managers often get good pay and perks. But lots of responsibility comes along with them. Dea Robinson, a practice administrator for Inpatient Medicine Service in Englewood, Colorado, knows this full well. She manages a fi ve-person team and says satisfaction comes from the variety, challenge, and mentoring aspects of her work. “If you’re in management you have

to fi gure out how to talk to people, get along with people,” she says.

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situations in organizations. In today’s organizations there is more recognition that every individual contributes to his or her own performance and job satisfaction and that more people have to be engaged in the leadership process to advance new ideas and new solutions, and to challenge old ways of thinking. It is a new world of management where managers aren’t the only leaders and where part of every manager’s success is based on how well he or she mobilizes leadership contributions from others.

Leaders are people who use infl uence to create change. They have followers because other people see the value of their ideas or suggestions and choose to go along or align with them. Managers, by virtue of their positions of authority, have the opportunity to act as leaders. But they don’t always do so, or do so suc- cessfully. Leaders succeed when people follow them not because they have to but because they want to. This positive infl uence emerges from persuasiveness, com- petence, and human skills. The Finding the Leader in You feature in each chapter is designed to provide role models and get you thinking about developing your leadership potential.

Management and Leadership 15

Finding the Leader in You BANKER SHOWS GENEROSITY CAN TRIUMPH OVER GREED When we think of outstanding leaders we often think of heroes and celebrate their great accom- plishments with national holidays such as Presidents Day (initially for Washington and Lincoln) and Martin Luther King Day. Current and former employees of City National Bank of Florida, one of the oldest and most profi table banks in the state, are considering a day that would honor their CEO, Leonard Abess.

Abess bought the bank out of bankruptcy in 1985 for $21 million, all borrowed. City National

employees had taken quite a hit on their retirement accounts. He wanted to reach out to the staff and show his appreciation.

This wasn’t the fi rst time this heroic banker has shared his wealth. Abess is an active philanthropist who regularly contributes to local medical centers and universities.

With all the recent commen- tary about CEOs receiving hefty bonuses as their fi rms have experienced declining profi tability, it is a nice reminder that some CEOs can be both excellent managers and generous leaders.

What’s the Lesson Here? Would you have made the same decision as Abess? Do you think the employees deserved the distribution, or should it go to the executives for their leader- ship? Would you, like Abess, have included former employees as well?

fl ourished under his leadership, getting an A1 rating for fi nancial security from TheStreet.com and joining the top 5 percent of all U.S. banks. It was sold to a Spanish bank, Caja Madrid, for almost a billion dollars. Abess didn’t just take his profi ts and go home. He quietly took $60 million and distributed it to 471 current and former employees.

So what made Leonard Abess a hero? He didn’t talk about his generosity publicly until a newspa- per discovered it. Abess told the Miami Herald that long before the

sale he had been trying to come up with a way to reward employees for their service. “I always thought some day I’m going to surprise them,” Abess said. “I sure as heck don’t need (the money).”

He also noted that with the recent recession, bank

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16 1 Introducing Organizational Behavior

Organizations are full of leaders, managers and nonmanagers alike. These are people who get listened to by their peers, by their managers, and by people below and higher up in the organization. In contrast to traditional views of leadership fl owing downward, lots of leadership fl ows upward and side-to-side. You can be a leader among your peers by becoming the person people turn to for advice, support, or direction. You can be a leader by convincing higher management to adopt new practices suggested from your level. And, remember the notion of the manager as “coach” and “coordinator” as described earlier? Everytime you act in ways that fi t these descriptions, there’s no doubt you’re being a leader.

Ethical Management and Leadership Having the essential managerial and leadership skills is one thing; using them correctly to get things done in organizations is quite another. And when it comes to ethics and morality, scholar Archie B. Carroll draws a distinction between immoral managers, amoral managers, and moral managers.20

The immoral manager essentially chooses to behave unethically. She or he doesn’t subscribe to any ethical principles, making decisions and acting to gain best personal advantage. Disgraced executives like Bernard Madoff and

• An immoral manager chooses to behave




The economic recession brought hardship and turmoil to lots of people and organizations. But even as fi rms performed poorly or failed altogether, many top executives still got high salaries, extra bonuses, and generous severance packages. This happened at the same time many workers lost their jobs, took pay cuts, or had their work hours reduced.

If that’s not enough, there’s the Bernard Madoff scandal. Now sentenced to 150 years in prison, he formerly lived lavishly while running an investment Ponzi scheme that bilked individuals, charitable foundations, colleges and universities, and other institutions of many billions of dollars.

Does it surprise you that a Harvard Business Review article pointed out that managers are now losing the public trust? To

help change things for the better, the authors call for business schools to address manage- ment as a profession governed by codes of conduct that “forge an implicit social contract with society.”

This is all part of a continuing debate about management ethics and corporate social responsibility. You’ll hear some argue that managers should try to satisfy the interests of many different stakeholders. But others will say that managers should stick to their primary duty—acting to maximize wealth for shareholders.

Make Ethics Personal: What is your position on the shareholder wealth versus stakeholder interest debate? Do you agree with the movement to make management a profession? Would professionalizing management really make a difference in terms of ethical accountability and everyday managerial behavior?

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Learning about Organizational Behavior 17

others whose unethical acts make headlines fi t this billing. The amoral manager, by contrast, acts unethically at times but does so unintentionally. This manager fails to consider the ethics of a decision or behavior. Unintentional ethics lapses that we all must guard against include prejudice from unconscious stereotypes and attitudes, showing bias based on in-group favoritism, and claiming too much personal credit for performance accomplishments.21 Finally, the moral manager incorporates ethics principles and goals into his or her personal behavior. Ethical behavior is a goal, a standard, and even a matter of routine; ethical reasoning is part of every decision, not just an occasional afterthought.

Carroll believes that the majority of managers tend to act amorally. If this is true, and because we also know there are also immoral managers around, it is very impor- tant to understand personal responsibilities for everyday ethical behavior and leader- ship. All organization members can and should be ethics leaders. This includes always acting as ethics role models and being willing to take stands in the face of unethical behavior by those above, below, and around them.

A review article by Terry Thomas and his colleagues describes how the “eth- ics center of gravity” shown in Figure 1.5 can be moved positively through moral leadership or negatively through amoral leadership.22 In this view, a moral man- ager or moral leader always sets an ethics example, communicates ethics values, and champions ethics mindfulness—an “enriched awareness” that causes one to behave with an ethical consciousness from one decision or behavioral event to another. Moral managers and moral leaders contribute to the “virtuous shift” shown in the fi gure. They help create an organizational culture in which people encourage one another to act ethically as a matter of routine. One of the themes of this book, as refl ected in the Ethics in OB feature in each chapter, is that ethics is the responsibility of everyone in the organization.

• An amoral manager fails to consider the ethics of a decision or behavior.

• A moral manager makes ethical behavior a personal goal.

• Ethics mindfulness is an enriched awareness that causes one to consistently behave with ethical consciousness.

Leader's impact on

ethics mindfulness

Organization's Ethics Center of Gravity

Moral leadership, “Virtuous shift”

Amoral leadership, “Negative shift”

Figure 1.5 Moral leader- ship, ethics mindfulness, and the virtuous shift. [Source: Developed from Terry Thomas, John R. Schermer- horn Jr., and John W. Dinehart, “Strategic Leadership of Ethical Behavior in Business,” Acad- emy of Management Executive 18 (May 2004), pp. 56–66.]

Learning about OB is important because it directly benefi ts you. It helps you to understand how to work more effectively and be more infl uential in work situa- tions. Today’s knowledge-based world places a great premium on learning. Only the learners, so to speak, will be able to keep the pace and succeed in a high- tech, global, and constantly changing environment.

LEARNING ROADMAP Learning from Experience / Learning Styles / Learning Guide to Organizational Behavior 12/E

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18 1 Introducing Organizational Behavior

Learning from Experience Learning is an enduring change of behavior that results from experience. Life- long learning involves learning continuously from day-to-day experiences. “Experience,” in this sense, is found in work events and activities, conversations with colleagues and friends, counseling and advice provided by mentors, success models, training seminars and workshops, and other daily opportunities. Life- long learning will in many respects be a key to your personal and career success. Now is the best time to get a serious start on the process.

Figure 1.6 shows how the content and activities of the typical OB course can fi t together in an experiential learning cycle.23 The learning sequence begins with initial experience and subsequent refl ection. It grows as theory building takes place to try to explain what has happened. Theory is then tested in behavior. Textbooks, readings, class discussions, and other course assign- ments and activities should help you practice the phases of the learning cycle.

Notice that Figure 1.6 assigns to you a substantial responsibility for learning. Along with your instructor, we can offer examples, cases, and exercises to pro- vide you with initial experience. We can even stimulate your refl ection and theory building by presenting concepts and discussing their research and practical impli- cations. Sooner or later, however, you must become an active participant in the process; you and only you can do the work required to take full advantage of the learning cycle.

Learning Styles Now is also a good time to inquire further into your preferred learning style or tendencies. The end-of-book OB Skills Workbook includes instructions for a Learning Styles self-assessment.24 If you complete it you’ll get feedback on how you like to learn through receiving, processing, and recalling new information. Armed with this understanding, you can take steps to maximize your learning and

• Learning is an enduring change in behavior that results from experience. • Lifelong learning is

continuous learning from everyday experiences.

Initial Experience Personal experiences Classroom as an organization In-class exercises, simulations Group project assignments Cases

Theory Building Theories in readings Theories from lectures Personal theories Theories from other sources

Experimentation Trying new behaviors in work experiences class experiences everyday experiences

Reflection Personal thought Class discussion Informal discussion Readings Lectures Written assignments

Figure 1.6 Experiential learning in an OB course.

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Learning about Organizational Behavior 19

even course success by studying in ways that best fi t your learning style. So, what type of learner are you? Why not take the self-assessment and fi nd out?

Learning Guide to Organizational Behavior 12/E To facilitate your learning, the chapters in Organizational Behavior 12/E are presented in a logical building-block fashion. This fi rst chapter in Part 1 has introduced the discipline and context of OB, including its scientifi c founda- tions and link with managerial skills and leadership. Part 2 focuses on individual behavior and performance. Key topics include diversity, values, personality, attitudes, emotions, perception, learning, and motivation. Part 3 covers teams and teamwork, including the dynamics of decision making, confl ict, and nego- tiation. Part 4 examines leadership and infl uence processes, with an emphasis on communication and collaboration, power and politics, and important leadership theories and perspectives. Part 5 discusses the organizational con- text in respect to organization cultures, structures, and designs.



Moral managers try to act with ethical principles while immoral managers makes decisions primarily on self- interest. To be sure, many decisions in organizations are quite complicated and their ethical components may be hard to sort out.

“John Q” is the story of a desperate father’s attempt to save his dying child. John Archibald (Denzel Washington) learns that his son Mike needs a heart transplant and he does not have suffi cient insurance coverage. He decides to take the heart surgeon hostage in the hospital’s emergency room. During a lull, the hostages and medical staff discuss how managed care insurance practices and hospital policies result in treatment decisions that are not always in the best interests of the patient. One hostage questions these practices in light of the medical profession’s Hippocratic Oath. When Mike’s (Daniel Smith) condition worsens, John decides to commit suicide so that a heart will be available. The heart surgeon initially balks for ethical reasons, then agrees to do the surgery. In the end, the sacrifi ce is not necessary. The hospital gets word that a donor heart is available and on its way.

This movie is worth watching as a study in organizational behavior. It illustrates that ethical lines can sometimes be blurry. What’s “right” or “wrong” isn’t always clear or agreed upon. If an insurance company refuses to pay for preventive health screening, should the doctor order it? If someone can’t pay, should doctors and hospitals still provide medical care? Should a doctor adhere to hospital policies if they jeopardize the health of a patient?

Get to Know Yourself Better The values we hold infl uence our ethical views. This is a good time to check yours by taking Assessment 5, Personal Values, in the OB Skills Workbook. Ask: What did I learn about my values? Are they balanced? Do the results suggest anything about how I might approach situations with ethical components? Can the emphasis I place on certain values create pressures to act unethically? What changes can I make to achieve a better values balance.

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20 1 Introducing Organizational Behavior

At the end of the book you’ll fi nd the rich and useful OB Skills Workbook. It provides a variety of active learning opportunities that can help you better under- stand the practical applications of OB concepts, models, and theories. The Work- book contains cases for analysis, team and experiential exercises, and a portfolio of self-assessments that includes the popular Kouzes and Posner “Student Leader- ship Practices Inventory.”

Finally, don’t forget that opportunities to learn more about OB and yourself abound in everyday living. Every team project, part-time work experience, student co-curricular activity, or visit to the store, is rich in learning potential. Even our lei- sure pasttimes from sports to social interactions to television, movies, and on-line games offer learning insights. The OB in Popular Culture feature in each chapter is a reminder to keep your learning dialed in all the time.

1 study guide Key Questions and Answers What is organizational behavior and why is it important?

• Organizational behavior is the study of individuals and groups in organizations.

• OB is an applied discipline based on scientifi c methods.

• OB uses a contingency approach, recognizing that management practices must fi t the situation.

• Shifting paradigms of OB refl ect a commitment to ethical behavior, the importance of human capital, an emphasis on teams, the growing infl uence of information technol- ogy, new workforce expectations, changing notions of careers, and concern for sustainability.

What are organizations like as work settings?

• An organization is a collection of people working together in a division of labor for a common purpose.

• Organizations are open systems that interact with their environments to obtain resources and transform them into outputs returned to the environment for consumption.

• Key stakeholders in the external environments of organizations include customers, owners, suppliers, regulators, local communities, employees, and future generations.

• The organizational culture is the internal “personality” of the organization, including the beliefs and values that are shared by members.

• Positive organizational cultures place a high value on workforce diversity and multiculturalism, emphasizing respect and inclusiveness for all members.

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Terms to Know 21

What is the nature of management and leadership in organizations?

• Managers directly support the work efforts of others; they are increasingly expected to act more like “coaches” and “facilitators” than like “bosses” and “controllers.”

• An effective manager is successful at helping others, working individually and in teams, reach high levels of both performance and job satisfaction.

• The four functions of management are planning—to set directions; organizing—to assemble resources and systems; leading—to create workforce enthusiasm; and controlling—to ensure desired results.

• Managers fulfi ll a variety of interpersonal, informational, and decisional roles while working with networks of people both inside and outside of the organization.

• Managerial performance is based on a combination of essential technical, human, and conceptual skills.

• Emotional intelligence is an important human skill that is an ability to recognize and manage emotions both personally and in relationships with others.

How do we learn about organizational behavior?

• Learning is an enduring change in behavior that results from experience.

• True learning about organizational behavior involves a commitment to continuous lifelong learning from one’s work and everyday experiences.

• Most organizational behavior courses use multiple methods and approaches that take advantage of the experiential learning cycle.

• People vary in their learning styles; an understanding of your style can help improve learning and course success.

Terms to Know Amoral manager (p. 17) Conceptual skill (p. 14) Contingency thinking (p. 6) Controlling (p. 12) Dependent variables (p. 5) Effective manager (p. 11) Emotional intelligence (p. 13) Ethics mindfulness (p. 17) Evidence-based management (p. 6) Human skills (p. 13) Immoral manager (p. 16) Inclusion (p. 11)

Independent variables (p. 5) Job satisfaction (p. 11) Leading (p. 12) Learning (p. 18) Lifelong learning (p. 18) Managers (p. 11) Models (p. 5) Moral manager (p. 17) Multiculturalism (p. 11) Open systems (p. 9) Organization (p. 9) Organizational behavior (p. 4)

Organizational climate (p. 9) Organizational culture (p. 9) Organizing (p. 12) Planning (p. 12) Skill (p. 13) Social capital (p. 14) Stakeholders (p. 10) Task performance (p. 11) Technical skill (p. 13) Value chain (p. 10) Workforce diversity (p. 11)

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22 1 Introducing Organizational Behavior

Self-Test 1 Multiple Choice 1. Which issue is most central to the fi eld of organizational behavior? (a) ways to

improve advertising for a new product (b) how to increase job satisfaction and performance among employees (c) creation of new strategy for organizational growth (d) design of a new management information system

2. What is the best description of the setting facing organizational behavior today? (a) Command-and-control is in. (b) The new generation is similar to the old. (c) Empowerment is out. (d) Work–life balance concerns are in.

3. The term “workforce diversity” refers to differences in race, age, gender, ethnicity, and ____________ among people at work. (a) social status (b) personal wealth (c) able-bodiedness (d) political preference

4. Which statement about OB is most correct? (a) OB seeks “one-best-way” solutions to management problems. (b) OB is a unique science that has little relationship to other scientifi c disciplines. (c) OB is focused on using knowledge for practical applications. (d) OB is so modern that it has no historical roots.

5. In the open-systems view of organizations, such things as technology, information, and money are considered ____________. (a) transformation elements (b) feedback (c) inputs (d) outputs

6. If the organization culture represents the character of an organization in terms of shared values, the ____________ represents the shared perceptions of members about day-to-day management practices. (a) value chain (b) organization climate (c) transformation process (d) organization strategy

7. Which of the following is not a good match of organizational stakeholder and the interests they often hold important? (a) customers—high quality products (b) owners—returns on investments (c) future generations—value pricing (d) regulators—compliance with laws

8. Which word best describes an organizational culture that embraces multiculturalism and in which workforce diversity is highly valued? (a) inclusion (b) effectiveness (c) dynamism (d) predictability

9. The management function of ____________ is concerned with creating enthusiasm for hard work among organizational members. (a) planning (b) motivating (c) controlling (d) leading

10. In the management process, ____________ is concerned with measuring perfor- mance results and taking action to improve future performance. (a) disciplining (b) organizing (c) leading (d) controlling

11. Among Mintzberg’s 10 managerial roles, acting as a fi gurehead and liaison are examples of ____________ roles. (a) interpersonal (b) informational (c) decisional (d) conceptual

12. When a manager moves upward in responsibility, Katz suggests that ____________ skills decrease in importance and ____________ skills increase in importance. (a) human, conceptual (b) conceptual, emotional (c) technical, conceptual (d) emotional, human

13. A person with high emotional intelligence would be strong in ____________, the ability to think before acting and to control disruptive impulses. (a) motivation (b) perseverance (c) self-regulation (d) empathy

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Next Steps 23

14. When a person’s human skills are so good that they always have relationships with other people who they can confi dently ask for help and assistance at work, these skills increase the ____________ of the individual. (a) analytical capacity (b) ethics mindfulness (c) social capital (d) multiculturalism

15. Class discussions, “debriefs,” and individual papers based on case studies, team projects, and in-class activities are all ways an instructor tries to engage you in which part of the experiential learning cycle? (a) initial experience (b) refl ection (c) theory building (d) experimentation

Short Response 16. What are the key characteristics of OB as a scientifi c discipline?

17. What does “valuing diversity” mean in the workplace?

18. What is an effective manager?

19. What does “self-regulation” mean when used in the context of one’s emotional intelligence?

Applications Essay 20. Carla, a college junior, is participating in a special “elementary education outreach”

project in her local community. Along with other students from the business school, she is going to spend the day with fourth- and fi fth-grade students and introduce them to the opportunities of going to college. One of her tasks is to lead a class discussion of the question: “How is the world of work changing today?” Help Carla out by creating an outline of the major points she should discuss with the students.

Next Steps Top Choices from The OB Skills Workbook

• Trader Joe’s • Management Training

• My Best Manager • My Best Job • Graffi ti Needs Assessment • Sweet Tooth

• Learning Styles • Student Leadership

Practices Inventory • Managerial Assumptions • 21st Century Manager

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Xerox: A Dynamic Duo

The news came as a surprise: In 1999, Xerox announced that Anne Mulcahy, a relative newcomer, had been selected as the new CEO. Dubbed the “accidental CEO” because she never aspired to the job, one of the fi rst things she did was to recruit the best talent she could fi nd. And one of those key players turned out to be Ursula Burns.a

Burns did not come to power through a traditional path. She was raised in a housing project on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Her hard-working, single mother cleaned, ironed, and provided childcare in order to give her daughter a private education and the opportunity to earn an engineering degree from Columbia University.

Together, Mulcahy and Burns have broken new ground. In 2007, when Mulcahy became CEO, Burns replaced Mulcahy as president and was appointed a seat on the board. In 2009, Mulcahy retired and Burns became CEO, marking two more fi rsts: the fi rst transition of power from one woman to another at a large public company, and the fi rst to be run by a Black woman.

Mulcahy took over when the company was in shambles. Through a strong partnership, Burns and Mulcahy saved Xerox in a major turnaround, transforming red ink to black ink within a few years. In the process, they also became a close duo, often fi nishing each other’s sentences.

According to Burns, Mulcahy was her role model as she rose through the Xerox ranks. Burns remembers being on a panel with Mulcahy and realizing, “Wow, this woman is exactly where I am going.” Mulcahy coached Burns, shooting her looks in meetings when Burns needed to listen instead of “letting my big mouth drive the discussion,” said Burns with a laugh. Mulcahy pushed Burns to develop a poker face, telling her after a meeting, “Ursula, they could read your face. You have to be careful. Sometimes it’s not appropriate.”

Mulcahy and Burns show how individual differences can build a strong team. Their relationship is complex and sometimes contentious: “I think we are really tough on each other,” says Mulcahy. “We are in a way most people can’t handle. Ursula will tell me when she thinks I am so far away from the right answer.” Chimes in Burns: “I try to be nice.”b

“I think we are really tough on each other . . . in a way most people can’t handle.” —Anne Mulcahy referring to Ursula Burns

FYI: Fortune 500 companies with higher percentages of women board directors, on average, fi nancially outperformed companies with the lowest percentages of women board directors by signifi cant margins.

• In 1999 Xerox made a surprise announcement that Anne Mulcahy, a relative newcomer, would be their new CEO.

• Mulcahy selected Ursula Burns to partner with her in running the business. In 2009, Mulcahy retired and Burns took over as CEO, marking the fi rst transition of power from one woman to another at a large public company, and the fi rst to be run by a Black woman.

• Mulcahy and Burns’ partnership shows how individual differences can build a strong team. They were able to save Xerox in a major turnaround by learning to share power and forging a highly successful leadership collaboration.

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2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity the key point

Organizational behavior is generated in actions of individuals interacting in context. Therefore we need to begin with an understanding of the individual. People vary in their traits, values, and personal characteristics, and as illustrated by the example of Anne Mulcahy and Ursula Burns, these individual differences can have powerful impacts in organizations.

What Are Individual Differences and Why Are They Important?

What Is Personality?

How Are Personality and Stress Related?

What Are Individual Values?

Why Is Diversity Important in the Workplace?





appreciating that people are different

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26 2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity

People are complex. While you approach a situation one way, someone else may approach it quite differently. These differences among people can make the abil- ity to predict and understand behavior in organizations challenging. They also contribute to what makes the study of organizational behavior so fascinating.

In OB, the term individual differences is used to refer to the ways in which people are similar and how they vary in their thinking, feeling, and behavior. Although no two people are completely alike, they are also not completely differ- ent. Therefore, the study of individual differences attempts to identify where behavioral tendencies are similar and where they are different. The idea is that if we can fi gure out how to categorize behavioral tendencies and identify which tendencies people have, we will be able to more accurately predict how and why people behave as they do.

Although individual differences can sometimes make working together diffi - cult, they can also offer great benefi ts. The best teams often result from combin- ing people who have different skills and approaches and who think in different ways—by putting the “whole brain” to work.1 Capitalizing on these differences requires an understanding of what these differences are and valuing the benefi ts they can offer.

Self-Awareness and Awareness of Others In this chapter we examine factors that increase awareness of individual differ- ences—our own and others—in the workplace. Two factors that are important for this analysis are self-awareness and awareness of others. Self-awareness means being aware of our own behaviors, preferences, styles, biases, personali- ties, and so on. Awareness of others means being aware of these same things in others. To enhance our own awareness of these issues, we begin by under- standing components of the self and how these components are developed. We then discuss what personality is, and identify the personality characteristics and values that have the most relevance for OB. As you read these concepts, think about where you fall on them. Do they sound like you? Do they sound like people you know?

Components of Self The ways in which an individual integrates and organizes personality and the traits they contain make up the self-concept. The self-concept is the view indi- viduals have of themselves as physical, social, and spiritual or moral beings.2 It is a way of recognizing oneself as a distinct human being.

A person’s self-concept is greatly infl uenced by his or her culture. For exam- ple, Americans tend to disclose much more about themselves than do the English; that is, an American’s self-concept is more assertive and talkative.3

Two related—and crucial—aspects of the self-concept are self-esteem and self-effi cacy. Self-esteem is a belief about one’s own worth based on an overall self-evaluation.4 People high in self-esteem see themselves as capable, worthwhile,

• Individual differences are the ways in which

people are similar and how they vary in their thinking,

feeling, and behavior.

• Self-awareness means being aware of one’s own

behaviors, preferences, styles, biases, personalities,

and so on. • Awareness of others is

being aware of the behaviors, preferences,

styles, biases, and personalities of others.

• Self-concept is the view individuals have of

themselves as physical, social, spiritual, or moral

beings. • Self-esteem is a belief

about one’s own worth based on an overall


LEARNING ROADMAP Self-Awareness and Awareness of Others / Components of Self / Nature versus Nurture

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Individual Differences 27

and acceptable; they tend to have few doubts about themselves. Peo- ple who are low in self-esteem are full of self-doubt and are often afraid to act because of it. While OB research has shown that high self-esteem generally can boost performance and satisfaction out- comes, it can also have drawbacks. For example, when under pres- sure, people with high self-esteem may become boastful and act egotistically. They may also be overconfi dent at times and fail to obtain impor- tant information.5

Self-effi cacy, sometimes called the “effectance motive,” is a more specifi c version of self-esteem. It is an individual’s belief about the likelihood of suc- cessfully completing a specifi c task. You could have high self-esteem and yet have a feeling of low self-effi cacy about performing a certain task, such as public speaking.

Nature versus Nurture What determines the development of the self? Is our personality inherited or genetically determined, or is it formed by experience? You may have heard some- one say, “She acts like her mother,” or, “Bobby is the way he is because of the way he was raised.” These two arguments illustrate the nature/nurture controversy: Are we the way we are because of heredity—that is, genetic endowment—or because of the environments in which we have been raised and live—cultural, social, situational? As shown, these two forces actually operate in combination. Heredity consists of those factors that are determined at conception, including physical characteristics, gender, and personality factors. Environment consists of cultural, social, and situational factors.

Personality EnvironmentHeredity

The impact of heredity on personality continues to be the source of consider- able debate. Perhaps the most general conclusion we can draw is that heredity sets the limits on the extent to which our personality characteristics can be devel- oped; environment determines development within these limits. For instance, a person could be born with a tendency toward authoritarianism, and that tendency could be reinforced in an authoritarian work environment. These limits appear to vary from one characteristic to the next, and across all characteristics there is about a 50–50 heredity–environment split.6

A person’s development of the self is also related to the environment in which he or she was raised (i.e., “nurture”). As we show throughout this book,

• Self-effi cacy is an individual’s belief about the likelihood of successfully completing a specifi c task.

The Whole Brain Goes to Work

In the 20th century, left brain (analytical) thinking ruled. In today’s workplace, right brain (creative) and “whole brain” thinking provide the keys to success.

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28 2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity

cultural values and norms play a substantial role in the development of an indi- vidual’s personality and behaviors. Contrast the individualism of U.S. culture with the collectivism of Mexican culture, for example.7 In addition, social factors, such as family life, religion, and the many kinds of formal and informal groups in which people participate throughout their lives, can infl uence the nature of the self. Finally, the demands of differing situational factors can infl uence certain aspects of an individual’s personality. For example, fi rstborns in families tend to be ambitious, enterprising, and scholarly, whereas middle children tend to be more loners, quiet, shy, and impatient.

There is a long-standing question in individual differences psychology: How much of who we are is determined by nature and how much by nurture? Research fi ndings are beginning to provide fascinating insights into this question by investigating samples of twins. Before you read on, take a guess at the following: In thinking about leadership, how much of leadership capacity do you think is determined by nature and how much by nurture?

This question is being investigated in a research program by Rich Arvey and colleagues. In a recent study, they used a sample of 178 fraternal and 214 identical female twins to see if they could generalize their fi ndings that 30 percent of the variance in leadership role occupancy among the male twins could be accounted for by genetic factors. Their sample came from the Minnesota Twin Registry—a registry of twins born in the state between 1936 and 1951 who had been reared together during childhood. Surveys were sent to the female twins with measures assessing their history of holding leadership roles (i.e., leader- ship role occupancy) and an assessment of developmental life experiences, including family and work experiences.

The results supported the pattern shown in the male sample—32 percent of the variance in the women’s leadership

role occupancy was associated with hereditability. Family experience and work experience were also related to leadership role occupancy, though not surprisingly, experiences at work are more impor- tant than family experiences in shaping women’s leadership development. The fi ndings are important because they indicate that developmental experiences can help both men and women move into leadership roles.

Twin Studies: Nature or Nurture?

Do the Research How close was your guess? Do these fi ndings correspond with what you see in your own families (e.g., with brothers and sisters or with parents and children)? How would you test the question of nature versus nurture?

Genetic 31.9%

Other Environmental

Influences 56.6%

Work Experience

Source: R. Arvey, Z. Zhang, B. Avolio, and R. Krueger (2007). “Developmental and Genetic Determinants of Leadership Role Occupancy among Women.” Journal of Applied Psychology, 92.3 (2007), pp. 693–706.

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Personality 29

The term personality encompasses the overall combination of characteristics that capture the unique nature of a person as that person reacts to and interacts with others. It combines a set of physical and mental characteristics that refl ect how a person looks, thinks, acts, and feels. Think of yourself, and of your family and friends. A key part of how you interact with others depends on your own and their personalities, doesn’t it? If you have a friend who has a sensitive personality, do you interact with that person differently than you do with a friend or family member who likes to joke around?

Sometimes attempts are made to measure personality with questionnaires or special tests. Frequently, personality can be inferred from behavior alone. Either way, personality is an important individual characteristic to understand. It helps us identify predictable interplays between people’s individual differences and their tendencies to behave in certain ways.

Big Five Personality Traits Numerous lists of personality traits—enduring characteristics describing an individual’s behavior—have been developed, many of which have been used in OB research and can be looked at in different ways. A key starting point is to consider the personality dimensions that recent research has distilled from exten- sive lists into what is called the “Big Five”:8

The Big Five Personality Dimensions

• Extraversion—outgoing, sociable, assertive

• Agreeableness—good-natured, trusting, cooperative

• Conscientiousness—responsible, dependable, persistent

• Emotional stability—unworried, secure, relaxed

• Openness to experience—imaginative, curious, broad-minded

Standardized personality tests determine how positively or negatively an individ- ual scores on each of these dimensions. For instance, a person scoring high on open- ness to experience tends to ask lots of questions and to think in new and unusual ways. You can consider a person’s individual personality profi le across the fi ve dimen- sions. In terms of job performance, research has shown that conscientiousness predicts job performance across fi ve occupational groups of professions—engineers, police, managers, salespersons, and skilled and semiskilled employees. Predictability of the other dimensions depends on the occupational group. For instance, not surprisingly, extraversion predicts performance for sales and managerial positions.

A second approach to looking at OB personality traits is to divide them into social traits, personal conception traits, and emotional adjustment traits, and then to consider how those categories come together dynamically.

Social Traits Social traits are surface-level traits that refl ect the way a person appears to oth- ers when interacting in various social settings. The problem-solving style, based

• Personality is the overall combination of characteristics that capture the unique nature of a person as that person reacts to and interacts with others.

• Personality traits are enduring characteristics describing an individual’s behavior.

• Social traits are surface-level traits that refl ect the way a person appears to others when interacting in social settings. • Problem-solving style refl ects the way a person gathers and evaluates information when solving problems and making decisions.

LEARNING ROADMAP Big Five Personality Traits / Social Traits / Personal Conception Traits / Emotional Adjustment Traits

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30 2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity

on the work of Carl Jung, a noted psychologist, is one measure representing social traits.9 It refl ects the way a person goes about gathering and evaluating information in solving problems and making decisions.

Information gathering involves getting and organizing data for use. Styles of information gathering vary from sensation to intuitive. Sensation-type individuals pre- fer routine and order and emphasize well-defi ned details in gathering information; they would rather work with known facts than look for possibilities. By contrast, intuitive-type individuals prefer the “big picture.” They like solving new problems, dislike routine, and would rather look for possibilities than work with facts.

The second component of problem solving, evaluation, involves making judgments about how to deal with information once it has been collected. Styles of information evaluation vary from an emphasis on feeling to an emphasis on thinking. Feeling-type individuals are oriented toward conformity and try to accommodate themselves to other people. They try to avoid problems that may result in disagreements. Thinking-type individuals use reason and intellect to deal with problems and downplay emotions.

When these two dimensions (information gathering and evaluation) are com- bined, four basic problem-solving styles result: sensation–feeling (SF), intuitive– feeling (IF), sensation–thinking (ST), and intuitive–thinking (IT), together with summary descriptions as shown in Figure 2.1.

Research indicates that there is a fi t between the styles of individuals and the kinds of decisions they prefer. For example, STs (sensation–thinkers) prefer analytical


Personality refers to the unique set of characteristics that determine how an individual reacts and responds to the environment. Put another way, it refl ects the combination of individual traits that lead to consistent patterns of behavior. Personality is complex. One of the best frameworks for examining this concert is the Big Five Personality Traits. It consists of fi ve dimensions, each of which has several descriptors.

When Shrek sets out on his quest to rescue Princess Fiona from the dragon for King Farquaad, he is accompanied by newfound “friend” Donkey. Donkey still

does not understand the mysterious ogre and is questioning why he would set out on this quest in the fi rst place. Shrek, growing ever impatient with the query, explains that Donkey could not possibly understand his reasoning. “Ogres are like onions,” he replies. “They both have layers.”

The analogy is useful when it comes to understanding anyone. In a world reduced to sound bites and stereotypes, we all want to size up other people quickly. The truth is human beings are more complicated than a single individual characteristic. You do not have to look any farther than personality to realize this.

Get to Know Yourself Better Most of the individual assessments in the OB Skills Workbook measure some aspect of your personality. Consider this as you begin to explore your preferences and gain a better understanding of who you are. How diffi cult would it be for someone else to understand you? Why not spend a few minutes looking at one, Assessment 19. After you score the instrument, sit down with your roommate or a close friend and discuss the results. Is what you discovered consistent with how they see you?

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Personality 31

strategies—those that emphasize detail and method. IFs (intuitive–feelers) prefer intu- itive strategies—those that emphasize an overall pattern and fi t. Not surprisingly, mixed styles (sensation–feelers or intuitive–thinkers) select both analytical and intui- tive strategies. Other fi ndings also indicate that thinkers tend to have higher motivation than do feelers and that individuals who emphasize sensations tend to have higher job satisfaction than do intuitives. These and other fi ndings suggest a number of basic dif- ferences among different problem-solving styles, emphasizing the importance of fi t- ting such styles with a task’s information processing and evaluation requirements.10

Problem-solving styles are most frequently measured by the typically 100- item Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which asks individuals how they usu- ally act or feel in specifi c situations. Firms such as Apple, AT&T, and Exxon, as well as hospitals, educational institutions, and military organizations, have used the Myers-Briggs for various aspects of management development.11

Personal Conception Traits The personal conception traits represent the way individuals tend to think about their social and physical setting as well as their major beliefs and personal orientation concerning a range of issues.

Locus of Control The extent to which a person feels able to control his or her own life is concerned with a person’s internal–external orientation and is measured by Rot- ter’s locus of control instrument.12 People have personal conceptions about whether

• Personal conception traits represent individuals’ major beliefs and personal orientation concerning a range of issues involving social and physical setting. • Locus of control is the extent a person feels able to control his or her own life and is concerned with a person’s internal–external orientation.


Interpersonal Specific human detail Friendly, sympathetic Open communication Respond to people now Good at:

Empathizing Cooperating

Goal: To be helpful Illustrated by: Anita Roddick, CEO Body Shop International (International Cos- metics Organization)


Technical detail oriented Logical analysis of hard data Precise, orderly Careful about rules and procedures Dependable, responsible Good at:

Observing, ordering Filing, recalling

Goal: Do it correctly Illustrated by: Enita Nordeck, President Unity Forest Products ( a small and growing builder's supply firm)


Insightful, mystical Idealistic, personal Creative, original Global ideas oriented to people Human potential Good at:

Imagining New combinations

Goal: To make things beautiful Illustrated by: Herb Kelleher, former CEO Southwest Airlines (a fast-growing, large, regional airline)


Speculative Emphasize understanding Synthesize, interpret Logic-oriented ideas Objective, impersonal, idealistic Good at:

Discovery, inquiry Problem solving

Goal: To think things through Illustrated by: Paul Allaire, former CEO, Xerox Corporation ( a huge multi- national, recently innovatively reorganized)

Figure 2.1 Four problem- solving style summaries.

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32 2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity

events are controlled primarily by themselves, which indicates an internal orientation, or by outside forces, such as their social and physical environment, which indicates an external orientation. Internals, or persons with an internal locus of control, believe that they control their own fate or destiny. In contrast, externals, or persons with an exter- nal locus of control, believe that much of what happens to them is beyond their con- trol and is determined by environmental forces (such as fate). In general, externals are more extraverted in their interpersonal relationships and are more oriented toward the world around them. Internals tend to be more introverted and are more oriented toward their own feelings and ideas. Figure 2.2 suggests that internals tend to do better on tasks requiring complex information processing and learning as well as initiative. Many managerial and professional jobs have these kinds of requirements.

Proactive Personality Some people in organizations are passive recipients when faced with constraints, while others take direct and intentional action to change their circumstances. The disposition that identifi es whether or not indi- viduals act to infl uence their environments is known as proactive personality. Individuals with high proactive personality identify opportunities and act on them, show initiative, take action, and persevere until meaningful change occurs. People who are low on proactivity are the opposite. They fail to identify—let alone seize—opportunities to change things. These individuals are passive and reactive, preferring to adapt to circumstances rather than change them.13

In the ever more demanding world of work, many companies are seeking indi- viduals with more proactive qualities—individuals who take initiative and engage in proactive problem solving. Research supports this, showing that proactive personality is positively related to job performance, creativity, leadership, and career success.

• A proactive personality is the

disposition that identifi es whether or not individuals

act to infl uence their environments.

Information processing

Job satisfaction


Self-control, risk, and anxiety

Motivation, expectancies, and results

Response to others

Internals make more attempts to acquire information, are less satisfied with the amount of information they possess, and are better at utilizing information.

Internals are generally more satisfied, less alienated, less rootless, and there is a stronger job satisfaction/ performance relationship for them.

Internals perform better on learning and problem- solving tasks when performance leads to valued rewards.

Internals exhibit greater self-control, are more cautious, engage in less risky behavior, and are less anxious.

Internals display greater work motivation, see a stronger relationship between what they do and what happens to them, expect that working hard leads to good performance, and feel more control over their time.

Internals are more independent, more reliant on their own judgment, and less susceptible to the influence of others; they are more likely to accept information on its merit.

Figure 2.2 Ways in which those high in internal locus of control differ from those high in external locus of control.

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Personality 33

Other studies have shown that proactive personality is related to team effectiveness and entrepreneurship. Moreover, when organizations try to make positive and innova- tive change, these changes have more positive effects for proactive individuals—they are more involved and more receptive to change. This research is showing that proac- tive personality is an important and desirable element in today’s work environment.

Authoritarianism/Dogmatism Both “authoritarianism” and “dogmatism” deal with the rigidity of a person’s beliefs. A person high in authoritarianism tends to adhere rigidly to conventional values and to obey recognized authority. This person is concerned with toughness and power and opposes the use of subjec- tive feelings. An individual high in dogmatism sees the world as a threatening place. This person regards legitimate authority as absolute, and accepts or rejects others according to how much they agree with accepted authority. Superiors who possess these latter traits tend to be rigid and closed. At the same time, dogmatic subordinates tend to want certainty imposed upon them.

From an ethical standpoint, we can expect highly authoritarian individuals to present a special problem because they are so susceptible to authority that in their eagerness to comply they may behave unethically.14 For example, we might speculate that many of the Nazis who were involved in war crimes during World War II were high in authoritarianism or dogmatism; they believed so strongly in authority that they followed unethical orders without question.

Machiavellianism Another personal conceptions dimension is Machiavellian- ism, which owes its origins to Niccolo Machiavelli. The very name of this sixteenth- century author evokes visions of a master of guile, deceit, and opportunism in interpersonal relations. Machiavelli earned his place in history by writing The Prince, a nobleman’s guide to the acquisition and use of power.15 The subject of Machiavelli’s book is manipulation as the basic means of gaining and keeping control of others. From its pages emerges the personality profi le of a Machiavellian— someone who views and manipulates others purely for personal gain.

A person high in Machiavellian orientation approaches situations logically and thoughtfully, and is even capable of lying to achieve personal goals.16 They are rarely swayed by loyalty, friendships, past promises, or the opinions of others, and they are skilled at infl uencing others. A person low in Machiavellianism tends to accept direction imposed by others in loosely structured situations and works hard to do well in highly structured situations.

Research using the Mach scales provides insight into the way high and low Machs may be expected to behave in various situations. A person with a “cool” and “detached” high-Mach personality can be expected to take control and try to exploit loosely structured environmental situations but will perform in a perfunctory, even detached, manner in highly structured situations. Where the situation permits, a high Mach might be expected to do or say whatever it takes to get his or her way. In contrast, a low Mach will tend to be much more strongly guided by ethical consid- erations and will be less likely to lie or cheat or to get away with lying or cheating.

Self-Monitoring A fi nal personal conceptions trait of special importance to managers is self-monitoring. Self-monitoring refl ects a person’s ability to adjust his or her behavior to external, situational (environmental) factors.17 High self- monitors are sensitive to external cues and tend to behave differently in different situations. Like high Machs, high self-monitors can present a very different appear- ance from their true self. In contrast, low self-monitors, like their low-Mach coun- terparts, are not able to disguise their behaviors—“what you see is what you get.”

• Authoritarianism is a tendency to adhere rigidly to conventional values and to obey recognized authority. • Dogmatism leads a person to see the world as a threatening place and to regard authority as absolute.

• Machiavellianism causes someone to view and manipulate others purely for personal gain.

• Self-monitoring is a person’s ability to adjust his or her behavior to external situational (environmental) factors.

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34 2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity

There is also evidence that high self-monitors are closely attuned to the behavior of others and conform more readily than do low self-monitors.18 Thus, they appear fl exible and may be especially good at responding to the kinds of situational con- tingencies emphasized throughout this book. For example, high self-monitors should be especially good at changing their leadership behavior to fi t subordinates with more or less experience, tasks with more or less structure, and so on.

Emotional Adjustment Traits Emotional adjustment traits measure how much an individual experiences emotional distress or displays unacceptable acts, such as impatience, irritability, or aggression. Inability to effectively manage stress can often affect the person’s health. Although numerous such traits are cited in the literature, a frequently encountered one especially important for OB is the Type A/Type B orientation.19

• Emotional adjustment traits are traits related to how much an individual

experiences emotional distress or displays unacceptable acts.


Dear [your name goes here]:

I am very pleased to invite you to a second round of screening interviews with XYZ Corporation. Your on-campus session with our representative went very well, and we would like to consider you further for a full-time position. Please contact me to arrange a visit date. We will need a full day. The schedule will include several meetings with executives and your potential team members, as well as a round of personality tests.

Thank you again for your interest in XYZ Corp. I look forward to meeting you during the next step in our recruiting process.

/signed/ Human Resource Director

Getting a letter like this is great news: a nice confi rmation of your hard work and perfor- mance in college. You obviously made a good fi rst impression. But have you thought about this “personality test” thing? What do you know about them and how they are used for employment screening?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that personality tests can’t have an adverse impact on members of protected groups. A report in the Wall Street Journal advises that lawsuits can result when employers use personality tests that weren’t specifi cally designed for hiring decisions. Some people might even consider their use an invasion of privacy.c

Make the Decision. What are the ethical issues of personality testing? When might the use of personality tests be considered an invasion of privacy? When might their use be considered unethical? Now go back to the situation just described: Will you take the tests at XYZ? Will you ask any questions about the tests when you contact the human resource director? Is the fact that XYZ uses personality tests a positive or a negative in terms of your likely fi t with the fi rm?

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Personality and Stress 35

Individuals with a Type A orientation are characterized by impatience, desire for achievement, and perfectionism. In contrast, those with a Type B orientation are characterized as more easygoing and less competitive in relation to daily events.20 Type A people tend to work fast and to be abrupt, uncomfortable, irritable, and aggressive. Such tendencies indicate “obsessive” behavior, a fairly widespread—but not always helpful—trait among managers. Many managers are hard-driving, detail- oriented people who have high performance standards and thrive on routine. But when such work obsessions are carried to the extreme, they may lead to greater concerns for details than for results, resistance to change, overzealous control of subordinates, and various kinds of interpersonal diffi culties, which may even include threats and physical violence. In contrast, Type B managers tend to be much more laid back and patient in their dealings with co-workers and subordinates.

• Type A orientations are characterized by impatience, desire for achievement, and a more competitive nature than Type B. • Type B orientations are characterized by an easygoing and less competitive nature than Type A.

It is but a small step from a focus on the emotional adjustment traits of Type A/Type B orientation to consideration of the relationship between personality and stress. We defi ne stress as a state of tension experienced by individuals facing extraordinary demands, constraints, or opportunities. As we show, stress can be both positive and negative and is an important fact of life in our present work environment.21

An especially important set of stressors includes personal factors, such as indi- vidual needs, capabilities, and personality.22 Stress can reach a destructive state more quickly, for example, when experienced by highly emotional people or by those with low self-esteem. People who perceive a good fi t between job require- ments and personal skills seem to have a higher tolerance for stress than do those who feel less competent as a result of a person–job mismatch.23 This is a reason to be careful about making sure you are a good fi t with your organization.

Sources of Stress Any look toward your career future in today’s dynamic times must include an awareness that stress is something you, as well as others, are sure to encounter.24 Stressors are the wide variety of things that cause stress for individuals. Some stressors can be traced directly to what people experience in the workplace, whereas others derive from nonwork and personal factors.

• Stress is tension from extraordinary demands, constraints, or opportunities.

LEARNING ROADMAP Sources of Stress / Outcomes of Stress / Managing Stress

Spillover Effects Bring Work Home American men spend four times as many hours in household and childcare responsibilities than Japanese men, and the number of hours they spend in childcare has doubled since 1965. When combined with the decreasing gap between American women and men in time spent on housework, this means that spillover effects are a concern not only for women, but also for men.

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36 2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity

Work Stressors Without doubt, work can be stressful, and job demands can disrupt one’s work–life balance. A study of two-career couples, for example, found some 43 percent of men and 34 percent of women reporting that they worked more hours than they wanted to.25 We know that work stressors can arise from many sources—from excessively high or low task demands, role confl icts or ambiguities, poor interpersonal relations, or career progress that is either too slow or too fast. A list of common stressors includes the following:

• Task demands—being asked to do too much or being asked to do too little

• Role ambiguities—not knowing what one is expected to do or how work performance is evaluated

• Role confl icts—feeling unable to satisfy multiple, possibly confl icting, perfor- mance expectations

• Ethical dilemmas—being asked to do things that violate the law or personal values

• Interpersonal problems—experiencing bad relationships or working with others with whom one does not get along

• Career developments—moving too fast and feeling stretched; moving too slowly and feeling stuck on a plateau

• Physical setting—being bothered by noise, lack of privacy, pollution, or other unpleasant working conditions

Life Stressors A less obvious, though important, source of stress for people at work is the spillover effect that results when forces in their personal lives “spill over” to affect them at work. Such life stressors as family events (e.g., the birth of a new child), economic diffi culties (e.g., loss of income by a spouse), and personal affairs (e.g., a separation or divorce) can all be extremely stressful. Since it is often diffi cult to completely separate work and nonwork lives, life stressors can affect the way people feel and behave on their jobs as well as in their personal lives.

Outcomes of Stress Though stress has an important impact on our lives, it isn’t always negative. Two types of stress are eustress and distress.26 Eustress, or constructive stress, acts in a positive way. It occurs at moderate stress levels by prompting increased work effort, stimulating creativity, and encouraging greater diligence. You may know such stress as the tension that causes you to study hard before exams, pay atten- tion, and complete assignments on time in a diffi cult class. Distress, or destruc- tive stress, is dysfunctional for both the individual and the organization. An out- come of extended distress is job burnout, which manifests as loss of interest in and satisfaction with a job due to stressful working conditions. A person who is “burned out” feels exhausted, emotionally and physically, and is less able to deal positively with work responsibilities and opportunities. More extreme reactions sometimes appear in news reports in the form of personal attacks and crimes at work known as “desk rage” and “workplace rage.”

Too much stress can overload and break down a person’s physical and men- tal systems, resulting in absenteeism, turnover, errors, accidents, dissatisfaction, reduced performance, unethical behavior, and even illness.27 Stanford scholar and consultant Jeffrey Pfeffer calls those organizations that create excessive stress for their members “toxic workplaces.”28

• Eustress is a stress that has a positive impact on

both attitudes and performance.

• Distress is a negative impact on both attitudes

and performance. • Job burnout is a loss of

interest in or satisfaction with a job due to stressful

working conditions.

Possible work-related stressors

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Personality and Stress 37

Managers and team leaders should watch for signs of toxic workplaces by being alert to excessive distress in themselves and their co-workers. Key symptoms are deviations from normal patterns—changes from regular attendance to absen- teeism, from punctuality to tardiness, from diligent work to careless work, from a positive attitude to a negative attitude, from openness to change to resistance to change, or from cooperation to hostility.

Organizations can avoid problems of toxic workplaces by building positive work environments and making signifi cant investments in their employees. These organizations are best positioned to realize the benefi ts of their full talents and work potential. As Pfeffer says: “All that separates you from your competitors are the skills, knowledge, commitment, and abilities of the people who work for you. Organizations that treat people right will get high returns.”29 That, in essence, is what the study of organizational behavior is all about.

Managing Stress Coping Mechanisms With rising awareness of stress in the workplace, interest is also growing in how to manage, or cope, with distress. Coping is a response or reaction to distress that has occurred or is threatened. It involves cognitive and behavioral efforts to master, reduce, or tolerate the demands created by the stressful situation.

Two major coping mechanisms are those that: (1) regulate emotions or distress (emotion-focused coping) and (2) manage the problem that is causing the distress (problem-focused coping). As described by Susan Folkman, problem-focused coping strat- egies include: “get the person responsible to change his or her mind,” “make a plan of action and follow it,” and “stand your ground and fi ght for what you want.” Emotion-focused coping strategies include: “look for the silver lining, try to look on the bright side of things,” “accept sympathy and understanding from someone,” and “try to forget the whole thing.”30

There are individual differences when it comes to coping mechanisms. Not surprisingly, on the Big Five, neuroticism (i.e. emotional stability) has been found to be associated with increased use of hostile reaction, escapism/fantasy, self-blame, withdrawal, wishful thinking, passivity, and indecisiveness. In contrast, people high in extraversion and optimism use rational action, positive thinking, substitution, and restraint. And individuals high in openness to experience are likely to use humor in dealing with stress. What this shows is that the more your person- ality allows you to approach the situation with posi- tive affect the better off you will be.

Stress Prevention Stress prevention is the best fi rst-line strategy in the battle against stress. It

• Coping is a response or reaction to distress that has occurred or is threatened. • Problem-focused coping mechanisms manage the problem that is causing the distress. • Emotion-focused coping are mechanisms that regulate emotions or distress.

Achievement-Striving, and Learning to Say “No”

For employees who are high in achievement- striving, it is common to be overwhelmed by good opportunities. This can lead to situations where you end up overcommitted and, perhaps, less successful in the long run. A key element of managing stress is learning to say “No.”31

When to say no:

• Focus on what matters most—focus on your priorities

• Weigh the yes-to-stress ratio—how much added stress will this cause? Is it worth it?

• Take guilt out of the equation—guilt is infl ated due to feeling of self-importance—it’s ok to say no

• Sleep on it—discipline yourself to not automatically say yes; what it will cost you?

How to say no:

• Just say no—or “I’m sorry but I can’t . . .”

• Be brief—state your reason and avoid elaborations or justifi cations . . . “I’m swamped.”

• Be honest—don’t fabricate reasons; the truth is always best and people do understand

• Be respectful—“I am honored to be asked but I can’t do it”

• Be ready to repeat—stick to it if they ask again; just hit the replay button . . . don’t give in

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38 2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity

involves taking action to keep stress from reaching destructive levels in the fi rst place. Work and life stressors must be recognized before one can take action to prevent their occurrence or to minimize their adverse impacts. Persons with Type A personalities, for example, may exercise self- discipline; supervisors of Type A employees may try to model a lower-key, more relaxed approach to work. Family problems may be partially relieved by a change of work schedule; simply know- ing that your supervisor understands your situation may also help to reduce the anxiety caused by pressing family concerns.

Personal Wellness To keep stress from reaching a destructive point, special techniques of stress management can be implemented. This process begins with the recognition of stress symptoms and continues with actions to maintain a positive performance edge. The term “wellness” is increasingly used these days. Personal wellness involves the pursuit of one’s job and career goals with the support of a personal health promotion program. The concept recognizes indi- vidual responsibility to enhance and maintain wellness through a disciplined approach to physical and mental health. It requires attention to such factors as smoking, weight management, diet, alcohol use, and physical fi tness. Organiza- tions can benefi t from commitments to support personal wellness. A University of Michigan study indicates that fi rms have saved up to $600 per year per employee by helping them to cut the risk of signifi cant health problems.32 Arnold Coleman, CEO of Healthy Outlook Worldwide, a health fi tness consulting fi rm, states: “If I can save companies 5 to 20 percent a year in medical costs, they’ll listen. In the end you have a well company and that’s where the word ‘wellness’ comes from.”33

• Personal wellness involves the pursuit of

one’s job and career goals with the support of a

personal health promotion program.

Values can be defi ned as broad preferences concerning appropriate courses of action or outcomes. As such, values refl ect a person’s sense of right and wrong or what “ought” to be.34 “Equal rights for all” and “People should be treated with respect and dignity” are representative of values. Values tend to infl uence atti- tudes and behavior. For example, if you value equal rights for all and you go to work for an organization that treats its managers much better than it does its workers, you may form the attitude that the company is an unfair place to work; consequently, you may not produce well or may perhaps leave the company. It is likely that if the company had had a more egalitarian policy, your attitude and behaviors would have been more positive.

Sources of Values Parents, friends, teachers, siblings, education, experience, and external reference groups are all value sources that can infl uence individual values. Indeed, peoples’ values develop as a product of the learning and experience they encounter from various sources in the cultural setting in which they live. As learning and experi- ences differ from one person to another, value differences result. Such differences are likely to be deep seated and diffi cult (though not impossible) to change; many have their roots in early childhood and the way a person has been raised.35

• Values are broad preferences concerning appropriate courses of

action or outcomes.

LEARNING ROADMAP Sources of Values / Personal Values / Cultural Values

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Personal Values The noted psychologist Milton Rokeach has developed a well-known set of val- ues classifi ed into two broad categories.36 Terminal values refl ect a person’s preferences concerning the “ends” to be achieved; they are the goals an individ- ual would like to achieve during his or her lifetime. Rokeach divides values into 18 terminal values and 18 instrumental values as summarized in Figure 2.3. Instrumental values refl ect the “means” for achieving desired ends. They repre- sent how you might go about achieving your important end states, depending on the relative importance you attached to the instrumental values. Look at the list in Figure 2.3. What are your top fi ve values, and what does this say about you?

Illustrative research shows, not surprisingly, that both terminal and instru- mental values differ by group (for example, executives, activist workers, and union members).37 These preference differences can encourage confl ict or agree- ment when different groups have to deal with each other.

A more recent values schema, developed by Bruce Meglino and associates, is aimed at people in the workplace:38

• Achievement—getting things done and working hard to accomplish diffi cult things in life

• Helping and concern for others—being concerned for other people and with helping others

• Honesty—telling the truth and doing what you feel is right • Fairness—being impartial and doing what is fair for all concerned

These four values have been shown to be especially important in the workplace; thus, the framework should be particularly relevant for studying values in OB.

Meglino and colleagues used their value schema to show the importance of value congruence between leaders and followers. Value congruence occurs

• Terminal values refl ect a person’s preferences concerning the “ends” to be achieved. • Instrumental values refl ect a person’s beliefs about the means to achieve desired ends.

• Value congruence occurs when individuals express positive feelings upon encountering others who exhibit values similar to their own.

Terminal Values A comfortable life (and prosperous) An exciting life (stimulating) A sense of accomplishment (lasting contribution) A world at peace (free of war and conflict) A world of beauty (beauty of nature and the arts) Equality (brotherhood, equal opportunity) Family security (taking care of loved ones) Freedom (independence, free choice) Happiness (contentedness) Inner harmony (freedom from inner conflict) Mature love (sexual and spiritual intimacy) National security (attack protection) Pleasure (leisurely, enjoyable life) Salvation (saved, eternal life) Self-respect (self-esteem) Social recognition (admiration, respect) True friendship (close companionship) Wisdom (mature understanding of life)

Instrumental Values Ambitious (hardworking) Broad-minded (open-minded) Capable (competent, effective) Cheerful (lighthearted, joyful) Clean (neat, tidy) Courageous (standing up for beliefs) Forgiving (willing to pardon) Helpful (working for others' welfare) Honest (sincere, truthful) Imaginative (creative, daring) Independent (self-sufficient, self-reliant) Intellectual (intelligent, reflective) Logical (rational, consistent) Loving (affectionate, tender) Obedient (dutiful, respectful) Polite (courteous, well mannered) Responsible (reliable, dependable) Self-controlled (self-disciplined) Figure 2.3 Rokeach value

Meglino and associates’ value categories

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40 2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity

when individuals express positive feelings upon encountering others who exhibit values similar to their own. When values differ, or are incongruent, confl icts over such things as goals and the means to achieve them may result. What they found was that satisfaction with the leader by followers was greater when there was congruence in terms of achievement, helping, honesty, and fairness values.39

Cultural Values Cultural values are also important in the increasingly global workplace. Culture is the learned, shared way of doing things in a particular society. It is the way, for example, in which its members eat, dress, greet and treat one another, teach their children, solve everyday problems, and so on.40 Geert Hofstede, a Dutch scholar and consultant, refers to culture as the “software of the mind,” making the analogy that the mind’s “hardware” is universal among human beings.41 But the software of culture takes many different forms. We are not born with a culture; we are born into a society that teaches us its culture. And because culture is shared among people, it helps to defi ne the boundaries between different groups and affect how their members relate to one another.

Cultures vary in their underlying patterns of values and attitudes. The way people think about such matters as achievement, wealth and material gain, and risk and change may infl uence how they approach work and their relationships with organizations. A framework developed by Hofstede offers one approach for understanding how value differences across national cultures can infl uence human behavior at work. The fi ve dimensions of national culture in his frame- work can be described as follows:42

1. Power distance is the willingness of a culture to accept status and power differences among its members. It refl ects the degree to which people are likely to respect hierarchy and rank in organizations. Indonesia is considered a high-power-distance culture, whereas Sweden is considered a relatively low-power-distance culture.

2. Uncertainty avoidance is a cultural tendency toward discomfort with risk and ambiguity. It refl ects the degree to which people are likely to prefer structured versus unstructured organizational situations. France is considered a high uncertainty avoidance culture, whereas Hong Kong is considered a low uncertainty avoidance culture.

3. Individualism–collectivism is the tendency of a culture to emphasize either individual or group interests. It refl ects the degree to which people are likely to prefer working as individuals or working together in groups. The United States is a highly individualistic culture, whereas Mexico is a more collectivist one.

4. Masculinity–femininity is the tendency of a culture to value stereotypical masculine or feminine traits. It refl ects the degree to which organizations emphasize competition and assertiveness versus interpersonal sensitivity and concerns for relationships. Japan is considered a very masculine culture, whereas Thailand is considered a more feminine culture.

5. Long-term/short-term orientation is the tendency of a culture to empha- size values associated with the future, such as thrift and persistence, or values that focus largely on the present. It refl ects the degree to which

• Culture is the learned and shared way of thinking and acting among a group

of people or society.

• Power distance is a culture’s acceptance of the

status and power differences among its

• Uncertainty avoidance is the cultural tendency to

be uncomfortable with uncertainty and risk in

everyday life. • Individualism– collectivism is the

tendency of members of a culture to emphasize

individual self-interests or group relationships.

• Masculinity–femininity is the degree to which a

society values assertiveness or relationships.

• Long-term/short-term orientation is the degree

to which a culture emphasizes long-term or

short-term thinking.

Hofstede’s dimensions of national cultures

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people and organizations adopt long-term or short-term performance horizons. South Korea is high on long-term orientation, whereas the United States is a more short-term-oriented country.

The fi rst four dimensions in Hofstede’s framework were identifi ed in an extensive study of thousands of employees of a multinational corporation operat- ing in more than 40 countries.43 The fi fth dimension, long-term/short-term orien- tation, was added from research using the Chinese Values Survey conducted by cross-cultural psychologist Michael Bond and his colleagues.44 Their research sug- gested the cultural importance of Confucian dynamism, with its emphasis on persistence, the ordering of relationships, thrift, sense of shame, personal steadi- ness, reciprocity, protection of “face,” and respect for tradition.45

When using the Hofstede framework, it is important to remember that the fi ve dimensions are interrelated, not independent.46 National cultures may best be understood in terms of cluster maps or collages that combine multiple dimen- sions. For example, Figure 2.4 shows a sample grouping of countries based on individualism–collectivism and power distance. Note that high power distance and collectivism are often found together, as are low power distance and indi- vidualism. Whereas high collectivism may lead us to expect a work team in Indo- nesia to operate by consensus, the high power distance may cause the consensus to be heavily infl uenced by the desires of a formal leader. A similar team operating in more individualist and low-power-distance Great Britain or America might make decisions with more open debate, including expressions of disagreement with a leader’s stated preferences.

At the national level, cultural value dimensions, such as those identifi ed by Hofstede, tend to infl uence the previously discussed individual sources of values. The sources, in turn, tend to share individual values, which are then refl ected in the recipients’ value structures. For example, in the United States the sources would tend to be infl uenced by Hofstede’s low-power-distance dimensions (along with his others, of course), and the recipients would tend to interpret their own individual value structures through that low-power-distance lens. Similarly, peo- ple in other countries or societies would be infl uenced by their country’s standing on such dimensions.

Colombia, Peru, Thailand,

Singapore, Greece, Mexico,

Turkey, Japan, Indonesia

Israel, Finland, Germany,

Ireland, New Zealand,

Canada, Great Britain,

United States

Spain, South Africa, France,

Italy, Belgium



Figure 2.4 Sample country clusters on Hofstede’s di- mensions of individualism– collectivism and power distance.

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42 2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity

We started this chapter by saying that individual differences are important because they can offer great benefi ts. The discussion now comes full circle with the topic of diversity.

Importance of Diversity Interest in workplace diversity gained prominence years ago when it became clear that the demographic makeup of the workforce was going to experience dramatic changes. At that time the workforce was primarily white male. Since then, work- force diversity has increased in both the United States and much of the rest of the world, and white males are no longer the majority in the labor force.

Workforce diversity refers to a mix of people within a workforce who are considered to be, in some way, different from those in the prevailing constituency. Organizations have recognized the importance of embracing policies and prac- tices to diversify their workforces because it helps enhance competitiveness, build talent, expand organizational capabilities, and enhance access to markets (i.e., diverse customer bases).47

The focus on diversity is important because of the benefi ts diversity brings to the workplace. Current approaches focus on diversity not as something we have to man- age, but as a key element of the “Global War for Talent.” As described by Rob McIn- ness in Diversity World:

It is clear that the greatest benefi ts of workforce diversity will be experienced not by the companies that have learned to employ people in spite of their differences, but by the companies that have learned to employ people because of them.48

Types of Diversity The benefi ts of diversity are achieved by acknowledging the strengths diversity can bring to organizations. Research shows that organizational creativity and innovation is enhanced by heterogeneity. Think about it—if you need to be cre- ative, do you turn to people who think like you or to people who can help you think differently? Moreover, when you need to understand something you have never encountered before, such as another culture or an emerging market (e.g., the Latino market in Florida), would you turn to people who are the same as you or would you want access to co-workers familiar with those cultures? These examples show the benefi ts of “heterogeneous” (rather than “homogeneous”) perspectives available when people bring different worldviews, cultural back- grounds, and personal experiences to the workplace.

Race and Ethnicity Such heterogeneous perspectives can be gained from mul- ticultural workforces with a rich mix of racial and ethnic diversity. And this diver- sity is only getting richer. Recent census data show an increase of 27.3 million people residing in the U.S. between 2000–2010, and of this increase, the vast majority came from people who indicated their race(s) as something other than

• Workforce diversity is a mix of people within a

workforce who are considered to be, in some

way, different from those in the prevailing constituency.

LEARNING ROADMAP Importance of Diversity / Types of Diversity / Challenges in Managing Diversity

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Diversity 43

white alone, particularly those who are Hispanic or Latino.49 More than half the growth in the total U.S. population between 2000–2010 was due to increase in the Hispanic population. While the number of whites alone grew one percent in this time period, its total proportion of the population declined from 69 percent to 64 percent. Moreover, the Asian population group grew at a faster rate than any other major race group between 2000 and 2010. Clearly, the U.S. continues to be a melting pot.

In the workplace, race and ethnicity are protected from discrimination by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This act protects individuals against employ- ment discrimination on the basis of race and color, as well as national origin, sex, and religion. It applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments.50 According to Title VII, equal employment opportunity cannot be denied any person because of his/her racial group or perceived racial group, his/her race-linked characteristics (e.g., hair texture, color, facial features), or because of his/her marriage to or association with someone of a particular race or color. It also prohibits employment decisions based on stereotypes and assump- tions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals of certain racial groups.

Title VII often brings to mind affi rmative action, but movement is afoot on the affi rmative action front. As Dr. Ella Bell of Dartmouth College says, it is time to redesign, rethink, and reframe what we mean by affi rmative action because the issue is so much broader today. “The historical moment when affi rmative action was created is not here anymore,” Dr. Bell said. “We need to design an interven- tion that will fi t this particular historical moment.” According to Dr. Bell, and as the census data show, if you want to be competitive as a company, you cannot think black and white, because this is no longer a black-and-white world.51

Gender Women are also bringing a different set of skills and styles to the work- place. Given their unique experiences in organizations, women learn to do more with less, are resourceful, and bring an interpersonal style conducive to team- work and innovation. This style includes listening skills, collaborative approaches to problem solving, and ability to multitask and synthesize a number of view- points effectively and quickly.

When women are at the top of the organization, benefi ts are even better. Research shows that companies with a higher percentage of female board direc- tors and corporate offi cers, on average, fi nancially outperform companies with the lowest percentages by signifi cant margins.52 Women leaders are benefi cial

• Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of race and color, as well as national origin, sex, and religion.

Racial Diversity Is

Changing Attitudes As racial diversity is increasing in the workplace, attitudes toward diversity are changing as well. The younger generation, or “Millennials” (those born between 1981 and 2000), are infusing the workplace with an appreciation for differences. Young people want to join a diverse workforce because they feel they can learn from those of different backgrounds: “Once this generation is in management positions corporate diversity will really advance,” says Ron Alsop, author of The Trophy Kids Grow Up.

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44 2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity

because they encourage more women in the pipeline and act as role models and mentors for younger women. Moreover, the presence of women leaders sends important signals that an organization has a broader and deeper talent pool, is an “employer of choice,” and offers an inclusive workplace.

The Leaking Pipeline Despite these benefi ts to organizations, recognition that women have not penetrated the highest level, and even worse, are abandoning the corporate workforce just as they are positioned to attain these levels, has gained the attention of many organizations. The phrase leaking pipeline was coined to describe this phenomenon. The leaking pipeline theory gained credence with a study by Professor Lynda Gratton of the London Business School.53 In her study she examined 61 organizations operating in 12 European countries and found that the number of women decreases the more senior the roles become.

One potential reason for this is stereotyping. Catalyst research54 fi nds that women consistently identify gender stereotypes as a signifi cant barrier to advance- ment. They describe it as the “think-leader-think-male” mindset: the idea that men are largely seen as the leaders by default. Both men and women see women as better at stereotypically feminine “caretaking skills,” such as supporting and encouraging others, and men as better at stereotypically masculine “take charge” skills, such as infl uencing superiors and problem solving—characteristics previ- ously shown to be essential to leadership. These perceptions are even more salient in traditionally male-dominated fi elds, such as engineering and law.

This creates a double bind for women: If they conform to the stereotype, they are seen as weak, and if they go against the stereotype, they are going against norms of femininity. As some describe it, “damned if they do, doomed if they don’t.”55 Organizations can help address these stereotypes by creating workplaces that are more meaningful and satisfying to successful women, such as cultures that are less command-and-control and status-based, and more meaning-based with less emphasis on “face-time.”56 As Catalyst reports, “Ultimately, it is not wom- en’s leadership styles that need to change but the structures and perceptions that must keep up with today’s changing times.”

Sexual Orientation The fi rst U.S. corporation to add sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy did so 30 years ago. That company was AT&T and its chairman, John DeButts, said that his company would “respect the human rights of our employees.”57 Although sexual orientation is not protected by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), which addresses discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, and disability,58 many states now have executive orders protecting the rights of gay and lesbian workers. Wis- consin was the fi rst in 1982, and as of January 2008, thirteen states prohibit work- place discrimination against gay people and seven more have extended additional protection to LGB (lesbian, gay, bisexual) people.59

Regardless of legislation, the workplace is beginning to improve for gay Americans. A 2010 Harris poll shows that 78 percent of heterosexual adults in the United States agree that how an employee performs at his or her job should be the standard for judging an employee, not one’s sexual orientation, and 62 per- cent agree that all employees are entitled to equal benefi ts on the job, such as health insurance for partners or spouses.60 Many businesses are paying attention because statistics show that the gay market segment is one of the fastest growing segments in the United States. The buying power of the gay/lesbian market is set

• Leaking pipeline is a phrase coined to describe

how women have not reached the highest levels

of organizations. • Stereotyping occurs

when people make a generalization, usually

exaggerated or oversimplifi ed (and

potentially offensive), that is used to describe or

distinguish a group.

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Diversity 45

to exceed $835 billion by 2011.61 Companies wanting to tap into this market will need employees who understand and represent it.

Age It is getting harder to have discussions with managers today without the issue of age differences arising. Age, or more appropriately generational, diver- sity is affecting the workplace like never before. And with the oldest Baby Boom- ers turning 65, it seems that everyone has an opinion!

The controversy is being generated from Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers mixing in the workplace—and trying to learn how to get along. The primary point of confl ict: work ethic. Baby Boomers believe that Millennials are not hard working and are too “entitled.” Baby Boomers value hard work, profes- sional dress, long hours, and paying their dues—earning their stripes slowly.62

Millennials believe Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are more concerned about the hours they work than what they produce. Millennials value fl exibility, fun, the chance to do meaningful work right away, and “customized” careers that allow them the choice to go at the pace they want.

The generational mix provides an excellent example of diversity in action. For example, one thing Millennials can bring to the workplace is their appreciation for gender equality and sexual, cultural, and racial diversity—Millennials embrace these concepts more than any previous generation. Millennials also have an appre- ciation for community and collaboration. They can help create a more relaxed workplace that reduces some of the problems that come from too much focus on status and hierarchy.63 Boomers and Gen Xers bring a wealth of experience, dedi- cation, and commitment that contribute to productivity, and a sense of profession- alism that is benefi ting their younger counterparts. Together, Millennials and Gen Xers may be able to satisfy the Gen X desire for work–life balance through greater demand for more fl exible scheduling and virtual work. Accom- plishing such changes will come when all the gen- erations learn to understand, respect—and maybe even like—one another.

Disability In recent years the “disability rights movement” has been working to bring attention and support to the needs of disabled workers.64

The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 has been a signifi cant catalyst

• The Americans with Disabilities Act is a federal civil rights statute that protects the rights of people with disabilities.

Who’s Who in Generational Differences at Work

Generation Born between: Percent of Today’s

Matures 1922–1945 8

Baby Boomers 1946–1964 40

Generation X 1965–1980 36

Millennials 1981–2000 16

Millenials Are Shaking up

the Workplace At 83 million—the largest generation of all—Millennials are shaking up the workplace in unprecedented ways. They challenge their more senior colleagues with their techno savvy, multitasking, lower willingness to do “face time,” and more casual dress and relaxed style.

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46 2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity

in advancing their efforts. The focus of the ADA is to eliminate employers’ prac- tices that make people with disabilities unnecessarily different. The ADA has helped to generate a more inclusive climate where organizations are reaching out more to people with disabilities. The most visible changes from the ADA have been in issues of universal design—the practice of designing products, build- ings, public spaces, and programs to be usable by the greatest number of people. You may see this in your own college or university’s actions to make their campus and classrooms more accessible.65

The disability rights movement is working passionately to advance a redefi nition of what it means to be disabled in American society. The goal is to overcome the “stig- mas” attached to disability. A stigma is a phenomenon whereby an individual with an attribute, which is deeply discredited by his or her society, is rejected as a result of the attribute. Because of stigmas, many are reluctant to seek coverage under the ADA because they do not want to experience discrimination in the form of stigmas.

The need to address issues of stigmas and accessibility for disabled workers is not trivial. Estimates indicate that over 50 million Americans have one or more physical or mental disabilities, and studies show these workers do their jobs as well as, or better than, nondisabled workers. Despite this, nearly three-quarters of severely disabled persons are reported to be unemployed, and almost 80 percent of those with disabilities say they want to work.66

• Universal design is the practice of designing

products, buildings, public spaces, and programs to be

usable by the greatest number of people.

• Stigma is a phenomenon whereby an individual is rejected as a

result of an attribute that is deeply discredited by his

or her society.

Finding the Leader in You STEPHEN HAWKING SOARS DESPITE DISABILITY Stephen Hawking cannot speak and does not have use of his motor skills. But he doesn’t let that stop him. Renowned for his work in theoretical physics, Hawking has been an infl uential voice in redefi ning the way we see black holes and the origin of the universe. He is perhaps most recognized for his book A Brief History of Time, in which he works to translate Einstein’s general theory of relatively and quantum theory for a general audience.

the world. As Hawking says, “I’m sure my disability has a bearing on why I’m well known. People are fascinated by the contrast between my very limited physical powers, and the vast nature of the universe I deal with. I’m the archetype of a disabled genius, or should I say a physically challenged genius, to be politically correct. At least I’m obviously physically challenged. Whether I’m a genius is more open to doubt.”67

What’s the Lesson Here? How do you respond to individual differences in the workplace? Are you understanding of the strengths and limitations of others? What about your own limitations and challenges? Do you work to overcome them, or do you let them bring you down?

Hawking was diagnosed with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, a few years after his 21st birthday. Over time, ALS has gradually crippled his body, fi rst making him dependent on a wheelchair and private nurse, and then requiring 24-hour nursing care. He uses a voice synthesizer devised by a colleague that allows him to type rather than having to check letters off a card.

Despite his disability, Hawking has maintained an extensive program of travel, public lectures, and television appearances—even defying gravity by experiencing

weightlessness on a zero-gravity fl ight for two hours over the Atlantic. His accomplishments and ability to live a full life, with three children and three grandchildren, have inspired people around

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Diversity 47

Challenges in Managing Diversity A Focus on Inclusion While in the past many organizations addressed the issue of diversity from the standpoint of compliance (e.g., complying with the legal mandate by employing an Employment Equity and Affi rmative Action Offi cer who kept track of and reported statistics), in recent years there has been a shift in focus from diversity to inclusion.68 As described by Katharine Esty,69 “This sea change has happened without fanfare and almost without notice. In most organizations, the word inclusion has been added to all the company’s diversity materials with no explanation.” As Esty explains, this change represents a shift from a numbers game to a focus on culture, and consideration of how organizations can create inclusive cultures for everyone.

The move from diversity to inclusion occurred primarily because employers began to learn that, although they were able to recruit diverse individuals, they were not able to retain them. In fact, some organizations found that after years of trying, they had lower representation among certain groups than they had earlier. They pieced together that this was related to the fact that the upper ranks of organizations continued to be primarily white male. In these environments, awareness and diversity training was not enough—they needed to address the issue more deeply. So, they asked different questions: Do employees in all groups and categories feel comfortable and welcomed in the organization? Do they feel included, and do they experience the environment as inclusive?70

Social Identity Theory Such questions are the focus of social identity theory. Social identity theory was developed by social psychologists Henri Tajfel and John Turner to understand the psychological basis of discrimination.71 According to the theory, individuals have not one, but multiple, “personal selves.” Which self is activated depends on the group with which the person identifi es. The mere act of identifying, or “categorizing,” oneself as a member of a group will generate favoritism toward that group, and this favoritism is displayed in the form of “in-group” enhancement. This in-group favoritism occurs at the expense of the out-group. In terms of diversity, social identity theory suggests that simply having diversity groups makes that identity salient in peoples’ minds. Individuals feel these identities and engage in in-group and out-group categorizations.

The implications of this theory are pretty obvious. If organizations have strong identities around in-group and out-group based on some type of diversity group categorization, this will work against a feeling of inclusion. The important thing to remember is that simply saying we embrace you is not enough. In organizational contexts these categorizations can be subtle but powerful—and primarily notice- able to those in the “out-group” category. Organizations may not intend to create discriminatory environments, but having only a few members of a group may evoke a strong out-group identity. This may make them feel uncomfortable and less a part of the organization.

Valuing and Supporting Diversity So how do managers and fi rms deal with all this? By committing to the creation of environments that welcome and embrace inclusion, and working to promote a better understanding of factors that help support inclusion in organizations. The concept of valuing diversity in organizations

• Inclusion A work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.

• Social identity theory is a theory developed to understand the psychological basis of discrimination.

• In-group occurs when individuals feel part of a group and experience favorable status and a sense of belonging. • Out-group occurs when one does not feel part of a group and experiences discomfort and low belongingness.

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48 2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity

emphasizes appreciation of differences in creating a setting where everyone feels valued and accepted through such things as:72

• Strong commitment from the board and corporate offi cers • Infl uential mentors and sponsors to provide career guidance and help

navigate politics

• Opportunities for networking • Role models from same-gender, racial, or ethnic group • Exposure through high-visibility assignments • An inclusive culture that values differences and does not require extensive

adjustments to fi t in

• Reducing subtle and subconscious stereotypes and stigmas

Valuing diversity assumes that groups will retain their own characteristics and will shape the fi rm as well as be shaped by it. As Dr. Santiago Rodriguez, former director of Diversity for Microsoft, says true diversity is exemplifi ed by companies that “hire people who are different—knowing and valuing that they will change the way you do business.”

2 study guide Key Questions and Answers What are individual differences and why are they important?

• The study of individual differences attempts to identify where behavioral tendencies are similar and where they are different to more accurately predict how and why people behave as they do.

• For people to capitalize on individual differences, they need to be aware of them. Self-awareness is being aware of our own behaviors, preferences, styles, biases, and personalities; awareness of others means being aware of these same things in others.

• Self-concept is the view individuals have of themselves as physical, social, and spiritual or moral beings. It is a way of recognizing oneself as a distinct human being.

• The nature/nurture controversy addresses whether we are the way we are because of heredity or because of the environments in which we have been raised and live.

What is personality?

• Personality captures the overall profi le, or combination of characteristics, that represents the unique nature of an individual as that individual interacts with others.

• Personality is determined by both heredity and environment; across all personality characteristics, the mix of heredity and environment is about 50–50. The Big Five personality traits are extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience.

• A useful personality framework consists of social traits, personal conception traits, emotional adjustment traits, and personality dynamics, where each category repre- sents one or more personality dimensions.

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Terms to Know 49

How are personality and stress related?

• Stress emerges when people experience tensions caused by extraordinary demands, constraints, or opportunities in their jobs.

• Personal stressors derive from personality type, needs, and values; they can infl uence how stressful different situations become for different people.

• Work stressors arise from such things as excessive task demands, interpersonal problems, unclear roles, ethical dilemmas, and career disappointments.

• Nonwork stress can spill over to affect people at work; nonwork stressors may be traced to family situations, economic diffi culties, and personal problems.

• Stress can be managed by prevention—such as making adjustments in work and nonwork factors; it can also be dealt with through coping mechanisms and personal wellness—taking steps to maintain a healthy body and mind capable of better withstanding stressful situations.

What are values and how do they vary across cultures?

• Values are broad preferences concerning courses of action or outcomes.

• Rokeach identifi es terminal values (preferences concerning ends) and instrumental values (preferences concerning means); Meglino and his associates classify values into achievement, helping and concern for others, honesty, and fairness.

• Hofstede’s fi ve national culture values dimensions are power distance, individualism– collectivism, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity–femininity, and long-term/short-term orientation.

• Culture is the learned and shared way of doing things in a society; it represents deeply ingrained infl uences on the way people from different societies think, behave, and solve problems.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

• Workforce diversity is increasing in the United States and other countries. It is important because of the benefi ts diverse backgrounds and perspectives can bring to the workplace.

• Rather than being something we have to “manage,” diversity should be something we value.

• There are many types of diversity, but the most commonly discussed in the work- place are racial/ethnic, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation.

• In recent years there has been a shift from a focus on diversity to a focus on inclu- sion. This represents a need to emphasize not only recruitment but retention.

• Social identity theory suggests that many forms of discrimination are subtle but powerful, and may occur in subconscious psychological processes that individuals of out-groups perceive in the workplace.

• Companies can value diversity by promoting cultures of inclusion that implement policies and practices to help create a more equitable and opportunity-based environment for all.

Terms to Know Americans with Disabilities Act (p. 45) Authoritarianism (p. 33) Awareness of others (p. 26) Coping (p. 37)

Culture (p. 40) Distress (p. 36) Dogmatism (p. 33) Emotion-focused coping (p. 37)

Emotional adjustment traits (p. 34) Eustress (p. 36) Inclusion (p. 47) Individual differences (p. 26)

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50 2 Individual Differences, Values, and Diversity

Individualism–collectivism (p. 40) In-group (p. 47) Instrumental values (p. 39) Job burnout (p. 36) Leaking pipeline (p. 44) Locus of control (p. 31) Long-term/short-term orientation (p. 40) Machiavellianism (p. 33) Masculinity–femininity (p. 40) Out-group (p. 47) Personal conception traits (p. 31) Personal wellness (p. 38) Personality (p. 29)

Personality traits (p. 29) Power distance (p. 40) Proactive personality (p. 32) Problem-focused coping (p. 37) Problem-solving style (p. 29) Self-awareness (p. 26) Self-concept (p. 26) Self-esteem (p. 26) Self-effi cacy (p. 27) Self-monitoring (p. 33) Social identity theory (p. 47) Social traits (p. 29) Stereotyping (p. 44)

Stigma (p. 46) Stress (p. 35) Terminal values (p. 39) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of

1964 (p. 43) Type A orientation (p. 35) Type B orientation (p. 35) Uncertainty avoidance (p. 40) Universal design (p. 46) Value congruence (p. 39) Values (p. 38) Workforce diversity (p. 42)

Self-Test 2 Multiple Choice 1. Individual differences are important because they ____________. (a) mean we have

to be different (b) reduce the importance of individuality (c) show that some cultural groups are superior to others (d) help us more accurately predict how and why people act as they do

2. Self-awareness is ____________ awareness of others. (a) more important than (b) less important than (c) as important as (d) not at all related to

3. Self-effi cacy is a form of ____________. (a) self-awareness (b) self-esteem (c) nurture (d) agreeableness

4. Personality encompasses ____________. (a) the overall combination of characteris- tics that capture the unique nature of a person (b) only the nurture components of self (c) only the nature components of self (d) how self-aware someone is

5. People who are high in internal locus of control ____________. (a) believe what happens to them is determined by environmental forces such as fate (b) believe that they control their own fate or destiny (c) are highly extraverted (d) do worse on tasks requiring learning and initiative

6. Proactive personality is ____________ in today’s work environments. (a) punished (b) missing (c) becoming more important (d) losing importance

7. People who would follow unethical orders without question would likely be high in ____________. (a) internal locus of control (b) machiavellianism (c) proactive personality and extraversion (d) authoritarianism and dogmatism

8. Managers who are hard-driving, detail-oriented, have high performance standards, and thrive on routine could be characterized as ____________. (a) Type B (b) Type A (c) high self-monitors (d) low Machs

9. Eustress is ____________ stress, while distress is ____________ stress. (a) construc- tive, destructive (b) destructive, constructive (c) negative, positive (d) the most common, the most relevant

10. Coping involves both ____________ and ____________ elements. (a) cognitive, intellectual (b) promotion, prevention (c) problem-focused, emotion-focused (d) cultural, psychological

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Next Steps 51

11. When it comes to values, ____________. (a) instrumental values are more important than terminal values, (b) value congruence is what seems to be most important for satisfaction (c) it is rare that people hold similar values (d) most cultures share the same values

12. Culture is ____________. (a) a person’s major beliefs and personal orientation concerning a range of issues (b) the way a person gathers and evaluates information (c) the way someone appears to others when interacting in social settings (d) the learned, shared way of doing things in a particular society

13. The demographic make-up of the workforce ____________. (a) has been relatively stable (b) is not related to managerial practices (c) has experienced dramatic changes in recent decades (d) is becoming less of an issue for management.

14. Companies that ____________ experience the greatest benefi ts of workforce diversity. (a) have learned to employ people because of their differences (b) have learned to employ people in spite of their differences (c) have not worried about people’s differences (d) implemented diversity programs based only on affi rmative action

15. The experience in which simply having various diversity groups makes that group category salient in peoples’ minds is an example of ____________. (a) stigma (b) leaking pipeline (c) inclusion (d) social identity theory

Short Response 16. What are individual differences and why are they important to organizational behavior?

17. What is more infl uential in determining personality: nature or nurture?

18. What values were identifi ed by Meglino and associates, and how do they relate to workplace behavior?

19. With respect to diversity and inclusion, what do we know about environments that are most conducive to valuing and supporting diversity?

Applications Essay 20. Your boss has noticed that stress levels have been increasing in your work unit, and

has asked you to assess the problem and propose a plan of action for addressing it. What steps would you take to meet this request? What would be the fi rst thing you would do, what factors would you take into consideration in conducting your assessment, and what plan of action do you think would be most promising?

• Xerox • What Do You Value in Work?

• Prejudice in Our Lives • How We View Differences • Alligator River Story

• Turbulence Tolerance Test • Your Personality Type • Time Management Profi le • Personality Type

These learning activities from The OB Skills Workbook are suggested for Chapter 2.

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Balance through Fitness

FYI: 83% of women say that work–life balance is important to their job satisfaction.f

• Stroller Strides encourages new moms to socialize with women like themselves while regaining their pre-pregnancy fi tness.

• Market efforts and low franchising fees helped Stroller Strides expand to more than 300 franchisees in just over fi ve years.

• Stroller Strides partnered with leading stroller manufacturer BOB to create a fi tness-specifi c model; founder Lisa Druxman published Lean Mommy, a physical and emotional fi tness guide for new mothers, Fit4Baby and BodyBack classes, videos and accessories.

After the birth of her fi rst child, Lisa Druxman was eager to both get in shape and get back to work. She decided to blend her passion for fi tness with motherhood and developed a series of exercises she could perform while out walking her baby. As a fi tness instructor, it was only natural for her to teach the workouts to other new moms. They liked it—lots—and Stroller Strides was born.

Since then, Druxman’s business has grown by leaps and bounds. In its fi rst year, Stroller Strides expanded to coach more than 300 moms in 12 locations.a Today, the company boasts more than 300 franchisees teaching fi tness in over 1,200 locations.b,c

And Druxman hasn’t stopped there. She has developed Fit4Baby, BodyBack classes, videos and accessories. She also wrote L.E.A.N. Mommy, a book advising new moms how to maintain physical and emotional fi tness.

There’s another side to Stroller Strides—the “balance” side of things. Owning a franchise gives

working mothers what they want—the chance to succeed at work without losing touch with their families. “The home-based business model has great appeal, as it’s both low-cost and lifestyle-friendly.”

Druxman says. “Our franchisees have the fl exibility to create their business hours around the needs of their family.”d

Her tips for success include:

1. You create the vision and the road map of how to get to the goal.

2. Delegate. Hire out everything you can so that there is progress when you are with your family.

3. Partner up. You may be able to get twice as much done if you have a like-minded partner.

4. Work smart. Make sure the time you do have is spent on the Most Important Things.

5. Get spousal support. Get buy-in with parenting as you grow your business.e

“My work gives me satisfaction, stimula- tion and inspiration. Motherhood keeps me grounded and reminds me daily of what is truly important.” —Lisa Druxman, founder of Stroller Strides.

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3 Emotions, Attitudes, and Job Satisfaction the key point

The work-life balance issues faced by new moms and dads are prime examples of how emotions test us in everyday living. When we’re feeling good there’s hardly anything better. But when we’re feeling down, it takes a toll on us and possibly others. OB scholars are very interested in how emotions, attitudes, and job satisfaction infl uence people’s behavior. There’s a lot to learn that can help you both personally and in your career.

What Are Emotions and Moods?

How Do Emotions and Moods Influence Behavior?

What Are Attitudes and How Do They Influence Behavior?

What Is Job Satisfaction and Why Is It Important?





feelings deserve our attention

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54 3 Emotions, Attitudes, and Job Satisfaction

How do you feel when you are driving a car and are halted by a police offi cer? You are in class and receive a poor grade on an exam? A favorite pet passes away? You check e-mail and discover that you are being offered a job interview? A good friend walks right by without speaking? A parent or sibling or child loses his job? Or, you get this SMS from a new acquaintance: “Ur gr8☺!”?

These examples show how what happens to us draws out “feelings” of many forms, such as happy or sad, angry or pleased. These feelings constitute what schol- ars call affect, the range of emotions and moods that people experience in their life context.1 Affects have important implications not only for our lives in general but also our behavior at work.2 Lisa Druxman, featured in the opening example, might have allowed her frustration at having no time to hit the gym turn into a negative affect toward her work and personal life. Instead, she took the initiative and developed a series of exercises she could perform while walking with her baby. She then took it a step further and started Stroller Strides, a company whose franchises provide moms with a chance to succeed—with their career and their families.

The Nature of Emotions Anger, excitement, apprehension, attraction, sadness, elation, grief . . . those are all emotions that appear as strong positive or negative feelings directed toward someone or something.3 Emotions are usually intense and not long-lasting. They are always associated with a source—someone or something that makes us feel the way we do. You might feel positive emotion of elation when an instructor congratulates you on a fi ne class presentation; you might feel negative emotion of anger when an instructor criticizes you in front of the class. In both situations the object of your emotion is the instructor, but the impact of the instructor’s behavior on your feelings is quite different in each case. And your response to the aroused emotions is likely to differ as well—perhaps breaking into a wide smile after the compliment, or making a nasty side comment or withdrawing from fur- ther participation after the criticism.

Emotional Intelligence All of us are familiar with the notions of cognitive ability and intelligence, or IQ, which have been measured for many years. A more recent concept is emotional intelligence, or EI. First introduced in Chapter 1 as a component of a manager’s essential human skills, it is defi ned by scholar Daniel Goleman as an ability to understand emotions in ourselves and others and to use that understanding to man- age relationships effectively.4 EI is demonstrated in the ways in which we deal with affect, for example, by knowing when a negative emotion is about to cause prob- lems and being able to control that emotion so that it doesn’t become disruptive.

Goleman’s point about emotional intelligence is that we perform better when we are good at recognizing and dealing with emotions in ourselves and others.

• Affect is the range of feelings in the forms of

emotions and moods that people experience.

• Emotions are strong positive or negative

feelings directed toward someone or something.

• Emotional intelligence is an ability to understand

emotions and manage relationships effectively.

LEARNING ROADMAP The Nature of Emotions / Emotional Intelligence / Types of Emotions / The Nature of Moods

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Understanding Emotions and Moods 55

When high in EI, we are more likely to behave in ways that avoid having our emo- tions “get the better of us.” Knowing that an instructor’s criticism causes us to feel anger, for example, EI might help us control that anger, maintain a positive face, and perhaps earn the instructor’s praise when we make future class contributions. If the unchecked anger caused us to act in a verbally aggressive way—creating a negative impression in the instructor’s eyes—or to withdraw from all class partici- pation—causing the instructor to believe we have no interest in the course, our course experience would likely suffer.

If you are good at knowing and managing your emotions and are good at reading others’ emotions, you may perform better while interacting with other people. This applies to work and life in general, and to leadership situations.5 Figure 3.1 identifi es four essential emotional intelligence competencies that can and should be developed for leadership success and, we can say, success more generally in all types of interpersonal situations.6 The competencies are self- awareness, social awareness, self-management, and relationship management.

Self-awareness in emotional intelligence is the ability to understand our emotions and their impact on our work and on others. You can think of this as a continuing appraisal of your emotions that results in a good understanding of them and the capacity to express them naturally. Social awareness is the abil- ity to empathize, to understand the emotions of others, and to use this under- standing to better relate to them. It involves continuous appraisal and recogni- tion of others’ emotions, resulting in better perception and understanding of them.

Self-management in emotional intelligence is the ability to think before act- ing and to be in control of otherwise disruptive impulses. It is a form of self- regulation in which we stay in control of our emotions and avoid letting them take over. Relationship management is an ability to establish rapport with oth- ers in ways that build good relationships and infl uence their emotions in positive ways. It shows up as the capacity to make good use of emotions by directing them toward constructive activities and improved relationships.

• Self-awareness is the ability to understand our emotions and their impact on us and others. • Social awareness is the ability to empathize and understand the emotions of others. • Self-management is the ability to think before acting and to control disruptive impulses. • Relationship management is the ability to establish rapport with others to build good relationships.

Figure 3.1 Four key emotional intelligence competencies for leadership success.

Self- Awareness

Understanding our emotions and their impact on ourselves and others

Self- Management

Self-regulation; thinking before acting and staying in control of our emotions

Relationship Management

Rapport; making use of emotions to build and maintain good relationships

Social Awareness

Empathy; understanding the emotions of others and their impact on relationships

Emotional Intelligence Competencies

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56 3 Emotions, Attitudes, and Job Satisfaction

Types of Emotions Researchers have identifi ed six major types of emotions: anger, fear, joy, love, sad- ness, and surprise. The key question from an emotional intelligence perspective is: Do we recognize these emotions in ourselves and others, and can we manage them well? Anger, for example, may involve disgust and envy, both of which can have very negative consequences. Fear may contain alarm and anxiety; joy may contain cheerfulness and contentment; love may contain affection, longing, and lust; sadness may contain disappointment, neglect, and shame.

It is also common to differentiate between self-conscious emotions that arise from internal sources and social emotions that are stimulated by external sources.7 Shame, guilt, embarrassment, and pride are examples of internal emotions. Under- standing self-conscious emotions helps individuals regulate their relationships with others. Social emotions like pity, envy, and jealousy derive from external cues and information. An example is feeling envious or jealous upon learning that a co-worker received a promotion or job assignment that you were hoping to get.

The Nature of Moods Whereas emotions tend to be short-term and clearly targeted at someone or something, moods are more generalized positive and negative feelings or states of mind that may persist for some time. Everyone seems to have occasional

• Self-conscious emotions arise from

internal sources, and social emotions derive from

external sources.

• Moods are generalized positive and negative

feelings or states of mind.


Facebook is fun, but if you put the wrong things on it—the wrong photo, a snide comment, and complaints about your boss—you might have to change your online status to “Just got fi red!”

Bed Surfi ng Banker—After a Swiss bank employee called in sick with the excuse that she “needed to lie in the dark,” company offi cials observed her surfi ng Facebook. She was fi red and the bank’s statement said it “had lost trust in the employee.”

Angry Mascot—The Pittsburgh Pirates fi red their mascot after he posted criticisms of team management on his Facebook page. A Twitter campaign by supporters helped him get hired back.

Short-changed Server—A former server at a pizza parlor in North Carolina used Facebook to call her customers “cheap” for

not giving good tips. After fi nding out about the posting, her bosses fi red her for breaking company policy.

Who’s Right and Wrong? You may know of other similar cases where employees ended up being penalized for things they put on their Facebook pages. But where do you draw the line? Isn’t a person’s Facebook page separate from one’s work; shouldn’t one be able to speak freely about their jobs, co-workers, and even bosses when outside the workplace? Or is there an ethical boundary that travels from work into one’s public communications that needs to be respected? What are the ethics here—on the employee and the employer sides?

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How Emotions and Moods Infl uence Behavior 57

moods, and we each know the full range of possibilities they represent. How often do you wake up in the morning and feel excited and refreshed and just happy, or wake up feeling grouchy and depressed and generally unhappy? And what are the consequences of these different moods for your behavior with friends and family, and at work or school?

The fi eld of OB is especially interested in how moods affect someone’s like- ability and performance at work. When it comes to CEOs, for example, a Busi- nessWeek article claims that it pays to be likable, stating that “harsh is out, caring is in.”8 Some CEOs are even hiring executive coaches to help them manage their affects to come across as more personable and friendly in relationships with oth- ers. If a CEO goes to a meeting in a good mood and gets described as “cheerful,” “charming,” “humorous,” “friendly,” and “candid,” she or he may be viewed as on the upswing. But if the CEO goes into a meeting in a bad mood and is perceived as “prickly,” “impatient,” “remote,” “tough,” “acrimonious,” or even “ruthless,” the perception will more likely be of a CEO on the downslide.

Figure 3.2 offers a brief comparison of emotions and moods. In general, emotions are intense feelings directed at someone or something; they always have rather specifi c triggers; and they come in many types—anger, fear, happi- ness, and the like. Moods tend to be more generalized positive or negative feel- ings. They are less intense than emotions and most often seem to lack a clear source; it’s often hard to identify how or why we end up in a particular mood.9 But moods tend to be more long-lasting than emotions. When someone says or does something that causes a quick and intense positive or negative reaction from you, that emotion will probably quickly pass. However, a bad or good mood is likely to linger for hours or even days and infl uence a wide range of behaviors.

“I was really angry when Prof. Nitpicker criticized my presentation.” • identified with a source, cause • tend to be brief, episodic • many forms and types • action-oriented; link with behavior • can turn into a mood

“Oh, I just don’t have the energy to do much today; I’ve felt down all week.” • hard to identify source, cause • can be long lasting • either “positive” or “negative” • more cerebral; less action oriented • can influence emotions

Figure 3.2 Emotions and moods are different, but can also infl uence one another.

A while back, former CEO Mark V. Hurd of Hewlett-Packard found himself dealing with a corporate scandal. It seems that the fi rm had hired “consultants” to track down what were considered to be confi dential leaks by members of HP’s Board of Directors. When meeting the press and trying to explain the situation and res- ignation of board chair Patricia C. Dunn, Hurd called the actions “very disturbing” and the Wall Street Journal described him as speaking with “his voice shaking.”10

We can say that Hurd was emotional and angry that the incident was causing public humiliation for him and the company. Chances are the whole episode

LEARNING ROADMAP Emotion and Mood Contagion / Emotional Labor / Cultural Aspects of Emotions and Moods / Emotions and Moods as Affective Events

How Emotions and Moods Infl uence Behavior

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58 3 Emotions, Attitudes, and Job Satisfaction

resulted in him being in a bad mood for a while. In the short run, at least, Hurd’s emotions and mood probably had spillover consequences for those working directly with him and maybe for HP’s workforce as a whole. But even further, was this just a one-time reaction on his part or was it an expected pattern that he displayed whenever things went wrong?

Emotion and Mood Contagion Although emotions and moods are infl uenced by different events and situations, each of us may display some relatively predictable tendencies.11 Some people seem almost always positive and upbeat about things. For these optimists we might say the glass is nearly always half full. Others, by contrast, seem to be often negative or downbeat. They tend to be pessimists viewing the glass as half empty. Such tendencies toward optimism and pessimism not only infl uence the individ- ual’s behavior, they can also infl uence other people he or she interacts with—co- workers, friends, and family members.

Researchers are increasingly interested in emotion and mood contagion— the spillover effects of one’s emotions and mood onto others.12 You might think this as a bit like catching a cold from someone. Evidence shows that positive and negative emotions are “contagious” in much the same ways, even though the tendency may not be well recognized in work settings. One study found team members shared good and bad moods within two hours of being together; bad moods, interestingly, traveled person-to-person faster than good moods.13 Other research shows that when mood contagion is positive, followers report being more attracted to their leaders and rate the leaders more highly. The mood con- tagion also has up and down effects on moods of co-workers and teammates, as well as family and friends.14

Daniel Goleman and his colleagues studying emotional intelligence believe leaders should manage emotion and mood contagion with care. “Moods that start at the top tend to move the fastest,” they say, “because everyone watches the boss.”15 This was very evident as CEOs in all industries—business and nonprofi t alike—struggled to deal with the impact of economic crisis on their organizations and workforces. “Moaning is not a management task,” said Rupert Stadler of Audi: “We can all join in the moaning, or we can make a virtue of the plight. I am rather doing the latter.”16

Emotional Labor The concept of emotional labor relates to the need to show certain emotions in order to perform a job well.17 Good examples come from service settings such as airline check-in personnel or fl ight attendants. They are supposed to appear approachable, receptive, and friendly while taking care of the things you require as a customer. Some airlines like Southwest go even further in asking service employees to be “funny” and “caring” and “cheerful” while doing their jobs.

Emotional labor isn’t always easy; it can be hard to be consistently “on” in displaying the desired emotions in one’s work. If you’re having a bad mood day or have just experienced an emotional run-in with a neighbor, for example, being “happy” and “helpful” with a demanding customer might seem a little much to ask. Such situations can cause emotional dissonance where the emotions we

• Emotion and mood contagion is the spillover

of one’s emotions and mood onto others.

• Emotional labor is a situation where a person displays organizationally

desired emotions in a job.

• Emotional dissonance is inconsistency between

emotions we feel and those we try to project.

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How Emotions and Moods Infl uence Behavior 59

actually feel are inconsistent with the emotions we try to project.18 That is, we are expected to act with one emotion while we actually feel quite another.

It often requires a lot of self-regulation to display organizationally desired emotions in one’s job. Imagine, for example, how often service workers strug- gling with personal emotions and moods experience dissonance when having to act positive toward customers.19 Scholars call it deep acting when someone tries to modify their feelings to better fi t the situation—such as putting yourself in the position of the air travelers whose luggage went missing and feeling the same sense of loss. Surface acting is hiding true feelings while displaying very different ones—such as smiling at a customer even though the words they used to express a complaint just offended you.

Cultural Aspects of Emotions and Moods Issues of emotional intelligence, emotion and mood contagion, and emotional labor can be complicated in cross-cultural situations. General interpretations of emotions and moods appear similar across cultures, with the major emotions of happiness, joy, and love all valued positively.20 But the frequency and intensity of emotions is known to vary somewhat. In mainland China, for example, research suggests that people report fewer positive and negative emotions as well as less intense emotions than in other cultures.21 Norms for emotional expression also vary across cultures. In collectivist cultures that emphasize group relationships such as Japan, individual emotional displays are less likely to occur and less likely to be accepted than in individualistic cultures.22

Informal cultural standards called display rules govern the degree to which it is appropriate to display emotions. For example, British culture tends to encourage downplaying emotions, while Mexican culture is much more demon- strative in public. Overall, the lesson is that the way emotions are displayed in other cultures may not mean what they do at home. When Walmart fi rst went to Germany, its executives found that an emphasis on friendliness embedded in its U.S. roots didn’t work as well in the local culture. The more serious German shoppers did not respond well to Walmart’s friendly greeters and helpful person- nel. And along the same lines, Israeli shoppers seem to equate smiling cashiers with inexperience, so cashiers are encouraged to look somber while performing their jobs.23

• Display rules govern the degree to which it is appropriate to display emotions.

Two Brothers Make Being

Happy a Big Business Imagine! Yes you can! Go for it! Life is good. Well, make that really good. These dreams became realities for Bert and John Jacobs. They began selling tee shirts on Boston streets and now run an $80 million company—Life Is Good. Inc. magazine called it “a fi ne small business that only wants to make me happy.” John says: “Life is good . . . don’t determine that you’re going to be happy when you get the new car or the big promotion or meet that special person. You can decide that you’re going to be happy today.”

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60 3 Emotions, Attitudes, and Job Satisfaction

Emotions and Moods as Affective Events Figure 3.3 presents the Affective Events Theory as a summary for this discus- sion of emotions, moods, and human behavior in organizations.24 The basic notion of the theory is that our emotions and moods are infl uenced by events involving other people and situations. Emotions and moods, in turn, infl uence the work performance and satisfaction of us and others.

The left-hand side of Figure 3.3 shows how the work environment, including the job and its emotional labor requirements, and daily work events create posi- tive and negative emotional reactions. These infl uence job satisfaction and perfor- mance.25 For example, everyone experiences hassles and uplifts on the job, some- times many of these during a workday. Our positive and negative emotional reactions to them infl uence the way we work at the moment and how we feel about it.

Personal predispositions in the form of personality and moods also affect the connection between work events and emotional reactions. Someone’s mood at the time can exaggerate the emotions experienced as a result of an event. If you have just been criticized by your boss, for example, you are likely to feel worse than you would otherwise when a colleague makes a joke about the length of your coffee breaks.

Work Environment Job characteristics Job demands Emotional labor requirements

Work Events Daily hassles Daily uplifts

Job Satisfaction

Job Performance

Personal Predispositions Personality Mood

Emotional Reactions Positive Negative

Figure 3.3 Figurative summary of Affective Events Theory.

At one time Challis M. Lowe was one of only two African-American women among the fi ve highest-paid executives in U.S. companies surveyed by the wom- an’s advocacy and research organization Catalyst.26 She became executive vice president at Ryder System after a 25-year career that included several changes of employers and lots of stressors—working-mother guilt, a failed marriage, gender

LEARNING ROADMAP Components of Attitudes / Linking Attitudes and Behavior / Attitudes and Cognitive Consistency / Types of Job Attitudes

How Attitudes Infl uence Behavior

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How Attitudes Infl uence Behavior 61

bias on the job, and an MBA degree earned part-time. Through it all she says: “I’ve never let being scared stop me from doing something. Just because you haven’t done it before doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.” That, simply put, is what we would call a can-do “attitude!”

An attitude is a predisposition to respond in a positive or negative way to someone or something in one’s environment. When you say, for example, that you “like” or “dislike” someone or something, you are expressing an attitude. But it’s important to remember that an attitude, like a value, is a hypothetical construct; one never sees, touches, or actually isolates an attitude. Rather, atti- tudes are inferred from the things people say or through their behavior. Atti- tudes are infl uenced by values and are acquired from the same sources— friends, teachers, parents, role models, and culture. Attitudes, however, focus on specifi c people or objects. The notion that shareholders should have a voice in setting CEO pay is a value. Your positive or negative feeling about a specifi c company due to the presence or absence of shareholder inputs on CEO pay is an attitude.

Components of Attitudes The three components of an attitude are shown in Figure 3.4—cognitive, affec- tive, and behavioral.27 The cognitive component of an attitude refl ects underlying beliefs, opinions, knowledge, or information a person possesses. It represents a person’s ideas about someone or something and the conclusions drawn about them. The statement “My job lacks responsibility” is a belief shown in the fi gure. The statement “Job responsibility is important” refl ects an underlying value. Together they comprise the cognitive component of an attitude toward one’s work or workplace.

The affective component of an attitude is a specifi c feeling regarding the per- sonal impact of the antecedent conditions evidenced in the cognitive component. In essence this becomes the actual attitude, such as the feeling “I don’t like my job.” Notice that the affect in this statement displays the negative attitude; “I don’t like my job” is a very different condition than “I do like my job.”

The behavioral component is an intention to behave in a certain way based on the affect in one’s attitude. It is a predisposition to act, but one that may or may not be implemented. The example in the fi gure shows behavioral intent expressed as “I’m going to quit my job.” Yet even with such intent, it remains to be seen whether or not the person really quits.

• An attitude is a predisposition to respond positively or negatively to someone or something.

Cognition Affect Behavior

Based on beliefs, values, information

Positive and negative feelings

Intended behavior

create that influence

“My job lacks responsibility; work is important to me.”

“I don’t like my job.”

“I’m going to quit my job.”

Figure 3.4 A work-related example of the three com- ponents of attitudes.

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62 3 Emotions, Attitudes, and Job Satisfaction

Linking Attitudes and Behavior As just pointed out, the link between attitudes and behavior is tentative. An atti- tude expresses an intended behavior that may or may not be carried out. In gen- eral, the more specifi c attitudes are the stronger the relationship with eventual behavior. A person who feels “I don’t like my job” may be less likely to actually quit than someone who feels “I can’t stand another day with Alex harassing me at work.” For an attitude to actually infl uence behavior, it’s also necessary to have the opportunity or freedom to behave in the intended way. In today’s economy there are most likely many persons who stick with their jobs while still holding negative job attitudes. The fact is they may not have any other choice.28

Attitudes and Cognitive Consistency Leon Festinger, a noted social psychologist, uses the term cognitive dissonance to describe a state of inconsistency between an individual’s attitudes and/or between attitudes and behavior.29 It turns out that this is an important issue. Perhaps you have the attitude that recycling is good for the economy. You also realize you aren’t always recycling everything you can. Festinger points out that such cognitive inconsistency between attitude and behavior is uncomfortable. We tend to deal with the discomfort by trying to do things to reduce or eliminate the dissonance: (1) changing the under- lying attitude, (2) changing future behavior, or (3) developing new ways of explaining or rationalizing the inconsistency.

The way we respond to cognitive dissonance is infl uenced by the degree of control we seem to have over the situation and the rewards involved. In the case of recycling dissonance, for example, the lack of convenient recycling containers would make rationalizing easier and changing the positive attitude less likely. A reaffi rmation of intention to recycle in the future might also reduce the dissonance.

Types of Job Attitudes Even though attitudes do not always predict behavior, the link between attitudes and potential or intended behavior is an important workplace issue. Think about your daily experiences or conversations with other people about their work. It isn’t uncommon to hear concerns expressed about a co-worker’s “bad attitude” or another’s “good attitude.” Such feelings get refl ected in things like job satisfaction, job involvement, organizational commitment, and employee engagement.

You often hear the term “morale” used to describe how people feel about their jobs and employers. It relates to the more specifi c notion of job satisfaction, an attitude refl ecting a person’s positive and negative feelings toward a job, co-workers, and the work environment. Indeed, you should remember that helping others real- ize job satisfaction is considered one hallmark of effective managers. They create work environments in which people achieve high performance and experience high job satisfaction. This concept of job satisfaction is very important in OB and receives special attention in the following section.

In addition to job satisfaction, OB scholars and researchers are interested in job involvement. This is the extent to which an individual feels dedicated to a job. Someone with high job involvement psychologically identifi es with her or his job, and, for example, shows willingness to work beyond expectations to com- plete a special project. This relates to organizational citizenship behaviors as also discussed in the next section.

• Cognitive dissonance is experienced

inconsistency between one’s attitudes and/or between attitudes and

• Job satisfaction is the degree to which an

individual feels positive or negative about a job.

• Job involvement is the extent to which an individual

is dedicated to a job.

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Job Satisfaction and Its Importance 63

Another work attitude is organizational commitment, or the degree of loyalty an individual feels toward the organization. Individuals with a high orga- nizational commitment identify strongly with the organization and take pride in considering themselves members. Rational commitment refl ects feelings that the job serves one’s fi nancial, developmental, and professional interests. Emotional commitment refl ects feelings that what one does is important, valuable, and of real benefi t to others. Research shows that strong emotional commitments to the organization are much more powerful than rational commitments in positively infl uencing performance.30

A survey of 55,000 American workers by the Gallup Organization suggests that profi ts for employers rise when workers’ attitudes refl ect high job involve- ment and organizational commitment. This combination creates a high sense of employee engagement—something that Gallup defi nes as feeling “a profound connection” with the organization and “a passion” for one’s job.31 Active employee engagement shows up as a willingness to help others, to always try to do some- thing extra to improve performance, and to speak positively about the organiza- tion. Things that counted most toward high engagement in the Gallup research were believing one has the opportunity to do one’s best every day, believing one’s opinions count, believing fellow workers are committed to quality, and believing a direct connection exists between one’s work and the organization’s mission.32

• Organizational commitment is the loyalty of an individual to the organization.

• Employee engagement is a strong sense of connection with the organization and passion for one’s job.

Employee Morale Varies around

A worldwide study shows that morale and what workers want varies from one country to the next. FDS International of the United Kingdom surveyed 13,832 workers in 23 countries on their job satisfaction, quality of employer-employee relations, and work-life balance. Here’s how selected countries ranked. Workers with the highest morale were in the Netherlands, Ireland and Thailand (tie), and Switzerland. The United States ranked 10th in the sample and Canada ranked 11th. Japan came in 15th.

There is no doubt that job satisfaction is one of the most talked about of all job attitudes. It was defi ned earlier as an attitude refl ecting a person’s feelings toward his or her job or job setting at a particular point in time.33 And when it comes to job satisfaction, several good questions can be asked. What are the major compo- nents of job satisfaction? What are the main job satisfaction fi ndings and trends? What is the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance?

LEARNING ROADMAP Components of Job Satisfaction / Job Satisfaction Trends / How Job Satisfaction Infl uences Work Behavior / Linking Job Satisfaction and Job Performance

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64 3 Emotions, Attitudes, and Job Satisfaction

Finding the Leader in You DON THOMPSON SHOWS THE POWER OF LISTENING TO EMOTIONS The president’s offi ce at McDon- ald’s world headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois has no door; the building is confi gured with an open fl oor plan. All that fi ts nicely with Thompson’s management style and personality. His former mentor Raymond Mines says: “He has the ability to listen, blend in, analyze and communicate. People feel at ease with him. A lot of corporate executives have little time for those below them. Don makes everyone a part of the process.”

decisions,” Mines told him to move out of engineering and into the operations side of the business.

Thompson listened to the advice and moved into unfamiliar territory. It got him the attention he needed to advance to ever-higher responsibilities that spanned restaurant operations, franchisee relations, and global strategic management.

Thompson now says, “I want to make sure others achieve their goals, just as I have.”

What’s the Lesson Here? How attuned are you to your own emotions and to those of others? What do you do when you feel frustrated? Do you ignore it, or do you try to address it by seeking out the advice of others? Are you willing to help others by sharing your own learning with them?

When Thompson was appointed president and chief operating offi cer, his boss, McDonald’s vice chairman and chief executive offi cer, Jim Skinner said, “Don has done an outstanding job leading our U.S. business, and I am confi dent he will bring the same energy and innovative thinking to his new global role.”

While these rosy accolades are well deserved, there was a time when Thompson had to make a bold choice. After grand success when fi rst joining McDonald’s, he ran into a period of routine accomplishment. He was getting stuck and thought it might be time to change employers. But the fi rm’s diversity offi cer recommended he speak with Raymond Mines, at the time the fi rm’s highest- ranking African-American executive. When Thompson confi ded that he “wanted to have an impact on

Components of Job Satisfaction Managers can infer the job satisfaction of others by careful observation and inter- pretation of what people say and do while going about their jobs. They can also use interviews and questionnaires to more formally assess levels of job satisfac- tion on a team or in an organization.34 Two of the more popular job satisfaction questionnaires used over the years are the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) and the Job Descriptive Index ( JDI).35 Both address components of job satisfaction with which all good managers should be concerned. The MSQ mea- sures satisfaction with working conditions, chances for advancement, freedom to use one’s own judgment, praise for doing a good job, and feelings of accomplish- ment, among others. The JDI measures these fi ve job satisfaction facets.

• The work itself—responsibility, interest, and growth

• Quality of supervision—technical help and social support

• Relationships with co-workers—social harmony and respect

• Promotion opportunities—chances for further advancement

• Pay—adequacy of pay and perceived equity vis-à-vis others

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Job Satisfaction and Its Importance 65

Job Satisfaction Trends If you watch or read the news, you’ll regularly fi nd reports on the job satisfaction of workers. You’ll also fi nd lots of job satisfaction studies in the academic literature. The results don’t always agree, but they usually fall within a common range. And until recently, we generally concluded that the majority of American workers are at least somewhat satisfi ed with their jobs. Now, the trend has turned down.36

Surveys conducted by The Conference Board showed in 1987 that about 61 percent of American workers said they were satisfi ed; in 2009 only 45 percent were reporting job satisfaction.37 The report states: “Fewer Americans are satisfi ed with all aspects of employment, and no age or income group is immune. In fact, the youngest cohort of employees (those currently under age 25) expresses the highest level of dissatisfaction ever recorded by the survey for that age group.” In terms of other patterns in these data, only 51 percent of workers surveyed in 2009 said their jobs were interesting versus 70 percent in 1987. Only 51 percent said they were satisfi ed with their bosses versus 60 percent in 1987.

A global survey in 2011 by Accenture contacted 3,400 professionals from 29 countries around the world.38 Results showed less than one-half were satisfi ed with their jobs, and that the percentage of job satisfaction was about equal between women (43%) and men (42%). But about three quarters of the respondents said they had no plans to leave their current jobs. This makes us wonder about the


None of us is immune to feelings and the infl uence they have on our lives. And, it really doesn’t matter whether we are at work, at home, or at play. We are generally expected to be in charge of our feelings, particularly when we interact with others. This requires a good deal of self-control, and that can be diffi cult when moods take over our feelings. They are positive or negative states that persist, perhaps for quite a long time.

In Crash, Jean Cabot (Sandra Bullock) is talking on the telephone with her best friend, Carol. When she begins to complain about her housekeeper, Carol’s response is skeptical and a bit critical. Jean starts to justify her reaction but then admits she is angry at practically everyone with whom she interacts. Her fi nal admission is quite telling—Jean informs Carol that she wakes up angry every day. When Carol ends the conversation prematurely, Jean loses focus and ends up falling down the stairs in her house.

This scene from the movie illustrates how moods can be all consuming—affecting not only our outlook, but our relationships and even behaviors. When emotions and moods get the best of us, we may say or do things that are not in our best interests and that we may regret later. Emotional intelligence involves understanding moods, recognizing how they affect behavior, and learning to control emotions.

Get to Know Yourself Better Take time to complete Assessment 3, The Turbulence Tolerance Test, in the OB Skills Workbook. Remember to respond as if you were the manager. What is your tolerance level for turbulence? What role might moods and emo- tions play in how you react to these and other situations? How can better self-awareness and emotional intelligence help you prepare to handle such things more effectively?

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66 3 Emotions, Attitudes, and Job Satisfaction

implications for both employees and employers when people stick with jobs that give them little satisfaction.

Both men and women in the Accenture Survey generally agreed on the least satisfying things about their jobs–being underpaid, lacking career advancement opportunities, and feeling trapped in their jobs. But gender differences were also evident. Women are less likely than men to ask for pay raises (44% vs. 48%) and for promotions (28% vs. 39%). Women are more likely to believe their careers are not “fast-tracked” (63% vs. 55%) and more likely to report that getting ahead in careers is due to hard work and long hours (68% vs. 55%). And in respect to gen- erational differences, Gen Y workers ranked pay higher as a source of motivation (73%) than either Gen Xers (67%) or Baby Boomers (58%).

How Job Satisfaction Infl uences Work Behavior Would you agree that people deserve to have satisfying work experiences? You probably do. But, is job satisfaction important in other than a “feel good” sense? How does it impact work behaviors and job performance? In commenting on the Conference Board data just summarized, for example, Lynn Franco, the director of the organization’s Consumer Research Center, said: “The downward trend in job satisfaction could spell trouble for the engagement of U.S. employees and ultimately employee productivity.”39

Withdrawal Behaviors There is a strong relationship between job satisfaction and physical withdrawal behaviors like absenteeism and turnover. Workers who are more satisfi ed with their jobs are absent less often than those who are dissatisfi ed. Satisfi ed workers are also more likely to remain with their present employers, while dissatisfi ed workers are more likely to quit or at least be on the lookout for other jobs.40 Withdrawal through absenteeism and turnover can be very costly in terms of lost experience, and the expenses for recruiting and training of replacements.41

A survey by Salary.com showed not only that employers tend to overestimate the job satisfactions of their employees, they underestimate the amount of job seeking they are doing.42 Whereas employers estimated that 37 percent of employ- ees were on the lookout for new jobs, 65 percent of the employees said they were job seeking by networking, Web surfi ng, posting resumes, or checking new job

Generations Differ in Satisfaction

with Their Bosses Would it surprise you that Millennials have somewhat different views of their bosses than their Generation X and Baby Boomer co-workers? This pattern is evident in a Kenexa survey that asked 11,000 respondents to rate their managers’ performance. Results showed positive rating of boss’s performance—Boomers 55%, Gen Xers 59%, Millennials 68% . . . positive rating of boss’s people

management—Boomers 50%, Gen Xers 53%, Millennials 62% . . . positive rating of boss’s leadership—Boomers 39%, Gen Xers 43%, Millennials 51%.

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Job Satisfaction and Its Importance 67

possibilities. Millennials in their 20s and early 30s were most likely to engage in these “just-in-case” job searches. The report concluded that “most employers have not placed enough emphasis on important retention strategies.”

There is also a relationship between job satisfaction and psychological with- drawal behaviors. They show up in such forms as daydreaming, cyber loafi ng by Internet surfi ng or personal electronic communications, excessive socializing, and even just giving the appearance of being busy when one is not. These withdrawal behaviors are indicators of work disengagement, something that Gallup researchers say as many as 71 percent of workers report feeling at times.43

Organizational Citizenship Job satisfaction is also linked with organizational citizenship behaviors.44 These are discretionary behaviors, sometimes called OCBs, that represent a willingness to “go beyond the call of duty” or “go the extra mile” in one’s work.45 A person who is a good organizational citizen does extra things that help others—interpersonal OCBs, or advance the performance of the organization as a whole—organizational OCBs.46 You might observe interpersonal OCBs in a service worker who is extraordinarily courteous while taking care of an upset customer, or a team member who takes on extra tasks when a co-worker is ill or absent. Examples of organizational OCBs are co-workers who are always willing volunteers for special committee or task force assignments, and those whose voices are always positive when commenting publicly on their employer.

The fl ip-side of organizational citizenship shows up as counterproductive work behaviors.47 Often associated with some form of job dissatisfaction, they purposely disrupt relationships, organizational culture, or performance in the workplace.48 Counterproductive workplace behaviors cover a wide range of things from work avoidance, to physical and verbal aggression, to bad mouthing, to outright work sabotage and even theft.

At-Home Affect When OB scholars talk about “spillover” effects, they are often referring to how what happens to us at home can affect our work attitudes and behaviors, and how the same holds true as work experiences infl uence how we feel and behave at home. Research fi nds that people with higher daily job satisfaction show more posi- tive affect after work.49 In a study that measured spouse or signifi cant other evaluations, more posi- tive at-home affect scores were reported on days when workers experienced higher job satisfac- tion.50 This issue of the job satisfaction and at- home affect link is proving especially signifi cant as workers in today’s high-tech and always-connect- ed world struggle with work–life balance.

Linking Job Satisfaction and Job Performance The importance of job satisfaction shows up in two decisions people make about their work— belonging and performing. The fi rst is the decision to belong—that is, to join and remain a member of

• Organizational citizenship behaviors are the extras people do to go the extra mile in their work.

• Counterproductive work behaviors are behaviors that intentionally disrupt relationships or performance at work.

Spotting Counterproductive or Deviant Workplace Behaviors

Whereas organizational citizenship behaviors help make the organization a better and more pleasant place, counterproductive or deviant behaviors do just the opposite. To varying degrees of severity, they harm the work, the people, and the organizational culture. Here are some things to look for.

• Personal aggres- sion—sexual harass- ment, verbal abuse, physical abuse, intimidation, humilia- tion.

• Production devi- ance—wasting resources, avoiding work, disrupting workfl ow, making deliberate work errors.

• Political deviance—spreading harmful rumors, gossiping, using bad language, lacking civility in relationships.

• Property deviance—destroying or sabotaging facilities and equipment, stealing money and other resources.

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68 3 Emotions, Attitudes, and Job Satisfaction

an organization. This decision links job satisfaction and withdrawal behaviors, both absenteeism and turnover. The second decision, the decision to perform, raises quite another set of issues. We all know that not everyone who belongs to an orga- nization, whether it’s a classroom or workplace or sports team or voluntary group, performs up to expectations. So, what is the relationship between job satisfaction and performance?51 A recent study, for example, fi nds that higher levels of job sat- isfaction are related to higher levels of customer ratings received by service work- ers.52 But can it be said that high job satisfaction causes high levels of customer service performance?

Three different positions have been advanced about causality in the satisfaction– performance relationship. The fi rst is that job satisfaction causes per- formance; in other words, a happy worker is a productive worker. The second is that performance causes job satisfaction. The third is that job satisfaction and performance infl uence one another, and are mutually affected by other factors such as the availability of rewards. Perhaps you can make a case for one or more of these positions based on your work experiences.

Satisfaction Causes Performance If job satisfaction causes high levels of performance, the message to managers is clear. To increase employees’ work per- formance, make them happy. But, research hasn’t found a simple and direct link between individual job satisfaction at one point in time and later work perfor- mance. A sign once posted in a tavern near one of Ford’s Michigan plants helps tell the story: “I spend 40 hours a week here, am I supposed to work too?” Even though some evidence exists for the satisfaction causes performance relationship among professional or higher-level employees, the best conclusion is that job sat- isfaction alone is not a consistent predictor of individual work performance.

Performance Causes Satisfaction If high levels of performance cause job satisfaction, the message to managers is quite different. Instead of focusing on job satisfaction as the precursor to performance, try to create high performance as a pathway to job satisfaction. It generally makes sense that people should feel good about their jobs when they perform well. And indeed, research does fi nd a link between individual performance measured at one time and later job satisfaction.

Figure 3.5 shows this relationship using a model from the work of Edward E. Lawler and Lyman Porter. It suggests that performance leads to rewards that, in turn, lead to

Performance Valued

Rewards Satisfaction

Perceived Equity

Valued Rewards

= Intervening variable = Moderating variable Perceived

Equity of Rewards

Figure 3.5 Simplifi ed Porter-Lawler model of the performance n satisfaction relationship.

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Job Satisfaction and Its Importance 69

The spillover of job satisfaction onto workers’ family lives is the subject of a study published in the Academy of Management Journal by Remus Ilies, Kelly Schwind Wilson, and David T. Wagner. Noting that communication technologies and fl exibility in work schedules have narrowed the gap between work and home, the researchers asked the question: How does daily job satisfaction spill over to affect a person’s feelings and attitudes in the family role?

The research was conducted by survey and telephone interviews with 101 university employees and their spouses or signifi cant others over a two-week period. High work–family role integration was defi ned as making “little distinction between their work and family roles,” while low work–family role integration meant that work and family were quite segmented from one another. A key hypothesis in the

research was that job satisfaction spillover from work to home on any given day would be greater for the high work–family role integration employees.

Results showed that workers displayed higher positive affect at home on days when they also reported higher job satisfaction. As shown in the fi gure, the expected moderating effect of work– family integration also held. Workers with high work–family role integration showed a stronger relationship between daily job satisfaction and positive affect at home versus those with low work–family role integration. In fact, among workers with low work–family integration, those who tended to segment work and family roles, positive home affect actually declined as job satisfaction increased.

Job Satisfaction Spillover onto Family Lives

Do the Research How can the fi ndings for the low work–family integration group be explained? What research questions does this study raise in your mind that might become the topics for further study in this area? Would you hypothesize that the job satisfaction–home spillover effects would vary by type of occupation, age of worker, family responsibilities such as number of at-home children, or other factors? Could you suggest a study that might empirically investigate these possibilities?

Low Job Satisfaction High Job Satisfaction

Positive Home Affect

High work–family role integration

Low work–family role integration

Source: Remus Ilies, Kelly Schwind Wilson, and David T. Wagner, “The Spillover of Daily Job Satisfaction onto Employees’ Family Lives: The Facilitating Role of Work-Family Integration,” Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 52, No. 1 (2009), pp. 87–102.

satisfaction.53 Rewards are intervening variables in this model; when valued by the recipient, they link performance with later satisfaction. The model also includes a moderator variable—perceived equity of rewards. This indicates that performance leads to satisfaction only if rewards are perceived as fair and equitable. Although this model is a good starting point, and one that we will use again in discussing motivation and rewards in Chapter 6, we also know from experience that some people may per- form well but still not like the jobs that they have to do.

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70 3 Emotions, Attitudes, and Job Satisfaction

Rewards Cause Both Satisfaction and Performance The fi nal position in the job satisfaction–performance discussion suggests that the right rewards allocated in the right ways will positively infl uence both performance and satisfaction. These two outcomes also infl uence one another. A key issue in respect to the allocation of rewards is performance contingency. This means that the size of the reward varies in proportion to the level of performance.

Research generally fi nds that rewards infl uence satisfaction while performance- contingent rewards infl uence performance.54 The prevailing management advice is to use performance-contingent rewards well in the attempt to create both. Although giving a low performer a small reward may lead to dissatisfaction at fi rst, the expectation is that he or she will make efforts to improve performance in order to obtain higher rewards in the future.55

3 study guide Key Questions and Answers What are emotions and moods?

• Affect is a generic term that covers a broad range of feelings that individuals experi- ence as emotions and moods.

• Emotions are strong feelings directed at someone or something and that infl uence behavior, often with intensity and for short periods of time.

• Moods are generalized positive or negative states of mind that can be persistent infl uences on one’s behavior.

• Emotional intelligence is the ability to detect and manage emotional cues and information. Four emotional intelligence skills or competencies are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

How do emotions and moods infl uence behavior in organizations?

• Emotional contagion involves the spillover effects onto others of one’s emotions and moods; in other words, emotions and moods can spread from person to person.

• Emotional labor is a situation where a person displays organizationally desired emotions while performing a job.

• Emotional dissonance is a discrepancy between true feelings and organizationally desired emotions; it is linked with deep acting to try to modify true inner feelings and with surface acting to hide one’s true inner feelings.

• Affective Events Theory (AET) relates characteristics of the work environment, work events, and personal predispositions to positive or negative emotional reactions and job satisfaction.

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Terms to Know 71

What are attitudes and how do they infl uence behavior in organizations?

• An attitude is a predisposition to respond in a certain way to people and things.

• Attitudes have affective, cognitive, and behavioral components.

• Although attitudes predispose individuals toward certain behaviors, they do not guarantee that such behaviors will take place.

• Individuals desire consistency between their attitudes and their behaviors, and cognitive dissonance occurs when a person’s attitude and behavior are inconsistent.

• Job satisfaction is an attitude toward one’s job, co-workers, and workplace.

• Job involvement is a positive attitude that shows up in the extent to which an individual is dedicated to a job.

• Organizational commitment is a positive attitude that shows up in the loyalty of an individual to the organization.

What is job satisfaction and why is it important?

• Five components of job satisfaction are the work itself, quality of supervision, relationships with co-workers, promotion opportunities, and pay.

• Job satisfaction infl uences physical withdrawal behaviors of absenteeism, turnover, as well as psychological withdrawal behaviors like day dreaming and cyber loafi ng.

• Job satisfaction is linked with organizational citizenship behaviors that are both interpersonal—such as doing extra work for a sick teammate—and organizational— such as always speaking positively about the organization.

• A lack of job satisfaction may be refl ected in counterproductive work behaviors such as purposely performing with low quality, avoiding work, acting violently at work, or even engaging in workplace theft.

• Three possibilities in the job satisfaction and performance relationship are that satisfaction causes performance, performance causes satisfaction, and rewards cause both performance and satisfaction.

Terms to Know Affect (p. 54) Attitude (p. 61) Cognitive dissonance (p. 62) Counterproductive work

behaviors (p. 67) Display rules (p. 59) Emotion and mood

contagion (p. 58) Emotional dissonance (p. 58)

Emotional intelligence (p. 54) Emotional labor (p. 58) Emotions (p. 54) Employee engagement (p. 63) Job involvement (p. 62) Job satisfaction (p. 62) Moods (p. 56) Organizational citizenship

behaviors (p. 67)

Organizational commitment (p. 63) Relationship management (p. 55) Self-awareness (p. 55) Self-conscious emotions (p. 56) Self-management (p. 55) Social awareness (p. 55) Social emotions (p. 56)

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72 3 Emotions, Attitudes, and Job Satisfaction

Self-Test 3 Multiple Choice 1. A/an ____________ is a rather intense but short-lived feeling about a person or a

situation, while a/an ____________ is a more generalized positive or negative state of mind. (a) stressor, satisfi er (b) affect, attitude (c) spillover, moderator (d) emotion, mood

2. When someone is feeling anger about something a co-worker did, she is experienc- ing a/an ____________, but when just “having a bad day overall” she is experiencing a/an ____________. (a) mood, emotion (b) emotion, mood (c) affect, effect (d) dissonance, consonance

3. Emotions and moods as personal affects are known to infl uence ____________. (a) attitudes (b) ability (c) aptitude (d) intelligence

4. If a person shows empathy and understanding of the emotions of others and uses this to better relate to them, she is displaying the emotional intelligence competency of ____________. (a) self-awareness (b) emotional contagion (c) relationship management (d) social awareness

5. The ____________ component of an attitude indicates a person’s belief about something, while the ____________ component indicates positive or negative feeling about it. (a) cognitive, affective (b) emotional, affective (c) cognitive, mood (d) behavioral, mood

6. ____________ describes the discomfort someone feels when his or her behavior is inconsistent with an expressed attitude. (a) Alienation (b) Cognitive dissonance (c) Job dissatisfaction (d) Person–job imbalance

7. Affective Events Theory shows how one’s emotional reactions to work events, environ- ment, and personal predispositions can infl uence ____________. (a) job satisfaction and performance (b) emotional labor (c) emotional intelligence (d) emotional contagion

8. The tendency of people at work to display feelings consistent with the moods of their co-workers and bosses, is known as ____________. (a) emotional dissonance (b) emotional labor (c) mood contagion (d) mood stability

9. When an airline fl ight attendant displays organizationally desired emotions when interacting with passengers, this is an example of ____________. (a) emotional labor (b) emotional contagion (c) job commitment (d) negative affect

10. A person who always volunteers for extra work or helps someone else with their work is said to be high in ____________. (a) emotional labor (b) affect (c) emotional intelligence (d) organizational commitment

11. The main difference between job involvement and ____________ is that the former shows a positive attitude toward the job and the latter shows a positive attitude toward the organization. (a) organizational commitment (b) employee engagement (c) job satisfaction (d) cognitive dissonance

12. Job satisfaction is known to be a good predictor of ____________. (a) deep acting (b) emotional intelligence (c) cognitive dissonance (d) absenteeism

13. The best conclusion about job satisfaction in today’s workforce is probably that ____________. (a) it isn’t an important issue (b) the only real concern is pay (c) most people are not satisfi ed with their jobs most of the time (d) trends show declining job satisfaction

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Next Steps 73

14. Which statement about the job satisfaction–job performance relationship is most consistent with research? (a) A happy worker will be productive. (b) A productive worker will be happy. (c) A well rewarded productive worker will be happy. (d) a poorly rewarded productive worker will be happy.

15. What does “performance-contingent” refer to when rewards are discussed as possible infl uences on satisfaction and performance? (a) rewards are highly valued (b) rewards are frequent (c) rewards are in proportion to performance (d) rewards are based only on seniority

Short Response 16. What are the major differences between emotions and moods as personal affects?

17. Describe and give examples of the three components of an attitude.

18. List fi ve facets of job satisfaction and briefl y discuss their importance.

19. Why is cognitive dissonance an important concept for managers to understand?

Applications Essay 20. Your boss has a sign posted in her offi ce. It says—“A satisfi ed worker is a high-

performing worker.” In a half-joking and half-serious way she points to it and says, “You are fresh out of college as a business and management major, am I right or wrong?” What is your response?

Case for Critical Thinking

• Management Training Dilemma

• Learning Style Inventory • Student Leadership

Practices Inventory • 21st Century Manager • Global Readiness Index

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Just-in-time Learning Saves the Day

Right about now, you’re starting to panic. Your boss has a request: The Web designer is on maternity leave. You’re good with computers, so can you edit some pages on the company’s Web site?

What do you do? Cross your fi ngers and dive in head fi rst. That’s the spirit behind Head First Labs, a series of irreverent tech tutorial books designed to help readers learn—and remember—new and complicated information by incorporating storytelling, unexpected images, and hands-on projects.

Published by O’Reilly Media, the books emphasize just-in-time learning, the idea of acquiring just enough knowl- edge to get by, where and when you need it.

Here’s the core of Head First’s philosophy: Sometimes you have to trick your brain. Because its primary goal is to keep you safe and out of trouble, your gray matter tends to favor the important stuff (Danger! Fire! Angry boss! ) over what it thinks is trivial. The solution: Couple the information you need now with enough unusual images, piquant captions, and unexpected elements to kick those neurons into learning mode.

“When you learn just-in-time, you’re highly motivated,” says research statistician John Cook. Because you’re already under the gun, “there’s no need to imagine whether you might apply what you’re learning.”a

But what about those Web pages the boss asked you to edit? With the help of a Head First guide, you learn just enough to

make the necessary changes without crashing the site. Your grateful boss rewards you with your favorite kind of positive reinforcement: lunch on the company’s dime. While you’re waiting for the check, she leans in and asks, “How much do you know about databases?”

“What you know is trivial. The real issue is, what do you know how to do?” —Roger Schank, Director of North- western University’s Institute for Learning Sciencesb

FYI: For employees with less than 12 years of work experience, trained (on the job) workers enjoy wages that are almost 10% higher than wages of untrained workers.

• O’Reilly Media’s Head First books provide engaging just-in-time training on dense tech topics like programming and Web design.

• The guides use unexpected pictures, real-life examples, and hands-on exercises to increase information retention.

• Companies fi nd that just-in-time learning tools cuts training costs, minimizes employee downtime, and improves productivity.

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4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning the key point

In all the events and experiences of everyday living it can be a shock when people view the same thing and come to different conclusions. But this is reality—people often perceive situations in different ways. The better we understand perception and attribution and their effects on how people behave and learn, the better we can be at dealing with events, people, and relationships not only just-in-time, but also in positive ways.

What Is Perception and Why Is It Important?

What Are the Common Perceptual Distortions?

What Is the Link Between Perception, Attribution, and Social Learning?

What Is Involved in Learning by Reinforcement?





it ’s in the eye of the beholder

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76 4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning

Perception is the process by which people select, organize, interpret, retrieve, and respond to information from the world around them.1 It is a way of forming impres- sions about ourselves, other people, and daily life experiences. It also serves as a screen or fi lter through which information passes before it has an effect on people. Because perceptions are infl uenced by many factors, different people may perceive the same situation quite differently. And since people behave according to their per- ceptions, the consequences of these differences can be great in terms of what hap- pens next.

Consider the example shown in Figure 4.1. It shows substantial differences in how a performance appraisal discussion is perceived by managers and their sub- ordinates. These managers may end up not giving much attention to things like career development, performance goals, and supervisory support since they per- ceive these issues were adequately addressed at performance appraisal time. But the subordinates may end up frustrated and unsatisfi ed because they perceive less attention was given and they want more.

Factors Infl uencing Perception We can think of perception as a bubble that surrounds us and infl uences signifi - cantly the way we receive, interpret, and process information received from our

• Perception is the process through which

people receive and interpret information from

the environment.

LEARNING ROADMAP Factors Infl uencing Perception / Information Processing and the Perception Process / Perception, Impression Management, and Social Media

When asked how much these points were discussed during performance appraisals

the managers in this study and their subordinates responded as follows:

High Mention

Some Mention

3 Past performance

Career development

Performance development

Need for supervisor’s help

Future performance goals

Manager’s perceptions

Subordinate’s perceptions

Figure 4.1 Contrast- ing perceptions between managers and subordinates regarding performance appraisal interviews.

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The Perception Process 77

environments. The many factors infl uencing perception include characteristics of the perceiver, the setting, and the perceived.

The Perceiver A person’s past experiences, needs or motives, personality, values, and attitudes may all infl uence the perceptual process. Someone with a strong achieve- ment need tends to perceive a situation in terms of that need. If doing well in class is perceived as a way to help meet your achievement need, for example, you will tend to emphasize that aspect when choosing classes to take. In the same way, a person with a negative attitude toward younger workers may react antagonistically when asked to work for a young, newly hired team leader regardless of his or her competency.

The Setting The physical, social, and organizational context can infl uence the per- ception process. When Kim Jeffrey was promoted to CEO of Nestlé Waters North America, he was perceived by subordinates as a frightening fi gure because he gave in to his temper and had occasional confrontations with them. Before the promotion Jef- frey’s fl are-ups had been tolerable, but in this new role as CEO they caused intimida- tion. The problem was resolved after he received feedback, learned of his subordi- nates’ perceptions, and changed his manner and ways.2

The Perceived Characteristics of the perceived person, object, or event are also important in the perception process. We talk about them in terms of contrast, intensity, fi gure–ground separation, size, motion, and repetition or novelty. In respect to contrast for example, one Mac computer among six HPs or one man among six women will be perceived differently than one of six Mac computers or one of six men. The latter cases have less contrast.

Intensity varies in terms of brightness, color, depth, and sound of what is being perceived. A bright red sports car stands out from a group of gray sedans; whispering or shouting stands out from ordinary conversation. This links with a concept known as fi gure–ground separation. Look, for example, at the illustration in Figure 4.2. What do you see, faces or a vase? It depends on which image is perceived as the background and which as the fi gure or object of our attention.

In the matter of size, very small or very large people tend to be perceived dif- ferently and more readily than average-sized people. In terms of motion, moving objects are perceived differently than stationary objects. And, of course, repetition or

Figure 4.2 Figure and ground illustration.

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78 4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning

frequency can also infl uence perceptions. Television advertisers well know that the more they put something in front of us the more likely we are to give it atten- tion. Finally, the novelty of a situation affects its perception. A college student with streaks of hair dyed purple may be perceived quite differently by an instructor than others with a more common hair color.

Information Processing and the Perception Process The various stages of the perception process are presented in Figure 4.3. They show that information processing during the perception process involves atten- tion and selection, organization, interpretation, and retrieval.

Attention and Selection Our senses are constantly bombarded with so much information that if we don’t screen it, we quickly become incapacitated with information overload. We tend to deal with this through selective screening that lets in only a tiny portion of all the information available.

Some of the selective screening that we do comes from controlled process- ing—consciously deciding what information to pay attention to and what to ignore. Think, for example, about the last time you were at a noisy restaurant and screened out all the sounds but those of the person with whom you were talking. Some screening also takes place without conscious awareness. We often drive cars without thinking about the process; we’re aware of things like traffi c lights and other cars, but we don’t pay conscious attention to them. This selectivity of attention and automatic information processing works well most of the time. But if a nonroutine event occurs, such as an animal darting onto the road, you may have an accident unless you quickly shift to controlled processing.

Organization Even though selective screening takes place in the attention stage, it’s still necessary for us to organize information effi ciently. This is done to some extent through schemas. These are cognitive frameworks that repre- sent organized knowledge developed through experience about a concept or

• Selective screening allows only a portion of available information to

enter our perceptions.

• Schemas are cognitive frameworks that represent

organized knowledge developed through

experience about people, objects, or events.

Influence Factors

Feeling/Thinking/ Action

Attention and Selection

Organization Interpretation Retrieval

Stages of Perception Process


Figure 4.3 Information processing and the perception process.

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The Perception Process 79

stimulus.3 We commonly use script schemas, person schemas, and person-in- situation schemas.

A script schema is a knowledge framework that describes the appropriate sequence of events in a given situation.4 For example, an experienced manager would use a script schema to think about the appropriate steps involved in running a meeting. A self schema contains information about a person’s own appearance, behavior, and personality. For instance, people with decisiveness schemas tend to perceive themselves in terms of that aspect, especially in circumstances calling for leadership.

Person schemas refer to the way individuals sort others into categories, such as types or groups, in terms of similar perceived features. The terms prototype and stereotype are often used in this regard. They are abstract sets of features commonly associated with members of a category, such as a “good teammate” being intelligent, dependable, and hard-working. Once formed, they are stored in long-term memory and retrieved only when needed for a comparison of how well a person matches the schema’s features. Person-in-situation schemas com- bine schemas built around persons (self and person schemas) and events (script schemas).5

Interpretation Once your attention has been drawn to certain stimuli and you have grouped or organized this information, the next step is to uncover the reasons behind the actions. Even if your attention is called to the same information and you organize it in the same way your friend does, you may still interpret it differently or make dif- ferent assumptions about what you have perceived. As a team leader, for example, you might interpret compliments from a team member as due to his being an eager worker; your friend might interpret the behavior as insincere fl attery.

Retrieval Each stage of the perception process becomes part of memory. This information stored in our memory must be retrieved if it is to be used. But all of us at times have trouble retrieving stored information. And memory decays, so that only some of the information may be retrieved. Schemas can make it diffi cult for people to remember things not included in them. If holding the prototype of a “good worker” as someone showing lots of effort, punctuality, intelligence, articulateness, and decisiveness, you may emphasize these traits and overlook others when evaluating the performance of a team member whom you generally consider good.

In the World of Social Media It Pays to

Take Charge of Your Script Did you know that you already have an online brand? It’s true. That’s the person that you create as you profi le yourself and interact with others in the world of social media. And it’s a brand that endures. But does one brand do the job? Why not make sure the script fi ts the audience? Donna Byrd, publisher at TheRoot.com, uses LinkedIn and Twitter to voice expert opinions and publicize her company. “If you do it consistently,” she says, “you can become a trusted voice in your particular area of expertise.”

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80 4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning

Perception, Impression Management, and Social Media Richard Branson, CEO of the Virgin Group, is one of the richest and most famous executives in the world. He may also be the ultimate master of impression man- agement, the systematic attempt to behave in ways that will create and maintain desired impressions in the eyes of others.6 One of Branson’s early business accomplishments was the successful start-up of Virgin Airlines, now a global competitor to the legacy airlines. In a memoir, the former head of British Airways, Lord King, said: “If Richard Branson had worn a shirt and tie instead of a goatee and jumper, I would not have underestimated him.”7

Don’t you wonder if creating a casual impression was part of Branson’s business strategy? Whether intended or not, the chances are he’s used this per- sona to very good advantage in other business dealings as well. It’s an example of how much our impressions can count, both positive and negative, in how others perceive us. And it’s not a new lesson; we’ve all heard it before. Who hasn’t been told when heading off to a job interview—“Don’t forget to make a good fi rst impression”?

The fact is that we already practice a lot of impression management as a matter of routine in everyday life. Impression management is taking place when we dress,

talk, act, and surround ourselves with things that reinforce a desirable self-image and help to convey that image to other persons. When well done, it can help us to advance in jobs and careers, form rela- tionships with people we admire, and even create pathways to group memberships. We manage impressions by such activities as associating with the “right” people, “dressing up” and “dressing down” at the right times, making eye contact when introduced to someone, doing favors to gain approval, fl attering others to impress them, taking credit for a favorable event and apologizing for a negative one, and agree- ing with the opinions of others.8

One of the most powerful forces in impres- sion management today might be the one least recognized—how we communicate our presence in the online world of social media. It might even be the case that this short message deserves to go viral: User beware! The brand you are building through social media may last a lifetime.

It’s no secret that more and more employers are intensely scouring the Web to learn what they can about job candidates. What they are gather- ing are impressions, ones left in the trails of the candidates’ past social media journeys. One bad photo, one bad nickname, or one bad comment sends the wrong impression and can kill a great job opportunity. When active in the online world we are creating impressions of ourselves all the time. The problem is that they may be fun in social space but harmful in professional space.

• Impression management is the systematic attempt to infl uence how others

perceive us.

Brand Building and Impression Management in Social Networks

Don’t let your social media presence get out of control. Impres- sion management counts online as well as face-to- face, and here are some things to help you make it work for you.

• Ask: How do I want to be viewed? What are my goals in this forum?

• Ask: What am I communicating, or about to communicate, to my “public” audience?

• Ask: Before I post this item, is it something that I want my family, loved ones, or a potential employer to see?

• Do: Choose a respectable username.

• Do: Profi le yourself only as you really would like to be known to others; keep everything consistent.

• Do: View your online persona as a “brand” that you are going to wear for a long time; make sure your persona and desired brand are a “fi t” and not a “misfi t.”

• Do: Post and participate in an online forum only in ways that meet your goals for your personal brand; don’t do anything that might damage it.

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Common Perceptual Distortions 81

Given the complexity of the information streaming toward us from the environ- ments, we use various means of simplifying and organizing our perceptions. But these simplifi cations can cause inaccuracies in our impressions and in the percep- tion process more generally. Common perceptual distortions trace to the use of stereotypes and prototypes, halo effects, selective perception, projection, contrast effects, and self-fulfi lling prophecies.

Stereotypes One of the most common simplifying devices in perception is the stereotype. It occurs when we identify someone with a group or category, and then use the attributes perceived to be associated with the group or category to describe the individual. Although this makes things easier for us by reducing the need to deal with unique individual characteristics, it is an oversimplifi cation. Because stereo- types obscure individual differences, we can easily end up missing the real indi- vidual. For managers this means not accurately understanding the needs, prefer- ences, and abilities of others in the workplace.

Some of the most common stereotypes, at work and in life in general, relate to such factors as gender, age, race, and physical ability. Why are so few top executives in industry African Americans or Hispanics? Legitimate questions can be asked about racial and ethnic stereotypes and about the slow progress of minority managers into America’s corporate mainstream.9 Why is it that women constitute only a small per- centage of American managers sent abroad to work on international business assign- ments? A Catalyst study of opportunities for women in global business points to gender stereotypes that place women at a disadvantage compared to men for these types of opportunities. The tendency is to assume women lack the ability and/or willingness to work abroad.10 Gender stereotypes may cause even everyday behav- ior to be misconstrued, for example: “He’s talking with co-workers.” (Interpretation: He’s discussing a new deal); “She’s talking with co-workers.” (Interpretation: She’s gossiping).11

Ability stereotypes and age stereotypes also exist in the workplace. Physi- cally or mentally challenged candidates may be overlooked by a recruiter even though they possess skills that are perfect for the job. A talented older worker may not be promoted because a manager assumes older workers are cautious and tend to avoid risk.12 Yet a Conference Board survey of workers 50 and older reports that 72 percent felt they could take on additional respon- sibilities, and two-thirds were interested in further training and development.13 And then there’s the fl ip side: Can a young person be a real leader, even a

• A stereotype assigns attributes commonly associated with a group to an individual.

LEARNING ROADMAP Stereotypes / Halo Effects / Selective Perception / Projection / Contrast Effects / Self-Fulfi lling Prophecies

There’s a lot to learn about impression management and social media. At a minimum it pays to keep the two social media spaces—the social and the professional—separated with a good fi rewall in between them. Check the side- bar for more on this topic.

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82 4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning

Research reported by Merideth Ferguson, Neta Moye, and Ray Friedman links perceptions of interactional justice during recruitment interviews with effects on long-term employment relationships. Focusing on issues of fairness in the workplace, a substantial literature on organizational justice shows that people respond to perceived fair and unfair treatments in positive and negative ways, with the links between perceived injustice and negative behaviors being particularly strong.

This research examined fairness perceptions regarding negotiations taking place during the recruitment process and how these perceptions affected later intentions to leave. Two hypotheses were tested. First, it was hypothesized that perceived use of negotiation pressure by recruiters would have a negative impact on perceived interactional justice by job applicants. Second, it was hypoth- esized that perceived interactional injustice during recruiting negotiations would have a positive long-term impact on later intentions to leave by the newly hired employees.

Two studies were conducted. The fi rst study asked a sample of 68 university alumni of a business program about their retrospective perceptions of interactional justice during job negotiations and their current intentions to leave. The second study asked a sample of recent MBA graduates to report perceptions of interactional justice during their job negotiations; they were asked six months later to report on their intentions to leave the new employer. Results from both studies offered confi rmation for the two hypotheses.

In conclusion, Ferguson et al. state: “the sense of injustice one feels during a negotiation affects an employee’s turnover intentions with the hiring organization . . . negotiations in the recruitment process can set the tone for the future employment relationship.” They recommend future research to examine how negotiating tactics like slow responses, dishonesty, disrespect, and lack of concessions infl uence justice perceptions and later intent to leave. They also suggest that perceived injustice in recruiting when jobs are plentiful may lead to applicants making alternative job choices, while such injustice when jobs are scarce may result in employees accepting the jobs but harboring intent to leave when the opportunity permits.

Interactional Justice Perceptions Affect Intent to Leave

Do the Research What is your experience with interactional justice in the recruiting process? Can you design a study to gather the experiences of your cohorts, friends, and others on campus? How can your study pinpoint the impact of tactics such as setting a tight time limit on a job offer?

Source: Merideth Ferguson, Neta Moye, and Ray Friedman, “The Lingering Effects of the Recruitment Experience on the Long-Term Employment Relationship,” Negotiation and Confl ict Management Research, Vol. 1 (2008), pp. 246–262.

Perceived high pressure negotiating tactics by recruiters

Less perceived interactional justice in job negotiation

More long-term intent to leave by employees

Hypothesis 1 Hypothesis 2

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Common Perceptual Distortions 83

CEO? Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is still in his 20s. And when current CEO Sheryl Sandberg was being recruited from Google she admits to this thought: “Wow, I’m going to work for a CEO who is quite young.” “Mark is a great leader,” she now says. After working for him, her perception has changed. “Mark has a real purity of vision . . . He brings people along with him.”14

Halo Effects A halo effect occurs when one attribute of a person or situation is used to develop an overall impression of that individual or situation. Like stereo- types, these distortions are more likely to occur in the organization stage of perception. Halo effects are common in our everyday lives. When meeting a new person, for example, a pleasant smile can lead to a positive fi rst impres- sion of an overall “warm” and “honest” person. The result of a halo effect is the same as that associated with a stereotype, however, in that individual dif- ferences are obscured.

Halo effects are particularly important in the performance appraisal process because they can infl uence a manager’s evaluations of subordinates’ work perfor- mance. For example, people with good attendance records may be viewed as intelligent and responsible while those with poor attendance records are consid- ered poor performers. Such conclusions may or may not be valid. It is the man- ager’s job to try to get true impressions rather than allowing halo effects to result in biased and erroneous evaluations.

Selective Perception Selective perception is the tendency to single out those aspects of a situation, person, or object that are consistent with one’s needs, values, or attitudes. Its strongest impact occurs in the attention stage of the perceptual process. This perceptual distortion was identifi ed in a classic research study involving executives

• A halo effect uses one attribute to develop an overall impression of a person or situation.

• Selective perception is the tendency to defi ne problems from one’s own point of view.

Individual Differences Are

Something to Be Celebrated At Root Learning, a small management consulting fi rm in Sylvania, Ohio, and also ranked by the Wall Street Journal as one of America’s Top Small Workplaces, the individual counts. Caricature drawings of each employee are prominently hung in the lobby with the goal of highlighting their interests and talents. CEO Jim Haudan sees this as a way of getting beyond stereotypes and making sure that everyone is viewed as a whole person. “If we pigeon-hole or just identify any of our people as a ‘proofer’ or an ‘analyst,’ it grossly limits what they’re capable of,” he says.

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84 4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning

in a manufacturing company.15 When asked to identify the key problem in a comprehensive business policy case, each executive selected a prob- lem consistent with his or her functional area work assignments. Most marketing executives viewed the key problem area as sales, whereas production people tended to see the problem as one of production and

organization. These differing viewpoints would likely affect how each executive would approach the problem; they might also create diffi culties as the executives tried to work together to improve things.

Projection Projection is the assignment of one’s personal attributes to other individu- als. It is especially likely to occur in the interpretation stage of perception. A classic error is projecting your needs, values, and views onto others. This causes their individual differences to get lost. Such projection errors can be controlled through a high degree of self-awareness and empathy—the ability to view a situation as others see it.

Suppose, for example, that you enjoy responsibility and achievement in your work. Suppose, too, that you are the newly appointed leader of a team whose jobs seem dull and routine. You may move quickly to expand these jobs so that members get increased satisfaction from more challenging tasks. Basically, you want them to experience things that you value in work. But this may not be a good decision. Instead of designing team members’ jobs to best fi t their needs, you have designed their jobs to best fi t yours. They may be quite satisfi ed and productive doing jobs that seem dull and routine to you.

Contrast Effects We mentioned earlier how a bright red sports car would stand out from a group of gray sedans. This shows a contrast effect in which the meaning or interpreta- tion of something is arrived at by contrasting it with a recently occurring event or situation. This form of perceptual distortion can occur, say, when a person gives a talk following a strong speaker or is interviewed for a job following a series of mediocre applicants. A contrast effect occurs when an individual’s characteristics

• Projection assigns personal attributes to other


• A contrast effect occurs when the meaning

of something that takes place is based on a contrast

with another recent event or situation.

Welcome to the Elsewhere Class Where

Stress Is a Way of Life The label Elsewhere Class is often used to describe hi-tech young professionals. “Elsewhere” is the place you are thinking about even though you are not there physically. Even if you aren’t thinking about it, technology brings it to you. In this sense technology is an enabler of work preoccupation. You may be at home or out shopping, but you’re thinking it’s time to check work messages. Members of the Elsewhere Class face lots of stress in struggles to balance work, family, and leisure.

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Common Perceptual Distortions 85

are contrasted with those of others recently encountered who rank higher or lower on the same characteristics.

Self-Fulfi lling Prophecies A fi nal perceptual distortion is the self-fulfi lling prophecy—the tendency to create or fi nd in another situation or individual that which you expected to fi nd in the fi rst place. A self-fulfi lling prophecy is sometimes referred to as the “Pyg- malion effect,” named for a mythical Greek sculptor who created a statue of his ideal mate and then made her come to life.16

Self-fulfi lling prophecies can have both positive and negative outcomes. In effect, they may create in work and personal situations that which we expect to fi nd. Suppose you assume that team members prefer to satisfy most of their needs outside the work setting and want only minimal involvement with their jobs. Con- sequently, you assign simple, highly structured tasks designed to require little involvement. Can you predict what response they will have to this situation? In fact, they may show the very same lack of commitment you assumed they would

• A self-fulfi lling prophecy is creating or fi nding in a situation that which you expected to fi nd in the fi rst place.


These data on ethical workplace conduct are from a survey conducted for Deloitte & Touche USA.

• 42 percent of workers say the behavior of their managers is a major infl uence on an ethical workplace.

• Most common unethical acts by managers and supervisors include verbal, sexual, and racial harassment, misuse of company property, and giving preferential treatment.

• Most workers consider it unacceptable to steal from an employer, cheat on expense reports, take credit for another’s accomplishments, and lie on time sheets.

• Most workers consider it acceptable to ask a work colleague for a personal favor, take sick days when not ill, and use company technology for personal affairs.

• Top reasons for unethical behavior are lack of personal integrity (80%) and lack of job satisfaction (60%).

• 91 percent of workers are more likely to behave ethically when they have work–life balance; 30 percent say they suffer from poor work–life balance.

Whose Ethics Count? Shouldn’t an individual be accountable for her or his own ethical reasoning and analysis? How and why is it that the ethics practices of others, including managers, infl uence our ethics behaviors? What can be done to strengthen people’s confi dence in their own ethical frameworks so that even bad management won’t result in unethical practices?

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86 4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning

have in the fi rst place. In this case your initial expectations get confi rmed as a negative self-fulfi lling prophecy.

Self-fulfi lling prophecies can also have a positive side. In a study of army tank crews, one set of tank commanders was told that some members of their assigned crews had exceptional abilities while others were only average. But, the crew members had been assigned randomly so that the two test groups were equal in ability. The commanders later reported that the so-called “exceptional” crew members performed better than the “average” ones. The study also revealed the commanders had given more attention and praise to the crew members for whom they had the higher expectations.17 Don’t you wonder what might happen with students and workers in general if teachers and managers adopted more uni- formly positive and optimistic approaches toward them?

One of the ways in which perception exerts its infl uence on behavior is through attribution. This is the process of developing explanations or assigning per- ceived causes for events. It is natural for people to try to explain what they observe and the things that happen to them. What happens when you perceive that someone in a job or student group isn’t performing up to expectations? How do you explain this? And, depending on the explanation, what do you do to try and correct things?

Importance of Attributions Attribution theory helps us understand how people perceive the causes of events, assess responsibility for outcomes, and evaluate the personal qualities of the people involved.18 It is especially concerned with whether the assumption is that an individual’s behavior, such as poor performance, has been internally or exter- nally caused. Internal causes are believed to be under an individual’s control— you believe Jake’s performance is poor because he is lazy. External causes are seen as coming from outside a person—you believe Kellie’s performance is poor because the software she’s using is out of date.

According to attribution theory, three factors infl uence this internal or external determination of causality: distinctiveness, consensus, and consistency. Distinctive- ness considers how consistent a person’s behavior is across different situations. If Jake’s performance is typically low, regardless of the technology with which he is working, we tend to assign the poor performance to an internal attribution—there’s something wrong with Jake. If the poor performance is unusual, we tend to assign an external cause to explain it—there’s something happening in the work context.

Consensus takes into account how likely all those facing a similar situa- tion are to respond in the same way. If all the people using the same technol- ogy as Jake perform poorly, we tend to assign his performance problem to an external attribution. If others do not perform poorly, we attribute Jake’s poor

• Attribution is the process of creating

explanations for events.

LEARNING ROADMAP Importance of Attributions / Attribution Errors / Attribution and Social Learning

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Perception, Attribution, and Social Learning 87

performance to internal causation. Consistency concerns whether an individ- ual responds the same way across time. If Jake performs poorly over a sus- tained period of time, we tend to give the poor performance an internal attri- bution. If his low performance is an isolated incident, we may well attribute it to an external cause.

Attribution Errors Two perception errors are associated with the assignment of internal versus exter- nal causation—fundamental attribution error and self-serving bias.19 Look at the data reported in Figure 4.4. When managers were asked to identify, or attribute, causes of poor performance among their subordinates, they most often blamed internal defi ciencies of the individual—lack of ability and effort, rather than exter- nal defi ciencies in the situation—lack of support. This demonstrates fundamental attribution error—the tendency to underestimate the infl uence of situational fac- tors and to overestimate the infl uence of personal factors when evaluating some- one else’s behavior. When asked to identify causes of their own poor perfor- mance, however, the managers mostly cited lack of support—an external, or situational, defi ciency. This indicates self-serving bias—the tendency to deny personal responsibility for performance problems but to accept personal respon- sibility for performance success.

The managerial implications of attribution theory trace back to the fact that per- ceptions infl uence behavior.20 For example, a team leader who believes that mem- bers are not performing well and perceives the reason to be an internal lack of effort is likely to respond with attempts to “motivate” them to work harder. The possibility of changing external, situational factors that may remove job constraints and provide better organizational support may be largely ignored. This oversight could sacrifi ce major performance gains for the team.

Attribution and Social Learning Perception and attribution are important components in social learning theory, which describes how learning takes place through the reciprocal interactions among people, behavior, and environment. According to the work of Albert Bandura, an individual uses modeling or vicarious learning to acquire behavior by observing and imitating others.21 In a work situation, the model may be a higher manager or co-worker who demonstrates desired behaviors. Mentors or senior workers who befriend younger and more inexperienced protégés can also be

• Fundamental attribution error overestimates internal factors and underestimates external factors as infl uences on someone’s behavior. • Self-serving bias underestimates internal factors and overestimates external factors as infl uences on someone’s behavior.

• Social learning theory describes how learning occurs through interactions among people, behavior, and environment.

Figure 4.4 Attribution errors when explaining for poor performance.

Cause of Poor Performance

by Themselves

Few Few Many

Most Frequent Attribution

Lack of ability Lack of effort Lack of support

Cause of Poor Performance by

Their Subordinates

Many Many Few

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88 4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning

important models. Indeed, some have argued that a shortage of mentors for women in senior management has been a major constraint to their progression up the career ladder.22

The symbolic processes shown in Figure 4.5 are important in social learn- ing. Words and symbols used by managers and others in the workplace help

communicate values, beliefs, and goals and thus serve as guides to an individual’s behavior. For example, a “thumbs up” or other signal from the boss lets you know your behavior is appropriate. At the same time, the person’s self-control is impor- tant in infl uencing his or her own behavior. And self-effi cacy—the person’s belief that he or she can perform adequately in a situation—is an important part of such self-control. Closely associ- ated with the concept of self-effi cacy are such terms as confi dence, competence, and ability.23

People with high self-effi cacy believe that they have the necessary abilities for a given job, that they are capable of the effort required, and that no outside events will hinder them from attaining their desired performance level.24 In contrast, people with low self-effi cacy believe that no matter how hard they try, they cannot manage their environment well enough to be successful. If you feel high self-effi cacy as a stu- dent, a low grade on one test is likely to encour- age you to study harder, talk to the instructor, or do other things to enable you to do well the next time. In contrast, a person low in self-effi cacy would probably drop the course or give up studying. Of course, even people who are high in self-effi cacy do not control their environment entirely.

• Self-effi cacy is a person’s belief that she or

he is capable of performing a task.

Figure 4.5 Simplifi ed model of social learning.

Symbolic Processes Verbal/mental images that help guide behavior

Self-control Self-efficacy controls behavior

Modeling behavior acquired by observing and imitating others

Behavior Environment

Four Ways to Build or Enhance Self-Effi cacy

Scholars generally recognize the following four ways of building or enhancing our self-effi cacy:

1. Enactive mastery— gaining confi dence through positive ex- perience. The more you work at a task,

so to speak, the more your experience builds and the more confi dent you become at doing it.

2. Vicarious modeling—gaining confi dence by observing others. When someone else is good at a task and we are able to observe how they do it, we gain confi dence in being able to do it ourselves.

3. Verbal persuasion—gaining confi dence from someone telling us or encouraging us that we can perform the task. Hearing others praise our efforts and link those efforts with perfor- mance successes is often very motivational.

4. Emotional arousal—gaining confi dence when we are highly stimulated or energized to perform well in a situation. A good analogy for arousal is how athletes get “psyched up” and highly motivated to perform in key competitions.

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Learning by Reinforcement 89

When it comes to learning, the concept of reinforcement is very important in OB. It has a very specifi c meaning that has its origin in some classic studies in psy- chology.25 Reinforcement is the administration of a consequence as a result of a behavior. Managing reinforcement properly can change the direction, level, and persistence of an individual’s behavior. To best understand this idea, it is helpful to review concepts of conditioning and reinforcement you may have already learned in a basic psychology course.

Operant Conditioning and the Law of Effect Classical conditioning, studied by Ivan Pavlov, is a form of learning through asso- ciation that involves the manipulation of stimuli to infl uence behavior. The Rus- sian psychologist “taught” dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell by ringing the bell when feeding the dogs. The sight of the food naturally caused the dogs to salivate. The dogs “learned” to associate the bell ringing with the presentation of food and to salivate at the ringing of the bell alone. Such learning through asso- ciation is so common in organizations that it is often ignored until it causes con- siderable confusion.

The key here is to understand stimulus and conditioned stimulus. A stimu- lus is something that incites action and draws forth a response, such as food for the dogs. The trick is to associate one neutral stimulus—the bell ringing, with another stimulus that already affects behavior—the food. The once- neutral stimulus is called a conditioned stimulus when it affects behavior in the same way as the initial stimulus. Take a look at Figure 4.6 for a work example. Here, the boss’s smiling becomes a conditioned stimulus because of its linkage to his criticisms.

• Reinforcement is the delivery of a consequence as a result of behavior.

LEARNING ROADMAP Operant Conditioning and the Law of Effect / Positive Reinforcement / Negative Reinforcement / Punishment / Extinction / Reinforcement Pros and Cons

Classical Conditioning Stimulus

A person sees the boss smile and hears boss's criticisms

feels nervous grits teeth

The person later sees the smile

Operant Conditioning

Learning occurs through conditioned stimuli

A person works overtime

gets boss's praise

The person later works overtime again


Learning occurs through consequences of behavior

Figure 4.6 Differences between classical and operant conditioning approaches for a boss and subordinate.

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90 4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning

An approach popularized by B. F. Skinner extends these reinforcement appli- cations to include more than just stimulus and response behavior.26 It involves operant conditioning, the process of controlling behavior by manipulating its consequences. You may think of operant conditioning as learning by reinforce- ment. In a work setting the goal is to use reinforcement principles to systemati- cally reinforce desirable behavior and discourage undesirable behavior.27

Operant conditioning calls for examining antecedents, behavior, and con- sequences. The antecedent is the condition leading up to or “cueing” behav- ior. Figure 4.6 gives the example of an agreement with the boss to work overtime as needed. If the employee actually does work overtime, this is the behavior. The consequence would be the boss’s praise. In operant condition- ing, this consequence strengthens the behavior and makes it more likely to reoccur when the antecedent next appears.

The basis for operant conditioning rests in E. L. Thorndike’s law of effect.28 It is simple but powerful: Behavior that results in a pleasant outcome is likely to be repeated, whereas behavior that results in an unpleasant outcome is not likely to be repeated. The implications of this law are rather straightforward. If you want more of a behavior, you must make the consequences for the indi- vidual positive.

Extrinsic rewards, such as pay and praise, are positively valued work out- comes that are given to the individual by some other person. They become exter- nal reinforcers or environmental consequences that can substantially infl uence a person’s work behaviors through the law of effect.29 As shown in Figure 4.7, some of these are contrived rewards that are planned, and have direct costs and bud- getary implications. Examples are pay increases and cash bonuses. Others are natural rewards that have no cost other than the manager’s personal time and efforts. Examples are verbal praise and recognition in the workplace.

The use of extrinsic rewards to systematically reinforce desirable work behavior and to discourage unwanted work behavior is known as organiza- tional behavior modifi cation, or OB Mod for short. It involves the use of four basic reinforcement strategies: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement (or avoidance), punishment, and extinction.30

Positive Reinforcement B. F. Skinner and his followers advocate positive reinforcement—the adminis- tration of positive consequences that tend to increase the likelihood of repeating the desirable behavior in similar settings. For example, a team leader nods to a team member to express approval after she makes a useful comment during a

• Operant conditioning is the control of behavior

by manipulating its consequences.

• The law of effect is that behavior followed by

pleasant consequences is likely to be repeated; behavior followed by

unpleasant consequences is not.

• Extrinsic rewards are positively valued work

outcomes that are given to the individual by some

other person. • Organizational

behavior modifi cation is the use of extrinsic rewards

to systematically reinforce desirable work behavior

and discourage undesirable behavior.

• Positive reinforcement strengthens a behavior by

making a desirable consequence contingent on

its occurrence.

Contrived Extrinsic Rewards: Some Direct Cost

refreshments piped-in music nice offices cash bonuses merit pay increases profit sharing office parties

promotion trips company car paid insurance stock options gifts sport tickets

Natural Extrinsic Rewards: No Direct Cost

smiles greetings compliments special jobs

recognition feedback asking advice

Figure 4.7 A sample of contrived and natural ex- trinsic rewards that can be allocated by managers.

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Learning by Reinforcement 91

sales meeting. This increases the likelihood of future useful comments from the team member, just as the leader would hope.

To begin using a strategy of positive reinforcement, we need to be aware that not all rewards end up being positive reinforcers. Recognition, for example, is both a reward and a potential positive reinforcer. But it becomes a positive rein- forcer only if a person’s performance later improves. Sometimes, a “reward” doesn’t work as intended. For example, a team leader might praise a team mem- ber in front of others for fi nding errors in a report that the group had prepared. If the members then give their teammate the silent treatment, however, the worker is less likely to report such errors in the future. In this case, the “reward” fails to serve as a positive reinforcer of the desired work behavior.

Finding the Leader in You RICHARD BRANSON LEADS WITH PERSONALITY AND POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT Sir Richard Branson, well-known founder of Virgin Group, is a believer in positive reinforcement. “For the people who work for you or with you, you must lavish praise on them at all times,” he says. “If a fl ower is watered, it fl ourishes. If not it shrivels up and dies.” And besides, he goes on to add: “It’s much more fun looking for the best in people.”

Virgin Group is a business conglomerate employing many thousands of people around the globe. It even holds a space venture—Virgin Galactic. It’s all

very creative and ambitious—but that’s Branson. “I love to learn things I know little about,” he says.

Yet if you bump into Branson on the street you might be sur- prised. He’s casual, he’s smiling, and he’s fun; he’s also considered brilliant when it comes to business and leadership. His goal is to build Virgin into “the most respected brand in the world.”

As the man behind the Virgin brand, Branson is described as “fl amboyant,” something that he doesn’t deny and also considers a major business advantage that keeps him and his ventures in the public eye.

About leadership Branson says: “Having a personality of caring about people is important . . . You can’t be a good leader unless you generally like people. That is how you bring out the best in them.” He claims his own style was shaped by his family and childhood. At age 10 his mother put him on a 300-mile bike ride to build character and endurance. At 16 he started a student magazine. By the age of 22 he was launching Virgin record stores. And by the time he was 30 Virgin Group was running at high speed.

As for himself, Branson says he’ll probably never retire. Now known as Sir Richard after being knighted, he enjoys Virgin today “as a way of life.” But he also says that “In the next stage of my life I want to use our business skills to tackle social issues around the world . . . Malaria in Africa kills four million people a year. AIDS kills even more . . . I don’t want to waste this fabulous situation in which I’ve found myself.”

What’s the Lesson Here? Sir Richard obviously has confi - dence in himself as both a person and a leader. How much of his busi- ness and leadership success comes from management of his public impression? Is this something we might all use to advantage? And when he says “you must lavish praise all the time” on the people who work for you, is he giving us an example of the law of effect in action? Finally, Branson seems to have moved beyond the quest for personal business success; he’s now talking about real social impact. Is that a natural progression for successful entrepreneurs and business executives?

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92 4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning


Learning is an important part of an individual’s development. In the workplace, reinforcement can be used to help employees learn proper behavior. Through the principle of operant conditioning, reinforcement uses consequences to help mold the behavior of others.

In one episode of “The Big Bang Theory” Leonard, Penny, and Sheldon are watching anime on television. Penny is bored with a show she does not understand and begins to tell a story about a high school classmate named Anna Mae. Sheldon uses chocolate to get her to stop talking. Later, when Penny’s cell phone rings, Sheldon again uses chocolate to get Penny to take the call in the hallway. Leonard discovers the tactic and forbids Sheldon from

experimenting with Penny. Sheldon then sprays Leonard with a water bottle (punishment). The episode is hilarious yet serious. It demonstrates how easily behavior can be

infl uenced through the proper application of operant conditioning techniques. However, it’s important to remember that what works at one point in time may not work at another. If Sheldon continues to give Penny chocolates, for example, will she eventually lose her desire for them and the reinforcement will no longer be effective?

Get to Know Yourself Better Take a look at Experiential Exercise 12, The Down- side of Punishment, in the OB Skills Workbook. The focus of the exercise is entirely on punishment. Why do you think this is the case? Have you ever experienced punishment as a student or an employee? What was your reaction? Have you ever seen a boss punish an employee in front of co-workers or customers? Is this an effective way to change behavior? If you were a teacher, how would you handle a behavior problem with a student—such as unwanted text messaging in class?

To have maximum reinforcement value, a reward must be delivered only if the desired behavior is exhibited. That is, the reward must be contingent on the desired behavior. This principle is known as the law of contingent reinforce- ment. For example, a supervisor’s praise should be contingent on the worker’s doing something identifi ably well, such as giving a constructive suggestion in a meeting. Also, the reward must be given as soon as possible after the desired behavior. This is known as the law of immediate reinforcement.31 If the super- visor waits for the annual performance review to praise a worker for providing constructive comments, the law of immediate reinforcement would be violated.

Shaping The power of positive reinforcement can be mobilized through a pro- cess known as shaping. This is the creation of a new behavior by the positive reinforcement of successive approximations to it. For example, new machine operators in the Ford Motor casting operation in Ohio must learn a complex series of tasks in pouring molten metal into castings in order to avoid gaps, over- fi lls, or cracks.32 The molds are fi lled in a three-step process, with each step pro- gressively more diffi cult than its predecessor. Astute master craftspersons fi rst show newcomers how to pour as the fi rst step and give praise based on what

• The law of contingent reinforcement states a reward should only be

given when the desired behavior occurs.

• The law of immediate reinforcement states a

reward should be given as soon as possible after the desired behavior occurs.

• Shaping is positive reinforcement of successive

approximations to the desired behavior.

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Learning by Reinforcement 93

Figure 4.8 Alternative schedules of positive reinforcement.

Fixed interval

Reinforcer given after a given time Weekly or monthly paychecks Regularly scheduled exams

Fixed ratio

Reinforcer given after a given number of behavior occurrences Piece-rate pay Commissioned salespeople: certain amount is given for each dollar of sales

Variable interval

Reinforcer given at random times Occasional praise by boss on unscheduled visits Unspecified number of pop quizzes to students

Variable ratio

Reinforcer given after a random number of behavior occurrences Random quality checks with praise for zero defects Commissioned salespeople: a varying number of calls are required to obtain a given sale

Interval Ratio

Time-based Behavior occurrence–based

they did right. As the apprentices gain experience, they are given praise only when all of the elements of the fi rst step are completed successfully. Once the apprentices have mastered the fi rst step, they move to the second. Reinforcement is given only when the entire fi rst step and an aspect of the second step are com- pleted successfully. Over time, apprentices learn all three steps and are given contingent positive rewards immediately upon completing a casting that has no cracks or gaps. In this way behavior is shaped gradually rather than changed all at once.

Scheduling Positive Reinforcement Positive reinforcement can be given on either continuous or intermittent schedules. Continuous reinforcement admin- isters a reward each time a desired behavior occurs, whereas intermittent rein- forcement rewards behavior only periodically. In general, continuous reinforce- ment draws forth a desired behavior more quickly than does intermittent reinforcement. But it is costly in the consumption of rewards, and the behavior is more easily extinguished when reinforcement is no longer present. Behavior acquired under intermittent reinforcement is more resistant to extinction and lasts longer upon the discontinuance of reinforcement. This is why shaping typically begins with a continuous reinforcement schedule and then gradually shifts to an intermittent one.

As shown in Figure 4.8, intermittent reinforcement can be given according to fi xed or variable schedules. Variable schedules typically result in more consistent patterns of desired behavior than do fi xed reinforcement schedules. Fixed- interval schedules provide rewards at the fi rst appearance of a behavior after a given time has elapsed. Fixed-ratio schedules result in a reward each time a certain number of the behaviors have occurred. A variable-interval schedule rewards behavior at random times, while a variable-ratio schedule rewards behavior after a random number of occurrences.

• Continuous reinforcement administers a reward each time a desired behavior occurs. • Intermittent reinforcement rewards behavior only periodically.

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94 4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning

Negative Reinforcement A second reinforcement strategy used in operant conditioning is negative rein- forcement or avoidance learning. It uses the withdrawal of negative conse- quences to increase the likelihood of desirable behavior being repeated. For example, the manager regularly nags a worker about being late for work and then doesn’t nag when the worker next shows up on time. The term negative reinforcement comes from this withdrawal of the negative consequences. The strategy is also called avoidance learning because its intent is for the person to avoid the negative consequence by performing the desired behavior. Think of it this way. The streets may be deserted, but we still stop at a red light to avoid a traffi c ticket.

Punishment A third reinforcement strategy is punishment. Unlike positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement, it is intended not to encourage desired behavior but to discourage undesirable behavior. Formally defi ned, punishment is the adminis- tration of negative consequences or the withdrawal of positive consequences to reduce the likelihood of a behavior being repeated.

There is evidence that punishment administered for poor performance can lead to better performance without a signifi cant effect on satisfaction. But punish- ment seen by workers as arbitrary and capricious leads to low satisfaction as well as low performance.33 The point here is that punishment can be handled poorly, or it can be handled well as suggested in the sidebar.

It’s also worth noting that punishment may be offset by positive reinforcement received from another source. Take the case of a worker being positively reinforced by peers at the same time that he is receiving punishment from the manager. Sometimes the positive value of peer support is so great that the individual chooses to put up with punishment and continues the bad behavior. As many times as a child may be verbally reprimanded by a teacher for playing jokes, for example, the “grins” offered by classmates may keep the jokes fl owing in the future.

Extinction The fi nal reinforcement strategy is extinction— the withdrawal of reinforcing consequences in order to weaken undesirable behavior. For exam- ple, Enya is often late for work and co-workers provide positive reinforcement by covering for her. The manager instructs Enya’s co-workers to stop covering, thus withdrawing the positive conse- quences of her tardiness. This is a use of extinction to try and get rid of an undesirable behavior. But

• Negative reinforcement strengthens a behavior by

making the avoidance of an undesirable consequence

contingent on its occurrence.

• Punishment discourages a behavior by

making an unpleasant consequence contingent on

its occurrence. • Extinction discourages a behavior by making the

removal of a desirable consequence contingent on

How to Make Positive Reinforcement and Punishment Work for You

• Clearly identify desired work behav- iors.

• Maintain a diverse inventory of rewards.

• Inform everyone what must be done to get rewards.

• Recognize individual differences when allocating rewards.

• Follow the laws of immediate and contingent reinforcement.

• Tell the person what is being done wrong.

• Tell the person what is being done right.

• Make sure the punishment matches the behavior.

• Administer the punishment in private.

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Key Questions and Answers 95

even though a successful extinction strategy decreases the frequency of or weak- ens behavior, the behavior is not “unlearned.” It simply is not exhibited and will reappear if reinforced again.

Reinforcement Pros and Cons The effective use of the four reinforcement strategies can help manage human behavior at work. Testimony to this effect is found in the wide application of these strategies in all sorts of work settings, and by the number of consulting fi rms that specialize in reinforcement techniques. But use of these approaches is not without criticism.

Some critics claim that the success of specifi c reinforcement programs involves isolated cases that have been analyzed without the benefi t of scientifi c research designs. This makes it hard to conclude defi nitively whether the observed results were really caused by reinforcement dynamics. One critic goes so far as to argue that any improved performance may well have occurred only because of the goal setting involved—that is, because specifi c performance goals were clarifi ed, and workers were individually held accountable for their accomplishment.34 Another major criti- cism rests with potential value dilemmas associated with using reinforcement to infl u- ence human behavior at work. Some maintain that the systematic use of reinforce- ment strategies leads to a demeaning and dehumanizing view of people that stunts human growth and development.35 Others believe managers abuse the power of their position and knowledge when they exert this external control over individual behav- ior.

Advocates of the reinforcement approach attack its critics head on. They agree that behavior modifi cation involves the control of behavior, but they also argue that such control is an irrevocable part of every manager’s job. The real question, they say, is how to ensure that the reinforcement strategies are done in positive and constructive ways.36

4 study guide Key Questions and AnswersWhat is perception and why is it important?

• Individuals use the perception process to select, organize, interpret, and retrieve information from the world around them.

• Perception acts as a fi lter through which all communication passes as it travels from one person to the next.

• Because people tend to perceive things differently, the same situation may be interpreted and responded to differently by different people.

• Factors infl uencing perceptions include characteristics of the perceiver, the setting, and the perceived.

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96 4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning

What are the common perceptual distortions?

• Stereotypes occur when a person is identifi ed with a category and is assumed to display characteristics otherwise associated with members of that category.

• Halo effects occur when one attribute of a person or situation is used to develop an overall impression of the person or situation.

• Selective perception is the tendency to single out for attention those aspects of a situation or person that reinforce or emerge and are consistent with existing beliefs, values, and needs.

• Projection involves the assignment of personal attributes to other individuals.

• Contrast effects occur when an individual’s characteristics are contrasted with those of others recently encountered who rank higher or lower on the same characteristics.

What is the link between perception, attribution, and social learning?

• Attribution theory addresses tendencies to view events or behaviors as primarily the results of external causes or internal causes.

• Three factors that infl uence the attribution of external or internal causation are distinctiveness, consensus, and consistency.

• Fundamental attribution error occurs when we blame others for performance problems while excluding possible external causes.

• Self-serving bias occurs when, in judging our own performance, we take personal credit for successes and blame failures on external factors.

• Social learning theory links perception and attribution by recognizing how learning is achieved through the reciprocal interactions among people, behavior, and environment.

What is involved in learning by reinforcement?

• Reinforcement theory recognizes that behavior is infl uenced by environmental consequences.

• The law of effect states that behavior followed by a pleasant consequence is likely to be repeated; behavior followed by an unpleasant consequence is unlikely to be repeated.

• Positive reinforcement is the administration of positive consequences that tend to increase the likelihood of a person’s repeating a behavior in similar settings.

• Positive reinforcement should be contingent and immediate, and it can be scheduled continuously or intermittently depending on resources and desired outcomes.

• Negative reinforcement, or avoidance learning, is used to encourage desirable behavior through the withdrawal of negative consequences for previously undesirable behavior.

• Punishment is the administration of negative consequences or the withdrawal of positive consequences to reduce the likelihood of an undesirable behavior being repeated.

• Extinction is the withdrawal of reinforcing consequences to weaken or eliminate an undesirable behavior.

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Self-Test 4 97

Terms to Know Attribution (p. 86) Continuous reinforcement (p. 93) Contrast effect (p. 84) Extinction (p. 94) Extrinsic rewards (p. 90) Fundamental attribution error (p. 87) Halo effect (p. 83) Impression management (p. 80) Intermittent reinforcement (p. 93) Law of contingent reinforcement (p. 92)

Law of effect (p. 90) Law of immediate reinforcement (p. 92) Negative reinforcement (p. 94) Operant conditioning (p. 90) Organizational behavior

modifi cation (p. 90) Perception (p. 76) Positive reinforcement (p. 90) Projection (p. 84) Punishment (p. 94)

Reinforcement (p. 89) Schemas (p. 78) Selective perception (p. 83) Selective screening (p. 78) Self-effi cacy (p. 88) Self-fulfi lling prophecy (p. 85) Self-serving bias (p. 87) Shaping (p. 92) Social learning theory (p. 87) Stereotype (p. 81)

Self-Test 4 Multiple Choice 1. Perception is the process by which people ____________ and interpret information.

(a) generate (b) retrieve (c) transmit (d) verify

2. When an individual attends to only a small portion of the vast information available in the environment, this tendency in the perception process is called ____________. (a) interpretation (b) self scripting (c) attribution (d) selective screening

3. Self-serving bias is a form of attribution error that involves ____________. (a) blaming yourself for problems caused by others (b) blaming the environment for problems you caused (c) poor emotional intelligence (d) low self-effi cacy

4. In fundamental attribution error, the infl uence of ____________ as causes of a problem are ___________. (a) situational factors, overestimated (b) personal factors, underestimated (c) personal factors, overestimated (d) situational factors, underestimated

5. If a new team leader changes tasks for persons on her work team mainly “because I would prefer to work the new way rather than the old,” she may be committing a perceptual error known as ____________. (a) halo effect (b) stereotype (c) selective perception (d) projection

6. Use of special dress, manners, gestures, and vocabulary words when meeting a prospective employer in a job interview are all examples of how people use ____________. (a) projection (b) selective perception (c) impression management (d) self-serving bias

7. The perceptual tendency known as a/an ____________ is associated with the “Pygmalion effect” and refers to fi nding or creating in a situation that which was originally expected. (a) self-effi cacy (b) projection (c) self-fulfi lling prophecy (d) halo effect

8. If a manager allows one characteristic of a person, say a pleasant personality, to bias performance ratings of that individual overall, the manager is falling prey to a

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98 4 Perception, Attribution, and Learning

perceptual distortion known as ____________. (a) halo effect (b) stereotype (c) selective perception (d) projection

9. The underlying premise of reinforcement theory is that ____________. (a) behavior is a function of environment (b) motivation comes from positive expectancy (c) higher-order needs stimulate hard work (d) rewards considered unfair are de-motivators

10. The law of ____________ states that behavior followed by a positive consequence is likely to be repeated, whereas behavior followed by an undesirable consequence is not likely to be repeated. (a) reinforcement (b) contingency (c) goal setting (d) effect

11. ____________ is a positive reinforcement strategy that rewards successive approxi- mations to a desirable behavior. (a) Extinction (b) Negative reinforcement (c) Shaping (d) Merit pay

12. B. F. Skinner would argue that “getting a paycheck on Friday” reinforces a person for coming to work on Friday but would not reinforce the person for doing an extraordinary job on Tuesday. This is because the Friday paycheck fails the law of ____________ reinforcement. (a) negative (b) continuous (c) immediate (d) intermittent

13. The purpose of negative reinforcement as an operant conditioning technique is to ____________. (a) punish bad behavior (b) discourage bad behavior (c) encourage desirable behavior (d) offset the effects of shaping

14. Punishment ____________. (a) may be offset by positive reinforcement from another source (b) generally is the most effective kind of reinforcement (c) is best given anonymously (d) should never be directly linked with its cause.

15. A defi ning characteristic of social learning theory is that it ____________. (a) recognizes the existence of vicarious learning (b) is not concerned with extrinsic ewards (c) relies only on use of negative reinforcement (d) avoids any interest in self-effi cacy

Short Response 16. Draw and briefl y discuss a model showing the important stages of the perception

17. Select two perceptual distortions, briefl y defi ne them, and show how they can lead to poor decisions by managers.

18. Why is the law of effect useful in management?

19. Explain how the reinforcement learning and social learning approaches are similar and dissimilar to one another.

Applications Essay 20. One of your friends has just been appointed as leader of a work team. This is

her first leadership assignment and she has recently heard a little about attribution theory. She has asked you to explain it to her in more detail, focusing on its possible usefulness and risks in managing the team. What will you tell her?

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Next Steps 99

• Magrec, Inc. • Decode • How We View Differences • Alligator River Story • Expatriate Assignments • Cultural Cues • Downside of Punishment

• Turbulence Tolerance Test • Global Readiness Index • Intolerance for Ambiguity

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Hungry to Succeed

One in six Americans are at risk of hunger. And Feeding America wants to do something about it. With more than 200 local food banks, the nation’s largest network of food banks feeds more than 37 million Americans each year by acquiring and distributing more than 3 billion pounds of food and grocery products annually.a

The Chicago-based charity procures donations from corporations, the food and grocery industries, individuals, government agencies, and other organizations. They distribute the food, grocery items and funds to member food banks, which distribute food to more than 61,000 agencies including food pantries, soup kitchens, and other emergency feeding centers.b

Founder Jon van Hengel volunteered at a Phoenix, AZ, soup kitchen in the late 1960s. During his efforts to secure donations, he was inspired by the suggestion that there should be a place where unwanted food could be stored for later use, like money in a bank. His work led to the opening of St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, the nation’s fi rst food bank.

In the mid-70s, St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance was given a federal grant to promote the development of food banks in other states, and America’s Second Harvest was born in 1979. The charity retained this name until 2008, when it rebranded itself Feeding America to more explicitly communicate its core mission and responsibilities.

Employees and volunteers alike often cite a powerful desire to end hunger as their motivation for engaging with Feeding America, a desire sometimes infl uenced by fi rst hand understanding of what it means to go without food. “In essence,” the charity says on its website, “feeding serves a double meaning—both providing food and enriching lives.”c

“Not often in your day-to-day job do you get to enjoy what you do and impact so many people.” —Jerrod Matthews, Feeding America.

FYI: Last year, 14.7% of American households (17.4 million) were food insecure, the USDA’s term to defi ne a lack of daily access to food.d

• Feeding America is the nation’s largest organization of food banks, with 202 participants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

• Centered in Chicago, it employs more than 150 people. Its board of directors includes high-ranking executives from Procter and Gamble, ConAgra, Mars Inc., and other food-centric corporations.

• After more than 30 years as America’s Second Harvest, the organization rebranded itself to Feeding America to counter declining donor participation and an increasing misunderstanding about its purpose.

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5 Motivation Theories the key point

Even with great talents many people fail to achieve great things. They just aren’t willing to work hard enough to achieve high performance. That’s obviously not a problem in Feeding America’s success story. But still, many individuals underachieve, and so do the organizations they work for. The question to be answered in this chapter is: Why are some people more motivated than others in their jobs?

What Can We Learn from the Needs Theories of Motivation?

Why Is the Equity Theory of Motivation Important?

What Are the Insights of the Expectancy Theory of Motivation?

How Does Goal Setting Influence Motivation?





achievement requires effort

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102 5 Motivation Theories

Motivation Defi ned Motivation is defi ned as forces within the individual that account for the direc- tion, level, and persistence of a person’s effort expended at work. Direction refers to an individual’s choice when presented with a number of possible alternatives (e.g., whether to pursue quality, quantity, or both in one’s work). Level refers to the amount of effort a person puts forth (e.g., to put forth a lot or very little). Persistence refers to the length of time a person sticks with a given action (e.g., to keep trying or to give up when something proves diffi cult to attain).

Types of Motivation Theories There are many available theories of motivation and each offers useful insights. We usually divide them into content theories and process theories.1 While theories of both types contribute to our understanding of motivation to work, none offers a complete explanation. Our goal here is to examine the various theories, identify their key management implications, and then in the next chapter pull everything together into an integrated model of rewards, motivation, and performance.

The content theories of motivation focus primarily on individual needs— physiological or psychological defi ciencies that we feel a compulsion to reduce or eliminate. The content theories try to explain work behaviors based on path- ways to need satisfaction and on blocked needs. This chapter discusses Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, Alderfer’s ERG theory, McClelland’s acquired needs theory, and Herzberg’s two-factor theory.

The process theories of motivation focus on how cognitive processes as thoughts and decisions within the minds of people infl uence their behavior. Whereas a content approach may identify job security as an important individual need, a process approach would probe further to identify why the decision to seek

• Motivation refers to forces within an individual that account for the level, direction, and persistence

of effort expended at work.

• Content theories profi le different needs that

may motivate individual behavior.

• Process theories examine the thought

processes that motivate individual behavior.

LEARNING ROADMAP Motivation Defi ned / Types of Motivation Theories

Working Mother Magazine

Tracks Best Employers for

Working Mother magazine covers issues from kids to health to personal motivation and more. Its goal is to help women “integrate their professional lives, their family lives and their inner lives.” Each year it publishes a list of the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers.” In making the selections, Working Mother says: “All of our winning companies not only require

manager training on diversity issues but also rate manager performance partly on diversity results, such as how many multicultural women advance.”

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Needs Theories of Motivation 103

Content theories, as just noted, suggest that motivation results from our attempts to satisfy important needs. They imply that managers should be able to under- stand individual needs in order to create work environments that respond posi- tively to them.

Hierarchy of Needs Theory Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, depicted in Figure 5.1, identifi es fi ve levels of individual needs. They range from self-actualization and esteem needs at the top, to social, safety, and physiological needs at the bottom.2 The concept of a needs “hierarchy” assumes that some needs are more important than others and must be satisfi ed before the other needs can serve as motivators. For example, physiological needs must be satisfi ed before safety needs are activated; safety needs must be satisfi ed before social needs are activated; and so on.

Maslow’s model is easy to understand and quite popular. But research evi- dence fails to support the existence of a precise fi ve-step hierarchy of needs. If

• Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory offers a pyramid of physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization needs.

LEARNING ROADMAP Hierarchy of Needs Theory / ERG Theory / Acquired Needs Theory / Two-Factor Theory

Need for esteem of others; respect, prestige, recognition, need for self-esteem, personal sense of competence, mastery

Need for love, affection, sense of belongingness in one’s relationships with other persons

Need for security, protection, and stability in the physical and inter- personal events of day-to-day life


Most basic of all human needs; need for biological maintenance; need for food, water, and sustenance


Highest need level; need to fulfill oneself; to grow and use abilities to fullest and most creative extent



Figure 5.1 Higher-order and lower-order needs in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

job security results in certain work behaviors. Three process theories discussed in this chapter are equity theory, expectancy theory, and goal-setting theory.

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104 5 Motivation Theories

anything, the needs are more likely to operate in a fl exible rather than in a strict, step-by-step sequence. Some research suggests that higher-order needs (esteem and self-actualization) tend to become more important than lower-order needs (psychological, safety, and social) as individuals move up the corporate ladder.3 Studies also report that needs vary according to a person’s career stage, the size of the organization, and even geographic location.4 There is also no consistent evidence that the satisfaction of a need at one level decreases its importance and increases the importance of the next-higher need.5 And fi ndings regarding the hierarchy of needs vary when this theory is examined across cultures. For instance, social needs tend to take on higher importance in more collectivist societies, such as Mexico and Pakistan, than in individualistic ones like the United States.6

ERG Theory Clayton Alderfer’s ERG theory is also based on needs, but it differs from Maslow’s theory in three main respects.7 First, ERG theory collapses Maslow’s fi ve needs categories into three: existence needs, desires for physiological and material well-being; relatedness needs, desires for satisfying interpersonal relationships; and growth needs, desires for continued personal growth and development. Second, ERG theory emphasizes a unique frustration-regression component. An already satisfi ed lower-level need can become activated when a higher-level need cannot be satisfi ed. If a person is continually frustrated in his or her attempts to satisfy growth needs relatedness needs can again surface as key motivators. Third, unlike Maslow’s theory, ERG theory contends that more than one need may be activated at the same time.

The supporting evidence for ERG theory is encouraging, but further research would be helpful.8 In particular, ERG theory’s allowance for regression back to lower-level needs is a valuable contribution to our thinking. It may explain why in some settings, for example, worker complaints focus mainly on wages, bene- fi ts, and working conditions—things relating to existence needs. Although these needs are important, their importance may be exaggerated because the workers cannot otherwise satisfy relatedness and growth needs in their jobs. This type of analysis shows how ERG theory can offer a more fl exible approach to under- standing human needs than does Maslow’s hierarchy.

Acquired Needs Theory In the late 1940s psychologist David I. McClelland and his co-workers began experimenting with the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) as a way of measuring human needs.9 The TAT is a projective technique that asks people to view pic- tures and write stories about what they see. For example, McClelland showed three executives a photograph of a man looking at family photos arranged on his work desk. One executive wrote of an engineer who was daydreaming about a family outing scheduled for the next day. Another described a designer who had picked up an idea for a new gadget from remarks made by his family. The third described an engineer who was intently working on a bridge stress problem that he seemed sure to solve because of his confi dent look.10

McClelland identifi ed themes in the TAT stories that he believed correspond to needs that are acquired over time as a result of our life experiences. Need for achievement (nAch) is the desire to do something better or more effi ciently, to

• Higher-order needs in Maslow’s hierarchy are

esteem and self- actualization.

• Lower-order needs in Maslow’s hierarchy are

physiological, safety, and social.

• Alderfer’s ERG theory identifi es existence,

relatedness, and growth needs.

• Existence needs are desires for physiological and material well-being.

• Relatedness needs are desires for satisfying

interpersonal relationships. • Growth needs are desires for continued personal growth and


• Need for achievement (nAch) is the desire to do better, solve problems, or

master complex tasks.

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Needs Theories of Motivation 105

solve problems, or to master complex tasks. Need for affi liation (nAff) is the desire to establish and maintain friendly and warm relations with others. Need for power (nPower) is the desire to control others, to infl uence their behavior, or to be responsible for others.

Because each need can be linked with a set of work preferences, McClelland encouraged managers to learn how to identify the presence of nAch, nAff, and nPower in themselves and in others. Someone with a high need for achievement will prefer individual responsibilities, challenging goals, and performance feed- back. Someone with a high need affi liation is drawn to interpersonal relationships and opportunities for communication. Someone with a high need for power seeks infl uence over others and likes attention and recognition.

Since these three needs are acquired, McClelland also believed it may be pos- sible to teach people to develop need profi les required for success in various types of jobs. His research indicated, for example, that a moderate to high need for power that is stronger than a need for affi liation is linked with success as a

• Need for affi liation (nAff) is the desire for friendly and warm relations with others. • Need for power (nPower) is the desire to control others and infl uence their behavior.

Finding the Leader in You LORRAINE MONROE’S LEADERSHIP TURNS VISION INTO INSPIRATION Dr. Lorraine Monroe began her career in the New York City schools as a teacher. She went on to serve as assistant principal, principal, and vice-chancellor for Curriculum and Instruction. But her career really took off when she founded the Frederick Douglass Academy, a public school in Harlem, where she grew up.

live—every school, workplace, church, and family—becomes a site of reform.” She now serves as a leadership consultant and runs the Lorraine Monroe Leadership Institute. Its goal is to train educa- tional leaders in visionary leadership and help them go forth to build high- performing schools that transform children’s lives.

Lorraine Monroe’s many leadership ideas are summarized in what is called the “Monroe Doctrine.” It begins with this advice: “The job of the leader is to uplift her people—not just as members of and contributors to the organization, but as individuals of infi nite worth in their own right.”

What’s the Lesson Here? How good are you at visioning? Are you able to generate visions that are persuasive and engaging to others? Do others feel inspired by your visions? If not, could it be that you need to think about how to make the vision more about them and less about you?

Under her leadership as principal, the school became highly respected for educational excellence. The academy’s namesake was an escaped slave who later became a prominent abolitionist and civil rights leader.

Through her experiences Monroe formed a set of beliefs centered on a leader being vision-driven and follower-centered. She believes leaders must always start at the “heart of the matter” and that “the job of a good leader is to articulate a vision that others are inspired to follow.” She believes in making sure all workers know they are valued, that their advice is welcome, and that workers and managers should always try to help and support one another. “I have never undertaken any project,” she says, “without fi rst imagining on paper what it would ultimately look like . . . All the doers who would be responsible for carrying out my imaginings have to be informed and let in on the dream.”

About her commitment to public leadership, Monroe states: “We can reform society only if every place we

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106 5 Motivation Theories

Organizational policies

Quality of supervision

Working conditions

Relationships with co-workers

Status and security

Base wage or salary



Work itself



Hygiene factors found in job context

and affect job dissatisfaction

Motivator factors found in job content

and affect job satisfaction

High Low HighJob SatisfactionJob Dissatisfaction

Figure 5.2 Sources of dis- satisfaction and satisfaction in Herzberg’s two-factor theory.

senior executive. The high nPower creates the willingness to exercise infl uence and control over others; the lower nAff allows the executive to make diffi cult decisions without undue worry over being disliked.11

Research lends considerable insight into the need for achievement in particular, and it includes some interesting applications in developing nations. McClelland trained businesspeople in India to think, talk, and act like high achievers by hav- ing them write stories about achievement and participate in a business game that encouraged achievement. He also had them meet with successful entrepreneurs and learn how to set challenging goals for their own businesses. Over a two-year period following these activities, he found that participants who received this training engaged in activities that created twice as many new jobs as those who did not.12

Two-Factor Theory Frederick Herzberg took yet another approach in his studies of individual needs and motivation. He began by asking workers to report the times they felt exceptionally good about their jobs and the times they felt exceptionally bad about them.13 Results showed that people talked about very different things when they reported feeling good or bad about their jobs. Herzberg explained these results using what he called the two- factor theory, also known as the motivator-hygiene theory. This theory identifi es motivator factors as primary causes of job satisfaction and hygiene factors as primary causes of job dissatisfaction.

Hygiene factors are sources of job dissatisfaction, and they are found in the job context or work setting. That is, they relate more to the setting in which people work than to the nature of the work itself. The two-factor theory suggests that job dissatisfac- tion occurs when hygiene is poor. But it also suggests that improving the hygiene factors will not increase job satisfaction; it will only decrease job dissatisfaction. Among the hygiene factors shown on the left in Figure 5.2, perhaps the most surprising is sal- ary. Herzberg found that a low base salary or wage makes people dissatisfi ed, but that paying more does not necessarily satisfy or motivate them.

Motivator factors, shown on the right in Figure 5.2, are sources of job satis- faction. These factors are found in job content—what people actually do in their work. They include such things as a sense of achievement, opportunities for

• Herzberg’s two-factor theory identifi es job

context as the source of job dissatisfaction and job

content as the source of job satisfaction.

• Hygiene factors in the job context are sources of

job dissatisfaction.

• Motivator factors in the job content are sources

of job satisfaction.

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Equity Theory of Motivation 107

personal growth, recognition, and responsibility. According to two-factor theory, the presence or absence of satisfi ers or motivators in people’s jobs is the key to satisfaction, motivation, and performance. When motivator factors are minimal, low job satisfaction decreases motivation and performance. When motivator fac- tors are substantial, high job satisfaction raises motivation and performance.

A key and controversial point to remember about two-factor theory is that job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction are separate dimensions. Taking action to improve a hygiene factor, such as by giving pay raises or creating better physical working conditions, will not make people satisfi ed and more motivated in their work; it will only prevent them from being less dissatisfi ed on these matters. To improve job satisfaction, Herzberg suggests doing job enrichment as a way of building more motivator factors into job content. This technique is given special attention in the next chapter as a job design alternative. For now, the implication is well summarized in this statement by Herzberg: “If you want people to do a good job, give them a good job to do.”14

OB scholars have long debated the merits of the two-factor theory.15 It is criti- cized as being method bound, or replicable only when Herzberg’s original methods are used. This is a serious criticism, since the scientifi c approach valued in OB requires that theories be verifi able under different research methods.16 Yet, the distinction between hygiene and motivator factors has been a useful contribution to OB. As will be apparent in the discussions of job designs and alternative work schedules in the next chapter, the notion of two factors—job content and job context—has a practical validity that adds useful discipline to management thinking.

• Job enrichment tries to build more motivator factors into job content.

What happens when you get a grade back on a written assignment or test? How do you interpret your results, and what happens to your future motivation in the course? Such questions fall in the domain of the fi rst process theory of motivation to be discussed here—equity theory. As applied to the workplace through the writing of J. Stacy Adams, equity theory argues that any perceived inequity becomes a motivating state of mind. In other words, people are motivated to behave in ways that restore or maintain equity in situations.17

Equity and Social Comparisons The basic foundation of equity theory is social comparison. Think back to the earlier questions. When you receive a grade, do you quickly try to fi nd out what others received as well? And when you do, does the interpretation of your grade depend on how well your grade compared to those of others? Equity theory pre- dicts that your behavior upon receiving a grade—working less or harder in the course, will be based on whether or not you perceive it as fair and equitable. Fur- thermore, that determination is made only after you compare your results with those received by others.

Adams argues that this logic applies equally well to the motivational conse- quences of rewards we receive at work. He believes that motivation is a function

• Adams’s equity theory posits that people will act to eliminate any felt inequity in the rewards received for their work in comparison with others.

LEARNING ROADMAP Equity and Social Comparisons / Equity Theory Predictions and Findings / Equity and Organizational Justice

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108 5 Motivation Theories

of how one evaluates rewards received relative to efforts made, and as compared to the rewards received by others relative to their efforts made. A key issue in this comparison is “fairness.” And as you might expect, any feelings of unfairness or perceived inequity are uncomfortable; they create a state of mind we are moti- vated to eliminate.

Equity Theory Predictions and Findings Perceived inequity occurs when someone believes that he or she has been under-rewarded or over-rewarded for work contributions in comparison to other people. The basic equity comparison can be summarized as follows:

Individual Outcomes

Individual Efforts

Others’ Outcomes

Others’ Efforts

• Perceived inequity is feeling under-rewarded or

over-rewarded in comparison with others.


Equity theory tells us that employees are motivated to eliminate perceived inequity, the feeling that stems from unfair distributions of rewards. These perceptions develop when employees receive outcomes as a result of their work effort and then make comparisons with similar others, known as referents.

Ally Bank has a number of child-themed commercials to depict unfair practices in the banking industry. The commercials resonate with viewers because we all have a fundamental understanding of what is fair and what is not. In one particular commercial, two little girls are sitting at a table with a grown man. The man turns to the fi rst little girl and asks, “Would you like a pony?” The girl smiles and nods affi rmatively and he hands her a toy pony. Then the man turns and repeats his question to the second little girl. Only this time, when the girl indicates she would like a pony, the man makes a clicking noise and a real pony emerges from behind a playhouse. The second little girl is overjoyed.

While the fi rst girl is initially quite happy with the toy pony she received, she becomes upset when the other girl receives a real pony. This reaction illustrates equity theory and shows that we evaluate rewards within the context in which they are given. Rewards may look good on the surface. But if you fi nd someone else getting the same reward while accomplishing less or getting a bigger reward for completing similar work, it makes your reward pale by comparison. That’s not a good feeling.

Get to Know Yourself Better Experiential Exercise 17, Annual Pay Raises, in the OB Skills Workbook asks you to determine pay raises for a group of employees based on information provided about performance, co-worker assessments, and other nonperformance factors. Take a close look at employee Z. Davis. He is a good worker, but others do not see it that way. How would you handle this situation? If Davis is truly deserving and does not get a pay raise, what will he do? If you give Davis a raise, on the other hand, how will co-workers react?

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Equity Theory of Motivation 109

Felt negative inequity exists when an individual feels that he or she has received relatively less than others have in proportion to work inputs. Felt positive inequity exists when an individual feels that he or she has received relatively more than others have. When either feeling exists, the theory states that people will be motivated to act in ways that remove the discomfort and restore a sense of equity to the situation. In the case of perceived negative inequity, for example, a sense of equity might be restored by engaging in one or more of the following behaviors:

• Reduce work inputs (e.g., don’t do anything extra in future).

• Change the outcomes received (e.g., ask for a bigger raise).

• Leave the situation (e.g., quit).

• Change the comparison points (e.g., compare to a different co-worker).

• Psychologically distort things (e.g., rationalize the inequity as temporary).

• Try to change the efforts of the comparison person (e.g., get a teammate to accept more work).

Research on equity theory indicates that people who feel they are over- paid (perceived positive inequity) are likely to try to increase the quantity or quality of their work, whereas those who feel they are underpaid (perceived negative inequity) are likely to try to decrease the quantity or quality of their work.18 The research is most conclusive with respect to felt negative inequity. It appears that people are less comfortable when they are under-rewarded than when they are over-rewarded. But these fi ndings are particularly tied to individualistic cultures in which self-interest tends to govern social compari- sons. In more collectivist cultures, the concern often runs more for equality than equity. This allows for solidarity with the group and helps to maintain harmony in social relationships.19

Equity theory reminds us that the motivational value of rewards is deter- mined by social comparison. It is not the reward-giver’s intentions that count; it is how the recipient perceives the reward in the social context that counts. We always do well to remember the equity comparison as interven- ing between the allocation of rewards and the ultimate motivational impact for the recipient.

Reward received

Equity comparison

Motivational impact of reward

Equity and Organizational Justice One of the basic elements of equity theory is the fairness with which people per- ceive they are being treated. This relates to an issue in organizational behavior known as organizational justice—how fair and equitable people view the prac- tices of their workplace. And in respect to equity theory, justice notions may enter social comparisons in four ways.20

Procedural justice is the degree to which the rules and procedures speci- fi ed by policies are properly followed in all cases to which they are applied. In

• Organizational justice concerns how fair and equitable people view workplace practices. • Procedural justice is the degree to which rules are always properly followed to implement policies.

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110 5 Motivation Theories

a sexual harassment case, for example, this may mean that required formal hearings are held for every case submitted for administrative review. Distribu- tive justice is the degree to which all people are treated the same under a policy, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, or any other demographic characteristic. In a sexual harassment case, this might mean that a complaint fi led by a man against a woman would receive the same consideration as one fi led by a woman against a man.

Interactional justice is the degree to which the people affected by a deci- sion are treated with dignity and respect. Interactional justice in a sexual harass- ment case, for example, may mean that both the accused and accusing parties believe they have received a complete explanation of any decision made. Com- mutative justice is the degree to which exchanges and transactions among par- ties is considered free and fair. In the sexual harassment example again, commu- tative justice is present when everyone involved perceives themselves as having full access to all the available facts and information.21

• Distributive justice is the degree to which all people are treated the same under a policy.

• Interactional justice is the degree to which people are treated with dignity and

respect in decisions affecting them.

• Commutative justice is the degree to which

exchanges and transactions are considered fair.


A worker opens the top of the offi ce photocopier and fi nds a document someone has left behind. It’s a list of performance evaluations, pay, and bonuses for 80 co-workers. She reads the document.

Lo and behold, someone considered a “nonstarter” is getting paid more than others regarded as “super workers.” New hires are being brought in at substantially higher pay and bonuses than are paid to existing staff. And to make matters worse, she’s in the middle of the list and not near the top, where she would have expected to be. She makes a lot less money than some others are getting.

Looking at the data, she begins to wonder why she is spend- ing extra hours working on her laptop in the evenings and on

weekends at home, trying to do a really great job for the fi rm. She wonders to herself:

“Should I pass this information around anonymously so that everyone knows what’s going on? Or, should I quit and fi nd another employer who fully values me for my talents and hard work?”

In the end she decided to quit, saying: “I just couldn’t stand the inequity.” She also decided not to distribute the information to others in the offi ce because “it would make them depressed, like it made me depressed.”

What Would You Do? Would you hit “print,” make about 80 copies, and put them in everyone’s mailboxes—or even just leave them stacked in a couple of convenient locations? That would get the information out and right into the gossip chains pretty quickly. But is this ethical? On the other hand, if you don’t send out the information, is it ethical to let other workers go about their days with inaccurate assumptions about pay practices at the fi rm? By quitting and not sharing the information, did this worker commit an ethics miscue?

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Expectancy Theory of Motivation 111

Another of the process theories of motivation is Victor Vroom’s expectancy theory.22 It suggests that motivation is a result of a rational calculation—people will do what they can do when they want to do it.

Expectancy Terms and Concepts In expectancy theory, and as summarized in Figure 5.3, a person is motivated to the degree that he or she believes that: (1) effort will yield acceptable performance (expectancy), (2) performance will be rewarded (instrumentality), and (3) the value of the rewards is highly positive (valence). Each of the key terms is defi ned as follows.

• Expectancy is the probability assigned by an individual that work effort will be followed by a given level of achieved task performance. Expectancy would equal zero if the person felt it were impossible to achieve the given performance level; it would equal one if a person were 100 percent certain that the performance could be achieved.

• Instrumentality is the probability assigned by the individual that a given level of achieved task performance will lead to various work outcomes. Instrumentality also varies from 0 to 1. Strictly speaking, Vroom’s treatment of instrumentality would allow it to vary from �1 to �1. We use the probability defi nition here and the 0 to �1 range for pedagogical purposes; it is consis- tent with the instrumentality notion.

• Valence is the value attached by the individual to various work outcomes. Valences form a scale from �1 (very undesirable outcome) to �1 (very desirable outcome).

Expectancy Theory Predictions Vroom posits that motivation, expectancy, instrumentality, and valence are related to one another by this equation.

Motivation � Expectancy � Instrumentality � Valence

• Vroom’s expectancy theory argues that work motivation is determined by individual beliefs regarding effort/ performance relationships and work outcomes.

• Expectancy is the probability that work effort will be followed by performance accomplishment.

• Instrumentality is the probability that performance will lead to various work outcomes.

• Valence is the value to the individual of various work outcomes.

LEARNING ROADMAP Expectancy Terms and Concepts / Expectancy Theory Predictions / Expectancy Implications and Research

to achieve and realizetask performance

ValenceExpectancy Instrumentality

People exert work effort

work-related outcomes

Clarify possible rewards for performance, give performance- contingent rewards

Identify needs and match rewards to high value needs

Select capable workers, train them, support them, set clear goals

Figure 5.3 Key terms and managerial implications of Vroom’s expectancy theory.

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112 5 Motivation Theories

You can remember this equation simply as M � E � I � V, and the multiplier effect described by the “�” signs is signifi cant. It means that the motivational appeal of a work path is sharply reduced whenever any one or more of these factors—E, I, or V—approaches the value of zero. Conversely, for a given reward to have a high and positive motivational impact as a work outcome, the expectancy, instrumentality, and valence associated with the reward must each be high and positive.

Suppose that a manager is wondering whether or not the prospect of earn- ing a merit pay raise will be motivational to an employee. Expectancy theory predicts that motivation to work hard to earn the merit pay will be low if expec- tancy is low—a person feels that he or she cannot achieve the necessary perfor- mance level. Motivation will also be low if instrumentality is low—the person is not confi dent a high level of task performance will result in a high merit pay raise. Motivation will also be low if valence is low—the person places little value on a merit pay increase. Finally, motivation will be low if any combination of these exists.

Expectancy Implications and Research Expectancy logic argues that managers should always try to create work situa- tions to maximize work expectancies, instrumentalities, and valences that support organizational objectives.23 To infl uence expectancies, the advice is to select peo- ple with proper abilities, train them well, support them with needed resources, and identify clear performance goals. To infl uence instrumentality, the advice is to clarify performance–reward relationships, and then live up to them when rewards are actually given for performance accomplishments. To infl uence valences, the advice is to identify the needs that are important to each individual and adjust available rewards to match these needs.

A great deal of research on expectancy theory has been conducted.24 Even though the theory has received substantial support, specifi c details, such as the operation of the multiplier effect, remain subject to some question. In addition, expectancy theory has proven interesting in terms of helping to explain some apparently counterintuitive fi ndings in cross-cultural management situations. For example, a pay raise motivated one group of Mexican workers to work fewer hours. They wanted a certain amount of money in order to enjoy things other than work, rather than just getting more money in general. A Japanese sales representative’s promotion to manager of a U.S. company adversely affected his performance. His superiors did not realize that the promotion embarrassed him and distanced him from his colleagues.25

Some years ago a Minnesota Vikings defensive end gathered up an opponent’s fumble. Then, with obvious effort and delight, he ran the ball into the wrong end zone. Clearly, the athlete did not lack motivation. But he failed to channel his energies toward the right goal. Goal and goal setting problems occur in most

LEARNING ROADMAP Motivational Properties of Goals / Goal-Setting Guidelines / Goal Setting and the Management Process

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Goal-Setting Theory of Motivation 113

work settings. Without clear goals, people may suffer from poor direction. When goals are both clear and properly set, they may be highly motivated to work towards goal accomplishment.

Motivational Properties of Goals Goal setting is the process of developing, negotiating, and formalizing the tar- gets or objectives that a person is responsible for accomplishing.26 Over a number of years Edwin Locke, Gary Latham, and their associates have developed a com- prehensive framework linking goals to performance. They say: “Purposeful activ- ity is the essence of living action. If the purpose is neither clear nor challenging, very little gets accomplished.”27 Research on goal setting is extensive.28 And, many cross-cultural studies have been conducted, including Australia, England, Ger- many, Japan, and the United States.29 Although it has its critics, the basic precepts of goal-setting theory remain an important source of advice for managing human behavior in the work setting.30

Goal-Setting Guidelines The implications of research on goal setting can be summarized as follows.31

Point—Diffi cult goals are more likely to lead to higher performance than are less diffi cult ones. If the goals are seen as too diffi cult or impossible, however, the rela- tionship with performance no longer holds. For example, you will likely perform better as a fi nancial services agent if you have a goal of selling 6 annuities a week than if you have a goal of selling 3. But if your goal is selling 15 annuities a week, you may consider that impossible to achieve, and your performance may well be lower than what it would be with a more realistic goal.

Point—Specifi c goals are more likely to lead to higher performance than are no goals or vague or very general ones. All too often people work with very general goals such as the encouragement to “do your best.” Research indicates that more spe- cifi c goals, such as selling six computers a day, are much more motivational than a simple “do your best” goal.

Point—Task feedback, or knowledge of results, is likely to motivate people toward higher perfor- mance by encouraging the setting of higher perfor- mance goals. Feedback lets people know where they stand and whether they are on course or off course in their efforts. For example, think about how eager you are to fi nd out how well you did on an examination.

Point—Goals are most likely to lead to higher performance when people have the abilities and the feelings of self-effi cacy required to accomplish them. The individual must be able to accomplish the goals

• Goal setting is the process of setting performance targets.

How to Make Goal Setting Work for You

• Set challenging goals: When viewed as realistic and attainable, more diffi cult goals lead to higher performance than do easy goals.

• Set specifi c goals: They lead to higher performance than do more generally stated ones, such as “do your best.”

• Provide feedback on goal accomplishment: Make sure that people know how well they are doing with respect to goal accomplishment.

• Build goal acceptance and commitment: People work harder for goals they accept and believe in; they resist goals forced on them.

• Clarify goal priorities: Make sure that expectations are clear as to which goals should be accomplished fi rst, and why.

• Reward goal accomplishment: Don’t let positive accomplish- ments pass unnoticed; reward people for doing what they set out to do.

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114 5 Motivation Theories

Writing in the Journal of Applied Psychology, Alexander D. Stajkovic, Edwin A. Locke, and Eden S. Blair note that the literature on goal-setting theory and motivation is well established, but they point out that it deals only with conscious motivation. In two empirical studies they attempt to link this set of fi ndings with a body of literature in social psychology concerned with subconscious goal motivation.

One of the key fi ndings of research on goal-setting theory is that diffi cult goals lead to higher performance than do general “do your best” or easy goals when performance feedback, goal commitment, and task knowledge are present. A research stream of social psychology literature deals with the subconscious activation of goals by primers found in environments in which goals are regularly pursued. Using this background, the researchers stated that their purpose “was to link subconscious and conscious goals by empirically examining the interaction between the two.”

A pilot study and a main study were conducted with samples of undergraduate and graduate students at a university in the Midwest. Study participants were divided into two groups, with one group receiving a “priming” treatment where subjects did setup work involving identifi cation or use of achievement-related words before they completed a performance task. In the second, or “no prime” group, only achievement-neutral words were identifi ed or used in the setup work prior to the perfor- mance task.

In both studies the results confi rmed predictions from goal-setting theory by showing that “diffi - cult” conscious goals increased performance relative to “easy” and “do your best” goal-setting conditions. In addition, the researchers found that subjects in primed subconscious conditions performed better than did those in unprimed subconscious conditions on both “diffi cult” and “do your best” goals. In other words, primed subcon- scious goals had positive interactions with conscious goals for both diffi cult and do your best goals.

The overall conclusions from these studies show that more research is needed on the links between conscious and subconscious goals with task performance. But the initial fi ndings are favorable in suggesting that when both types of goals are used together, their motivational impact is increased.

Conscious and Subconscious Goals Have Motivational Impact

Source: Alexander D. Stajkovic, Edwin A. Locke, and Eden S. Blair, “A First Examination of the Relationships between Primed Subconscious Goals, Assigned Conscious Goals, and Task Performance,” Journal of Applied Psychology 91 (2006), pp. 1172–1180.

With Priming

Conscious Goal Condition

and feel confi dent in those abilities. To take the fi nancial services example again, you may be able to do what is required to sell 6 annuities a week and feel confi - dent that you can. If your goal is to sell 15, however, you may believe that your abilities are insuffi cient to the task, and thus you may lack the confi dence to work hard enough to accomplish it.

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Goal-Setting Theory of Motivation 115

Point—Goals are most likely to motivate people toward higher performance when they are accepted and there is commitment to them. Participating in the goal- setting process helps build acceptance and commitment; it creates a sense of “ownership” of the goals. But goals assigned by someone else can be equally effective when the assigners are authority fi gures that can have an impact, and when the subordinate can actually reach the goal. According to research, assigned goals most often lead to poor performance when they are curtly or inadequately explained.

Goal Setting and the Management Process When we speak of goal setting and its motivational potential, the entire manage- ment process comes into play. Goals launch the process during planning, provide critical focal points for organizing and leading, and then facilitate controlling to make sure the desired outcomes are achieved. One approach that tries to integrate goals across these management functions is known as management by objec- tives. Called MBO, for short, it is essentially a process of joint goal setting between managers and those who report to them.32 In a team setting, for example, the leader works with team members to set performance goals consistent with higher- level organizational objectives. When done throughout an organization, MBO also helps clarify the hierarchy of objectives as a series of well-defi ned means–ends chains.

Figure 5.4 shows how an MBO process might utilize goal- setting principles. The joint team leader and team member discussions are designed to extend par- ticipation from the point of setting initial goals all the way to evaluating results in terms of goal attainment. As team members work to achieve their goals, the team leader’s role is to actively coach them.

A fair amount of research reports some common diffi culties with MBO in practice.33 These include too much paperwork required to document goals and accomplishments, too much emphasis on goal-oriented rewards and punish- ments, as well as too much focus on top-down goals, goals that are easily stated and achieved, and individual instead of team goals. When these issues are resolved, managers should fi nd that some version of this MBO approach has much to offer as an application of goal-setting theory.

• Management by objectives is a process of joint goal setting between a supervisor and a subordinate.

Jointly evaluate results and recycle process

Jointly establish performance goals

Individually act

Team member performs tasks while team leader coaches and supports

Team leader

Team member

Team member actively participates in developing performance goals

Team member actively participates in performance review

Figure 5.4 How a management by objectives process works.

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116 5 Motivation Theories

5 study guide Key Questions and Answers What is motivation?

• Motivation is an internal force that accounts for the level, direction, and persistence of effort expended at work.

• Content theories—including the work of Maslow, Alderfer, McClelland, and Herzberg—focus on identifying human needs that infl uence behavior in the work- place.

• Process theories, such as equity theory and expectancy theory, examine the thought processes that affect decisions people make about their work efforts.

What can we learn from the needs theories of motivation?

• Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory views human needs as activated in a fi ve-step hierarchy ranging from physiological (lowest) to safety, to social, to esteem, to self-actualization (highest).

• Alderfer’s ERG theory collapses the fi ve needs into three: existence, relatedness, and growth; it maintains that more than one need can be activated at a time.

• McClelland’s acquired needs theory focuses on the needs for achievement, affi liation, and power, and it views needs as developed over time through experience and training.

• Herzberg’s two-factor theory links job satisfaction to motivator factors, such as responsibility and challenge, associated with job content; it links job dissatisfaction to hygiene factors, such as pay and working conditions, associated with job context.

Why is the equity theory of motivation important?

• Equity theory points out that social comparison takes place when people receive rewards.

• Any felt inequity in social comparison will motivate people to behave in ways that restore a sense of perceived equity to the situation.

• When felt inequity is negative—that is, when the individual feels unfairly treated—he or she may decide to work less hard in the future or to quit a job for other, more attractive opportunities.

• Organizational justice is an issue of how fair and equitable people view workplace practices; it is described in respect to distributive, procedural, interactive, and commutative justice.

What are the insights of the expectancy theory of motivation?

• Vroom’s expectancy theory describes motivation as a function of an individual’s beliefs concerning effort–performance relationships (expectancy), work-outcome relationships (instrumentality), and the desirability of various work outcomes (valence).

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Self-Test 5 117

• Expectancy theory states that Motivation � Expectancy � Instrumentality � Valence, and argues that managers should make each factor strong and positive in order to ensure high levels of motivation.

How does goal-setting infl uence motivation?

• Goal setting is the process of developing, negotiating, and formalizing performance targets or objectives.

• Goals are the most motivational when they are challenging and specifi c, allow for feedback on results, and create commitment and acceptance.

• Management by objectives, a process of joint goal setting between a team leader and team member, is a way of applying goal-setting theory in day-to-day management practice.

Terms to Know Commutative justice (p. 110) Content theories (p. 102) Distributive justice (p. 109) Equity theory (p. 107) ERG theory (p. 104) Existence needs (p. 104) Expectancy (p. 111) Expectancy theory (p. 111) Goal setting (p. 113) Growth needs (p. 104) Hierarchy of needs theory (p. 103)

Higher-order needs (p. 104) Hygiene factors (p. 106) Instrumentality (p. 111) Interactional justice (p. 110) Job enrichment (p. 107) Lower-order needs (p. 104) Management by objectives, or

MBO (p. 115) Motivation (p. 102) Motivator factors (p. 106)

Need for achievement (nAch) (p. 104) Need for affi liation (nAff) (p. 105) Need for power (nPower) (p. 105) Organizational justice (p. 109) Perceived inequity (p. 108) Procedural justice (p. 109) Process theories (p. 102) Relatedness needs (p. 104) Two-factor theory (p. 106) Valence (p. 111)

Self-Test 5 Multiple Choice 1. Motivation is defi ned as the level and persistence of ____________.

(a) effort (b) performance (c) need satisfaction (d) instrumentalities

2. A content theory of motivation is most likely to focus on ____________. (a) organizational justice (b) expectancy (c) equity (d) individual needs

3. A process theory of motivation is most likely to focus attention on ____________. (a) frustration–regression (b) expectancies regarding work outcomes (c) lower-order needs (d) hygiene factors

4. When a team member shows strong ego needs in Maslow’s hierarchy, the team leader should fi nd ways to link this person’s work on the team task with ____________. (a) compensation tied to group performance (b) individual praise and recognition for work well done (c) lots of social interaction with other team members (d) challenging individual performance goals

5. According to McClelland, a person high in need achievement will be motivated by ____________. (a) status of being an executive (b) control and infl uence over other people (c) teamwork and collective responsibility (d) challenging but achievable goals

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118 5 Motivation Theories

6. In Alderfer’s ERG theory, the ____________ needs best correspond with Maslow’s higher-order needs of esteem and self-actualization. (a) existence (b) relatedness (c) recognition (d) growth

7. Improvements in job satisfaction are most likely under Herzberg’s two-factor theory when ____________ are improved. (a) working conditions (b) base salaries (c) co-worker relationships (d) opportunities for responsibility

8. In Herzberg’s two-factor theory ____________ factors are found in job context. (a) motivator (b) satisfi er (c) hygiene (d) enrichment

9. Both Barry and Marissa are highly motivated college students. Knowing this I can expect them to be ____________ in my class. (a) hard working (b) high performing (c) highly satisfi ed (d) highly dissatisfi ed

10. In equity theory, the ____________ is a key issue. (a) social comparison of rewards (b) equality of rewards (c) equality of efforts (d) absolute value of rewards

11. A manager’s failure to enforce a late-to-work policy the same way for all employees is a violation of ____________ justice. (a) interactional (b) moral (c) distributive (d) procedural

12. When someone has a high and positive “expectancy” in expectancy theory of motivation, this means that the person ____________. (a) believes he or she can meet performance expectations (b) highly values the rewards being offered (c) sees a relationship between high performance and the available rewards (d) believes that rewards are equitable

13. In expectancy theory, ____________ is the perceived value of a reward. (a) expectancy (b) instrumentality (c) motivation (d) valence

14. Which goals tend to be more motivating? (a) challenging goals (b) easy goals (c) general goals (d) no goals

15. The MBO process emphasizes ____________ as a way of building worker commit- ment to goal accomplishment. (a) authority (b) joint goal setting (c) infrequent feedback (d) rewards

Short Response 16. What is the frustration-regression component in Alderfer’s ERG theory?

17. What does job enrichment mean in Herzberg’s two-factor theory?

18. What is the difference between distributive and procedural justice?

19. What is the multiplier effect in expectancy theory?

Applications Essay 20. While attending a business luncheon, you overhear the following conversation at a

nearby table. Person A: “I’ll tell you this: if you satisfy your workers’ needs, they’ll be productive.” Person B: “I’m not so sure; if I satisfy their needs, maybe they’ll be real good about coming to work but not very good about working really hard while they are there.” Which person do you agree with and why?

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Next Steps 119

• It Isn’t Fair • What Do You Value in Work?

• Teamwork and Motivation • Downsides of Punishment • Annual Pay Raises

• Managerial Assumptions • Two-Factor Profi le

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Los 33 Surviving on Faith Alone

Most of us know the pangs of hunger that come from missing a meal. But imagine missing breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day for two weeks. And despite having enough food to fi ll your belly, you intentionally limit yourself to one teaspoon of tuna each day. Could you do it?

The 33 men trapped for more than two months in a mine near Copiapó, Chile, maintained this self-discipline despite being stuck more than 3 miles underground. “As a group we had to keep faith, we had to keep hope, we had to all believe that we would survive,” says Franklin Lobos, one of the miners and a former professional footballer. “We pulled together when things got rough, when there was nothing. That really bonded us.”a

After the dust settled from the mine’s collapse, the men coalesced around hard-nosed shift supervisor Luis Urzúa, a mining veteran. To keep them focused on and participating in their own survival, Urzúa divided Los 33, as they became known above ground, into three groups who split shifts maintaining the mine’s nooks he designated as their sleeping, working, and washing areas.

Drawing on discipline learned in the Chilean military, Urzúa assigned more complex responsibilities as it became clear they would not be rescued immediately. Appro- priating a pickup truck as his offi ce, he led the men through topographically mapping their new home, regular repair of crumbling rock walls, and digging for water. To simulate

night and day, he toggled the headlights of other trucks. Balancing strong leadership and democracy, Urzúa instituted a one man, one vote policy.

Many of the men cited a deep religious faith that divine providence would see them through. Others cited the desire to see their family and fi rm confi dence in the rescue crew as motivating them to overcome their loneliness and worry.

Though Urzúa was the leader underground, Edison Pena has become for many the public face of the miners’ personal efforts at recovery. Pena, who jogged 3 to 6 miles daily in cutoff work boots through the 1.2-mile-long halls of the mines, was invited to run the New York Marathon shortly after emerging from the depths. “I thought as I ran in the mine that I was going to beat destiny,” Pena says. “I was saying to that mine, I can outrun you. I’m going to run until you’re just tired and bored of me.” b

“Life has given us a new challenge—to care more deeply, to be more present with the people we love.” —Edison Pena, one of “Los 33”.c

FYI: 4,052,459—Number of Web page views per minute when news broke of the early start to the miners’ rescue.d

• On August 26, 2010, thirty-three miners and subcontractors were trapped 3 miles underground in a collapsed mine near Copiapó, Chile.

• Shift leader Luis Urzúa quickly organized the men into three groups working 12-hour shifts to set up camp, look for escape routes, and make the best of their unforeseen accommodations.

• Psychologists credit the men’s active participation in their own survival, as well as Urzúa’s leadership, for keeping relative peace and solidarity during their 69 days in the mine.

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6 Motivation and Performance the key point

There was a lot going on with motivation and performance as Los 33 struggled together for survival in the Chilean mine. It’s really the same in our busy multitasking world where work, family, and leisure are often intertwined. There’s much to consider when trying to build high-performance work settings that also fi t well with individual needs and goals.

What Is the Link Between Motivation, Rewards, and Performance?

What Are the Essentials of Performance Management?

How Do Job Designs Influence Motivation and Performance?

What Are the Motivational Opportunities of Alternative Work Arrangements?





it ’s about the person-job fit

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122 6 Motivation and Performance

Motivation was defi ned in Chapter 5 as forces within the individual that account for the level and persistence of an effort expended at work. In other words and as shown in the fi gure, motivation predicts effort. But because motivation is a property of the individual, all that managers can do is try to create work environ- ments within which someone fi nds sources of motivation. As the theories in the last chapter suggest, a major key to achieving this is to build into the job and work setting a set of rewards that match well with individual needs and goals.

Integrated Model of Motivation Figure 6.1 outlines an integrated model of motivation, one that ties together much of the previous discussion regarding the basic effort n performance n rewards relationship. Note that the fi gure shows job performance and satisfaction as sepa- rate but potentially interdependent work results. Performance, as fi rst discussed in the last chapter, is infl uenced by individual attributes such as ability and expe- rience; organizational support such as resources and technology; and effort, or the willingness of someone to work hard at what they are doing. Satisfaction results when rewards received for work accomplishments are performance con- tingent and perceived as equitable.

Double-check Figure 6.1 and locate where various motivation theories come into play. Reinforcement theory highlights the importance of performance contin- gency and immediacy in determining how rewards affect future performance. Equity theory is an issue in the perceived fairness of rewards. The content theo- ries are useful guides to understanding individual needs that give motivational value to the possible rewards. And, expectancy theory is central to the effort n performance n reward linkage.

Intrinsic and Extrinsic Rewards Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all connect with our jobs and organizations in positive and inspirational ways? In fact, there are lots of great workplaces out there, and they become great because the managers at all levels of responsibility do things that end up turning people on to their jobs rather than off of them. This requires a good understanding of the links between motivation theories and their

• Motivation accounts for the level and persistence of a person’s effort expended

LEARNING ROADMAP Integrated Model of Motivation / Intrinsic and Extrinsic Rewards / Pay for Performance

Figure 6.1 An integrated model of individual motivation to work.

Performance contingency of rewards

Personal value of rewards

Work effort

Individual attributes

Organizational support

SatisfactionMotivation Performance

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Motivation and Rewards 123

applications. Knowing the motivation theories is part of the story. The rest involves using them to make rewards meaningful as motivational opportunities that appeal to people in all the rich diversity of their individual differences.

The typical reward systems of organizations emphasize a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. Intrinsic rewards are positively valued work outcomes that the individual receives directly as a result of task performance. These rewards were the foundations for Herzberg’s concept of job enrichment dis- cussed in the last chapter. He believes that people are turned on and motivated by high content jobs that are rich in intrinsic rewards. A feeling of achievement after completing a particularly challenging task with a good person–job fi t is an example. You might think of it this way: Yves Chouinard, founder and CEO of Patagonia, Inc., says that “It’s easy to go to work when you get paid to do what you love to do.”1

Extrinsic rewards are positively valued work outcomes that are given to an individual or a group by some other person or source in the work setting. They might include things like sincere praise for a job well done or symbolic tokens of accomplishment such as “employee-of-the-month” awards. Importantly too, anything dealing with compensation, or the pay and benefi ts one receives at work,

• Intrinsic rewards are valued outcomes received directly through task performance.

• Extrinsic rewards are valued outcomes given by some other person.

Finding the Leader in You SARA BLAKELY LEADS SPANX FROM IDEA TO THE BOTTOM LINE “Like so many women, I bought clothes that looked amazing in a magazine or the hanger, but in reality . . . .” The words are Sara Blakely’s, and her concerns led to product innovation, entrepreneur- ship, and ultimately, a successful big business—Spanx. With $5,000 of her own money and a new idea for “body shaping” underwear, she cut the feet out of a pair of pantyhose and never looked back.

When her fi rst attempts to convince manufacturers to make

that she recognized her limits and “was eager to delegate my weak- nesses.” It worked. She won the national Entrepreneur of the Year Award and was voted Georgia’s Woman of the Year. Her motivation to succeed extends beyond product and business goals alone. She has since started the Sara Blakely Foundation with the express purpose of “supporting and empow- ering women around the world.”

What’s the Lesson Here? Blakely’s success story obviously began with having a great product idea. But it’s also tied to who she is as a person. Where would she be today without her special personal- ity? What about her persistence in the face of adversity? What role did goal-setting play in her journey to success? Can you combine qualities like these with your ideas to build a motivational capacity for long-term career achievement?

product samples met with resis- tance—with one calling it “a stupid idea”—she persisted until one agreed. She aspired to place Spanx in “high end” department stores. But again, she didn’t give up, fi nally persuading a Neiman-Marcus buyer to sell them. Blakely kept at it, traveling extensively and energeti- cally, some might say exhaustively. “I’m the face of the brand,” she says, “and we didn’t have money to adver- tise. I had to be out. Sitting in the offi ce wasn’t helping.” She sent

Oprah Winfrey samples and with her endorse- ment as “one of her favorite things” sales and the fi rm took off.

After about a year of fast-paced growth, Blakely turned operations over to a chief executive offi cer. This left her free to pursue creative efforts, new products, and brand development. She says

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124 6 Motivation and Performance

is an extrinsic reward. And like all extrinsic rewards, pay and benefi ts have to be well managed for positive motivational impact. How often have you heard some- one say: “I’ll do what I can to keep this job; the pay and benefi ts are unbeatable”?

Pay for Performance Pay is not only an important extrinsic reward; it is an especially complex one. When pay functions well it can help an organization attract and retain highly capable work- ers. It can also help satisfy and motivate these workers to work hard to achieve high performance. But when something goes wrong with pay, the results may well be negative effects on motivation performance. Pay dissatisfaction is often refl ected in bad attitudes, increased absenteeism, intentions to leave and actual turnover, poor organizational citizenship, and even adverse impacts on employees’ physical and mental health.

The research of scholar and consultant Edward Lawler generally concludes that pay only serves as a motivator when high levels of job performance are viewed as the paths through which high pay can be achieved.2 This is the essence of performance-contingent pay or pay for performance. It basically means that you earn more when you produce more and earn less when you produce less.

Merit Pay It is most common to talk about pay for performance in respect to merit pay, a compensation system that directly ties an individual’s salary or wage increase to measures of performance accomplishments during a specifi ed time period.

• The essence of performance-contingent pay is that you earn more when you produce more and earn less when you

produce less.

• Merit pay links an individual’s salary or wage

increase directly to measures of performance



Intrinsic rewards are received directly from task performance. For example, the satisfaction that comes from completing a challenging task would be an intrinsic reward. Extrinsic rewards, on the other hand, are derived from factors external to the job. The most common extrinsic reward is pay. While both types have positive value, extrinsic rewards typically are not as motivating because they leave the worker feeling compelled to complete a task rather than desiring to do it for sheer enjoyment.

In a popular New Balance shoe commercial, groups of high school athletes remind professional athletes about the “little things” in sports, such as fl oor

burn, bunting, and training at dawn. The commercial ends with a statement and two questions for the professional athletes. “There are two motivations in sports. Which is yours? For love or money?”

The difference implied in this commercial is that professional athletes play sports because of the extrinsic rewards, and thus are not as motivated to do the little things, while high school athletes are motivated by intrinsic rewards. It is an important distinction for those who believe money is an effective motivator.

Get to Know Yourself Better Take a look at Experiential Exercise 16, Motivation by Job Enrichment, in your OB Skills Workbook. Review the list of jobs. What would motivate you to do each of them? In all likelihood, your fi rst job will not be your dream job. Now consider this. Which would you rather have—a job that is not exciting but pays really well or one that you thoroughly enjoy doing but may not provide a lavish lifestyle?

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Motivation and Rewards 125

Although the concept of merit pay is compelling, a survey by the Hudson Institute demonstrates that it is more easily said than done. When asked if employ- ees who do perform better really get paid more, only 48 percent of managers and 31 percent of nonmanagers responded with agreement. And when asked if their last pay raise had been based on performance, 46 percent of managers and just 29 percent of nonmanagers said yes.3 In fact, surveys over the past 30 or so years have found that as many as 80 percent of respondents felt that they were not rewarded for a job well done.4

To work well, a merit pay plan should create a belief among employees that the way to achieve high pay is to perform at high levels. This means that the merit system should be based on realistic and accurate measures of work performance. It means that the merit system should clearly discriminate between high and low performers in the amount of pay increases awarded. And it also means that any “merit” aspects of a pay increase are not confused with across-the-board “cost-of-living” adjustments.

Although well supported in theory, merit pay is also subject to criticisms. For example, merit pay plans may cause problems when they emphasize individual achievements and fail to recognize the high degree of task interdependence that is common in many organizations today. Also, if they are to be effective, merit pay systems must be consistent with overall organization strategies and environmen- tal challenges. For example, a fi rm facing a tight labor market with a limited sup- ply of highly skilled individuals might benefi t more from a pay system that emphasizes employee retention rather than strict performance results.5


You wake up and you’re feeling even worse than the day before. Sniffl ing, sneezing, coughing, you make your way to work, hoping to get through the day as best as you can. Fine, but what about everyone whom you’ll come into contact with that day, and what about the impact your presenteeism—basically meaning that you go to work sick—can have on offi ce productivity and your co- workers’ and customers’ lives in general?

Brett Gorovsky of CCH, a business information resource, says that when people come to work sick it “can take a very real hit on the bottom line.” His fi rm reports that 56 percent of executives in one poll considered this a problem; that fi gure is up some 17 percent in a two-year period. Estimates are that the cost of lost productivity is as much as $180 billion annually. Just think of the costs of swine fl u season.

WebMD reports a study claiming that the cost of lost productivity could be higher than what might be paid out in authorized sick days. But the fact remains: Many of us work sick because we have to if we want to be paid.

You Tell Us What are the ethics of coming to work sick and sharing our illnesses with others? And from the management side of things, what are the ethics of not providing benefi ts suffi cient to allow employees to stay home from work when they aren’t feeling well?

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126 6 Motivation and Performance

Bonuses Some employers award cash bonuses as extra pay for performance that meets certain benchmarks or is above expectations. The practice is especially common in senior executive ranks. Top managers in some industries earn annual bonuses of 50 percent or more of their base salaries. One of the motivational trends is to extend such opportunities to workers at all levels, and in both managerial and nonmanagerial jobs. Employees at Applebee’s, for example, may earn “Apple- bucks”—small cash bonuses that are given to reward performance and increase loyalty to the fi rm.6

Gain Sharing and Profi t Sharing Another way to link pay with performance is gain sharing. This gives workers the opportunity to earn more by receiving shares of any productivity gains that they help to create. Gain sharing plans are supposed to create a greater sense of personal responsibility for organizational performance improvements and increase motivation to work hard. They are also supposed to encourage cooperation and teamwork to increase productivity.7

Instead of rewarding employees for specifi c productivity gains, profi t shar- ing rewards them for increased organizational profi ts. The more profi ts made, the more money that is available for distribution to employees through profi t shar- ing.8 Of course when profi ts are lower, individuals earn less due to reduced profi t-sharing returns. And indeed, one criticism of the approach is that profi t increases and decreases are not always a direct result of employees’ efforts. Many other factors, including a bad economy, can come into play. In such cases the question is whether it is right or wrong for workers to earn less because of cir- cumstances beyond their control.

Stock Options and Employee Stock Ownership Another way to link pay and performance is for a company to offer its employees stock options.9 These options give the owner the right to buy shares of stock at a future date at a fi xed or “strike” price. The expectation is that employees with stock options will be highly motivated to do their best so that the fi rm performs well, because they gain fi nancially as the stock price increases. However, as the recent economic down- turn reminded us, the value of the options an employee holds can decline or even zero out when the stock price falls.

In employee stock ownership plans, or ESOPs, companies may give stock to employees or allow stock to be purchased by them at a price below market value. The incentive value of the stock awards or purchases is like the stock options. “Employee owners” should be motivated to work hard so that the orga- nization will perform well, its stock price will rise, and as owners they will ben- efi t from the gains. Of course, the company’s stock prices can fall as well as rise.10 During the economic crisis many people who had invested heavily in their employer’s stock were hurt substantially.

Skill-Based Pay Still another alternative is to pay people according to the skills they possess, develop, and use for job performance. Skill-based pay rewards people for acquiring and developing job-relevant skills. Pay systems of this sort pay people for the mix and depth of skills they have, not for the particular job assignment they hold. Some advantages of skill-based pay are employee cross- training—workers learn to do one another’s jobs; fewer supervisors—workers can provide more of these functions themselves; and more individual control over

• Bonuses are extra pay awards for special

performance accomplishments.

• Gain sharing rewards employees in some

proportion to productivity gains.

• Profi t sharing rewards employees in some

proportion to changes in organizational profi ts.

• Stock options give the right to purchase shares at a fi xed price in the future.

• Employee stock ownership plans give stock to employees or

allow them to purchase stock at special prices.

• Skill-based pay rewards people for acquiring and developing job-relevant

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Motivation and Performance Management 127

If you want to get hired by Procter & Gamble and make it to the upper manage- ment levels, you had better be good. Not only is the company highly selective in hiring, it also carefully tracks the performance of every manager in every job they are asked to do. The fi rm always has at least three performance-proven replacements ready to fi ll any vacancy that occurs. And by linking performance to career advancement, motivation to work hard is built into the P&G manage- ment model.12

The effort n performance n reward relationship is evident in the P&G man- agement approach. However, we shouldn’t underestimate the challenge of man- aging any such performance-based reward system. As mentioned earlier, perfor- mance must be measured in ways that are accurate and respected by everyone involved. When the performance measurement fails, the motivational value of any pay or reward systems will fail as well.

Performance Management Process The foundation for any performance management system is performance mea- surement as shown in Figure 6.2. And if performance measurement is to be done well, managers must have good answers to both the “Why?” and the “What?” questions.

The “Why?” question in performance management involves two purposes. Performance management serves an evaluation purpose when it lets people know where their actual performance stands relative to objectives and standards. Such an evaluation feeds into decisions that allocate rewards and otherwise administer

LEARNING ROADMAP Performance Management Process / Performance Measurement Methods / Performance Measurement Errors

Identify clear and measurable

performance goals

Measure performance to assess progress

Use performance appraisal for human

resource management decision

Provide feedback and coaching on

performance results Figure 6.2 Four steps in the performance manage- ment process.

compensation—workers know in advance what is required to receive a pay raise. A possible disadvantage is that higher pay and training costs are not offset by greater productivity.11

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128 6 Motivation and Performance

the organization’s human resource management systems. Performance manage- ment serves a developmental purpose when it provides insights into individual strengths and weaknesses. This can be used to plan helpful training and career development activities.

The “What?” question in performance management takes us back to the old adage “what gets measured happens.” It basically argues that people will do what they know is going to be measured. Given this, managers are well advised to always make sure they are measuring the right things in the right ways in the performance management process. Measurements should be based on clear job performance criteria, be accurate in assessing performance, provide a defensible basis for differentiating between high and low performance, and be useful as feedback that can help improve performance in the future.

Output measures of performance assess what is accomplished in respect to concrete work results. For example, a software developer might be measured on the number of lines of code written a day or on the number of lines written that require no corrections upon testing. Activity measures of performance assess work inputs in respect to activities tried and efforts expended. These are often used when output measures are diffi cult and in cases where certain activities are known to be good predictors of eventual performance success. An example might be the use of number of customer visits made per day by a salesperson, instead of or in addition to counting the number of actual sales made.

Performance Measurement Methods The formal procedure for measuring and documenting a person’s work perfor- mance is often called performance appraisal or performance assessment. As might be expected, there are a variety of alternative performance measurement methods. They each have strengths and weaknesses that make them more appro- priate for use in some situations than others.13

Comparative Methods Comparative methods of performance measure- ment seek to identify one worker’s standing relative to others. Ranking is the simplest approach and is done by rank ordering each individual from best to worst on overall performance or on specifi c performance dimensions. Although relatively simple to use, this method can be diffi cult when there are many people to consider. An alternative is the paired comparison in which each person is directly compared with every other person being rated. Each person’s fi nal ranking is determined by the number of pairs for which they emerged the “winner.” This method also gets quite complicated when there are many people to compare.

Another alternative is forced distribution. This method forces a set percent- age of all persons being evaluated into predetermined performance categories such as outstanding, good, average, and poor. For example, it might be that a team leader must assign 10 percent of members to “outstanding,” another 10 percent to “poor,” and another 40 percent each to “good” and “average.” This method elimi- nates tendencies to rate everyone about the same.

Rating Scales Graphic rating scales list a variety of performance dimen- sions that an individual is expected to exhibit. The scales allow the manager to assign the individual scores on each dimension. The example in Figure 6.3 shows

• Output measures of performance assess

achievements in terms of actual work results.

• Activity measures of performance assess inputs

in terms of work efforts.

• Ranking in performance appraisal

orders each person from best to worst.

• Paired comparison in performance appraisal

compares each person with every other.

• Forced distribution in performance appraisal

forces a set percentage of persons into pre- determined rating

categories. • Graphic rating scales in performance appraisal assigns scores to specifi c performance dimensions.

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Motivation and Performance Management 129

that the primary appeal of graphic rating scales is ease of use. But, because of generality they may lack real performance links to a given job.

The behaviorally anchored rating scale (BARS) adds more sophistication by linking ratings to specifi c and observable job-relevant behaviors. These include descriptions of superior and inferior performance. A sample BARS for a customer service representative is shown in Figure 6.4. Note the specifi city of the behaviors and the scale values for each. Similar behaviorally anchored scales would be developed for other dimensions of the job. Even though the BARS approach is detailed and complex, and requires time to develop, it can provide specifi c behav- ioral information useful for both evaluation and development purposes.14

Critical Incident Diary Critical incident diaries are written records that give examples of a person’s work behavior that leads to either unusual performance

• The behaviorally anchored rating scale links performance ratings to specifi c and observable job-relevant behaviors.

• Critical incident diaries record actual examples of positive and negative work behaviors and results.

Employee: Supervisor:

Department: Date:

Work Quantity Work Quality Cooperation

Far below average Below average Average Above average Far above average

Far below average Below average Average Above average

Far above average Far above average

✓ ✓

✓ 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

1. 2. 3. 4.

Figure 6.3 Sample six-month performance reviews using graphic rating scale.

Figure 6.4 Sample performance appraisal dimension from the behaviorally anchored rating scale for a customer service representative.

Outstanding performance

5 If a customer has defective merchandise that is not the responsibility

of the store, you can expect this representative to help the customer arrange for the needed repairs elsewhere.

You can expect this representative to help a customer by sharing complete information on the store’s policies on returns.

After fi nishing with a request, you can expect this representative pleasantly to encourage a customer to “shop again” in the store.

You can expect this representative to delay a customer without explanation while working on other things.

You can expect this representative to treat a customer rudely and with disrespect.

Unsatisfactory performance

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130 6 Motivation and Performance

success or failure. The incidents are typically recorded in a diary-type log that is kept daily or weekly under predetermined dimensions. This approach is excellent for employee development and feedback. But because it consists of qualitative statements rather than quantitative ratings, it is more debatable as an evaluation tool. This is why the critical incident technique is often used in combination with one of the other methods.

360� Evaluation To obtain as much performance information as possible, many organizations now use a combination of evaluations from a person’s bosses,

That is a conclusion of a research study by Joseph M. Stauffer and M. Ronald Buckley reported in a recent Journal of Applied Psychology. The authors point out that it is important to have performance criteria and supervisory ratings that are free of bias. They cite a meta-analysis by Kraiger and Ford (1985) that showed White raters tended to rate White employees more favorably than Black employees, while Black raters rated Blacks more favorably than Whites. They also cite a later study by Sackett and DuBois (1991) that disputed the fi nding that raters tended to favor members of their own racial groups.

In their study, Stauffer and Buckley reanalyzed the Sackett and DuBois data to pursue in more depth the possible interactions between rater and ratee race. The data included samples of military and civilian workers, each of whom was rated by Black and White supervisors. Their fi ndings are that in both samples White supervisors gave signifi cantly higher ratings to

White workers than they did to Black workers, while Black supervisors also tended to favor White workers in their ratings.

Stauffer and Buckley advise caution in interpreting these results as meaning that the rating differences are the result of racial prejudice; instead they maintain that the data aren’t suffi cient to address this issue. The researchers call for additional studies designed to further examine both the existence of bias in supervisory ratings and the causes of such bias. In terms of workplace implications, however, the authors are quite defi nitive: “If you are a White ratee then it doesn’t matter if your supervisor is Black or White. If you are a Black ratee, then it is impor- tant whether your supervisor is Black or White.”

Racial Bias May Exist in Supervisor Ratings of Workers

Do the Research These fi ndings raise questions that certainly deserve answering. Can you design a research study that could discover whether or not racial bias affects instructor ratings of students? Also, when you bring this issue up with family and friends, do their experiences seem to support or deny the fi ndings reported here?

Source: Joseph M. Stauffer and M. Ronald Buckley, “The Existence and Nature of Racial Bias in Supervisory Ratings,” Journal of Applied Psychology 90 (2005), pp. 586–591. Also cited: K. Kraiger and J. K. Ford, “A Meta-analysis of Ratee Race Effects in Perfor- mance Ratings,” Journal of Applied Psychology 70 (1985), pp. 56–65; and, P. R. Sackett and C. L. Z. DuBois, “Rater-Ratee Race Effects on Performance Evaluations: Challenging Meta-Analytic Conclusions,” Journal of Applied Psychology 76 (1991), pp. 873–877.

White Supervisor

Black Supervisor

White Worker Black Worker

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Motivation and Job Design 131

When it comes to motivation, we might say that nothing beats a good person–job fi t. This means that the job requirements fi t well with individual abilities and needs. By contrast, a poor person–job fi t is likely to cause performance problems and be somewhat demotivating for the worker. You might think of the goal this way:

Person 1 Good Job Fit 5 Motivation

Job design is the process through which managers plan and specify job tasks and the work arrangements that allow them to be accomplished.17 Figure 6.5 shows three major alternative job design approaches, and also indicates how they differ in how tasks are defi ned and in the availability of intrinsic rewards. The

• Job design is the process of specifying job tasks and work arrangements.

LEARNING ROADMAP Scientifi c Management / Job Enlargement and Job Rotation / Job Enrichment / Job Characteristics Model

peers, and subordinates, as well as internal and external customers and self- ratings. Such a comprehensive approach is called a 360� evaluation, and it is very common now in horizontal and team-oriented organization structures.15 The 3608 evaluation has also moved online with software that both collects and organizes the results of ratings from multiple sources. A typical approach asks the jobholder to do a self-rating and then discuss with the boss and perhaps a sample of the 3608 participants the implications from both evaluation and coun- seling perspectives.

Performance Measurement Errors Regardless of the method being employed, any performance measurement sys- tem should meet two criteria: reliability—providing consistent results each time it is used for the same person and situation, and validity—actually measuring dimensions with direct relevance to job performance. The following are examples of measurement errors that can reduce the reliability or validity of any perfor- mance measure.16

• Halo error—results when one person rates another person on several different dimensions and gives a similar rating for each dimension.

• Leniency error—just as some professors are known as “easy A’s,” some managers tend to give relatively high ratings to virtually everyone under their supervision; the opposite is strictness error—giving everyone a low rating.

• Central tendency error—occurs when managers lump everyone together around the average, or middle, category; this gives the impression that there are no very good or very poor performers on the dimensions being rated.

• Recency error—occurs when a rater allows recent events to infl uence a performance rating over earlier events; an example is being critical of an employee who is usually on time but shows up one hour late for work the day before his or her performance rating.

• Personal bias error—displays expectations and prejudices that fail to give the jobholder complete respect, such as showing racial bias in ratings.

• A 360� evaluation gathers evaluations from a jobholder’s bosses, peers, and subordinates, as well as internal and external customers and self-ratings.

• Reliability means a performance measure gives consistent results. • Validity means a performance measure addresses job-relevant dimensions.

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132 6 Motivation and Performance

“best” job design is always one that meets organizational requirements for high performance, offers a good fi t with individual skills and needs, and provides val- ued opportunities for job satisfaction.

Scientifi c Management The history of scholarly interest in job design can be traced in part to Frederick Taylor’s work with scientifi c management in the early 1900s.18 Taylor and his contemporaries wanted to create management and organizational practices that would increase people’s effi ciency at work. Their approach was to study a job carefully, break it into its smallest components, establish exact time and motion requirements for each task to be done, and then train workers to do these tasks in the same way over and over again. Taylor’s principles of scientifi c management can be summarized as follows:

1. Develop a “science” for each job that covers rules of motion, standard work tools, and supportive work conditions.

2. Hire workers with the right abilities for the job. 3. Train and motivate workers to do their jobs according to the science. 4. Support workers by planning and assisting their work using the job science.

These early efforts were forerunners of current industrial engineering approaches to job design that emphasize effi ciency. Such approaches attempt to determine the best processes, methods, workfl ow layouts, output standards, and person–machine interfaces for various jobs. A good example is found at United Parcel Service (UPS), where calibrated productivity standards carefully guide workers. After analyzing delivery stops on regular van routes, supervisors gener- ally know within a few minutes how long a driver’s pickups and deliveries will take. Engineers devise precise routines for drivers, who save time by knocking on customers’ doors rather than looking for doorbells. Handheld computers further enhance delivery effi ciencies.

Today, the term job simplifi cation is used to describe a scientifi c manage- ment approach to job design that standardizes work procedures and employs people in routine, clearly defi ned, and highly specialized tasks. The machine- paced automobile assembly line is a classic example. Why is it used? The answer is increased operating effi ciency gained by reducing the number of skills required to do a job, being able to hire low-cost labor, keeping the needs for job training

• Taylor’s scientifi c management used

systematic study of job components to develop

practices to increase people’s effi ciency at work.

• Job simplifi cation standardizes work to create clearly defi ned and highly

specialized tasks.

Job simplification

Job enrichment

Job enlargement and rotation

Low Moderate High

Intrinsic work rewards

High Moderate Low

Task specialization Figure 6.5 A continuum of job design strategies.

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Motivation and Job Design 133

Burgers and Benefi ts Are Good at

In- N-Out Burger The work is typical fast-food routine, but the California-based hamburger chain pays employees above-average salaries, gives part-timers paid vacation, and provides full-timers with 401(K) and health insurance plans. Most managers come from the ranks, and the fi rm has one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry.

to a minimum, and emphasizing the accomplishment of repetitive tasks. But, the very nature of such jobs creates potential disadvantages as well—lower work quality, high rates of absenteeism and turnover, and demand for higher wages to compensate for unappealing jobs. One response to such problems is replacing people with technology. In automobile manufacturing, for example, robots now do many different kinds of work previously accomplished with human labor.

Job Enlargement and Job Rotation Although job simplifi cation makes the limited number of tasks easier to master, the repetitiveness can reduce motivation. This has prompted alternative job design approaches that try to make jobs more interesting by adding breadth to the variety of tasks performed.

Job enlargement increases task variety by combining into one job two or more tasks that were previously assigned to separate workers. Sometimes called horizontal loading, this approach increases job breadth by having the worker perform more and different tasks, but all at the same level of respon- sibility and challenge.

Job rotation increases task variety by periodically shifting workers among jobs involving different tasks. Also a form of horizontal-loading, the responsibility level of the tasks stays the same. The rotation can be arranged according to almost any time schedule, such as hourly, daily, or weekly schedules. An impor- tant benefi t of job rotation is training. It allows workers to become more familiar with different tasks and increases the fl exibility with which they can be moved from one job to another.

Job Enrichment A third job design alternative traces back to Frederick Herzberg’s two-factor theory of motivation described in Chapter 5. This theory suggests that jobs designed on the basis of simplifi cation, enlargement, or rotation shouldn’t be expected to deliver high levels of motivation.19 “Why,” asks Herzberg, “should a worker become motivated when one or more ‘meaningless’ tasks are added to previously existing ones or when work assignments are rotated among equally ‘meaningless’ tasks?” He recommends using job enrichment to build high- content jobs full of motivating factors such as responsibility, achievement, rec- ognition, and personal growth.

• Job enlargement increases task variety by combining into one job two or more tasks that were previously assigned to separate workers. • Job rotation increases task variety by periodically shifting workers among jobs involving different tasks.

• Job enrichment builds high-content jobs that involve planning and evaluating duties normally done by supervisors.

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134 6 Motivation and Performance

The content changes made possible by job enrichment involve what Herzberg calls vertical loading to increase job depth. This essentially means that planning and evaluating tasks normally performed by supervisors are pulled down into the job to make it bigger. Such enriched jobs, he believes, satisfy higher-order needs and increase motivation to achieve high levels of job performance.

Job Characteristics Model OB scholars have been reluctant to recommend job enrichment as a universal solution to all job performance and satisfaction problems, particularly given the many individual differences among people at work. Their answer to the question “Is job enrichment for everyone?” is a clear “No.” Present thinking focuses more on a diagnostic approach to job design developed by Richard Hackman and Greg Oldham.20 Their job characteristics model provides a data-based approach for creating job designs with good person–job fi ts that maximize the potential for motivation and performance.

Core Characteristics Figure 6.6 shows how the Hackman and Oldham model informs the process of job design. The higher a job scores on each of these fi ve core characteristics, the higher its motivational potential and the more it is con- sidered to be enriched.21

• Skill variety—the degree to which a job includes a variety of different activities and involves the use of a number of different skills and talents

• Task identity—the degree to which the job requires completion of a “whole” and identifi able piece of work, one that involves doing a job from beginning to end with a visible outcome

• Task signifi cance—the degree to which the job is important and involves a meaningful contribution to the organization or society in general

• Autonomy—the degree to which the job gives the employee substantial freedom, independence, and discretion in scheduling the work and determin- ing the procedures used in carrying it out

• Job feedback—the degree to which carrying out the work activities provides direct and clear information to the employee regarding how well the job has been done

Psychological Empowerment A job’s motivating potential can be raised by combining tasks to create larger jobs, opening feedback channels to enable work- ers to know how well they are doing, establishing client relationships to experi- ence such feedback directly from customers, and employing vertical loading to create more planning and controlling responsibilities. When the core characteris- tics are enriched in these ways, the job creates what is often called psychologi- cal empowerment—a sense of personal fulfi llment and purpose that arouses one’s feelings of competency and commitment to the work.22 Figure 6.6 identifi es three critical psychological states that have a positive impact on individual moti- vation, performance, and satisfaction: (1) experienced meaningfulness of the work, (2) experienced responsibility for the outcomes of the work, and (3) knowl- edge of actual results of the work.

• Psychological empowerment is a sense of personal fulfi llment and purpose that arouses one’s

feelings of competency and commitment to work.

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Motivation and Job Design 135

Moderator Variables The fi ve core job characteristics do not affect all peo- ple in the same way. Rather than accept Herzberg’s implication that enriched jobs should be good for everyone, Hackman and Oldham suggest that enriched jobs will lead to positive outcomes only for those persons who are a good match for them, the person–job fi t again. When the fi t between the person and an enriched job is poor, positive outcomes are less likely and problems are more likely. “Fit” in the job characteristics model is viewed from the perspec- tive of three moderators shown in Figure 6.6.

The fi rst moderator variable is growth-need strength, or the degree to which a person desires the opportunity for self-direction, learning, and personal accom- plishment at work. It is similar to Abraham Maslow’s esteem and self-actualization needs and Alderfer’s growth needs, as discussed in Chapter 5. The expectation here is that people high in growth-need strengths will respond positively to enriched jobs, whereas people low in growth-need strengths will fi nd enriched jobs to be sources of anxiety.

The second moderator is knowledge and skill. People whose capabilities fi t the demands of enriched jobs are predicted to feel good about them and perform well. Those who are inadequate or who feel inadequate in this regard are likely to experience diffi culties. The third moderator is context satisfaction, or the extent to which an employee is satisfi ed with aspects of the work setting such as salary levels, quality of supervision, relationships with co-workers, and working condi- tions. In general, people who are satisfi ed with job context are more likely to do well in enriched jobs.

Research Questions and Answers Experts generally agree that the job characteristics model and its diagnostic approach are useful, although not perfect, guides to job design.23 One note of caution is raised by Gerald Salan- cik and Jeffrey Pfeffer, who question whether jobs have stable and objective

Core job characteristics

Individual work outcomes

Skill variety

Task identity

Task significance

High intrinsic work motivation

High-quality work performance

High satisfaction with the work

Low absenteeism and turnover

Critical psychological states

Experienced meaningfulness of the work Experienced responsibility for outcomes of the work Knowledge of actual results of the work

Growth-need strength

Knowledge and skill

“Context” satisfaction

Figure 6.6 Job design considerations according to the job characteristics theory.

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136 6 Motivation and Performance

characteristics to which individuals respond predictably and consis- tently.24 Instead, they view job design from the perspective of social information processing theory. This theory argues that individual needs, task perceptions, and reactions are a result of socially con- structed realities. Suppose that several of your friends tell you that the instructor for a course is bad, the content is boring, and the

requirements involve too much work. You may then think that the critical characteristics of the class are the instructor, the content, and the workload, and that they are all bad. All of this may substantially infl uence the way you perceive your instructor and the course, and the way you deal with the class— regardless of the actual characteristics.

Finally, research suggests the following answers for two common questions about job enrichment and its applications. Should everyone’s job be enriched? The answer is clearly no. The logic of individual differences suggests that not every- one will want an enriched job. Individuals most likely to have positive reactions to job enrichment are those who need achievement, who exhibit a strong work ethic, or who are seeking higher-order growth-need satisfaction at work. Job enrichment also appears to work best when the job context is positive and when workers have the abilities needed to do the enriched job. Costs, technological constraints, and workgroup or union opposition may also make it diffi cult to enrich some jobs. Can job enrichment apply to groups? The answer is yes. The self-managing teams discussed in Chapter 7 are good examples.

New work arrangements are reshaping the traditional 40-hour week, with its 9-to-5 schedules and work done at the company or place of business. Virtually all such plans are designed to improve satisfaction by helping employees balance the demands of their work and nonwork lives.25 They are important as concerns for “work–life balance” and more “family-friendly” employers are growing ever more apparent. If you have any doubts at all, consider these facts: 78 percent of Amer- ican couples are dual wage earners; 63 percent believe they don’t have enough time for spouses and partners; 74 percent believe they don’t have enough time

LEARNING ROADMAP Compressed Workweeks / Flexible Working Hours / Job Sharing / Telecommuting / Part-Time Work

Craft Work Leads to Personal

Fulfi llment at Phoenix Bats Charlie Trudeau used to make baseball bats for himself and his friends. Now major leaguers are his customers. Each bat is made by hand out of carefully selected wood and designed to the player’s needs. Says Charlie, “it’s got to have the right feel, it’s got to have the right center of balance, and . . . there is no perfect design.”

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Alternative Work Schedules 137

for their children; 35 percent are spending time caring for elderly relatives. Both Baby Boomers (87%) and Gen Ys (89%) rate fl exible work as important; they also want opportunities to work remotely at least part of the time—Boomers (63%) and Gen Ys (69%).26

Compressed Workweeks A compressed workweek is any scheduling of work that allows a full-time job to be completed in fewer than the standard fi ve days. The most common form of compressed workweek is the “4/40,” or 40 hours of work accomplished in four 10-hour days.

This arrangement has many possible benefi ts. For the worker, additional time off provides increased leisure time, three-day weekends, free weekdays to pursue personal business, and lower commuting costs. For the organization there may be less absenteeism and improved recruiting of new employees.27 But there are potential disadvantages as well. Individuals can experience increased fatigue from the extended workday and have family adjustment problems. Work schedul- ing can be more complicated for the organization, and customers may complain because of breaks in work coverage. Union opposition to the longer workday is also a possibility, and laws requiring payment of overtime for work exceeding 8 hours of individual labor in any one day.

Flexible Working Hours Another innovative work schedule, fl exible work- ing hours or fl extime, gives individuals a daily choice in the timing of their work commitments. A typical schedule requires employees to work cer- tain hours of “core” time but leaves them free to choose their remaining hours from fl exible time blocks. One person, for example, may start early and leave early, whereas another may start later and leave later.

All top 100 companies in Working Mother maga- zine’s list of best employers for working moms offer fl exible scheduling. Reports indicate that fl exibility in dealing with nonwork obligations reduces stress and unwanted job turnover.28 It can help reduce absenteeism, tardiness, and turnover for the organi- zation, and can also raise organizational commit- ment and performance by workers. It is a way for dual-career couples to handle children’s schedules as well as their own; it is a way to meet the demands of caring for elderly parents or ill family members; it is even a way to better attend to such personal affairs as medical and dental appointments, home emer- gencies, banking needs, and so on.

• A compressed workweek allows a full-time job to be completed in fewer than the standard fi ve days.

• Flexible working hours gives individuals some amount of choice in scheduling their daily work hours.

How Employers Can Beat the Mommy Drain

It’s no secret that more and more employers are turning to fl exibility in work schedules to better accommodate today’s workers. Among them, Accenture and Booz Allen Hamilton are taking special steps to make sure they can attract and retain talented working mothers. Here is a selection of ways top employers are counteracting the “Mommy drain,” and respond- ing to Daddy’s needs as well.

• Offer increased pay and extended time for maternity leave.

• Offer increased pay and extended time for parental leave.

• Allow employee pay set-asides to buy more time for maternal and parental leave.

• Create alternative and challenging jobs that require less travel.

• Make sure pay for performance plans do not discriminate against those on maternal or parental leave.

• Set up mentoring and networking systems to support working parents.

• Make sure new mothers feel they are wanted back at work.

• Keep in contact with employees on maternity and parental leaves.

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138 6 Motivation and Performance

Job Sharing In job sharing, one full-time job is assigned to two or more persons who then divide the work according to agreed-upon hours. Often, each person works half a day, but job sharing can also be done on a weekly or monthly basis. Organiza- tions benefi t from job sharing when they can attract talented people who would otherwise be unable to work. An example is the qualifi ed teacher who also is a parent. This person may be able to work only half a day. Through job sharing, two such persons can be employed to teach one class. Some job sharers report less burnout and claim that they feel recharged each time they report for work. The tricky part of this arrangement is fi nding two people who will work well with each other.

Job sharing should not be confused with something called work sharing. This occurs when workers agree to cut back on the number of hours they work in order to protect against layoffs. In the recent economic crisis, for example, workers in some organizations agreed to voluntarily reduce their paid hours worked so that others would not lose their jobs. Many employers tried to manage the crisis with an involuntary form of work sharing. An exam- ple is Pella Windows which went to a four-day workweek for some 3,900 workers to avoid layoffs.29

Telecommuting Technology has enabled yet another alternative work arrangement that is now highly visible in many employment sectors ranging from higher education to government, and from manufacturing to services. Telecommuting is work done at home or in a remote location via the use of computers and advanced telecom- munications linkages with a central offi ce or other employment locations. And it’s popular; the number of workers who are telecommuting is growing daily, with corporate telecommuters now numbering at least 9 million.30

When asked what they like, telecommuters report increased productivity, fewer distractions, the freedom to be their own boss, and the benefi t of hav- ing more time for themselves. Potential advantages also include more fl exibil- ity, the comforts of home, and being able to live and work in locations con- sistent with one’s lifestyle. But there are potential negatives as well. Some telecommuters report working too much while having diffi culty separating work and personal life.31 Other complaints include not being considered as important as other workers, isolation from co-workers, decreased identifi ca- tion with the work team, and even the interruptions of everyday family affairs. One telecommuter says: “You have to have self-discipline and pride in what you do, but you also have to have a boss that trusts you enough to get out of the way.”32

Part-Time Work Part-time work has become an increasingly prominent and controversial work arrangement. In temporary part-time work an employee works only when needed and for less than the standard 40-hour workweek. Some choose this schedule because they like it. But others are involuntary part-timers who would prefer a

• In job sharing one full-time job is split

between two or more persons who divide the

work according to agreed- upon hours.

• Work sharing is when employees agree to work

fewer hours to avoid layoffs.

• Telecommuting is work done at home or from a

remote location using computers and advanced


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Key Questions and Answers 139

full-time work schedule but do not have access to one. Someone doing perma- nent part-time work is considered a “permanent” member of the workforce, although still working fewer hours than the standard 40-hour week.

A part-time work schedule can be a benefi t to people who want to sup- plement other jobs or who want something less than a full workweek for a variety of personal reasons. But there are downsides. When a person holds multiple part-time jobs, the work burdens can be stressful; performance may suffer on the job, and spillover effects to family and leisure time can be nega- tive. Also, part-timers often fail to qualify for fringe benefi ts such as health care insurance and retirement plans. And they may be paid less than their full- time counterparts.

Many employers use part-time work to hold down labor costs and to help smooth out peaks and valleys in the business cycle. Temporary part-timers are easily released and hired as needs dictate; during diffi cult business times they will most likely be laid off before full-timers. The use of part- timers is growing as today’s employers try to cut back labor costs. In just one year the number of involuntary part-time workers grew from 4.5 million to 9 million.33

6 study guide Key Questions and AnswersWhat is the link between motivation, performance, and rewards?

• The integrated model of motivation brings together insights from content, process, and learning theories around the basic effort n performance n reward linkage.

• Reward systems emphasize a mix of intrinsic rewards—such as a sense of achieve- ment from completing a challenging task, and extrinsic rewards—such as receiving a pay increase.

• Pay for performance systems takes a variety of forms, including merit pay, gain-sharing and profi t-sharing plans, stock options, and employee stock ownership.

Telecommuter Community Forms

at Jelly Columbus A “jelly” is a co-worker community—people who meet together to do individual work in public places like libraries or coffee shops rather than at home. Jody Dzuranin of the Columbus, Ohio, Jelly says: “I call it study hall for adults . . . a nice mix of interacting in person and getting your work done silently.”

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140 6 Motivation and Performance

What are the essentials of performance management?

• Performance management is the process of managing performance measurement and the variety of human resource decisions associated with such measurement.

• Performance measurement serves both an evaluative purpose for reward allocation and a development purpose for future performance improvement.

• Performance measurement can be done using output measures of performance accomplishment or activity measures of performance efforts.

• The ranking, paired comparison, and forced-distribution approaches are examples of comparative performance appraisal methods.

• The graphic rating scale and the behaviorally anchored rating scale use individual ratings on personal and performance characteristics to appraise performance.

• 3608 appraisals involve the full circle of contacts a person may have in job performance—from bosses to peers to subordinates to internal and external customers.

• Common performance measurement errors include halo errors, central tendency errors, recency errors, personal bias errors, and cultural bias errors.

How do job designs infl uence motivation and performance?

• Job design by scientifi c management or job simplifi cation standardizes work and employs people in clearly defi ned and specialized tasks.

• Job enlargement increases task variety by combining two or more tasks previously assigned to separate workers; job rotation increases task variety by periodically rotating workers among jobs involving different tasks; job enrichment builds bigger and more responsible jobs by adding planning and evaluating duties.

• The job characteristics model offers a diagnostic approach to job enrichment based on analysis of fi ve core job characteristics: skill variety, task identity, task signifi cance, autonomy, and feedback.

• The job characteristics model does not assume that everyone wants an enriched job; it indicates that job enrichment will be more successful for persons with high growth needs, requisite job skills, and context satisfaction.

What are the motivational opportunities of alternative work arrangements?

• The compressed workweek allows a full-time workweek to be completed in fewer than fi ve days, typically offering four 10-hour days of work and three days free.

• Flexible working hours allow employees some daily choice in scheduling core and fl ex time.

• Job sharing occurs when two or more people divide one full-time job according to agreements among themselves and the employer.

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Self-Test 6 141

Terms to Know Activity measures (p. 128) Behaviorally anchored rating

scale (p. 129) Bonuses (p. 126) Compressed workweek (p. 137) Critical incident diaries (p. 129) Employee stock ownership

plans (p. 126) Extrinsic rewards (p. 123) Flexible working hours (p. 137) Forced distribution (p. 128) Gain sharing (p. 126)

Graphic rating scales (p. 128) Intrinsic rewards (p. 123) Job design (p. 131) Job enlargement (p. 133) Job enrichment (p. 133) Job rotation (p. 133) Job sharing (p. 138) Job simplifi cation (p. 132) Merit pay (p. 124) Motivation (p. 122) Output measures (p. 128) Paired comparison (p. 128)

Performance-contingent pay (p. 124) Profi t sharing (p. 126) Psychological empowerment (p. 134) Ranking (p. 128) Reliability (p. 131) Scientifi c management (p. 132) Skill-based pay (p. 126) Stock options (p. 126) Telecommuting (p. 138) 3608 evaluation (p. 131) Validity (p. 131) Work sharing (p. 138)

Self-Test 6 Multiple Choice 1. In the integrated model of motivation, what predicts effort? (a) rewards (b) organiza-

tional support (c) ability (d) motivation

2. Pay is generally considered a/an ____________ reward, while a sense of personal growth experienced from working at a task is an example of a/an ____________ reward. (a) extrinsic, skill-based (b) skill-based, intrinsic (c) extrinsic, intrinsic (d) absolute, comparative

3. If someone improves productivity by developing a new work process and receives a portion of the productivity savings as a monetary reward, this is an example of a/an ____________ pay plan. (a) cost-sharing (b) gain-sharing (c) ESOP (d) stock option

4. Performance measurement serves both evaluation and ____________ purposes. (a) reward allocation (b) counseling (c) discipline (d) benefi ts calculations

5. Which form of performance assessment is an example of the comparative approach? (a) forced distribution (b) graphic rating scale (c) BARS (d) critical incident diary

• Telecommuting involves work at home or at a remote location while communicating with the home offi ce as needed via computer and related technologies.

• Part-time work requires less than a 40-hour workweek and can be done on a temporary or permanent schedule.

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142 6 Motivation and Performance

6. If a performance assessment method fails to accurately measure a person’s perfor- mance on actual job content, it lacks ____________. (a) performance contingency (b) leniency (c) validity (d) strictness

7. A written record that describes in detail various examples of a person’s positive and negative work behaviors is most likely part of which performance appraisal method? (a) forced distribution (b) critical incident diary (c) paired comparison (d) graphic rating scale

8. When a team leader evaluates the performance of all team members as “average,” the possibility for ____________ error in the performance appraisal is quite high. (a) personal bias (b) recency (c) halo (d) central tendency

9. Job simplifi cation is closely associated with ____________ as originally developed by Frederick Taylor. (a) vertical loading (b) horizontal loading (c) scientifi c manage- ment (d) self-effi cacy

10. Job ____________ increases job ____________ by combining into one job several tasks of similar diffi culty. (a) rotation, depth (b) enlargement, depth (c) rotation, breadth (d) enlargement, breadth

11. If a manager redesigns a job through vertical loading, she would most likely ____________. (a) bring tasks from earlier in the workfl ow into the job (b) bring tasks from later in the workfl ow into the job (c) bring higher level or managerial responsibilities into the job (d) raise the standards for high performance

12. In the job characteristics model, a person will be most likely to fi nd an enriched job motivating if he or she ____________. (a) receives stock options (b) has ability and support (c) is unhappy with job context (d) has strong growth needs

13. In the job characteristics model, ____________ indicates the degree to which an individual is able to make decisions affecting his or her work. (a) task variety (b) task identity (c) task signifi cance (d) autonomy

14. When a job allows a person to do a complete unit of work, for example, process an insurance claim from point of receipt from the customer to the point of fi nal resolution, it would be considered high on which core characteristic? (a) task identity (b) task signifi cance (c) task autonomy (d) feedback

15. The “4/40” is a type of ____________ work arrangement. (a) compressed workweek (b) “allow workers to change machine confi gurations to make different products” (c) job-sharing (d) permanent part-time

Short Response 16. Explain how a 3608 evaluation works as a performance appraisal approach.

17. Explain the difference between halo errors and recency errors in performance assessment.

18. What role does growth-need strength play in the job characteristics model?

19. What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of a compressed workweek?

Applications Essay 20. Choose a student organization on your campus. Discuss in detail how the concepts

and ideas in this chapter could be applied in various ways to improve motivation and performance among its members.

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Next Steps 143

• Perfect Pizzeria • Hovey and Beard

• My Fantasy Job • My Best Job • Tinkertoys • Job Design Preferences

• Personal Values • Are You Cosmopolitan? • Managerial Assumptions • Twenty-fi rst Century

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Whole Foods: Teaming Up for Success

Only two things unite the more than 300 Whole Foods Market locations: coordinated teamwork and the infl ex- ible rule that all food sold must be free from artifi cial additives, sweeteners, colorings, and preservatives.a The rest is up to the individual stores. This balance between dogma and freedom permits stores to make decisions based on the input from their local teams instead of solely taking orders from corporate honchos. At Whole Foods, department members work as a team. Teams within stores operate as a team. Parallel departments in regional stores team up. And all stores within each of Whole Foods’ 12 regions work as a team.

While Whole Foods does have a core management team, led by founder John Mackey and co-president Walter Robb, the regions operate largely free from corporate interference. Every store becomes local, and individual departments have license to develop personalities. Each market is free to act like a neighborhood store that just happens to be part of a huge franchise.

John Moore, former National Marketing Director of Whole Foods, identifi es a “Libertarian” theme of management running through the company. “[Whole Foods] operates under the

belief stores should have the freedom to meet the needs of its unique customers and team members.”b

Each district, headed by its own president, oversees most of the corporate functions you’d expect to be run from a com- pany’s world headquarters, like marketing, HR, and payroll. Districts procure most of their stores’ products and customize new-employee training to fi t their own personalities. In doing so, districts operate with the nimbleness of a regionally sized company but benefi t from consumers’ loyalty to a well-loved national brand.c

Walter Robb thinks that the glue binding the employees, stores, and regions is Whole Foods’ unique corporate culture. “When people copy us,” he says, “they can copy our fi xtures and design, but they can’t chase the culture because they’re chasing a shadow.”d

“Culture is our secret weapon.” —Walter Robb, co-president of Whole Foods.e

FYI: Whole Foods is proud of the diversity its employees represent. In one Atlanta store, employees speak over 50 languages.f

• John Mackey opened the fi rst Whole Foods Market in Austin, Texas, in 1980. The company now operates more than 300 locations in the United States and the United Kingdom.

• Instead of relying solely on top-down management, Whole Foods divides the stores into 12 districts, granting them autonomy over most purchasing and managerial decisions.

• Stores and the departments within are organized into teams. Whole Foods encourages each to develop unique local personalities and cater to their specifi c neighborhoods.

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7 Teams in Organizations the key point

The Whole Foods story highlights how organizations can benefi t from teams and teamwork. Teams that achieve synergy bring out the best in their members in respect to performance, creativity, and enthusiasm. But we all know that teamwork isn’t always easy and that teams sometimes underperform. Anyone seeking career success must be prepared to work well in a wide variety of team settings.

What Are Teams and How Are They Used in Organizations?

When Is a Team Effective?

What Are the Stages of Team Development?

How Can We Understand Teams at Work?





synergy is the goal

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146 7 Teams in Organizations

Head’s Up—Don’t Forget These “Must-Have” Contributions by Team Members

• Putting personal talents to work.

• Encouraging and motivating others.

• Accepting sugges- tions.

• Listening to different points of view.

• Communicating information and ideas.

• Persuading others to cooperate.

• Resolving and negotiating confl ict.

• Building consensus.

• Fulfi lling commitments.

• Avoiding disruptive acts and words.

The fact is that there is a lot more to teamwork than simply assigning members to the same group, calling it a “team,” appointing someone as “team leader,” and then expecting them all to do a great job.1 That’s part of the lesson in the opening example of Whole Foods. And it is a good introduction to the four chapters in this part of the book that are devoted to an understanding of teams and team processes. As the discussion begins, it helps to remember that the

responsibilities for building high-performance teams rest not only with the manager, coach, or team leader, but also with the team members themselves. If you look now at the sidebar, you’ll fi nd a checklist of several must-have team contri- butions, the types of things that team members and leaders can do to help their teams achieve high performance.2

Teams and Teamwork When we think of the word “team,” a variety of popular sporting teams might fi rst come to mind, perhaps a favorite from the college ranks or from the professional leagues. For a moment, let’s stick with basketball.

Scene—NBA Basketball: Scholars fi nd that both good and bad basketball teams win more games the longer the players have been to- gether. Why? They claim it’s a “teamwork ef- fect” that creates wins because players know each other’s moves and playing tendencies.3

Let’s not forget that teams are important in work settings as well. And whether or not a team lives up to expectations can have a major impact on how well its customers and clients are served.

Scene—Hospital Operating Room: Scholars notice that the same heart surgeons have lower death rates for similar procedures when performed in hospitals where they do more operations. Why? They claim it’s because the doctors spend more time working together with members of these surgery teams. The scholars argue it’s not only the surgeon’s skills that count: “the skills of the team, and of the organization, matter.”4

What is going on in these examples? Whereas a group of people milling around a coffee shop counter is just that—a “group” of people—teams like those in the examples are supposed to be something more: “groups�” if you will. That “�” factor is what distinguishes the successful NBA basketball teams from the also-rans and the best surgery teams from all the others.

LEARNING ROADMAP Teams and Teamwork / What Teams Do / Organizations as Networks of Teams / Cross-Functional and Problem-Solving Teams / Self-Managing Teams / Virtual Teams

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Teams in Organizations 147

In OB we defi ne a team as a group of people brought together to use their complementary skills to achieve a common purpose for which they are collec- tively accountable.5 Real teamwork occurs when team members accept and live up to their collective accountability by actively working together so that all their respective skills are best used to achieve team goals.6

What Teams Do When we talk about teams in organizations, one of the fi rst things to recognize is that they do many things and make many types of performance contributions. In general we can describe them as teams that recommend things, run things, and make or do things.7

Some teams make or do things

Some teams recommend things

Some teams run things

Teams that recommend things are set up to study specifi c problems and rec- ommend solutions for them. These teams typically work with a target completion date and often disband once the purpose has been fulfi lled. The teams include task forces, ad hoc committees, special project teams, and the like. Members of these teams must be able to learn quickly how to pool talents, work well together, and accomplish the assigned task.

Teams that run things consist of people with the formal responsibility for leading organizations and their component parts. They may exist at all levels of responsibility, from the individual work unit composed of a team leader and team members to the top-management team composed of a CEO and other senior executives. Key issues addressed by top-management teams, for example, include identifying overall organizational purposes, goals, and values, as well as crafting strategies and persuading others to support them.8

Teams that make or do things are work units that perform ongoing tasks such as marketing, sales, systems analysis, or manufacturing. Members of these teams must have effective long-term working relationships with one another, the right technologies and operating systems, and the external support needed to achieve effectiveness over time. They also need energy to keep up the pace and meet the day-to-day challenges of sustained high performance.

Organizations as Networks of Teams When it was time to reengineer its order-to-delivery process to streamline a non- competitive and costly cycle time, Hewlett-Packard turned to a team. In just nine months, they had slashed the time, improved service, and cut costs. How did they do it? Team leader Julie Anderson said: “We took things away: no supervisors, no hierarchy, no titles, no job descriptions . . . the idea was to create a sense of per- sonal ownership.” One team member said, “No individual is going to have the best idea, that’s not the way it works—the best ideas come from the collective intelligence of the team.”9 This isn’t an isolated example. Organizations everywhere are using teams and teamwork to improve performance. And, the catchwords are empowerment, participation, and involvement.

• A team is a group of people holding themselves collectively accountable for using complementary skills to achieve a common purpose. • Teamwork occurs when team members live up to their collective accountability for goal accomplishment.

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148 7 Teams in Organizations

The many formal teams found in organizations are created and offi cially designated to serve specifi c organizational purposes. Some are permanent and ongoing. They appear on organization charts as departments (e.g., market research department), divisions (e.g., consumer products division), or teams (e.g., product-assembly team). Such teams can vary in size from very small departments or teams of just a few people to large divisions employing 100 or more people. Other formal teams are temporary and short lived. They are created to solve spe- cifi c problems or perform defi ned tasks and are then disbanded once the purpose has been accomplished. Examples include temporary committees and task forces.10

One way to view organizations is as interlocking networks of formal teams. On the vertical dimension the manager is a linchpin serving as a team leader at one level and a team member at the next higher level.11 On the horizontal dimen- sion, for example, a customer service team member may also serve on a special task force for new product development and head a committee set up to examine a sexual harassment case.

Organizations also have vast networks of informal groups, ones that emerge and coexist as a shadow to the formal structure and without any assigned pur- pose or offi cial endorsement. As shown in Figure 7.1, these informal groups form through personal relationships and create their own interlocking networks within the organization. Friendship groups, for example, consist of persons with natural affi nities for one another. Their members tend to work together, sit together, take breaks together, and even do things together outside of the workplace. Interest groups consist of persons who share common interests. These may be job-related interests, such as an intense desire to learn more about computers, or nonwork interests, such as community service, sports, or religion.

Although informal groups can be places where people join to complain, spread rumors, and disagree with what is happening in the organization, they can also be quite helpful. Informal networks can speed up workfl ows as people assist each other in ways that cut across the formal structures. They can also help satisfy unmet needs, for example, by providing companionship or a sense of personal importance that is otherwise missing in someone’s formal team assignments.

A tool known as social network analysis is used to identify the informal groups and networks of relationships that are active in an organization. The analy- sis typically asks people to identify co-workers who most often help them, who communicate with them regularly, and who energize and deenergize them. When results are analyzed, social networks are drawn with lines running from person to person according to frequency and type of relationship maintained. This map shows how a lot of work really gets done, in contrast to the formal arrangements depicted on organization charts. Managers can use such information to better under-

• Formal teams are offi cial and designated to serve a specifi c purpose.

• Informal groups are unoffi cial and emerge to

serve special interests.

• Social network analysis identifi es the informal structures and their embedded social

relationships that are active in an organization.

Figure 7.1 The organiza- tion as an interlocking network of informal groups.

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Teams in Organizations 149

stand organizational dynamics, and even to redesign the formal team structure for better performance.

Cross-Functional and Problem-Solving Teams Management scholar Jay Conger calls the organization built around teams and teamwork the management system of the future and the best response to the needs for speed and adaptability in an ever-more-competitive environment.12 He cites the example of an American jet engine manufacturer that changed from a traditional structure of functional work units to one in which people from differ- ent functions worked together in teams. The new approach cut the time required to design and produce new engines by 50 percent. Conger calls such “cross- functional” teams “speed machines.”13

A cross-functional team consists of members brought together from differ- ent functional departments or work units to achieve more horizontal integration and better lateral relations. Members of cross- functional teams are expected to work together with a positive combination of functional expertise and integrative team thinking. The expected result is higher performance driven by the advan- tages of better information and faster decision making.

Cross-functional teams are a way of trying to beat the functional silos prob- lem, also called the functional chimneys problem. It occurs when members of func- tional units stay focused on matters internal to their function and minimize their interactions with members dealing with other functions. In this sense, the functional departments or work teams create artifi cial boundaries, or “silos,” that discourage rather than encourage interaction with other units. The result is poor integration and poor coordination with other parts of the organization. The cross-functional team is a way to break down these barriers by creating a forum in which members from different functions work together as one team with a common purpose.14

Organizations also use any number of problem-solving teams, which are created temporarily to serve a specifi c purpose by dealing with a specifi c prob- lem or opportunity. The president of a company, for example, might convene a task force to examine the possibility of implementing fl exible work hours for employees; a human resource director might bring together a committee to advise her on changes in employee benefi t policies; a project team might be formed to plan and implement a new organizationwide information system.

The term employee involvement team applies to a wide variety of teams whose members meet regularly to collectively examine important workplace

• A cross-functional team has members from different functions or work units.

• The functional silos problem occurs when members of one functional team fail to interact with others from other functional teams.

• A problem-solving team is set up to deal with a specifi c problem or opportunity.

• An employee involvement team meets regularly to address workplace issues.

Teams Aren’t Always Good for

Productivity A Microsoft survey of 38,000 workers worldwide raised concerns about teamwork and productivity. Results showed that the average worker believes 69% of meetings attended were ineffective. 32% of workers complained about poor communication and unclear objectives on their teams; 31% said they were unsure of priorities; 29% said that procrastination was a problem.

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150 7 Teams in Organizations

issues. They might discuss, for example, ways to enhance quality, better satisfy customers, raise productivity, and improve the quality of work life. Such employee involvement teams are supposed to mobilize the full extent of workers’ know-how and experiences for continuous improvements. An example is what some organiza- tions call a quality circle—a small team of persons who meet periodically to dis- cuss and make propsals for ways to improve quality.15

Self-Managing Teams In the last chapter we discussed job enrichment and its implications for individual motivation and performance. Now we can talk about a form of job enrichment for teams.

The self-managing team is a high-involvement workgroup design that is becoming increasingly well established. Sometimes called self-directed work teams, these teams are empowered to make the decisions needed to manage themselves on a day-to-day basis.16 They basically replace traditional work units with teams whose members assume duties otherwise performed by a manager or fi rst-line supervisor. Figure 7.2 shows that members of true self-managing teams make their own decisions about scheduling work, allocating tasks, training for job skills, evaluating performance, selecting new team members, and controlling the quality of work.

Most self-managing teams include between 5 and 15 members. They need to be large enough to provide a good mix of skills and resources but small enough to function effi ciently. Because team members have a lot of discretion in determining

• A quality circle team meets regularly to address

quality issues.

• Self-managing teams are empowered to make

decisions to manage themselves in day-to-day

Middle manager

Top manager

Self-managing team

done by Supervisor Team

• Planning and scheduling work • Assigning of work tasks • Training of workers • Performance evaluation • Quality control

Figure 7.2 Organizational and management implications of self-managing teams.

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Teams in Organizations 151

work pace and in distributing tasks, multiskilling is important. This means that team members are expected to perform many different jobs—even all of the team’s jobs—as needed. Pay is ideally skill-based; the more skills someone masters, the higher the base pay.

The expected benefi ts of self-managing teams include productivity and quality improvements, production fl exibility and faster response to techno- logical change, reduced absenteeism and turnover, and improved work attitudes and quality of work life. But just as with all organizational changes, the shift from traditional work units to self-managing teams may have its diffi culties. It may be hard for some team members to adjust to the “self-managing” responsibilities. And higher-level managers may have problems dealing with the loss of the fi rst- line supervisor positions. Given all this, self-managing teams are probably not right for all organizations, work situations, and people. They have great poten- tial, but they also require a proper setting and a great deal of management sup- port. At a minimum, the essence of any self-managing team—high involvement, participation, and empowerment—must be consistent with the values and cul- ture of the organization.

Virtual Teams It used to be that teamwork was confi ned in concept and practice to those circumstances in which mem- bers could meet face to face. Information technology has changed all that. The virtual team, one whose members convene and work together through computer mediation rather than face-to-face, is increasingly common.17 Working in electronic space and free from the constraints of geographical dis- tance, members of virtual teams can do the same things as members of face-to-face groups: share information, make decisions, and complete tasks. Some steps to successful teams are summarized in the accompanying sidebar. In many ways they mir- ror in electronic space the essentials of good team- work in face-to-face teams.18

In terms of potential advantages, virtual teams bring together people who may be located at great distances from one another.19 Working virtually rather than face to face offers obvious cost and time effi ciencies. The electronic rather than face-to-face

• Multiskilling is where team members are each capable of performing many different jobs. • Members of virtual teams work together through computer mediation.

Don’t Neglect These Steps to Successful Virtual Teams

• Select team members high in initiative and capable of self-starting.

• Select members who will join and engage the team with positive attitudes.

• Select members known for working hard to meet team goals.

• Begin with social messaging that allows members to exchange information about each other to personalize the process.

• Assign clear goals and roles so that members can focus while working alone and also know what others are doing.

• Gather regular feedback from members about how they think the team is doing and how it might do better.

• Provide regular feedback to team members about team accomplishments.

Virtual Teams Travel the World for Texas

Instruments On any given day you can fi nd talented engineers in Bangalore, India, laboring on complex chip designs with their counterparts in Texas. Virtual teammates are in constant contact, sending work back and forth while taking advantage of the near half-day time difference.

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152 7 Teams in Organizations

environment of the virtual team can help focus interaction and decision making on objective information rather than emotional considerations and distracting interper- sonal problems. Discussions and information shared among team members can also be electronically stored for continuous access and historical record keeping.

The potential downsides to virtual teams are also real. Members of virtual teams can have diffi culties establishing good working relationships. When the computer is the go-between, relationships and interactions can be different and require special attention. The lack of face-to-face interaction limits the role of emotions and nonverbal cues in the communication process, perhaps deper- sonalizing relations among team members.

There is no doubt that teams are pervasive and important in organizations; they accomplish important tasks and help members achieve satisfaction in their work. But we also know from personal experiences that teams and teamwork have their diffi culties; not all teams perform well, and not all team members are always sat- isfi ed. Surely you’ve heard the sayings “a camel is a horse put together by a com- mittee” and “too many cooks spoil the broth.” They raise an important question: Just what are the foundations of team effectiveness?20

Criteria of an Effective Team Teams in all forms and types, just like individuals, should be held accountable for their performance. And to do this we need to have some understanding of team effectiveness. In OB we defi ne an effective team as one that achieves high levels of task performance, member satisfaction, and team viability.

An effective team stays viable for long-term action

An effective team achieves high performance

An effective team generates high

member satisfaction

With regard to task performance, an effective team achieves its performance goals in the standard sense of quantity, quality, and timeliness of work results. For a formal work unit such as a manufacturing team this may mean meeting daily production targets. For a temporary team such as a new policy task force this may involve meeting a deadline for submitting a new organizational policy to the com- pany president.

With regard to member satisfaction, an effective team is one whose members believe that their participation and experiences are positive and meet important personal needs. They are satisfi ed with their team tasks, accomplishments, and interpersonal relationships.

With regard to team viability, the members of an effective team are suffi ciently satisfi ed to continue working well together on an ongoing basis. When one task is fi nished, they look forward to working on others in the future. Such a team has all- important long-term performance potential.

• An effective team is one that achieves high

levels of task performance, member satisfaction, and

team viability.

LEARNING ROADMAP Criteria of an Effective Team / Synergy and Team Benefi ts / Social Facilitation / Social Loafi ng and Team Problems

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Team Effectiveness 153

Synergy and Team Benefi ts Effective teams offer the benefi ts of synergy—the creation of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Synergy works within a team, and it works across teams as their collective efforts are harnessed to serve the organization as a whole. It creates the great beauty of teams: people working together and accom- plishing more through teamwork than they ever could by working alone.

The performance advantages of teams over individuals are most evident in three situations.21 First, when there is no clear “expert” for a particular task or problem, teams tend to make better judgments than does the average individual alone. Second, teams are typically more successful than individuals when prob- lems are complex and require a division of labor and the sharing of information. Third, because they tend to make riskier decisions, teams can be more creative and innovative than individuals.

Teams are benefi cial as settings where people learn from one another and share job skills and knowledge. The learning environment and the pool of experi- ence within a team can be used to solve diffi cult and unique problems. This is especially helpful to newcomers, who often need help in their jobs. When team members support and help each other in acquiring and improving job competen- cies, they may even make up for defi ciencies in organizational training systems.

Teams are also important sources of need satisfaction for their members. Opportunities for social interaction within a team can provide individuals with a sense of security through work assistance and technical advice. Team members can also provide emotional support for one another in times of special crisis or pressure. And the many contributions individuals make to teams can help mem- bers experience self-esteem and personal involvement.

Social Facilitation This discussion moves us to another concept known as social facilitation—the tendency for one’s behavior to be infl uenced by the presence of others in a group or social setting.22 In a team context it can be a boost or a detriment to an individual member’s performance contributions. Social facilitation theory suggests that working in the presence of others creates an emotional arousal or excitement that stimulates behavior and affects performance. The effect works to the positive and stimulates extra effort when one is profi cient with the task at hand. An example is the team member who enthusiastically responds when asked to do something she is really good at, such as making Power Point slides for a team presentation. But the effect of social facilitation can be negative when the task is unfamiliar or a person lacks the necessary skills. A team member might withdraw or even tend toward social loafi ng, for example, when asked to do something he isn’t very good at. An example might be having to deliver the team’s fi nal presentation in front of a class or larger audience.

Social Loafi ng and Team Problems Although teams have enormous performance potential, one of their problems is social loafi ng. Also known as the Ringlemann effect, it is the tendency of people to work less hard in a group than they would individually.23 Max Ringlemann, a German psychologist, pinpointed the phenomenon by asking people to pull on a rope as hard as they could, fi rst alone and then as part of a team.24 Average

• Synergy is the creation of a whole greater than the sum of its parts.

• Social facilitation is the tendency for one’s behavior to be infl uenced by the presence of others in a group.

• Social loafi ng occurs when people work less hard in groups than they would individually.

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154 7 Teams in Organizations

productivity dropped as more people joined the rope-pulling task. Ringlemann suggested that people may not work as hard in groups because their individual contributions are less noticeable in the group context and because they prefer to see others carry the workload.

You may have encountered social loafi ng in your work and study teams, and been perplexed in terms of how to best handle it. Perhaps you have even been surprised at your own social loafi ng in some performance situations. Rather than give in to the phenomenon and its potential performance losses, you can often reverse or prevent social loafi ng. Steps that team leaders can take include keeping group size small and redefi ning roles so that free-riders are more visible and peer pressures to perform are more likely, increasing accountability by making indi- vidual performance expectations clear and specifi c, and making rewards directly contingent on an individual’s performance contributions.25

Other common problems of teams include personality confl icts and differences in work styles that antagonize others and disrupt relationships and accomplish- ments. Sometimes team members withdraw from active participation due to uncertainty over tasks or battles about goals or competing visions. Ambiguous agendas or ill-defi ned problems can also cause fatigue and loss of motivation when


While teams offer tremendous performance potential, there are also unique problems in the team context. Social loafi ng is the tendency for an individual to do less in a group than he or she would individually. Two factors increase the likelihood of loafi ng. The fi rst relates to the diffi culty of identifying how individuals perform. When you do not know what others are doing, they can avoid working as hard. It is tempting to say the second factor is individual laziness. However, many times individuals simply recognize that others will pick up the slack and make sure tasks are accomplished. As a result, they simply opt out.

In the ever-popular reality show Survivor, individual players must balance cunning and competitiveness against the need for teamwork and collaboration. In Season 10, Willard Smith fi nds himself a member of the successful Koror tribe. Willard’s contribu- tions are limited, so his tribe assigns him to tend the fi re at night. Instead of fulfi lling his obligation, Willard sleeps in the only hammock available. When morning comes, eventual winner Tom Westman complains about losing sleep because he has to “cover” for Willard. He and Gregg Carey talk about how easy it is to make a contribution to the team even if physical ability is lacking.

Westman’s assessment of Willard’s motives (e.g., “Why should I do it if somebody else is going to do it for me”) shows that social loafi ng can be a diffi cult problem to address even when others know it is happening.

Get to Know Yourself Better Has this been your experience when working in groups? Take the Assessment 9, Team Effectiveness, in the OB Skills Workbook. If the score suggests previous groups were ineffective, explore the reasons. If social loafi ng was a problem, how would you deal with it in the future? If there were issues with other dynamics, think about ways that you could help future group members develop greater trust, communicate more effectively, and become more committed.

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Team Effectiveness 155

teams work too long on the wrong things with little to show for it. And fi nally, not everyone is always ready to do group work. This might be due to lack of motiva- tion, but it may also stem from confl icts with other work deadlines and priorities. Low enthusiasm may also result from perceptions of poor team organization or progress, as well as from meetings that seem to lack purpose. These and other dif- fi culties can easily turn the great potential of teams into frustration and failure.

“Why do individuals reduce their efforts or withhold inputs when in team contexts?” This question led researchers Kenneth H. Price, David A. Harrison, and Joanne H. Gavin into social loafi ng theory. The authors designed a study of natural teams consisting of students working together in course study groups for a semester. They posed hypotheses linking the presence of individual evaluation, perceived dispensability, and perceived fairness of group processes with the presence or absence of social loafi ng.

Price and colleagues studied 144 groups with a total of 515 students in 13 undergraduate and graduate university courses. Participants completed a questionnaire before group work started and again at the end. The fi nal questionnaire included a section asking respondents to rate the extent to which each other group member “loafed by not doing his or her share of the tasks, by leaving work for others to do, by goofi ng off, and by having other things to do when asked to help out.”

Findings showed that social loafi ng was negatively related to perceived fairness of group processes and posi- tively related to perceived dispensabil- ity of one’s contributions. The relation- ship between social loafi ng and perceived dispensability strengthened when individual contributions were more identifi able. Task-relevant ability was negatively associated with per- ceived dispensability; the presence of relational differences among members was negatively associated with per- ceived fairness of group processes.

Do the Research Build a model that explains social loafi ng in the teams you often work with. What are the major hypotheses? How might you test them in an actual research study?

Source: Kenneth H. Price, David A. Harrison, and Joanne H. Gavin, “Withholding Inputs in Team Contexts: Member Composition, Interaction Processes, Evaluation Structure, and Social Loafi ng,” Journal of Applied Psychology 91.6 (2006), pp. 1375–1384.

Membership, Interactions, and Evaluation Infl uence Social Loafi ng in Groups

Identifiability of individual


Task-relevant knowledge, skills,

Perceived dispensability of

Social loafing

Relational dissimilarity of

group members

Perceived fairness of

group processes

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156 7 Teams in Organizations

There is no doubt that the pathways to team effectiveness are often complicated and challenging. One of the fi rst things to consider, whether we are talking about a formal work unit, a task force, a virtual team, or a self-managing team, is the fact that the team passes through a series of life cycle stages.26 Depending on the stage the team has reached, the leader and members can face very differ- ent challenges and the team may be more or less effective. Figure 7.3 describes the fi ve stages of team development as forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.27

Forming Stage In the forming stage of team development, a primary concern is the initial entry of members to a group. During this stage, individuals ask a number of questions as they begin to identify with other group members and with the team itself. Their concerns may include “What can the group offer me?” “What will I be asked to contribute?” “Can my needs be met at the same time that I contribute to the group?” Members are interested in getting to know each other and discovering what is considered acceptable behavior, in determining the real task of the team, and in defi ning group rules.

Storming Stage The storming stage of team development is a period of high emotionality and tension among the group members. During this stage, hostility and infi ghting may occur, and the team typically experiences many changes. Coalitions or cliques may form as individuals compete to impose their preferences on the group and to achieve a desired status position. Outside demands such as premature perfor- mance expectations may create uncomfortable pressures. In the process, mem- bership expectations tend to be clarifi ed, and attention shifts toward obstacles standing in the way of team goals. Individuals begin to understand one another’s

• The forming stage focuses around the initial

entry of members to a team.

• The storming stage is one of high emotionality and tension among team

LEARNING ROADMAP Forming Stage / Storming Stage / Norming Stage / Performing Stage / Adjourning Stage

Maturing in relationships and task performance

Disbanding and celebrating accomplishments

Getting to know each other

Dealing with tensions and defining group tasks

Building relationships and working together

Figure 7.3 Five stages of team development.

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Stages of Team Development 157

interpersonal styles, and efforts are made to fi nd ways to accomplish team goals while also satisfying individual needs.

Norming Stage The norming stage of team development, sometimes called initial integration, is the point at which the members really start to come together as a coordinated unit. The turmoil of the storming stage gives way to a precarious balancing of forces. While enjoying a new sense of harmony team members will strive to main- tain positive balance. But, holding the team together may become more important to some than successfully working on the team tasks. Minority viewpoints, devia- tions from team directions, and criticisms may be discouraged as members expe- rience a preliminary sense of closeness. Some members may mistakenly perceive this stage as one of ultimate maturity. In fact, a premature sense of accomplish- ment at this point needs to be carefully managed in order to reach the next level of team development—performing.

Performing Stage The performing stage of team development, sometimes called total integration, marks the emergence of a mature, organized, and well-functioning team. Team members are now able to deal with complex tasks and handle internal disagree- ments in creative ways. The structure is stable, and members are motivated by team goals and are generally satisfi ed. The primary challenges are continued efforts to improve relationships and performance. Team members should be able to adapt successfully as opportunities and demands change over time. A team that has achieved the level of total integration typically scores high on the criteria of team maturity as shown in Figure 7.4.

• The norming stage is where members start to work together as a coordinated team.

• The performing stage marks the emergence of a mature and well-functioning team.

Feedback mechanisms

Decision-making methods

Group loyalty/cohesion

Operating procedures

Use of member resources


Authority relations

Participation in leadership

Acceptance of minority views


not accepted



Immature team Mature team

Figure 7.4 Ten criteria for measuring the maturity of a team.

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158 7 Teams in Organizations

Adjourning Stage A well-integrated team is able to disband, if required, when its work is accom- plished. The adjourning stage of team development is especially important for the many temporary teams such as task forces, committees, project teams, and the like. Their members must be able to convene quickly, do their jobs on a tight schedule, and then adjourn—often to reconvene later if needed. Their willingness to disband when the job is done and to work well together in future responsi- bilities, team or otherwise, is an important long-term test of team success.

• The adjourning stage is where teams disband when

their work is fi nished.

Procter & Gamble’s former CEO A. G. Lafl ey says that team effectiveness comes together when you have “the right players in the right seats on the same bus, headed in the same direction.”28 This wisdom is quite consistent with the fi ndings of OB scholars.

Open Systems Model of Teams The open systems model presented in Figure 7.5 shows team effectiveness being infl uenced by both inputs—“right players in the right seats,” and by processes— “on the same bus, headed in the same direction.”29 You can remember the impli- cations of this fi gure by this equation:

Team effectiveness � Quality of inputs � (Process gains � Process losses)

LEARNING ROADMAP Open Systems Model of Teams / Team Resources and Setting / Nature of the Team Task / Team Size / Membership Composition of the Team / Diversity and Team Performance / Team Processes

Resources & setting Resources Technology Structures Rewards Information

Team effectiveness

Team size Number of members Even-odd number

Accomplishment of desired outcomes

Task performance Member satisfaction Team viability

Team process

Team inputs

The way team members interact and work together

• Norms • Cohesion • Roles • Communication • Decision making • Conflict

Clarity Complexity

Nature of task

Team composition Abilities Values Personalities DiversityFigure 7.5 An open

systems model of team effectiveness.

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Understanding Teams at Work 159

As we look at the prior equation on team effectiveness, the rest of this chapter focuses on the quality of inputs. The next chapter addresses the issue of process gains and losses. We start with inputs because they set the essential foundations for team performance. They set the stage for all subsequent action. And the fact is that the stronger the input foundations of a team, the better the chances for long- term effectiveness. Key team inputs include resources and setting, the nature of the task, team size, and team composition.

Team Resources and Setting When it comes to making sure that teams have high-quality inputs, appropriate goals, well-designed reward systems, adequate resources, and appropriate tech- nology are all essential to support the work of teams. Just as is true of an indi- vidual’s performance, team performance can suffer when goals are unclear, insuf- fi ciently challenging, or arbitrarily imposed. It can also suffer if goals and rewards are focused too much on individual-level instead of group-level accomplishments. In addition, it can suffer when resources—information, budgets, work space, deadlines, rules and procedures, technologies, and the like—are insuffi cient to accomplish the task. By contrast, getting the right resources in place sets a strong launching pad for team success.

The importance of physical setting is evident in the attention now being given to offi ce architecture and how well it supports teamwork. At SEI Invest- ments, for example, employees work in a large, open space without cubicles or dividers. Each person has a private set of offi ce furniture and fi xtures, but all on


A study reported by Rutgers University professor Donald McCabe found that 56 percent of MBA students reported cheating by plagiarizing, downloading essays from the Web, and more. He believes the actual fi gure may be higher and that some respondents held back confessions for fear of losing their anonymity.

Another study, by University of Arkansas professor Tim West and colleagues, surveyed students who had cheated on an accounting test by fi nding answers online. When asked why, student responses ranged from being unsure that what they did was cheating, to blaming West for giving a test that had answers available on the Web, to rationalizing that “everyone cheats” and “this is how business operates.” Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett says: “The fi ve most dangerous words in the English language are ‘Everyone else is doing it.’” Professor Alma Acevedo of the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras calls this the fallacy of the “assumed authority of the majority.”

What’s Your Position? Is this the way business operates? And just because “everyone” may be doing something, does that make it okay for us to do it as well? How often does it creep into your thinking?

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160 7 Teams in Organizations

wheels. Technology easily plugs and unplugs from suspended power beams that run overhead. This makes it easy for project teams to convene and disband as needed and for people to meet and converse intensely within the ebb and fl ow of daily work.30

Nature of the Team Task Another important team input is the nature of the task. Different tasks place dif- ferent demands on teams. When tasks are clear and well defi ned, it is easier for members to both know what they are trying to accomplish and to work together while doing it. But team effectiveness is harder to achieve with complex tasks.31 They require lots of information exchange and intense interaction, and this all takes place under conditions of some uncertainty. To deal well with complexity, team members have to fully mobilize their talents and use the available resources well if they are to achieve desired results. Success at complex tasks, however, is a source of high satisfaction for team members.

One way to analyze the nature of the team task is in terms of its technical and social demands. The technical demands of a task include the degree to which it is routine or not, the level of diffi culty involved, and the information requirements. The social demands of a task involve the degree to which issues of interpersonal relationships, egos, controversies over ends and means, and the like come into play. Tasks that are complex in technical demands require unique solutions and more information processing. Those that are complex in social demands pose diffi culties for reaching agreement on goals and methods to accomplish them.

Team Size The size of a team can have an impact on team effectiveness. As a team becomes larger, more people are available to divide up the work and accomplish needed tasks. This can boost performance and member satisfaction, but only up to a point. At some point, communication and coordination problems set in due to the sheer number of linkages that must be maintained. Satisfaction may dip, and turnover, absenteeism, and social loafi ng may increase. Even logistical matters, such as fi nding time and locations for meetings, become more diffi cult for larger teams.32

Amazon.com’s founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, is a great fan of teams. But he also has a simple rule when it comes to the size of product development teams: No team should be larger than two pizzas can feed.33 This boils down to between fi ve and seven members. Chances are that fewer than fi ve may be too small to adequately share all the team responsibilities. With more than seven, individuals may fi nd it harder to join in the discussions, contribute their talents, and offer ideas. Larger teams are also more prone to possible domination by aggressive members and have tendencies to split into coalitions or subgroups.34

When voting is required, odd-numbered teams are preferred to help rule out tie votes. But when careful deliberations are required and the emphasis is more on consensus, such as in jury duty or very complex problem solving, even-numbered teams may be more effective. The even number forces members to confront dis- agreements and deadlocks rather than simply resolve them by majority voting.35

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Understanding Teams at Work 161

Membership Composition of the Team “If you want a team to perform well, you’ve got to put the right members on the team to begin with.” It’s advice we hear a lot. There is no doubt that one of the most impor- tant input factors is the team composition. You can think of this as the mix of abilities, personalities, backgrounds, and experiences that the members bring to the team. The basic rule of thumb for team composition is to choose members whose talents and interests fi t well with the tasks to be accomplished, and whose personal characteristics increase the likelihood of being able to work well with others.

Ability counts in team composition, and it’s probably the fi rst thing to con- sider in selecting members. The team is more likely to perform better when its members have skills and competencies that best fi t task demands. Although tal- ents alone cannot guarantee desired results, they do establish an important base- line of high performance potential.

Let’s not forget, however, that it takes more than raw talent to generate team success. Surely you’ve been on teams or observed teams where there was lots of talent but very little teamwork. A likely cause is that the blend of members caused

• Team composition is the mix of abilities, skills, personalities, and experiences that the members bring to the team.

Finding the Leader in You TEAMWORK TURNS NASCAR’S KEY TO THE FAST LANE What distinguishes a group of people from a high-performance team? For one, it’s the way mem- bers work with one another to achieve common goals.

A vivid example is a NASCAR pit crew. When a driver pulls in for a pit stop, the team must jump in to perform multiple tasks fl awlessly and in perfect order and unison. A second gained or lost can be crucial to a NASCAR driver’s performance. Team members must be well trained and rehearsed to effi ciently perform on race day. “You can’t win a race with a

mance. The crew chief makes sure that everyone is in shape, well trained, and ready to contribute to the team. “I don’t want seven all-stars,” Trent Cherry says, “I want seven guys who work as a team.”

The NASCAR pit crews don’t just get together and “wing” it on race days. The members are carefully selected for their skills and attitudes, the teams practice– practice–practice, and the pit crew leader doesn’t hesitate to make changes when things aren’t going well.

What’s the Lesson Here? Do you encourage teamwork, or do you do some things as a leader that might be harmful to team dynamics? Are you able to see ways to make positive changes even when things are going well? How open are you to suggestions for improvement from team members?

12-second stop, but you can lose it with an 18-second stop,” says pit crew coach Trent Cherry.

Pit crew members are condi- tioned and trained to execute intricate maneuvers while taking care of tire changes, car adjust- ments, fueling, and related matters on a crowded pit lane. Each crew member is an expert at one task. But each is also fully aware of how that job fi ts into every other task that must be performed in a few-second pit stop interval.

The duties are carefully scripted for each individual’s performance

and equally choreographed to fi t together seamlessly at the team level. Every task is highly specialized and interdependent; if the jacker is late, for example, the wheel changer can’t pull the wheel.

Pit crews plan and practice over and over again, getting ready for the big test of race day perfor-

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162 7 Teams in Organizations

relationship problems over everything from needs to personality to experience to age and other background characteristics.

The FIRO-B theory (with FIRO standing for “fundamental interpersonal ori- entation”) identifi es differences in how people relate to one another in groups based on their needs to express and receive feelings of inclusion, control, and affection.36 Developed by William Schultz, the theory suggests that teams whose members have compatible needs are likely to be more effective than teams whose members are more incompatible. Symptoms of incompatibilities include with- drawn members, open hostilities, struggles over control, and domination by a few members. Schultz states the management implications of the FIRO-B theory this way: “If at the outset we can choose a group of people who can work together harmoniously, we shall go far toward avoiding situations where a group’s efforts are wasted in interpersonal confl icts.”37

Another issue in team composition is status—a person’s relative rank, prestige, or social standing. Status congruence occurs when a person’s position within the team is equivalent in status to positions the individual holds outside of it. Any status incongruence may create problems. In high-power-distance cultures such as Malay- sia, for example, the chair of a committee is expected to be the highest-ranking member of the group. When this is the case, the status congruity makes members comfortable in proceeding with their work. But if the senior member is not appointed to head the committee, perhaps because an expatriate manager from another culture selected the chair on some other criterion, members are likely to feel uncomfortable and have diffi culty working together. Similar problems might occur, for example, when a young college graduate in his or her fi rst job is appointed to chair a project team composed of senior and more experienced workers.

Diversity and Team Performance Diversity in team composition, in the form of different values, personalities, experi- ences, demographics, and cultures among the members, is an important team input. And it can pose both opportunities and problems.38

In homogeneous teams where members are very similar to one another, teamwork usually isn’t much of a problem. The members typically fi nd it quite easy to work together and enjoy the team experience. But researchers warn about the risks of homogeneity. When team members are too similar in background, training, and experience, they tend to underperform even though the members may feel very comfortable with one another.39

In heterogeneous teams where members are very dissimilar, teamwork prob- lems are more likely. The mix of diverse personalities, experiences, backgrounds,

• FIRO-B theory examines differences in

how people relate to one another based on their

needs to express and receive feelings of

inclusion, control, and affection.

• Status congruence involves consistency

between a person’s status within and outside a group.

• In homogeneous teams members share

many similar characteristics.

• In heterogeneous teams members differ in

many characteristics.

Teamwork Drives Success at

Cleveland Clinic Teamwork between physicians and nonphysicians is one of the keys to success at the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Bruce Lytle says there is no room for infl ated egos. “We’re not built around the notion of one superstar surrounded by supporting role players,” he says.

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Understanding Teams at Work 163

ages, and other personal characteristics may create diffi culties as members try to defi ne problems, share information, mobilize talents, and deal with obstacles or opportunities. Nevertheless, if—and this is a big “if”—members can work well together, the diversity can be a source of advantage and enhanced performance potential.40

When it comes to team process and performance diffi culties due to diversity issues, the effects are especially likely in the initial stages of team development. The so-called diversity–consensus dilemma is the tendency for diversity to make it harder for team members to work together, even though the diversity itself expands the skills and perspectives available for problem solving.41 These dilemmas may be most pronounced in the critical zone of the storming and norm- ing stages of development as described in Figure 7.6. Problems may occur as interpersonal stresses and confl icts emerge from the heterogeneity. The challenge to team effectiveness is to take advantage of diversity without suffering process disadvantages.42

Working through the diversity–consensus dilemma can slow team develop- ment and impede relationship building, information sharing, and problem solv- ing.43 Some teams get stuck here and can’t overcome their process problems. But if and when such diffi culties are resolved, diverse teams can emerge from the critical zone shown in the fi gure with effectiveness and often outperform less diverse ones. Research also shows that the most creative teams include a mix of old-timers and newcomers.44 The old-timers have the experience and connec- tions; the newcomers bring in new talents and fresh thinking.

The diversity and performance relationship is evident in research on collec- tive intelligence—the ability of a group or team to perform well across a range of tasks.45 Researchers have found only a slight correlation between average or maximum individual member intelligence and the collective intelligence of teams. But they found strong correlations between collective intelligence and two pro- cess variables—social sensitivities within the teams and absence of conversational domination by a few members. Furthermore, collective intelligence was associ- ated with gender diversity, specifi cally the proportion of females on the team. This fi nding was also linked to process, with researchers pointing out that females in their studies scored higher than males on social sensitivity.

• Diversity–consensus dilemma is the tendency for diversity in groups to create process diffi culties even as it offers improved potential for problem solving.

• Collective intelligence is the ability of a team to perform well across a range of tasks.

Figure 7.6 Member diversity, stages of team development, and team performance.


Team Development Stages / Time T

Critical Zone

Effective Team Process gains>losses

Ineffective Team Process losses>gains

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164 7 Teams in Organizations

Team Processes Casey Stengel, a late and famous baseball manager, once said: “Getting good play- ers is easy. Getting them to play together is the hard part.” His comment certainly rings true in respect to the discussion we just had on diversity and team perfor- mance. There is no doubt that the effectiveness of any team depends on more than having the right inputs. To achieve effectiveness, team members must have strong and positive team processes. Simply put, the members of a team must work well together if they are to turn the available inputs into high-performance outputs. And when it comes to analyzing how well people “work together” in teams, and whether or not process gains exceed process losses, the focus is on critical group or team dynamics. These are forces operating in teams that affect the way members relate to and work with one another.46 This aspect of team performance is so important that it is the subject of the next chapter on teams and teamwork.

• Group or team dynamics are the forces

operating in teams that affect the ways members

work together.

7 study guide Key Questions and Answers What are teams and how are they used in organizations?

• A team is a group of people working together to achieve a common purpose for which they hold themselves collectively accountable.

• Teams help organizations by improving task performance; teams help members experience satisfaction from their work.

• Teams in organizations serve different purposes—some teams run things, some teams recommend things, and some teams make or do things.

• Organizations consist of formal teams that are designated by the organization to serve an offi cial purpose, as well as informal groups that emerge from special relationships but are not part of the formal structure.

• Organizations can be viewed as interlocking networks of permanent teams such as project teams and cross-functional teams, as well as temporary teams such as committees and task forces.

• Members of self-managing teams typically plan, complete, and evaluate their own work, train and evaluate one another in job tasks, and share tasks and responsibilities.

• Virtual teams, whose members meet and work together through computer mediation, are increasingly common and pose special management challenges.

When is a team effective?

• An effective team achieves high levels of task accomplishment, member satisfaction, and viability to perform successfully over the long term.

• Teams help organizations through synergy in task performance, the creation of a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

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Terms to Know 165

• Teams help satisfy important needs for their members by providing them with things like job support and social interactions.

• Team performance can suffer from social loafi ng when a member slacks off and lets others do the work.

• Social facilitation occurs when the behavior of individuals is infl uenced positively or negatively by the presence of others in a team.

What are the stages of team development?

• In the forming stage, team members come together and form initial impressions; it is a time of task orientation and interpersonal testing.

• In the storming stage, team members struggle to deal with expectations and status; it is a time when confl icts over tasks and how the team works are likely.

• In the norming or initial integration stage, team members start to come together around rules of behavior and what needs to be accomplished; it is a time of growing cooperation.

• In the performing or total integration stage, team members are well organized and well functioning; it is a time of team maturity when performance of even complex tasks becomes possible.

• In the adjourning stage, team members achieve closure on task performance and their personal relationships; it is a time of managing task completion and the process of disbanding.

How can we understand teams at work?

• Teams are open systems that interact with their environments to obtain resources that are transformed into outputs.

• The equation summarizing the open systems model for team performance is: Team Effectiveness � Quality of Inputs � (Process Gains � Process Losses).

• Input factors such as resources and setting, nature of the task, team size, and team composition, establish the core performance foundations of a team.

• Team processes include basic group or team dynamics that show up as the ways members work together to use inputs and complete tasks.

Terms to Know Adjourning stage (p. 158) Collective intelligence (p. 163) Cross-functional team (p. 149) Diversity–consensus dilemma (p. 163) Effective team (p. 152) Employee involvement team (p. 149) FIRO-B theory (p. 162) Formal teams (p. 148) Forming stage (p. 156) Functional silos problem (p. 149)

Group or team dynamics (p. 164) Heterogeneous teams (p. 162) Homogeneous teams (p. 162) Informal groups (p. 148) Multiskilling (p. 151) Norming stage (p. 157) Performing stage (p. 157) Problem-solving team (p. 149) Quality circle (p. 150) Self-managing team (p. 150)

Social facilitation (p. 153) Social loafi ng (p. 153) Social network analysis (p. 148) Status congruence (p. 162) Storming stage (p. 156) Synergy (p. 153) Team (p. 147) Team composition (p. 161) Teamwork (p. 147) Virtual team (p. 151)

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166 7 Teams in Organizations

Self-Test 7 Multiple Choice 1. The FIRO-B theory deals with ____________ in teams. (a) membership compatibili-

ties (b) social loafi ng (c) dominating members (d) conformity

2. It is during the ____________ stage of team development that members begin to come together as a coordinated unit. (a) storming (b) norming (c) performing (d) total integration

3. An effective team is defi ned as one that achieves high levels of task performance, member satisfaction, and ____________. (a) coordination (b) harmony (c) creativity (d) team viability

4. Task characteristics, reward systems, and team size are all ____________ that can make a difference in team effectiveness. (a) processes (b) dynamics (c) inputs (d) rewards

5. The best size for a problem-solving team is usually ____________ members. (a) no more than 3 or 4 (b) 5 to 7 (c) 8 to 10 (d) around 12 to 13

6. When a new team member is anxious about questions such as “Will I be able to infl uence what takes place?” the underlying issue is one of ____________. (a) relationships (b) goals (c) processes (d) control

7. Self-managing teams ____________. (a) reduce the number of different job tasks members need to master (b) largely eliminate the need for a traditional supervisor (c) rely heavily on outside training to maintain job skills (d) add another manage- ment layer to overhead costs

8. Which statement about self-managing teams is most accurate? (a) They always improve performance but not satisfaction. (b) They should have limited decision- making authority. (c) They operate with elected team leaders. (d) They should let members plan and control their own work.

9. When a team of people is able to achieve more than what its members could by working individually, this is called ____________. (a) distributed leadership (b) consensus (c) team viability (d) synergy

10. Members of a team tend to become more motivated and better able to deal with confl ict during the ____________ stage of team development. (a) forming (b) norming (c) performing (d) adjourning

11. The Ringlemann effect describes ____________. (a) the tendency of groups to make risky decisions (b) social loafi ng (c) social facilitation (d) the satisfaction of mem- bers’ social needs

12. Members of a multinational task force in a large international business should probably be aware that ____________ might initially slow the progress of the team. (a) synergy (b) groupthink (c) the diversity–consensus dilemma (d) intergroup dynamics

13. When a team member engages in social loafi ng, one of the recommended strategies for dealing with this situation is to ____________. (a) forget about it (b) ask another member to force this person to work harder (c) give the person extra rewards and hope he or she will feel guilty (d) better defi ne member roles to improve individual accountability

14. When a person holds a prestigious position as a vice president in a top management team, but is considered just another member of an employee involvement team that

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Next Steps 167

a lower-level supervisor heads, the person might experience ____________. (a) role underload (b) role overload (c) status incongruence (d) the diversity–consensus dilemma

15. The team effectiveness equation states: Team effectiveness � ____________ � (Process gains � Process losses). (a) Nature of setting (b) Nature of task (c) Quality of inputs (d) Available rewards

Short Response 16. In what ways are teams good for organizations?

17. What types of formal teams are found in organizations today?

18. What are members of self-managing teams typically expected to do?

19. What is the diversity–consensus dilemma?

Applications Essay 20. One of your Facebook friends has posted this note. “Help! I have just been assigned

to head a new product design team at my company. The division manager has high expectations for the team and me, but I have been a technical design engineer for four years since graduating from college. I have never ‘managed’ anyone, let alone led a team. The manager keeps talking about her confi dence that I will be very good at creating lots of teamwork. Does anyone out there have any tips to help me master this challenge?” You smile while reading the message and start immediately to formulate your recommendations. Exactly what message will you send?

• The Forgotten Team Member

• Sweet Tooth • Interrogatories • Teamwork and Motivation • Serving on the Boundary • Eggsperiential Exercise

• Team Effectiveness • Decision-Making Biases

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Virtual Teams: Here, There, Everywhere

In an average workday, Sarah strategizes with her teammates, consults with vendors, and advises clients in several time zones. And most workdays, she’s still in her pajamas.

That’s one of the perks of working for a virtual team—a group whose members collaborate across time, geo- graphic, or organizational boundaries.a Once favored mostly by creative agencies, call centers, and multinational businesses, a growing number of organizations trade the security of managing employees in house for managing them in virtual space. The hope is for increased performance, improved employee satisfaction, and ultimately, a wider selection of potential collaborators.

But when teamwork goes virtual, the potential risks as well as gains are real. Any defi ciencies in employee performance or management oversight will be magnifi ed through the lens of team-member separation. Given the extra effort needed for every communication, virtual team members may experience loneliness or perceive social isolation. And teams may suffer if all members don’t have a high degree of trust and regard for each other.b

Companies wouldn’t accept the risks of virtual teams if the poten- tial payoff wasn’t worth it. When teams straddle time zones, companies benefi t from longer work hours, more uptime, and greater access by both fellow employees and customers. As for virtual employees, who wouldn’t be happy with a fl exible work schedule and a 0-minute commute?c

These days, virtual employees have an impressive suite of tools that keep them tethered to their teammates. Webcams, chat, and VoIP services like Skype are de facto in most remote offi ces. As the quote suggests, with the right technology distant strangers become real teammates and friends. Execs who insist that it feel like virtual team members are right there (and who have deep pockets) invest in HD-quality videoconference systems.

“My deadlines now no longer affect a voice on Skype or a person writing email—they affect my friends and col- leagues.” —Angela Sasso, on meeting her virtual teammates for the fi rst time.d

FYI: The virtual world of workplace learning is the subject of the bestseller, The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media, by Tony Bingham, Marcia Conner, and Daniel H. Pink.e

• Facilitated by the emergence of new networking technologies and ubiquitous broadband Internet, more organizations are making frequent use of virtual teams.

• Virtual teams can reduce employee travel costs, help companies approach 24/7 uptime, and give workers more fl exible work schedules.

• To succeed, virtual teams require good technology, constant communication, shared priorities and deadlines, and a high degree of trust among all members.

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8 Teamwork and Team Performance the key point

In order for any team—virtual or face-to-face—to work well and do great things, its members must get things right. This means paying attention to things like team building and team processes. Team performance can’t be left to chance. Yes, teams can be hard work. But it’s also worth the effort. The opportunities of teams and teamwork are simply too great to miss.

What Are High-Performance Teams and How Do We Build Them?

How Can Team Processes Be Improved?

How Can Team Communications Be Improved?

How Can Team Decisions Be Improved?





teams are hard work, but worth it

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170 8 Teamwork and Team Performance

Are you an iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook, or iMac user? Have you ever won- dered why Apple, Inc. keeps giving us a stream of innovative and trend-setting products?

In many ways today’s Apple story started years ago with its co-founder Steve Jobs, the fi rst Macintosh computer, and a very special team. The “Mac” was Jobs’s brainchild. To create it he put together a team of high-achievers who were excited and motivated by a highly challenging task. They worked all hours and at an unre- lenting pace, while housed in a separate building fl ying the Jolly Roger to display their independence from Apple’s normal bureaucracy. The Macintosh team com- bined youthful enthusiasm with great expertise and commitment to an exciting goal. In the process they set a new benchmark for product innovation as well as new standards for what makes for a high-performance team.1

Apple remains today a hotbed of high-performing teams that harness great talents to achieve innovation. But let’s not forget that there are a lot of solid con- tributions made by good, old-fashioned, everyday teams in all organizations—the cross-functional, problem-solving, virtual, and self-managing teams introduced in the last chapter. We also need to remember, as scholar J. Richard Hackman points out, that many teams underperform and fail to live up to their potential. They simply, as Hackman says, “don’t work.”2 The question for us is: What differentiates high-performing teams from the also-rans?

Characteristics of High-Performance Teams Some “must-have” team leadership skills are described in the sidebar. And it’s appropriate that setting a clear and challenging direction is at the top of the list.3 Again, a look back in time to the original Macintosh story sets an example. In November 1983, Wired magazine’s correspondent Steven Levy was given a sneak look at what he had been told was the “machine that was supposed to change the world.” He says: “I also met the people who created that machine. They were groggy and almost giddy from three years of creation. Their eyes blazed with Visine and fi re. They told me that with Macintosh, they were going to “put a dent in the Universe.” Their leader, Steven P. Jobs, told them so. They also told me how Jobs referred to this new computer: ‘Insanely Great.’”4

Whatever the purpose or tasks, the foundation for any high-performing team is a set of members who believe in team goals and are motivated to work hard to accomplish them. Indeed, an essen- tial criterion of a high-performance team is that the

LEARNING ROADMAP Characteristics of High-Performance Teams / The Team-Building Process / Team-Building Alternatives

High-Performance Teams

Teams Gain from Great Leaders and Talented Members that Do the Right Things

• Set a clear and chal- lenging direction

• Keep goals and expectations clear

• Communicate high standards

• Create a sense of urgency

• Make sure members have the right skills

• Model positive team member behaviors

• Create early performance “successes”

• Introduce useful information

• Help members share useful information

• Give positive feedback

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High-Performance Teams 171

members feel “collectively accountable” for moving in what Hackman calls “a compelling direction” toward a goal. Getting to this point isn’t always easy. Hack- man points out that members of many teams don’t agree on the goal and don’t share an understanding of what the team is supposed to accomplish.5

Whereas a shared sense of purpose gives general direction to a team, com- mitment to targeted performance results makes this purpose truly meaningful. High-performance teams turn a general sense of purpose into specifi c perfor- mance objectives. They set standards for taking action, measuring results, and gathering performance feedback. And they provide a clear focus for solving prob- lems and resolving confl icts.

Members of high-performance teams have the right mix of skills, including technical, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. A high- performance team also has strong core values that help guide team members’ attitudes and behav- iors in consistent directions. Such values act as an internal control system keeping team members on track without outside direction and supervisory attention.

You should recall from the last chapter the notion of collective intelligence, or the ability of a team to do well on a wide variety of tasks. This concept really summarizes what we mean by a “high-performance” team. It is not a team that excels only once. It is a team that excels over and over again while performing different tasks over time. Researchers point out that collective intelligence is higher in teams whose processes are not dominated by one or a few members. Collective intelligence is also associated with having more female members, some- thing researchers link to higher social sensitivity in the team process.6

The Team-Building Process In the sports world, coaches and managers spend a lot of time at the start of each season joining new members with old ones and forming a strong team. Yet we all know that even the most experienced teams can run into problems as a season progresses. Members slack off or become disgruntled with one another; some have performance “slumps,” and others criticize them for it; some are traded gladly or unhappily to other teams.

Even world-champion teams have losing streaks. And at times even the most talented players can lose motivation, quibble among themselves, and end up contributing little to team success. When these things happen, concerned owners, managers, and players are apt to examine their problems, take corrective action to rebuild the team, and restore the teamwork needed to achieve high-perfor- mance results.7

Workgroups and teams face similar challenges. When newly formed, they must master many challenges as members learn how to work together while pass- ing through the stages of team development. Even when mature, most work teams encounter problems of insuffi cient teamwork at different points in time. At the very least we can say that teams sometimes need help to perform well and that teamwork always needs to be nurtured.

This is why a process known as team-building is so important. It is a sequence of planned activities designed to gather and analyze data on the func- tioning of a team and to initiate changes designed to improve teamwork and increase team effectiveness.8 When done well and at the right times, team-build- ing can be a good way to deal with teamwork problems or to help prevent them from occurring in the fi rst place.

• Team-building is a collaborative way to gather and analyze data to improve teamwork.

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172 8 Teamwork and Team Performance

The action steps for team-building are highlighted in Figure 8.1. Although it is tempting to view the process as something that consultants or outside experts are hired to do, the fact is that it can and should be part of any team leader and manager’s skill set.

Team-building begins when someone notices an actual or a potential prob- lem with team effectiveness. Data are gathered to examine the problem. This can be done by questionnaire, interview, nominal group meeting, or other creative methods. The goal is to get good answers to such questions as: “How well are we doing in terms of task accomplishment?” “How satisfi ed are we as individuals with the group and the way it operates?” After the answers to such questions are ana- lyzed by team members, they then work together to plan for and accomplish improvements. This team-building process is highly collaborative and participa- tion by all members is essential.

Team-Building Alternatives Team-building can be accomplished in a wide variety of ways. On one fall day, for example, a team of employees from American Electric Power (AEP) went to an outdoor camp. They worked on problems such as how to get six members through a spider-web maze of bungee cords strung 2 feet above the ground. When her colleagues lifted Judy Gallo into their hands to pass her over the obstacle, she was nervous. But a trainer told the team this was just like solving a problem together at the offi ce. The spider web was just another performance constraint, like the diffi cult policy issues or fi nancial limits they might face at work. After “high-fi ves” for making it through the web, Judy’s team jumped tree stumps together, passed hula hoops while holding hands, and more. Says one outdoor team trainer, “We throw clients into situations to try and bring out the traits of a good team.”9

This was an example of the outdoor experience approach to team-building. It is increasingly popular and can be done on its own or in combination with other approaches. The outdoor experience places group members in a variety of

Step 4: Actions to improve team functioning

Step 3: Planning for team improvements

Step 2: Data gathering and analysis

Step 1: Problem or opportunity in team effectiveness

Teamwork Participation

by all members

Step 5: Evaluation of results

Figure 8.1 Steps in the team-building process.

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Improving Team Processes 173

physically challenging situations that must be mastered through teamwork. By having to work together in the face of diffi cult obstacles, team members are sup- posed to grow in self-confi dence, gain more respect for each others’ capabilities, and leave with a greater commitment to teamwork.

In the formal retreat approach, team-building takes place during an off-site “retreat.” The agenda, which may cover one or more days, is designed to engage team members in the variety of assessment and planning tasks just discussed. Formal retreats are often held with the assistance of a consultant, who is either hired from the outside or made available from in-house staff. Team-building retreats are opportunities to take time away from the job to assess team accom- plishments, operations, and future potential.

In a continuous improvement approach, the manager, team leader, or group members themselves take responsibility for regularly engaging in the team-building process. This method can be as simple as periodic meetings that implement the team-building steps; it can also include self-managed formal retreats. In all cases, the goal is to engage team members in a process that leaves them more capable and committed to continuous performance assessment and improved teamwork.

Reality Team-Building Is

Catching More Attention Some organizations are fi nding that borrowing ideas from “reality” TV offers novel ways to accomplish team-building and drive innovation. It sounds radical, but Best Buy sent small teams to live together for 10 weeks in Los Angeles apartments. The purpose was to demonstrate new ideas and lay the groundwork for new lines of business as well as potential independent businesses. One participant says: “Living together and knowing we only had 10 weeks sped up our team-building process.”

As more and more jobs are turned over to teams, and as more and more tradi- tional supervisors are asked to function as team leaders, special problems and challenges of managing team processes become magnifi ed. Team leaders and members alike must be prepared to deal positively with such issues as introduc- ing new members, handling disagreements on goals and responsibilities, resolv- ing delays and disputes when making decisions, reducing personality friction, and dealing with interpersonal confl icts. These are all targets for team-building. And given the complex nature of group dynamics, team-building is, in a sense, never fi nished. Something is always happening that creates the need for further leadership efforts to help improve team processes.

LEARNING ROADMAP Entry of New Members / Task and Maintenance Leadership / Roles and Role Dynamics / Team Norms / Team Cohesiveness / Inter-Team Dynamics

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174 8 Teamwork and Team Performance

Entry of New Members Special diffi culties are likely to occur when members fi rst get together in a new group or team, or when new members join an existing team. Problems arise as new members try to understand what is expected of them while dealing with the anxiety and discomfort of a new social setting. New members, for example, may worry about—

• Participation—“Will I be allowed to participate?”

• Goals—“Do I share the same goals as others?”

• Control—“Will I be able to infl uence what takes place?”

• Relationships—“How close do people get?”

• Processes—“Are confl icts likely to be upsetting?”

Edgar Schein points out that people may try to cope with individual entry problems in self-serving ways that may hinder team development and perfor- mance.10 He identifi es three behavior profi les that are common in such situations.

Objective Thinker

Acts reflective, wants clear goals

Tough Battler

Acts aggressive, seeks authority

Friendly Helper

Acts insecure, tries to be helpful

Tough Battler The tough battler is frustrated by a lack of identity in the new group and may act aggressively or reject authority. This person wants answers to this question: “Who am I in this group?” The best team response may be to allow the new member to share his or her skills and interests, and then have a discus- sion about how these qualities can best be used to help the team.

Friendly Helper The friendly helper is insecure, suffering uncertainties of inti- macy and control. This person may show extraordinary support for others, behave in a dependent way, and seek alliances in subgroups or cliques. The friendly helper needs to know whether he or she will be liked. The best team response may be to offer support and encouragement while encouraging the new member to be more confi dent in joining team activities and discussions.

Objective Thinker The objective thinker is anxious about how personal needs will be met in the group. This person may act in a passive, refl ective, and even single-minded manner while struggling with the fi t between individual goals and group directions. The best team response may be to engage in a discussion to clarify team goals and expectations, and to clarify member roles in meeting them.

Task and Maintenance Leadership Research in social psychology suggests that teams have both “task needs” and “main- tenance needs,” and that both must be met for teams to be successful.11 Even though a team leader should be able to meet these needs at the appropriate times, each team member is responsible as well. This sharing of responsibilities for making task and maintenance contributions to move a group forward is called distributed lead- ership, and it is usually well evidenced in high-performance teams.

• Distributed leadership shares responsibility among members for meeting team

task and maintenance needs.

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Improving Team Processes 175

Figure 8.2 describes task activities as things team members and leaders do that directly contribute to the performance of important group tasks. They include initiating discussion, sharing information, asking information of others, clarifying something that has been said, and summarizing the status of a deliberation.12 A team will have diffi culty accomplishing its objectives when task activities are not well performed. In an effective team, by contrast, all members pitch in to contrib- ute important task leadership as needed.

The fi gure also shows that maintenance activities support the social and interpersonal relationships among team members. They help a team stay intact and healthy as an ongoing and well-functioning social system. A team member or leader can contribute maintenance leadership by encouraging the participation of others, trying to harmonize differences of opinion, praising the contributions of others, and agreeing to go along with a popular course of action. When mainte- nance leadership is poor, members become dissatisfi ed with one another, the value of their group membership diminishes, and emotional confl icts may drain energies otherwise needed for task performance. In an effective team, by con- trast, maintenance activities support the relationships needed for team members to work well together over time.

In addition to helping meet a group’s task and maintenance needs, team members share additional responsibility for avoiding and eliminating any dis- ruptive behaviors that harm the group process. These dysfunctional activities include bullying and being overly aggressive toward other members, showing incivility and disrespect, withdrawing and refusing to cooperate, horsing around when there is work to be done, using meetings as forums for self-confession, talking too much about irrelevant matters, and trying to compete for attention and recognition. Incivility or antisocial behavior by members can be especially disruptive of team dynamics and performance. Research shows that persons who are targets of harsh leadership, social exclusion, and harmful rumors often end up working less hard, performing less well, being late and absent more, and reducing their commitment.13

Roles and Role Dynamics New and old team members alike need to know what others expect of them and what they can expect from others. A role is a set of expectations associated with a job or position on a team. And, simply put, teams tend to perform better when their members have clear and realistic expectations regarding their tasks and responsibilities. When team members are unclear about their roles or face con- fl icting role demands, performance problems are likely. Although this is a com- mon situation, it can be managed with good awareness of role dynamics and their causes.

• Task activities directly contribute to the performance of important tasks.

• Maintenance activities support the emotional life of the team as an ongoing social system.

• Disruptive behaviors in teams harm the group process and limit team effectiveness.

• A role is a set of expectations for a team member or person in a job.

How to lead groups and teams

Leading by Task Contributions • Offering ideas • Clarifying suggestions • Giving information • Seeking information • Summarizing discussion

Leading by Maintenance Contributions • Encouraging others • Reconciling differences • Expressing standards • Offering agreement • Inviting participation

Figure 8.2 Task and main- tenance leadership in team dynamics.

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176 8 Teamwork and Team Performance

Role ambiguity occurs when a person is uncertain about his or her role or job on a team. Role ambiguities may create problems as team members fi nd that their work efforts are wasted or unappreciated. This can even happen in mature groups if team members fail to share expectations and listen to one another’s concerns.

Being asked to do too much or too little as a team member can also create problems. Role overload occurs when too much is expected and someone feels overwhelmed. Role underload occurs when too little is expected and the indi- vidual feels underused. Both role overload and role underload can cause stress, dissatisfaction, and performance problems.

Role confl ict occurs when a person is unable to meet the expectations of oth- ers. The individual understands what needs to be done but for some reason cannot comply. The resulting tension is stressful and can reduce satisfaction. And, it can affect an individual’s performance and relationships with other group members. People at work and in teams can experience four common forms of role confl ict:

1. Intrasender role confl ict occurs when the same person sends confl icting expectations. Example: Team leader—“You need to get the report written right away, but now I need you to help me get the Power Points ready.”

2. Intersender role confl ict occurs when different people send confl icting and mutually exclusive expectations. Example: Team leader (to you)—“Your job is to criticize our decisions so that we don’t make mistakes.” Team member (to you)—“You always seem so negative; can’t you be more positive for a change?”

3. Person–role confl ict occurs when a person’s values and needs come into confl ict with role expectations. Example: Other team members (showing agreement with each other)—“We didn’t get enough questionnaires back, so let’s each fi ll out fi ve more and add them to the data set.” You (to yourself)—“Mmm, I don’t think this is right.”

4. Inter-role confl ict occurs when the expectations of two or more roles held by the same individual become incompatible, such as the confl ict between work and family demands. Example: Team leader—“Don’t forget the big meeting we have scheduled for Thursday evening.” You (to yourself)—“But my daughter is playing in her fi rst little-league soccer game at that same time.”

A technique known as role negotiation is a helpful way of managing role dynamics. It’s a process where team members meet to discuss, clarify, and agree upon the role expectations each holds for the other. Such a negotiation might begin, for example, with one member writing down this request of another: “If you were to do the following, it would help me to improve my performance on the team.” Her list of requests might include such things as: “respect it when I say that I can’t meet some evenings because I have family obligations to fulfi ll”— indicating role confl ict; “stop asking for so much detail when we are working hard with tight deadlines”—indicating role overload; and “try to make yourself available when I need to speak with you to clarify goals and expectations”— indicating role ambiguity.

Team Norms The role dynamics we have just discussed all relate to what team members expect of one another and of themselves. This brings up the issue of team norms—beliefs

• Role ambiguity occurs when someone is uncertain

about what is expected of him or her.

• Role overload occurs when too much work is

expected of the individual. • Role underload occurs

when too little work is expected of the individual.

• Role confl ict occurs when someone is unable

to respond to role expectations that confl ict

with one another.

• Role negotiation is a process for discussing and agreeing upon what team

members expect of one another.

• Norms are rules or standards for the behavior

of group members.

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Improving Team Processes 177

about how members are expected to behave. They can be considered as rules or standards of team conduct.14 Norms help members to guide their own behavior and predict what others will do. When someone violates a team norm, other members typically respond in ways that are aimed at enforcing it and bring behavior back into alignment with the norm. These responses may include subtle hints, direct criticisms, and even reprimands. At the extreme, someone violating team norms may be ostracized or even expelled.

Types of Team Norms A key norm in any team setting is the performance norm. It conveys expectations about how hard team members should work and what the team should accomplish. In some teams the performance norm is high and strong. There is no doubt that all members are expected to work very hard and that high performance is the goal. If someone slacks off they get reminded to work hard or end up removed from the team. But in other teams the perfor- mance norm is low and weak. Members are left to work hard or not as they like, with little concern shown by the other members.

Many other norms also infl uence the day-to-day functioning of teams. In order for a task force or a committee to operate effectively, for example, norms regarding attendance at meetings, punctuality, preparedness, criticism, and social behavior are needed. Teams may have norms on how members deal with super- visors, colleagues, and customers, as well as norms about honesty and ethical behavior. The following examples show norms that can have positive and nega- tive implications for teams and organizations.15

• Ethics norms—“We try to make ethical decisions, and we expect others to do the same” (positive); “Don’t worry about infl ating your expense account; everyone does it here” (negative).

• Organizational and personal pride norms—“It’s a tradition around here for people to stand up for the company when others criticize it unfairly” (posi- tive); “In our company, they are always trying to take advantage of us” (negative).

• High-achievement norms—“On our team, people always want to win or be the best” (positive); “No one really cares on this team whether we win or lose” (negative).

• Support and helpfulness norms—“People on this committee are good listeners and actively seek out the ideas and opinions of others” (positive); “On this committee it’s dog-eat-dog and save your own skin” (negative).

• Improvement and change norms—“In our department people are always looking for better ways of doing things” (positive); “Around here, people hang on to the old ways even after they have outlived their usefulness” (negative).

• The performance norm sets expectations for how hard members work and what the team should accomplish.

Beware the Sins of Deadly Meetings The sins of deadly meetings are easy to spot, but harder to avoid: meeting scheduled in the wrong place; meeting scheduled at a bad time; people arrive late; meeting is too long; people go off topic; discussion lacks candor; right information not available; no follow-through when meeting is over.

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178 8 Teamwork and Team Performance

How to Infl uence Team Norms Team leaders and members alike can do sev- eral things to help their teams develop and operate with positive norms, ones that foster high performance as well as membership satisfaction. The fi rst thing is to always act as a positive role model. In other words, be the exemplar of the norm, always living up to the norm in everyday behavior. It is helpful to hold meetings where time is set aside for members to discuss team goals and also discuss team norms that can best contribute to their achievement. Norms are too important to be left to chance. The more directly they are discussed and confronted in the early stages of team development, the better.

It’s always best to try to select members who can and will live up to the desired norms, be sure to provide training and support, and then reward and positively reinforce desired behaviors. This is a full-cycle approach to developing positive team norms—select the right people, give them support, and then offer positive reinforcement for doing things right. Finally, teams should remember the power of team-building and hold regular meetings to discuss team performance and plan how to improve it in the future.


1. Psychology study: A German researcher asked people to pull on a rope as hard as they could. First, they pulled alone. Second, they pulled as part of a group. Results showed that people pull harder when working alone than when working as part of a team. Such “social loafi ng” is the tendency to reduce effort when working in groups.

2. Faculty offi ce: A student wants to speak with the instructor about his team’s performance on the last group project. There were four members, but two did almost all of the work. The other two largely disappeared, showing up only at the last minute to be part of the

formal presentation. His point is that the team was disadvantaged because the two “free-riders” caused reduced performance capacity for his team.

3. Telephone call from the boss: “John, I really need you to serve on this committee. Will you do it? Let me know tomorrow.” John thinks: I’m overloaded, but I don’t want to turn down the boss. I’ll accept but let the committee members know about my limits. I’ll be active in discussions and try to offer viewpoints and perspectives that are helpful. However, I’ll tell them front that I can’t be a leader or volunteer for any extra work. Some might say this is an excuse to “slack off while still doing what the boss wants.” John views it as being honest.

You Decide Whether you call it “social loafi ng,” “free-riding” or just plain old “slacking off,” the issue is the same: What right do some people have to sit back in team situations and let other people do all the work? Is this ethical? Does everyone on a team have an ethical obligation to do his or her fair share of the work? And when it comes to John, does the fact that he is going to be honest with the other committee members make any difference? Isn’t he still going to be a loafer, and yet earn credit with the boss for serving on the committee? Would it be more ethical for John to decline becoming a part of this committee?

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Improving Team Processes 179

Team Cohesiveness The cohesiveness of a group or team is the degree to which members are attracted to and motivated to remain part of it.16 We might think of it as the “feel good” factor that causes people to value their membership on a team, positively identify with it, and strive to maintain positive relationships with other members. Feelings of cohesion can be a source of need satisfaction, often providing a source of loyalty, security, and esteem for team members. And because cohesive teams are such a source of personal satisfaction, their members tend to display fairly predictable behaviors that differentiate them from members of less cohesive teams—they are more energetic when working on team activities, less likely to be absent, less likely to quit the team, and more likely to be happy about perfor- mance success and sad about failures.

Team Cohesiveness and Conformity to Norms Even though cohesive groups are good for their members, they may or may not be good for the organi- zation. The question is: Will the cohesive team also be a high- performance team? The answer to this question depends on the match of cohesiveness with confor- mity to norms.

Conformity to NormsTeam Cohesiveness � �

The rule of conformity in team dynamics states that the greater the cohe- siveness of a team, the greater the conformity of members to team norms. So when the performance norms are positive in a highly cohesive work group or team, the resulting conformity to the norm should have a positive effect on both team performance and member satisfaction. This is a best-case situation for team members, the team leader, and the organization. But when the performance norms are negative in a highly cohesive group, as shown in Figure 8.3, the rule of

• Cohesiveness is the degree to which members are attracted to a group and motivated to remain a part of it.

• The rule of conformity is the greater the cohesiveness, the greater the conformity of members to team norms.

Team Performance Norms


Likely outcome— Low performance

Likely outcome— Moderate performance

Likely outcome— Moderate to low performance

“Worst” case situation

Likely outcome— High performance

“Best” case situation

Figure 8.3 How cohe- siveness and conformity to norms infl uence team performance.

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180 8 Teamwork and Team Performance

conformity creates a worst-case situation for the team leader and the organization. Although the high cohesiveness leaves the team members feeling loyal and satis- fi ed, they are also highly motivated to conform to the negative performance norm. In between these two extremes are two mixed-case situations for teams low in cohesion. Because there is little conformity to either the positive or nega- tive norms, team performance will most likely fall on the moderate or low side.

How to Infl uence Team Cohesiveness What can be done to tackle the worst- case and mixed-case scenarios just described? The answer rests with the factors infl uencing team cohesiveness. Cohesiveness tends to be high when teams are more homogeneous in makeup, that is when members are similar in age, attitudes, needs, and backgrounds. Cohesiveness also tends to be high in teams of small size, where members respect one another’s competencies, agree on common goals, and like to work together rather than alone on team tasks. And cohesiveness tends to increase when groups are physically isolated from others and when they experience performance success or crisis.

Figure 8.4 shows how team cohesiveness can be increased or decreased by making changes in goals, membership composition, interactions, size, rewards, competition, location, and duration. When the team norms are positive but cohesiveness is low, the goal is to take actions to increase cohesion and gain more conformity to the positive norms. But when team norms are negative and cohesiveness is high, just the opposite may have to be done. If efforts to change the norms fail, it may be necessary to reduce cohesiveness and thus reduce conformity to the negative norms.

Inter-Team Dynamics The presence of competition with other teams tends to increase cohesiveness within a team. This raises the issue of what happens between, not just within, teams. We call this inter-team dynamics. Organizations ideally operate as coop- erative systems in which the various groups and teams support one another. In the real world, however, competition and inter-team problems often develop. Their consequences can be good or bad for the host organization and the teams themselves.

• Inter-team dynamics occur as groups cooperate

and compete with one another.

How to Increase Cohesion

Get agreement

Increase homogeneity

Enhance within team

Make team smaller

Focus on other teams

Reward team results

Isolate from other teams

Keep team together

How to Decrease Cohesion



Create disagreement

Increase heterogeneity

Restrict within team

Make team bigger

Focus within team

Reward individual results

Open up to other teams

Disband the team Figure 8.4 Ways to increase and decrease team cohesiveness.

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Improving Team Processes 181

On the positive side of inter-team dynamics, competition among teams can stimulate them to become more cohesive, work harder, become more focused on key tasks, develop more internal loyalty and satisfaction, or achieve a higher level of creativity in problem solving. This effect is demonstrated at virtually any inter- collegiate athletic event, and it is common in work settings as well.17 On the negative side, such as when manufacturing and sales units don’t get along, inter- team dynamics may drain and divert work energies. Members may spend too much time focusing on their animosities or confl icts with another team and too little time focusing on their own team’s performance.18

Weak faultline group members identify more

with team than subgroups • less conflict • more sense of safety • more team satisfaction

Strong faultline group members identify more

with subgroups than team • more conflict • less sense of safety • less team satisfaction

According to researchers Dora Lau and Keith Murnighan, strong “faultlines” occur in groups when demographic diversity results in the formation of two or more subgroups whose members are similar to and strongly identify with one another. Examples include teams with subgroups forming around age, gender, race, ethnic, occupational, or tenure differences. When strong faultlines are present, members are expected to identify more strongly with their subgroups than with the team as a whole. Lau and Murnighan predict that this will affect what happens with the team in terms of confl ict, politics, and performance.

Using subjects from ten organizational behavior classes at a university, the researchers randomly assigned students to casework groups based on sex and ethnicity. After working on their cases, group members completed questionnaires about group processes and outcomes. Results showed, as predicted, that members in strong faultline groups evaluated those in their

subgroups more favorably than did members of weak faultline groups. Members of weak faultline groups also experi- enced less confl ict, more psy- chological safety, and more satisfaction than did those in strong faultline groups. More communication across faultlines had a positive effect on out- comes for weak faultline groups but not for strong faultline groups.

Demographic Faultlines Pose Implications for Leading Teams in Organizations

Do the Research See if you can verify these fi ndings. Be a “participant observer” in your work teams. Focus on faultlines and their effects. Keep a diary, make notes, and compare your experiences with this study in mind.

Source: Dora C. Lau and J. Keith Murnighan, “Interactions within Groups and Subgroups: The Effects of Demographic Faultlines,” Academy of Management Journal 48 (2005), pp. 645–659; and “Demographic Diversity and Faultlines: The Compositional Dynamics of Organizational Groups,” Academy of Management Review 23 (1998), pp. 325–340.

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182 8 Teamwork and Team Performance

Finding the Leader in You AMAZON’S JEFF BEZOS WINS WITH TWO-PIZZA TEAMS Amazon.com’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is considered one of America’s top businesspersons and a technology visionary. He’s also a great fan of teams. Bezos coined a simple rule when it comes to sizing the fi rm’s product development teams: If two pizzas aren’t enough to feed a team, it’s too big.

The business plan for Amazon originated while Bezos was driving cross-country. He started the fi rm in his garage, and even when his Amazon stock grew to $500 million he was still driving a Honda and living in a small apartment in downtown Seattle. Clearly, he’s a

Bezos. His standard offi ce attire is still blue jeans and blue collared shirt. A family friend describes him and his wife as “very playful people.” Bezos views Amazon’s small teams as a way of fi ghting bureaucracy and decentralizing, even as a company grows large and very complex. He is also a fan of what he calls fact-based decisions. He says they help to “overrule the hierarchy. The most junior person in the company can win an argument with the most senior person with fact-based decisions.”

What’s the Lesson Here? Do you need to be in control as a team leader, or are you comfort- able delegating? Do you consider yourself more informal or formal in your approach to leadership? How would you feel if a person junior to you had more say in a decision than you did?

unique personality and also one with a great business mind. His goal with Amazon was to “create the world’s most customer-centric company, the place where you can fi nd and buy anything you want online.”

If you go to Amazon.com and click on the “Gold Box” at the top, you’ll be tuning in to his vision. It’s a place for special deals, lasting only an hour and offering every- thing from a power tool to a new pair of shoes. Such online innova- tions don’t just come out of the blue. They’re part and parcel of the management philosophy Bezos has instilled at the fi rm. The Gold Box and many of Amazon’s successful innovations are products of many “two-pizza teams.” Described as “small,” “fast-moving,” and “innova- tion engines,” these teams typically have fi ve to eight members and thrive on turning new ideas into business potential.

Don’t expect to spot a stereotyped corporate CEO in Jeff

Chapter 11 discusses many issues on communication and collaboration. The focus there is on such things as communication effectiveness, techniques for overcoming barriers and improving communication, and the use of collaborative

LEARNING ROADMAP Communication Networks / Proxemics and Use of Space / Communication Technologies

A variety of steps can be taken to avoid negative and achieve positive effects from inter-team dynamics. Teams engaged in destructive competition, for example, can be refocused on a common enemy or a common goal. Direct negotiations can be held among the teams. Members can be engaged in inter- group team-building that encourages positive interactions and helps members of different teams learn how to work more cooperatively together. Reward sys- tems can also be refocused to emphasize team contributions to overall organi- zational performance and on how much teams help out one another.

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Improving Team Communications 183

communication technologies. And in teams, it is important to make sure that every member is strong and capable in basic communication and collaboration skills. In addition, however, teams must address questions like these: What communication networks are being used by the team and why? How does space affect communication among team members? Is the team making good use of the available communication technologies?

Communication Networks Three patterns typically emerge when team members interact with one another while working on team tasks. We call them the interacting team, the co-acting team, and the counteracting team shown in Figure 8.5.

In order for a team to be effective and high-performing, the interaction pat- tern should fi t the task at hand. Indeed, a team ideally shifts among the interac- tion patterns as task demands develop and change over time. One of the most common mistakes discovered during team-building is that members are not using the right interaction patterns. An example might be a student project team whose members believe every member must always be present when any work gets done on the project; in other words, no one works on his own and everything is done together.

Figure 8.5 links interaction patterns with team communication networks.19 When task demands require intense interaction, this is best done with a decen- tralized communication network. Also called the star network or all-channel network, it operates with everyone communicating and sharing information with everyone else. Information fl ows back and forth constantly, with no one person serving as the center point.20 Decentralized communication networks work well when team tasks are complex and nonroutine, perhaps tasks that involve

• In decentralized communication networks members com municate directly with one another.


Interacting team

High interdependency around a common task

Best at complex tasks

Decentralized communication network

Co-acting team

Centralized communication network

Independent individual efforts on behalf of common task

Best at simple tasks

Counteracting team

Restricted communication network

Subgroups in disagreement with one another

Slow task accomplishment

Figure 8.5 Communication networks and interaction patterns found in teams.

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184 8 Teamwork and Team Performance

uncertainty and require creativity. Member satisfaction on such interacting teams is usually high.

When task demands allow for more independent work by team members, a centralized communication network is the best option. Also called the wheel network or chain network, it operates with a central “hub” through which one member, often a formal or informal team leader, collects and distributes informa- tion. Members of such coaching teams work on assigned tasks independently while the hub keeps everyone and everything coordinated. Work is divided up among members and results are pooled to create the fi nished product. The cen- tralized network works well when team tasks are routine and easily subdivided. It is usually the hub member who experiences the most satisfaction on successful coacting teams.

Counteracting teams form when subgroups emerge within a team due to issue-specifi c disagreements, such as a temporary debate over the best means to achieve a goal, or emotional disagreements, such as personality clashes. This cre- ates a restricted communication network in which the subgroups contest each other’s positions and restrict interactions with one another. The poor com- munication often creates problems. But there are times when it can be useful. Counteracting teams might be set up to stimulate confl ict and criticism to help improve creativity or double check decisions about to be implemented.

Proxemics and Use of Space An important but sometimes neglected part of communication in teams involves proxemics, or the use of space as people interact.21 We know, for example, that offi ce or workspace architecture is an important infl uence on communication behavior. It only makes sense that communication in teams might be improved by arranging physical space to best support it. This might be done by moving chairs and tables closer together, or by choosing to meet in physical spaces that are most conducive to communication. Meeting in a small conference room at the library, for example, may be a better choice than meeting in a busy coffee shop.

Some architects and consultants specialize in offi ce design for communication and teamwork. When Sun Microsystems built its San Jose, California, facility, public spaces were designed to encourage communication among persons from different departments. Many meeting areas had no walls, and most walls were glass.22 At Google headquarters, often called Googleplex, specially designed offi ce “tents” are made of acrylics to allow both the sense of private personal space and transpar- ency.23 And at b&a advertising in Dublin, Ohio, an emphasis on open space sup- ports the small ad agency’s emphasis on creativity; after all, its Web address is www. babrain.com. Face-to-face communication is the rule at b&a to the point where internal e-mail among employees is banned. There are no offi ces or cubicles, and all offi ce equipment is portable. Desks have wheels so that informal meetings can happen by people repositioning themselves for spontaneous collaboration. Even the formal meetings are held standing up in the company kitchen.24

Communication Technologies It hardly seems necessary in the age of Facebook, Twitter, and Skype to mention that teams now have access to many useful technologies that can facilitate com- munication and reduce the need to be face to face. We live and work in an age

• Centralized communication

networks link group members through a central

control point.

• Restricted communication

networks link subgroups that disagree with one

another’s positions.

• Proxemics involves the use of space as people

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Improving Team Decisions 185

of instant messaging, tweets and texting, wikis, online discussions, video chats, videoconferencing, and more. We are networked socially 24–7 to the extent we want, and there’s no reason the members of a team can’t utilize the same tech- nologies to good advantage.

Think of technology as allowing and empowering teams to use virtual com- munication networks in which team members communicate electronically all or most of the time. Technology in virtual teamwork acts as the “hub member” in the centralized communication network and as an ever-present “electronic router” that links members in decentralized networks on an as-needed and always-ready basis. And new developments with social media keep pushing these capabilities forward. General Electric, for example, started a “Tweet Squad” to advise employees how social networking could be used to improve internal collaboration. The insurer MetLife has its own social network, connect.MetLife, which facilitates collaboration through a Facebook-like setting.25

Of course and as mentioned in the last chapter, certain steps need to be taken to make sure that virtual teams and communication technologies are as successful as possible. This means doing things like online team-building so that members get to know one another, learn about and identify team goals, and otherwise develop a sense of cohesiveness.26 And we shouldn’t forget protocols and every- day good manners when using technology as part of teamwork. For example, Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Airlines, says: “I don’t think it’s appropriate to use Blackberrys in meetings. You might as well have a newspaper and open the news- paper up in the middle of the meeting.”27 Might we say the same for the texting now commonplace in classrooms?

• Virtual communication networks link team members through electronic communication.

One of the most important activities for any team is decision making, the pro- cess of choosing among alternative courses of action. The quality and timeliness of decisions made and the processes through which they are arrived at can have an important impact on how teams work and what they achieve.

Ways Teams Make Decisions Consider the many teams of which you have been and are a part. Just how do major decisions get made? Most often there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye. Edgar Schein, a noted scholar and consultant, has worked extensively with teams to iden- tify, analyze, and improve their decision processes.28 He observes that teams may make decisions through any of six methods discussed here. Schein doesn’t rule out any method, but he does point out their advantages and disadvantages.

Lack of Response In decision by lack of response one idea after another is sug- gested without any discussion taking place. When the team fi nally accepts an idea, all others have been bypassed and discarded by simple lack of response rather than

• Decision making is the process of choosing among alternative courses of action.

LEARNING ROADMAP Ways Teams Make Decisions / Assets and Liabilities of Team Decisions / Groupthink Symptoms and Remedies / Team Decision Techniques

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186 8 Teamwork and Team Performance

Decision by lack of response

Decision by unanimity

Decision by consensus

Decision by majority rule

Decision by minority rule

Decision by authority rule

Team decisions

Figure 8.6 Alternative ways that teams make decisions.

by critical evaluation. This may happen early in a team’s development when new members are struggling for identities and confi dence. It’s also common in teams with low-performance norms and when members just don’t care enough to get involved in what is taking place. But whenever lack of response drives decisions, it’s rela- tively easy for a team to move off in the wrong, or at least not the best, direction.

Authority Rule In decision by authority rule the chairperson, manager, or leader makes a decision for the team. This is very time effi cient and can be done with or without inputs by other members. Whether the decision is a good one or a bad one depends on if the authority fi gure has the necessary information and if other group members accept this approach. When an authority decision is made with- out expertise or member commitment, problems are likely.

Minority Rule In decision by minority rule two or three people are able to dominate, or “railroad,” the group into making a decision with which they agree. This is often done by providing a suggestion and then forcing quick agreement. The railroader may challenge the group with statements like: “Does anyone object? . . . No? Well, let’s go ahead then.” While such forcing and bullying may get the team moving in a certain direction, member commitment to making the decision successful will probably be low. “Kickback” and “resistance,” especially when things get diffi cult, aren’t unusual in these situations.

Majority Rule One of the most common ways that groups make decisions is through decision by majority rule. This usually takes place as a formal vote to fi nd the majority viewpoint. When team members get into disagreements that seem irreconcilable, for example, voting is seen to be an easy way out of the situation. But, majority rule is often used without awareness of its potential problems. The very process creates coalitions, especially when votes are taken and results are close. Those in the minority—the “losers”—may feel left out or discarded without having had a fair say. They may not be enthusiastic about implementing the deci- sion of the “winners.” Lingering resentments may hurt team effectiveness in the future if they become more concerned about winning the next vote than doing what is best for the team.

Consensus Another of the decision alternatives in Figure 8.6 is consensus. It results when discussion leads to one alternative being favored by most team members and other members agree to support it. When a consensus is reached, even those who may have opposed the chosen course of action know that they

• Consensus is a group decision that has the

expressed support of most members.

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Improving Team Decisions 187

have been listened to and have had a fair chance to infl uence the outcome. Consensus does not require unanimity. What it does require is the opportunity for any dissenting members to feel that they have been able to speak and that their voices have been heard.29 Because of the extensive process involved in reaching a consensus decision, it may be ineffi cient from a time perspective. But consensus is very powerful in terms of generating commitments among members to making the fi nal decision work best for the team.

Unanimity A decision by unanimity may be the ideal state of affairs. Here, all team members whole- heartedly agree on the course of action to be taken. This “logically perfect” decision situation is extremely diffi cult to attain in actual practice. One reason that teams sometimes turn to authority decisions, majority voting, or even minority decisions, in fact, is the dif- fi culty of managing the team process to achieve decisions by consensus or unanimity.

Assets and Liabilities of Team Decisions Just as with communication networks, the best teams don’t limit themselves to any one of the decision methods just described. Rather, they move back and forth using each in appropriate circumstances. In our cases, for example, we never complain when a department head makes an authority decision to have a welcome reception for new students at the start of the aca- demic year or calls for a faculty vote on a proposed new travel policy. Yet we’d quickly disapprove if a department head made an authority decision to hire a new faculty member—something we believe should be made by faculty consensus.

The key for the department head in our example and for any team leader is to use decision methods that best fi t the problems and situations at hand. This requires a good understanding of the potential assets and liabilities of team deci- sion making.30

On the positive side, the more team-oriented decision methods, such as con- sensus and unanimity, offer the advantages of bringing more information, knowl- edge, and expertise to bear on a problem. Extensive discussion tends to create broader understanding of the fi nal decision, and this increases acceptance. It also strengthens the commitments of members to follow through and support the decision.

But as we all know, team decisions can be imperfect. It usually takes a team longer to make a decision than it does an individual. Then, too, social pressures to conform might make some members unwilling to go against or criticize what appears to be the will of the majority. And in the guise of a so-called team deci- sion, furthermore, a team leader or a few members might “railroad” or “force” other members to accept their preferred decision.

When in Doubt, Follow the Seven Steps for Consensus

It’s easy to say that consensus is good. It’s a lot harder to achieve consensus, especially when tough decisions are needed. Here are some tips for how members should behave in consensus-seeking teams.

1. Don’t argue blindly; consider others’ reactions to your points.

2. Be open and fl exible, but don’t change your mind just to reach quick agreement.

3. Avoid voting, coin tossing, and bargaining to avoid or reduce confl ict.

4. Act in ways that encourage everyone’s involvement in the decision process.

5. Allow disagreements to surface so that information and opinions can be deliberated.

6. Don’t focus on winning versus losing; seek alternatives acceptable to all.

7. Discuss assumptions, listen carefully, and encourage participation by everyone.

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188 8 Teamwork and Team Performance

Groupthink Symptoms and Remedies An important potential problem that arises when teams try to make decisions is groupthink—the tendency of members in highly cohesive groups to lose their critical evaluative capabilities.31 As identifi ed by social psychologist Irving Janis, groupthink is a property of highly cohesive teams, and it occurs because team members are so concerned with harmony that they become unwilling to criticize each other’s ideas and suggestions. Desires to hold the team together, feel good, and avoid unpleasantries bring about an overemphasis on agreement and an underemphasis on critical discussion. This often results in a poor decision.

By way of historical examples Janis suggests that groupthink played a role in the U.S. forces’ lack of preparedness at Pearl Harbor before the United States entered World War II. It has also been linked to fl awed U.S. decision making dur- ing the Vietnam War, to events leading up to the space shuttle disasters, and, most recently, to failures of American intelligence agencies regarding the status of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Perhaps you can think of other examples from your own experiences where otherwise well-intentioned teams end up doing the wrong things.

• Groupthink is the tendency of cohesive group

members to lose their critical evaluative



Cohesiveness is generally a good thing, but sometimes it can lead to prob- lems. Groupthink occurs when group members fail to critically evaluate circumstances and proposed ideas. They don’t actually lose the ability to criticize, they simply don’t exercise it. Members go out of their way to conform, as cohesiveness actually works against the group.

In the movie Madagascar, four animals try to escape from the New York Central Zoo. Local residents complain about the danger, so the animals are shipped to Africa when they are captured. The animals’ crates are tossed overboard during a storm and they end up in Madagascar.

Local King Julian, leader of the lemurs, hatches a plan to make friends with the mysterious animals that arrive on the island. He suggests that Alex the lion might be helpful in protecting them from other predators on the island. When Maurice, Julian’s assistant, asks why predators are scared of Alex, he is quickly silenced. All the other lemurs are quick to agree with King Julian. But Alex is later discovered to be a hungry carnivore and banished from the lemur colony.

This movie segment shows how easy it is for dissension to be squelched in highly cohesive groups. King Julian, for example, demeans individuals that question his ideas or offer contrasting views. The scene also shows mind guarding. Acknowledging that Alex was a dangerous predator might force the lemurs to deal with an unpleasant reality, so they pretend it does not exist.

Get to Know Yourself Better Experiential Exercise 21, Work Team Dynamics, in the OB Skills Workbook can be a good gauge of whether your group/team is working effectively or might be susceptible to groupthink. Take a minute and assess a group to which you currently belong. If you are the leader, what can you do to guard against groupthink? If you are not the leader, what actions would you take if your team was heading toward groupthink?

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Improving Team Decisions 189

The following symptoms of teams displaying groupthink should be well within the sights of any team leader and member.32

• Illusions of invulnerability—Members assume that the team is too good for criticism or beyond attack.

• Rationalizing unpleasant and disconfi rming data—Members refuse to accept contradictory data or to thoroughly consider alternatives.

• Belief in inherent group morality—Members act as though the group is inherently right and above reproach.

• Stereotyping competitors as weak, evil, and stupid—Members refuse to look realistically at other groups.

• Applying direct pressure to deviants to conform to group wishes—Members refuse to tolerate anyone who suggests the team may be wrong.

• Self-censorship by members—Members refuse to communicate personal concerns to the whole team.

• Illusions of unanimity—Members accept consensus prematurely, without testing its completeness.

• Mind guarding—Members protect the team from hearing disturbing ideas or outside viewpoints.

There is no doubt that groupthink is a serious threat to the quality of decision making in teams at all levels and in all types of organizations. But it can be managed if team leaders and members are alert to the above symptoms and quick to take action to prevent harm.33 The accompanying sidebar identifi es a number of steps to avoid groupthink or at least minimize its occurrence. For example, President Kennedy chose to absent himself from certain strategy discussions by his cabinet during the Cuban Missile Crisis. This reportedly facilitated critical discussion and avoided tendencies for members to try to fi gure out what the president wanted and then give it to him. As a result, the decision-making process was open and expan- sive, and the crisis was successfully resolved.

Team Decision Techniques In order to take full advantage of the team as a decision-making resource, care must be exercised to avoid groupthink and otherwise manage problems in team dynamics. Team process losses often occur, for example, when meetings are poorly structured or poorly led as members try to work together. Decisions can easily get bogged down or go awry when tasks are complex, information is uncertain, creativity is needed, time is short, “strong” voices are dominant, and debates turn emotional and personal. These are times when special team decision techniques can be helpful.34

Brainstorming In brainstorming, team members actively generate as many ideas and alternatives as possible, and they do so relatively quickly and without inhibitions. IBM, for example, uses online brainstorming as part of a program

• brainstorming involves generating ideas through “freewheeling” and without criticism.

Groupthink Can Be Avoided When Team Leaders and Team Members Follow These Tips

• Assign the role of critical evaluator to each team member.

• Have the leader avoid seeming partial to one course of action.

• Create subgroups that each work on the same problem.

• Have team members discuss issues with outsiders and report back.

• Invite outside experts to observe and react to team processes.

• Assign someone to be a “devil’s advocate” at each team meeting.

• Hold “second-chance” meetings after consensus is apparently achieved.

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190 8 Teamwork and Team Performance

called Innovation Jam. It links IBM employees, customers, and consultants in an “open source” approach. Says CEO Samuel J. Palmisano: “A technology company takes its most valued secrets, opens them up to the world and says, O.K., world, you tell us what to do with them.”35

You are probably familiar with the rules for brainstorming. First, all criticism is ruled out. No one is allowed to judge or evaluate any ideas until they are all on the table. Second, “freewheeling” is welcomed. The emphasis is on creativity and imagination; the wilder or more radical the ideas the better. Third, quantity is a goal. The assumption is that the greater the number, the more likely a superior idea will appear. Fourth, “piggy-backing” is good. Everyone is encouraged to sug- gest how others’ ideas can be turned into new ideas or how two or more ideas can be joined into still another new idea.

Nominal Group Technique Teams sometimes get into situations where the opinions of members differ so much that antagonistic arguments develop during discussions. At other times teams get so large that open discussion and brain- storming are awkward to manage. In such cases a structured approach called the nominal group technique may be helpful in face to face or virtual meetings.36

The technique begins by asking team members to respond individually and in writing to a nominal question, such as: “What should be done to improve the effective- ness of this work team?” Everyone is encouraged to list as many alternatives or ideas as they can. Next, participants in round-robin fashion are asked to read or post their responses to the nominal question. Each response is recorded on large newsprint or in a computer database as it is offered. No criticism is allowed. The recorder asks for any questions that may clarify specifi c items on the list, but no evaluation is allowed. The goal is simply to make sure that everyone fully understands each response. A structured voting procedure is then used to prioritize responses to the nominal ques- tion and identify the choice or choices having most support. This procedure allows ideas to be evaluated without risking the inhibitions, hostilities, and distortions that may occur in an open and less structured team meeting.

Delphi Technique The Rand Corporation developed a third group-decision approach, the Delphi Technique, for situations when group members are unable to meet face to face. In this procedure, questionnaires are distributed online or in hard copy to a panel of decision makers. They submit initial responses to a deci- sion coordinator. The coordinator summarizes the solutions and sends the sum- mary back to the panel members, along with a follow-up questionnaire. Panel members again send in their responses, and the process is repeated until a con- sensus is reached and a clear decision emerges.

• The nominal group technique involves structured rules for

generating and prioritizing ideas.

• The Delphi Technique involves generating

decision-making alternatives through a

series of survey questionnaires.

8 study guide Key Questions and Answers What are high-performance teams and how do we build them?

• Team-building is a collaborative approach to improving group process and performance.

• High-performance teams have core values, clear performance objectives, the right mix of skills, and creativity.

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Key Questions and Answers 191

• Team-building is a data-based approach to analyzing group performance and taking steps to improve performance in the future.

• Team-building is participative and engages all group members in collaborative problem solving and action.

How can team processes be improved?

• Individual entry problems are common when new teams are formed and when new members join existing teams.

• Task leadership involves initiating, summarizing, and making direct contributions to the group’s task agenda; maintenance leadership involves gate-keeping, encouraging, and supporting the social fabric of the group over time.

• Distributed leadership occurs when team members step in to provide helpful task and maintenance activities and discourage disruptive activities.

• Role diffi culties occur when expectations for group members are unclear, overwhelm- ing, underwhelming, or confl icting.

• Norms are the standards or rules of conduct that infl uence the behavior of team members; cohesiveness is the attractiveness of the team to its members.

• Members of highly cohesive groups value their membership and are very loyal to the group; they also tend to conform to group norms.

• The best situation is a team with positive performance norms and high cohesiveness; the worst is a team with negative performance norms and high cohesiveness.

• Inter-team dynamics are forces that operate between two or more groups as they cooperate and compete with one another.

How can team communications be improved?

• Effective teams vary their use of alternative communication networks and decision- making methods to best meet task and situation demands.

• Interacting groups with decentralized networks tend to perform well on complex tasks; co-acting groups with centralized networks may do well at simple tasks.

• Restricted communication networks are common in counteracting groups where subgroups form around disagreements.

• Wise choices on proxemics, or the use of space, can help teams improve communica- tion among members.

• Information technology ranging from instant messaging, video chats, video conferenc- ing, and more, can improve communication in teams, but it must be well used.

How can team decisions be improved?

• Teams can make decisions by lack of response, authority rule, minority rule, majority rule, consensus, and unanimity.

• Although team decisions often make more information available for problem solving and generate more understanding and commitment, their potential liabilities include social pressures to conform and greater time requirements.

• Groupthink is a tendency of members of highly cohesive teams to lose their critical evaluative capabilities and make poor decisions.

• Special techniques for team decision making include brainstorming, the nominal group technique, and the Delphi technique.

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192 8 Teamwork and Team Performance

Terms to Know Brainstorming (p. 189) Centralized communication

network (p. 184) Cohesiveness (p. 179) Collective intelligence (p. 171) Consensus (p. 186) Decentralized communication

network (p. 183) Decision making (p. 185) Delphi Technique (p. 190) Disruptive behavior (p. 175)

Distributed leadership (p. 174) Groupthink (p. 188) Inter-team dynamics (p. 180) Maintenance activities (p. 175) Nominal group technique (p. 190) Norms (p. 176) Performance norm (p. 177) Proxemics (p. 184) Restricted communication

network (p. 184) Role (p. 175)

Role ambiguity (p. 176) Role confl ict (p. 176) Role negotiation (p. 176) Role overload (p. 176) Role underload (p. 176) Rule of conformity (p. 179) Task activities (p. 175) Team-building (p. 171) Virtual communication

networks (p. 185)

Self-Test 8 Multiple Choice 1. One of the essential criteria of a true team is ____________. (a) large size (b) homo-

geneous membership (c) isolation from outsiders (d) collective accountability

2. The team-building process can best be described as participative, data-based, and ____________. (a) action-oriented (b) leader-centered (c) ineffective (d) short-term

3. A person facing an ethical dilemma involving differences between personal values and the expectations of the team is experiencing ____________ confl ict. (a) person- role (b) intrasender role (c) intersender role (d) interrole

4. The statement “On our team, people always try to do their best” is an example of a(n) ____________ norm. (a) support and helpfulness (b) high-achievement (c) organizational pride (d) personal improvement

5. Highly cohesive teams tend to be ____________. (a) bad for organizations (b) good for members (c) good for social loafi ng (d) bad for norm conformity

6. To increase team cohesiveness, one would ____________. (a) make the group bigger (b) increase membership diversity (c) isolate the group from others (d) relax performance pressures

7. A team member who does a good job at summarizing discussion, offering new ideas, and clarifying points made by others is providing leadership by contributing ____________ activities to the group process. (a) required (b) disruptive (c) task (d) maintenance

8. When someone is being aggressive, makes inappropriate jokes, or talks about irrelevant matters in a group meeting, these are all examples of ____________ that can harm team performance. (a) disruptive behaviors (b) maintenance activities (c) task activities (d) role dynamics

9. If you heard from an employee of a local bank that “it’s a tradition here for us to stand up and defend the bank when someone criticizes it,” you could assume that the bank employees had strong ____________ norms. (a) support and helpfulness (b) organizational and personal pride (c) ethical and social responsibility (d) improvement and change

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Next Steps 193

10. What can be predicted when you know that a work team is highly cohesive? (a) high-performance results (b) high member satisfaction (c) positive performance norms (d) status congruity

11. When two groups are in competition with one another, ____________ may be expected within each group. (a) greater cohesiveness (b) less reliance on the leader (c) poor task focus (d) more confl ict

12. A co-acting group is most likely to use a(n) ____________ communication network. (a) interacting (b) decentralized (c) centralized (d) restricted

13. A complex problem is best dealt with by a team using a(n) ____________ communi- cation network. (a) all-channel (b) wheel (c) chain (d) linear

14. The tendency of teams to lose their critical evaluative capabilities during decision making is a phenomenon called ____________. (a) groupthink (b) the slippage effect (c) decision congruence (d) group consensus

15. When a team decision requires a high degree of commitment for its implementation, a(n) ____________ decision is generally preferred. (a) authority (b) majority rule (c) consensus (d) minority rule

Short Response 16. Describe the steps in a typical team-building process.

17. How can a team leader build positive group norms?

18. How do cohesiveness and conformity to norms infl uence team performance?

19. How can inter-team competition be bad and good for organizations?

Applications Essay 20. Alejandro Puron recently encountered a dilemma in working with his employer’s

diversity task force. One of the team members claimed that a task force must always be unanimous in its recommendations. “Otherwise,” she said, “we will not have a true consensus.” Alejandro, the current task force leader, disagrees. He believes that unanimity is desirable but not always necessary to achieve consensus.

Question You are a management consultant specializing in teams and team- work. Alejandro asks for advice. What would you tell him and why?

• NASCAR’s Racing Teams

• Scavenger Hunt Team- building

• Work Team Dynamics • Identifying Team Norms • Work Team Culture • The Hot Seat

• Team Effectiveness • Empowering Others

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Making a Big Deal Out of Nothing

For the headquarters of a leading Facebook app developer, the offi ces of Animoto are uncomfortably bare. On one table is a high-end Gaggia espresso machine. Scattered about are the fi ve employees’ personal computers. This spartan approach to infrastructure, as well as a killer Web service, helped Animoto grow to serve more than one million users through their Web site and two million users via their Facebook app.a

Animoto.com helps users build one-of-a-kind, animated slideshows from photos and music they upload. The founders, among whom are veteran TV production geeks, designed Animoto to think like a director—choreographing the images, music, and transitions for maximum emotional impact. Aside from attracting millions of consumer users, several big-name bands have used Animoto to create videos and promotional shorts.

Recognizing that bringing the tools necessary to run Animoto would sap the young startup’s budget— especially if it caught on quickly—the founders brain- stormed a unique approach: reworking the service to run on Amazon’s self-contained Web Services platform, accepting that doing so would delay their launch by a nail-biting three months. That proved the right decision during a hectic week when their Facebook user base experienced 28-fold growth.b

They’ve stayed nimble and focused on honing Animoto by outsourcing many services that conventional businesses choose to manage in-house, such as IT

infrastructure (Amazon Web Services), billing and payment (PayPal/Google Checkout), e-mail (Google Apps), and sales record keeping (Salesforce.com).c

Animoto’s Web site advertises many job openings—that’s a strong sign for growth. So is the fi rm’s success with two recent venture capital funding rounds of more than $5 million.

“We’re afforded the luxury of focusing on what we’re actually good at.” —Jason Hsiao, president of Animoto.d

FYI: After tweaking their viral marketing, Animoto grew from 25,000 to 700,000 Facebook users in one week.e

• Animoto.com helps users create memorable slideshows by animating pictures, video clips, and music they upload. At last count their Web site had more than 2 million users, an estimated 10 percent of whom are paid subscribers.

• Recognizing the cost of hosting enough server infrastructure to accommodate rapid growth, the management team rewrote their code to run on Amazon Web Services instead of in-house servers, saving more than $2 million in processor purchases alone.

• Seeing the agility gained by focusing solely on their core talents, the company chose to outsource the management of key infrastructure services.

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9 Decision Making and Creativity the key point

Not everyone has to be in an entrepreneurial environment like Animoto’s to appreciate the need for good decision making and creativity. Not a day goes by that we are not involved in decisions, many of them consequential for our lives and the welfare of others. But we don’t always make good decisions and sometimes we have diffi culty choosing the right decision-making approaches.

What is Involved in the Decision-Making Process?

What Are the Alternative Decision-Making Models?

What Are Key Decision-Making Traps and Issues?

What Can Be Done to Stimulate Creativity in Decision Making?





you have to make good choices

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196 9 Decision Making and Creativity

It really is possible to move from dorm room to the world of entrepreneurship. Michael Dell did it—from building and selling computers in his University of Texas dorm to leading the global giant Dell Computer. Frederick Smith did it too—from writing a term paper with an interesting logistics idea at Yale Univer- sity to creating Federal Express. So, you can do it too. The question is whether or not you are ready with not only good ideas, but also the ability and willingness to make good decisions. In fact, a Graduate Management Admissions Council survey reports that 25 percent of business school alumni would like more training in managing the decision-making process.1

In our personal lives, at work, within teams, and in management in general, a continuing stream of information, data, problems, and opportunities fuel deci- sion making. It’s a lot to sort through, and we don’t always end up with the right results. In the last chapter we learned that teams make decisions in different ways, team decisions have assets and liabilities, and techniques such as brainstorming and the nominal group can help improve team decisions. Now, it’s time to exam- ine the decision-making process more thoroughly and become better prepared as leaders and members to assist teams in making high-performance decisions.

Steps in Decision Making A common defi nition of decision making is the process of choosing a course of action for dealing with a problem or an opportunity.2 The process is usually described in these fi ve steps that constitute the rational decision model.

Define Problem

Analyze Alternatives

Make a Choice

Take Action

Evaluate Result

1. Recognize and defi ne the problem or opportunity—a stage of information gathering and deliberation to specify exactly why a decision is needed and what it should accomplish. Three mistakes are common in this critical fi rst step in decision making. First, we may defi ne the problem too broadly or too narrowly. Second, we may focus on problem symptoms instead of causes. Third, we may choose the wrong problem to deal with.

2. Identify and analyze alternative courses of action—a stage where possible alternative courses of action and their anticipated consequences are evalu- ated for costs and benefi ts. Decision makers at this stage must be clear on exactly what they know and what they need to know. They should identify key stakeholders and consider the effects of each possible course of action on them.

3. Choose a preferred course of action—a stage where a choice is made to pursue one course of action rather than others. Criteria used in making the choice typically involve costs and benefi ts, timeliness of results, impact on stakehold- ers, and ethical soundness. Another issue is who makes the decision: team leader, team members, or some combination?

• Decision making is the process of choosing a

course of action to deal with a problem or


LEARNING ROADMAP Steps in Decision Making / Ethical Reasoning and Decision Making / Types of Decisions / Decision Environments / Risk Management in Decision Making

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The Decision-Making Process 197

4. Implement the preferred course of action—a stage where actions are taken to put the preferred course of action into practice. This is a point where teams may suffer from lack-of-participation error because they haven’t included in the decision-making process those persons whose support is necessary for its eventual implementation. Teams that use participation and involve- ment well gain good information and insights for better decision making, as well as team member commitments to put choices into action.

5. Evaluate results and follow up as necessary—a stage that measures perfor- mance results against initial goals and examines both anticipated and unanticipated outcomes. This is where decision makers exercise control over their actions, being careful to ensure that the desired results are achieved and undesired side effects are avoided. It is a stage that many individuals and teams often neglect, with negative implications for their performance effectiveness.

Ethical Reasoning and Decision Making Decision making means making choices, and these choices at each step in the decision-making process usually have a moral dimension that might easily be overlooked. Would you agree, for example, that there is a moral side to decisions such as these: Choosing to allow social loafi ng by a team member rather than confronting it; choosing to pursue a course of action that causes a teammate some diffi culties at home; choosing to compromise on quality in order to speed up teamwork to meet deadlines; or choosing not to ask really hard questions about whether or not a team’s course of action is the correct one?

Figure 9.1 links the steps in the decision-making process with corresponding issues of ethical reasoning.3 As suggested in the fi gure, we are advocating that an

• Lack-of-participation error occurs when important people are excluded from the decision-making process.

Check for underlying moral problems or dilemmas needing ethical analysis.

Check consistency and integrity of actual actions versus intended actions.

Answer “Criteria Questions” and “Spotlight Questions.”

Check actual ends and means versus desired ends and means.

Check implications for stakeholder utilities, common good, justice, caring, and virtuous life.

Check that the choice reflects the best ends and uses the right means.

Evaluate Results

Double Check

Make Choice

Figure 9.1 The decision- making process with embedded ethical reason- ing model.

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198 9 Decision Making and Creativity

ethical reasoning approach be followed when decisions are made and that this approach be linked with steps in the decision-making process. In other words, decision making is incomplete without ethical analysis.

Moral Problems and Dilemmas Ethics is the philosophical study of moral- ity or standards regarding good character and conduct.4 When we apply ethical reasoning to decisions made by individuals and teams in organizations, the focus is on moral problems and dilemmas that are associated with the deci- sion-making process. A moral problem is one that poses major ethical conse- quences for the decision maker or for others. It is possible and even easy to address a personal, management, or business problem and not properly con- sider any moral problems that might be associated with it. A preferred approach is to carefully examine the ethics of each alternative for all stakeholders, and make choices that minimize negative impact and maximize respect for every- one’s rights.

We hear almost every day, for example, about job layoffs in a bad econ- omy. For the manager or executive teams involved, layoffs may seem straight- forward and necessary solutions to a business problem—there are insuffi cient sales to justify the payroll and some jobs must be cut. But this business situa- tion also involves a moral problem. Persons losing their jobs have families, debts, and perhaps limited job options; they will be hurt even if the business benefi ts from lowering its costs. Although addressing the moral problem might not change the business decision, it might change how the business decision is reached and implemented. This includes addressing whether or not better alternatives to job eliminations exist and what support is offered to those who do lose jobs.

Sometimes problems create moral dilemmas in which the decision maker faces two or more ethically uncomfortable alternatives. An example might be deciding on an opportunity to make an outsourcing contract with a supplier in a country where employment discrimination exists, but also where the country is poor and new jobs are important for economic development. Such situations involve the uncomfortable position of choosing between alternatives that have both potential benefi ts and harm. Although such moral dilemmas are diffi cult to resolve, ethical reasoning helps ensure that the decisions will be made with rigor and thoughtful consideration. A willingness to pause to examine the ethics of a proposed decision may well result in a better decision, preservation of one’s respect and reputation, and avoidance of costly litigation and even jail.

Ethics Double-Checks In the earlier example of job layoffs, business execu- tives who have been criticized in the local news for making job cuts might scram- ble to provide counseling and job search help to affected employees. But this is after the fact, and moral conduct does not result from after-the-fact embarrass- ment. As ethicist Stephen Fineman suggests: “If people are unable to anticipate shame or guilt before they act in particular ways, then moral codes are invalid. . . .”5 When you are the decision maker, decision making is not just a process followed for the good of the organization; it involves your values and your morality. And potential adverse impact on them should be anticipated.6

If you look back at Figure 9.1, you will see that “ethics double-checks” are built into the ethical reasoning framework. This is a way of testing to make

• Ethics is the philosophical study of

• A moral problem poses major ethical consequences

for the decision maker or others.

• A moral dilemma involves a choice between

two or more ethically uncomfortable alternatives.

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The Decision-Making Process 199

sure our decisions meet personal moral standards. The recommended ethics double-checks ask and answer two sets of questions—criteria questions and spotlight questions. Ethicist Gerald Cavanagh and his associates identify these four criteria questions for assessing ethics in decision making.7

1. Utility—Does the decision satisfy all constituents or stakeholders? 2. Rights—Does the decision respect the rights and duties of everyone? 3. Justice—Is the decision consistent with the canons of justice? 4. Caring—Is the decision consistent with my responsibilities to care?

The spotlight questions basically expose a decision to public scrutiny and forces us to consider it in the context of full transparency.8 They are especially powerful when prospects for shame would be very upsetting.

1. “How would I feel if my family found out about this decision?” 2. “How would I feel if this decision were published in the local newspaper or

posted on the Internet?”

3. “What would the person you know or know of who has the strongest character and best ethical judgment do in this situation?”

• Criteria questions assess a decision in terms of utility, rights, justice, and caring.

• Spotlight questions expose a decision to public scrutiny and full transparency.


Would you buy a product if you knew it was produced at a factory where some workers had committed suicide? Sounds extreme, doesn’t it? But the fact is that a major outsourcing fi rm in China, Foxconn, has experienced problems with employee suicides. And guess what? It makes products for Apple, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard, among others. Over 250,000 people work in one huge complex stretching over 1 square mile in Shenzen, China. It’s full of dormitories, and it has restaurants and a hospital in addition to the factory spaces. If you look closely, you’ll see netting draped from the dormitories. It’s designed to prevent suicides by workers jumping from the roofs.

One Foxconn worker complains that the work is meaning- less, no conversation is allowed on the production lines, and bathroom breaks are limited. Another says: “I do the same thing every day. I have no future.” A supervisor points out that the fi rm provides counseling services since most workers are young and this is the fi rst time they are away from their homes. “Without their families,” says the supervisor, “they’re left without direction. We try to provide them with direction and help.”

How Should We Act? People sometimes work in situations that are harmful to their health and well-being. They face abuse in the form of sexual harassment, supervisor mistreatment, co-worker incivility, unsafe conditions, overly long hours, and more. What ethical responsibilities do the fi rms that contract for outsourcing in foreign plants have when it comes to the conditions under which the employees work? Whose responsibility is it to make sure workers are well treated? And when it comes to consumers, should we support bad practices by continuing to buy products from fi rms whose outsourcing partners have been revealed to treat workers poorly?

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200 9 Decision Making and Creativity

Types of Decisions Decisions made by teams and individuals are basically attempts to deal with a specifi c task, resolve a performance defi ciency, or take advantage of a perfor- mance opportunity. They fall into two major types—programmed decisions and nonprogrammed decisions.

Programmed decisions are made as standardized responses to recurring situations and routine problems. They deal with things a decision maker or team already has experience with. Basically, they implement alternatives that are known to be appropriate for situations that occur somewhat frequently. Examples might include decisions that deal with employee absences, compensation, or other standard human resource issues.

Nonprogrammed decisions are specifi cally crafted or tailored to fi t a unique situation. They address novel or unexpected problems that demand a special response, one not available from a decision inventory. An example is a marketing team that has to respond to the introduction of a new product by a foreign competitor. Although past experience may help deal with this competitive threat, the immediate decision requires a creative solution based on the unique characteristics of the present market situation.

The most extreme type of nonprogrammed decision is the crisis decision where an unexpected problem threatens major harm and disaster if it is not resolved quickly and appropriately.9 Acts of terrorism, workplace violence, IT failures and security breaches, ethical scandals, and environmental catastrophes are all examples. And the ability to handle crises could well be the ultimate decision-making test. Unfor- tunately, research indicates that we sometimes react to crises by doing exactly the wrong things.10 Managers err in crisis situations when they isolate themselves and try to solve the problem alone or in a small, closed group. Teams do the same when they withdraw into the isola- tion of groupthink. In both instances the deci- sion makers cut themselves off from access to crucial information at the very time that they need it the most.

Especially in our world of economic uncer- tainty, global crises, and IT security breaches, many organizations, perhaps all really strong ones, are developing formal crisis management programs. They train managers in crisis, assign people ahead of time to crisis management teams, and develop crisis management plans to deal with various contingencies. Just as fi re and police departments, the Red Cross, and commu- nity groups plan ahead and train people to best handle civil and natural disasters, and airline crews train for fl ight emergencies, so, too, can

• Programmed decisions simply

implement solutions that have already been

determined by past experience as appropriate for the problem at hand.

• Nonprogrammed decisions are created to

deal specifi cally with a problem at hand.

• A crisis decision occurs when an unexpected problem can lead to

disaster if not resolved quickly and appropriately.

Crisis Is Always Tough, But These Six Rules for Crisis Management Can Help

1. Figure out what is going on—Take the time to understand what’s happening and the conditions under which the crisis must be resolved.

2. Remember that speed matters—

Attack the crisis as quickly as possible, trying to catch it when it is as small as possible.

3. Remember that slow counts, too—Know when to back off and wait for a better opportunity to make progress with the crisis.

4. Respect the danger of the unfamiliar—Understand the danger of all-new territory where you and others have never been before.

5. Value the skeptic—Don’t look for and get too comfortable with agreement; appreciate skeptics and let them help you see things differently.

6. Be ready to “fi ght fi re with fi re”—When things are going wrong and no one seems to care, you may have to start a crisis to get their attention.

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The Decision-Making Process 201

managers and work teams plan ahead and train to best deal with organiza- tional crises.

Decision Environments Decisions in organizations are typically made under the three conditions or envi- ronments shown in Figure 9.2—certainty, risk, and uncertainty.11 The levels of risk and uncertainty in the decision environment tend to increase the higher one moves in management ranks. Think about this, for example, the next time you hear about Coca-Cola or Pepsi launching a new fl avor or product. Is the executive team making these decisions certain that the results will be successful? Or, is it taking risks in market situations that are uncertain as to whether the new fl avor or product will be positively received by customers?

Certain environments exist when information is suffi cient to predict the results of each alternative in advance of implementation. When a person invests money in a savings account, for example, absolute certainty exists about the interest that will be earned on that money in a given period of time. Certainty is an ideal condition for problem solving and decision making. The challenge is simply to locate the alternative that offers the best or ideal solu- tion. Unfortunately, certainty is the exception instead of the rule in most deci- sion situations.

Risk environments exist when decision makers lack complete certainty regarding the outcomes of various courses of action, but are aware of the probabilities associated with their likely occurrence. Probabilities can be assigned through objective statistical procedures or through personal intuition. For instance, a senior production manager can make statistical estimates of quality rejects in production runs or make similar estimates based on her personal past experience. Risk is a common decision environment.

• Certain environments provide full information on the expected results for decision-making alternatives.

• Risk environments provide probabilities regarding expected results for decision-making alternatives.

Certain environment Alternative courses of action and their

outcomes are known to decision maker.

Alternative 1

Alternative 2

Alternative 3

Risk environment Decision maker views alternatives and their

outcomes in terms of probabilities.

Uncertain environment Decision maker doesn't know all alternatives

and outcomes, even as probabilities.

Alternative ?

Risk of failureLow High

Type of decisionProgrammed Nonprogrammed

Figure 9.2 Certainty, risk, and uncertainty in organizational decision environments. [Source: John R. Schermerhorn, Jr., Management, 10th ed. (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2010). Used by permission.]

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202 9 Decision Making and Creativity

Uncertain environments exist when managers have so little information that they cannot even assign probabilities to various alternatives and their pos- sible outcomes. This is the most diffi cult decision environment. Uncertainty forces decision makers to rely heavily on unique, novel, and often totally inno- vative alternatives to existing patterns of behavior. Responses to uncertainty are often heavily infl uenced by intuition, educated guesses, and hunches.

Risk Management in Decision Making Because so many decisions are made in risk and uncertain environments, there is heightened interest in risk management, something often associated with insur- ance and fi nance. We use the term in general management as well, focusing on anticipating risk in situations and factoring risk alternatives into the decision-making process.12 Risk management involves identifying critical risks and then developing strategies and assigning responsibilities for dealing with them.

KPMG, one of the world’s largest consulting fi rms, has a large practice in enterprise risk management. It is designed to help executives identify risks to their fi rms and plan how to best deal with them.13 KPMG consultants systemati- cally ask managers to separately identify strategic risks—threats to overall busi- ness success; operational risks—threats inherent in the technologies used to reach business success; and reputation risks—threats to a brand or to the fi rm’s reputa- tion. Although they also note the importance of threats from regulatory sources, KPMG consultants pay special attention to fi nancial threats, challenges to infor- mation systems, and new initiatives from competitors, in addition to change in the competitive setting such as economic recession or natural disasters.

• Uncertain environments provide no

information to predict expected results for

decision-making alternatives.

• Risk management involves anticipating risks

and factoring them into decision making.

The fi eld of organizational behavior has historically emphasized two alternative approaches to decision making as shown in Figure 9.3—classical and behav- ioral.14 The classical decision model views people acting in a world of complete

LEARNING ROADMAP Classical Decision Model / Behavioral Decision Model / Systematic and Intuitive Thinking

Ford ’s Risk Appetite

Includes Online Gamble Talk about taking a risk: Ford gave Fiesta models to 100 young drivers for six months. All it asked in return was that they post their impressions on YouTube, Flickr, and Twitter. It’s an interesting online campaign, but it carries a fair amount of risk since the drivers will be posting both the “goods” and the “bads.” Now the fi rm is asking drivers to help design a new ad campaign.

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Decision-Making Models 203



Clearly defined problem

Problem not clearly defined

Knowledge of all possible alternatives and their conse- quences

Knowledge is limited on possible alterna- tives and their con- sequences

Choice of the “optimum” alternative

Choice of a “satis- factory” alternative

Managerial actionManagerial action

Cognitive limitations Bounded rationality

Figure 9.3 Decision making viewed from the classical and behavioral perspectives.

certainty, whereas the behavioral decision model accepts the notion of bounded rationality and suggests that people act only in terms of what they perceive about a given situation.

Classical Decision Model The classical decision model views the manager or team as acting rationally and in a fully informed manner. In a certain environment, the problem is clearly defi ned, all possible action alternatives are known, and their consequences are clear. This allows for an optimizing decision that gives the absolute best solu- tion to the problem. This model nicely fi ts the fi ve-step decision-making process described earlier. It is an ideal situation of complete information where the deci- sion maker moves through the steps one by one in a logical fashion. And it nicely lends itself to various forms of quantitative decision analysis as well as to computer- based applications.15

Behavioral Decision Model As appealing as the classical model and its rational approach may be, the reality is that many, perhaps most, decision situations faced by individuals and teams in organizations don’t fi t the assumptions of the model. Recognizing this, the prem- ise of the alternative behavioral decision model is that people act only in terms of their perceptions, which are frequently imperfect.16

Behavioral scientists recognize that the human mind is a wonderful creation, capable of infi nite achievements. But they also recognize that human beings have cognitive limitations—literally limits on what we are able to know at any point in time. These limitations restrict our information-processing capabilities. The result is that information defi ciencies and overloads compromise the ability of decision makers to operate according to the classical model. Instead, they end up acting with bounded rationality, where things are interpreted and made sense of as perceptions and only within the context of the situation. They engage in decision making within the box of a simplifi ed view of a more complex reality.

• Classical decision model views decision makers as acting in a world of complete certainty. • Optimizing decisions give the absolute best solution to a problem.

• Behavioral decision model views decision makers as acting only in terms of what they perceive about a given situation.

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204 9 Decision Making and Creativity

Armed with only partial knowledge about the available action alternatives and their consequences, decision makers in the behavioral model are likely to choose the fi rst alternative that appears satisfactory to them. Herbert Simon calls this the tendency to make satisfi cing decisions. He states: “Most human decision making, whether individual or organizational, is concerned with the discovery and selection of satisfactory alternatives; only in exceptional cases is it concerned with the discovery and selection of optimal decisions.”17

Systematic and Intuitive Thinking Individuals and teams may be described as using both “systematic” and “intui- tive” thinking as they make decisions and try to solve problems. Systematic thinking is consistent with the rational model where a decision is approached in step-by-step and analytical fashion. You might recognize this style in a team member who tries to break a complex problem into smaller components that can be addressed one by one. Teams engaged in systematic thinking will try to make a plan before taking action, and to search for information and proceed with problem solving in a fact-based and logical fashion.

We think of intuition as the ability to know or recognize quickly and readily the possibilities of a given situation.18 Individuals and teams using intuitive thinking are more fl exible and spontaneous in decision making.19 You might observe this pattern in someone who always seems to come up with an imagina- tive response to a problem, often based on a quick and broad evaluation of the situation. Decision makers in this intuitive mode tend to deal with many aspects of a problem at once, search for the “big picture,” jump quickly from one issue to another, and act on hunches from experience or on spontaneous ideas. This approach is common under conditions of risk and uncertainty. And because intu- itive thinkers take a fl exible and spontaneous approach to decision making, their presence on a team adds potential for creative problem solving and innovation.

But does this mean that we should always favor the more intuitive and less systematic approach? Most likely not—teams, like individuals, should use and com- bine the two approaches to solve complex problems. Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos says that when it’s not possible for the fi rm’s top managers to make systematic fact-based decisions, “you have to rely on experienced executives who’ve honed their instincts” and are able to make good judgments.20 In other words, there’s a place for both systematic and intuitive thinking in management decision making.

• Satisfi cing decisions choose the fi rst alternative

that appears to give an acceptable or satisfactory

resolution of the problem.

• Systematic thinking approaches problems in a rational and an analytical

• Intuitive thinking approaches problems in a fl exible and spontaneous

Xooglers Like Facts to Drive

Decision Making

Avichal Garg started PrepMe.com with fi nancial backing from Xooglers, ex-Google employees known for using their wealth and experience to do great things. One Xoogler describes a decision-making lesson from their time at the fi rm this way—“Fact-based decision-making— always rely on data. Never make an emotional decision.”

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Decision-Making Traps and Issues 205

The pathways to good decisions can seem like a minefi eld of challenging issues and troublesome traps. Whether working individually or as part of a team, it is important to understand the infl uence of judgmental heuristics and other poten- tial decision biases, as well as be capable in making critical choices regarding if, when, and how decisions get made.

Judgmental Heuristics Judgment, or the use of intellect, is important in all aspects of decision making. When we question the ethics of a decision, for example, we are questioning the judgment of the person making it. Research shows that people who are prone to mistakes use biases that often interfere with the quality of decision making.21 These biases trace back to the use of heuristics, which are simplifying strategies or “rules of thumb” used to make decisions. And, to be precise, such rules of thumb aren’t always bad. Heuristics serve a useful purpose by making it easier to deal with uncertainty and the limited information common to problem situations. But they can also lead us toward systematic errors that affect the quality, and perhaps the ethical implications, of any decisions made.22

Availability Heuristic The availability heuristic involves assessing a current event based on past occurrences that are easily available in one’s memory. An example is the product development specialist who decides not to launch a new product because of her recent failure launching another one. In this case, the existence of a past product failure has negatively, and perhaps inappropriately, biased her judgment regarding how best to handle the new product.

Representativeness Heuristic The representativeness heuristic involves assessing the likelihood that an event will occur based on its similarity to one’s stereotypes of similar occurrences. An example is the team leader who selects a new member, not because of any special qualities of the person, but only because the individual comes from a department known to have produced high perform- ers in the past. In this case, the individual’s current place of employment—not his or her job qualifi cations—is the basis for the selection decision.

Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristic The anchoring and adjustment heu- ristic involves assessing an event by taking an initial value from historical prece- dent or an outside source and then incrementally adjusting this value to make a current assessment. An example is the executive who makes salary increase rec- ommendations for key personnel by simply adjusting their current base salaries a percentage amount. In this case, the existing base salary becomes an “anchor” that limits subsequent salary increases. This anchor may be inappropriate, such as in the case of an individual whose market value has become substantially higher than is refl ected by the base salary plus increment approach.

• Heuristics are simplifying strategies or “rules of thumb” used to make decisions.

• The availability heuristic bases a decision on recent events relating to the situation at hand.

• The representativeness heuristic bases a decision on similarities between the situation at hand and stereotypes of similar occurrences.

• The anchoring and adjustment heuristic bases a decision on incremental adjustments to an initial value determined by historical precedent or some reference point.

LEARNING ROADMAP Judgmental Heuristics / Decision Biases / Knowing When to Decide / Knowing Who to Involve / Knowing When to Quit

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206 9 Decision Making and Creativity

Decision Biases In addition to the common judgmental heuristics, decision makers are also prone to more general biases in decision making. One bias is confi rmation error, whereby the decision maker seeks confi rmation for what is already thought to be true and neglects opportunities to acknowledge or fi nd disconfi rming informa- tion. A form of selective perception, this bias involves seeking only information and cues in a situation that support a preexisting opinion.

A second bias is the hindsight trap where the decision maker overestimates the degree to which he or she could have predicted an event that has already taken place. One risk of hindsight is that it may foster feelings of inadequacy or insecurity in dealing with future decision situations.

A third bias is framing error. It occurs when managers and teams evaluate and resolve a problem in the context in which they perceive it—either positive or negative. Suppose research data show that a new product has a 40 percent market share. What does this really mean to the marketing team? A negative frame views the product as defi cient because it is missing 60 percent of the market. Discussion and problem solving within this frame would likely focus on: “What are we doing wrong?” If the marketing team used a positive frame and considered a 40 percent share as a success, the conversation might have been quite different: “How can we do even better?” And by the way, we are constantly exposed to framing in the world of politics; the word used to describe it is spin.

Knowing When to Decide Not only do decision makers have to be on guard against errors caused by heu- ristics and biases, but they also have to manage the decision-making process itself by making the right decisions in the right way at the right time.23 One of the fi rst issues is whether or not to actually proceed with decision making. Most people are too busy and have too many valuable things to do with their time to person- ally make decisions on every problem or opportunity that comes their way. A good team leader, for example, knows when to delegate decisions to others, how to set priorities, and when to abstain from acting altogether. When faced with the dilemma of whether or not to deal with a specifi c problem, asking and answering the following questions can sometimes help.

• What really matters? Small and less signifi cant problems should not get the same time and attention as bigger ones. Even if a mistake is made, the cost of a decision error on a small problem is also small.

• Might the problem resolve itself? Putting problems in rank order leaves the less signifi cant for last. Surprisingly, many of these less important problems resolve themselves or are solved by others before you get to them. This saves decision-making time and energy for better uses.

• Is this my or our problem? Many problems can be handled by other people. These should be delegated to people who are best prepared to deal with them; ideally, they should be delegated to people whose work they most affect.

• Will time spent make a difference? A really effective decision maker recog- nizes the difference between problems that realistically can be solved and those that are simply not solvable.

• The confi rmation error is the tendency to seek

confi rmation for what is already thought to be true

and not search for disconfi rming information. • The hindsight trap is a

tendency to overestimate the degree to which an event that has already

taken place could have been predicted.

• Framing error is solving a problem in the

context perceived.

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Decision-Making Traps and Issues 207

Knowing Who to Involve You’ve most likely heard of this case, and the video is available on YouTube. US Airways fl ight 1549 hit a fl ock of birds on take-off from LaGuardia Airport, lost engine power, and was headed for a crash. Pilot Chesley Sullenberger III made the decision to land in the Hudson River. The landing was successful and no lives were lost. Called a “hero” for his efforts, Sullenberger described his thinking this way.24

I needed to touch down with the wings exactly level. I needed to touch down with the nose slightly up. I needed to touch down at . . . a descent rate that was survivable. And I needed to touch down just above our minimum fl ying speed but not below it. And I needed to make all these things happen simultaneously.

Sullenberger obviously did the right thing—he made the decision himself betting on his training and experience and, literally, standing behind it with his own life on the line. But we have to be careful with the lesson from this type of case. Many new managers and team leaders make mistakes in presuming that either they must make every decision themselves or that they must turn them all over to the team itself.25 In practice, good organizational decisions are made by


Most descriptions of the decision-making process begin with the rational model. Systematic or rational thinking is often viewed as the most effective way to make decisions. By contrast, intuition involves being able to quickly “size up” a situation and make a decision. In some situations, it may be a better way to approach a problem.

During the afternoon of January 15, 2009, television news anchors began reporting about a plane in the Hudson River. The natural fi rst reaction is “not another tragic plane crash.” This incident was different. Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was able to successfully crash land U.S. Air Flight 1549 in the river and save the lives of all passengers and crew.

In an interview with Fox News’ Greta van Susteren, Sullenberger was asked to recount what happened. The host commented, “It probably took about 20 seconds to explain; you had to make that decision like [snaps her fi ngers] that.” Sullenberger responded, “It was sort of an instinctive moved based upon my experience and my initial read of the situation.”

What Captain Sullenberger describes is an intuitive decision. Think about it. If you had been a passenger on that plane, would you want him making a systematic decision under those circumstances? The plane would have been at the bottom of the Hudson River by the time he completed Step 2. What we want is a well-trained pilot reacting on informed instinct. This is precisely why pilots spend considerable time in fl ight simulators—to develop the experience necessary for dealing with problems that may only occur once, if ever, in a career.

Get to Know Yourself Better Take a look at Assessment 16, Intuitive Ability, in the OB Skills Workbook to determine the extent to which you use intuition in deci- sion making. If your score suggests that you are uncomfortable with an intuitive decision style, you may need to work on it. Or perhaps you may simply need to rely on your experience and trust your judgment a little more.

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208 9 Decision Making and Creativity

individuals acting alone, by individuals consulting with others, and by people working together in teams. In true contingency fashion no one option is always superior to the others; who participates and how decisions are to be made should refl ect the issues at hand.26

Three Scenarios for Successful Decision Making

Individual Decision

Consultative Decision

Team Decision

When individual decisions, also called authority decisions, are made, the manager or team leader uses information that he or she possesses and decides what to do without involving others. This decision method basically assumes the decision maker is an expert on the problem at hand. In consultative decisions, by contrast, inputs are gathered from other persons and the decision maker uses this information to arrive at a fi nal choice. In team decisions, group members work together to make the fi nal choice, hopefully by consensus or unanimity.

Victor Vroom, Phillip Yetton, and Arthur Jago developed the framework shown in Figure 9.4 for helping managers choose the right decision-making methods for various problem situations.27 They identify these variants of the indi- vidual, consultative, and team decision options just described.

• AI (fi rst variant on the authority decision): The manager solves the problem or makes the decision alone, using information available at that time.

• AII (second variant on the authority decision): The manager obtains the necessary information from team members and then decides on the prob- lem’s solution. The team members provide the necessary information but do not generate or evaluate alternatives.

• CI (fi rst variant on the consultative decision): The manager shares the problem with team members individually, getting their ideas and suggestions without bringing them all together. The manager then makes a decision.

• CII (second variant on the consultative decision): The manager shares the problem with team members, collectively obtaining their ideas and sugges- tions. The manager then makes a decision.

• G (the team or consensus decision): The manager shares the problem with team members as a total group and engages them in consensus seeking to arrive at a fi nal decision.

Figure 9.4 is a decision tree developed from the research of Vroom and his col- leagues. Though complex, it helps to illustrate how decision makers can choose among the individual, consultative, and team decision options by considering these factors: (1)  required quality of the decision, (2) commitment needed from team members to implement the decision, (3) amount of information available to team leader, (4) problem structure, (5) chances team members will be committed if leader makes the decision, (6) degree to which team leader and members agree on goals, (7) confl ict among team members, and (8) information available to team members.

Consultative and team decisions are recommended by this model when the leader lacks suffi cient expertise and information to solve this problem alone; the problem is unclear and help is needed to clarify the situation, acceptance of the decision and commitment by others are necessary for implementation; and

• Individual decisions, or authority decisions, are

made by one person on behalf of the team.

• Consultative decisions are made by one individual after seeking input from or

consulting with members of a group.

• Team decisions are made by all members of

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Decision-Making Traps and Issues 209

adequate time is available to allow for true participation. By contrast, authority decisions work best when team leaders have the expertise needed to solve the problem; they are confi dent and capable of acting alone; others are likely to accept and implement the decision they make; and little or no time is available for discussion. When problems must be resolved immediately, the authority deci- sion made by the team leader may be the only option.28

Knowing When to Quit After the sometimes agonizing process of making a decision is completed and implementation begins, it can be hard for decision makers to change their minds and admit a mistake even when things are clearly not going well. Instead of

State the Problem

Problem Attributes Manager’s Questions

QR Quality requirement

CR Commitment requirement

LI Leader’s information

ST Problem structure

CP Commitment probability

Goal congruence

Member conflict

Member information

How important is the technical quality of this decision?

How important is team member commitment to the decision?

Do you have sufficient information to make a high-quality decision?

Is the problem well structured?

If you were to make the decision by yourself, is it reasonably certain that team members would be committed to the decision?

Do team members share the organizational goals to be attained in solving this problem?

Is conflict among team members over preferred solutions likely?

Do team members have sufficient information to make a high-quality decision?

Decision Methods

Figure 9.4 The Vroom-Jago model for a manager’s use of alternative decision-making methods.

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210 9 Decision Making and Creativity

Some individuals escalate commitment to a losing course of action when it is clear to others they should quit. McNamara, Moon, and Bromiley asked whether monitoring by more senior management would help stop escalating commitment in a group of bank loan offi cers.

At fi rst glance their data seem to suggest that monitoring worked. When individual clients were put in higher-risk categories, the loan offi cers on these accounts were monitored more closely. Undue overcommitment to these higher-risk individuals was apparently reduced. But on closer examination the researchers found that loan offi cers showed “intervention avoidance” and were reluctant to place clients with deteriorating credit into a higher-risk category that would subject the offi cers to greater monitoring. For this group of clients, there was overcommitment by the loan offi cers.

McNamara et al. use their data to argue that the question of escalation is more complex than is traditionally recognized and may involve a host of organizational factors that indirectly infl uence the tendencies of individuals to make undesirable decision commitments.

Study 2—College Students

Escalating commitments breed unethical behavior. That’s the conclusion reached in an empirical study by Marc and Vera L. Street. They conducted an experiment with 155 undergraduate students working on a computerized investment task. Results showed that exposure to escala- tion situations increases tendencies toward unethical acts, and that the tendencies further increase with the magnitude of the escalation. Street and Street explain this link between escalation and poor ethics as driven by desires to get out of and avoid the increasing stress of painful situations.

Additional fi ndings from the study showed that students with an external locus of control had a higher propensity to choose an unethical decision alternative than their counterparts with an internal locus of control.

Escalation of Commitment Hits Bank Loan Offi cers and College Students Study 1—Bank Loan Offi cers

Do the Research What role does escalating commitment play in the day-to-day performance of your work and class teams? Design a study that might identify when and why escalation is likely.

Source: Study 1—Gerry McNamara, Henry Moon, and Philip Bromiley, “Banking on Commitment: Intended and Unintended Consequences of Organizations’ Attempt to Attenuate Escalation of Commitment,” Academy of Management Journal 45 (2002), pp. 443–452. Study 2—Marc Street and Vera L. Street, “The Effects of Escalating Commitment on Ethical Decision Making,” Journal of Business Ethics 64 (2006), pp. 343–356.

Escalating Commitment

Internal Locus of control

External Locus of control

backing off, the tendency is to press on to victory. This is called escalating com- mitment—continuing and renewing efforts on a previously chosen course of action, even though it is not working.29 The tendency toward escalating commit- ment is refl ected in the popular adage: “If at fi rst you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again.”

• Escalating commitment is the tendency to continue a previously chosen course of action even when feedback

suggests that it is failing.

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Creativity in Decision Making 211

Escalating commitments are a form of decision entrapment that leads peo- ple to do things that the facts of a situation do not justify. This is one of the most diffi cult aspects of decision making to convey to executives because so many of them rose to their positions by turning apparently losing courses of action into winners.30 We should be proactive in spotting “failures” and more open to reversing decisions or dropping plans that are not working. But this is easier said than done.

The tendency to escalate commitments often outweighs the willingness to disengage from them. Decision makers may rationalize negative feedback as a temporary condition, protect their egos by not admitting that the original decision was a mistake, or characterize any negative results as a “learning experience” that can be overcome with added future effort.

Perhaps you have experienced an inability to call it quits or been on teams with similar reluctances. It’s hard to admit to a mistake, especially when a lot of thought and energy went into the decision in the fi rst place; it can be even harder when one’s ego and reputation are tied up with the decision. Fortunately, researchers suggest these ideas on how to avoid getting trapped in escalating commitments.

• Set advance limits on your involvement and commitment to a particular course of action; stick with these limits.

• Make your own decisions; don’t follow the lead of others because they are also prone to escalation.

• Carefully determine just why you are continuing a course of action; if there are insuffi cient reasons to continue, don’t.

• Remind yourself of the costs of a course of action; consider saving these costs as a reason to discontinue.

Stages of Creative Thinking The last chapter ended with a discussion of brainstorming and the nominal group technique as ways of improving decision making in teams. One of the things often at issue when such techniques are used is creativity—the generation of a novel idea or unique approach to solving performance problems or exploiting performance opportunities.31 It often determines how well people, teams, and organizations do in response to complex challenges.32

Just imagine what we can accomplish with all the creative potential that exists within a team and in an organization’s workforce. But how do you turn that potential into real performance? Part of the answer to this question rests with the individual team members. Part also rests with the team and organizational context in which they are asked to perform.

• Creativity generates unique and novel responses to problems.

LEARNING ROADMAP Stages of Creative Thinking / Personal Creativity Drivers / Team Creativity Drivers

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212 9 Decision Making and Creativity

Personal Creativity Drivers Creativity is one of our greatest personal assets, even though it is sometimes untapped. One source of insight into personal creativity drivers is the three- component model of task expertise, task motivation, and creativity skills shown in Figure 9.5.33

Creative decisions are more likely to occur when a person has a lot of task expertise. Creativity typically extends in new directions a skill one is already good at. Creative decisions are also more likely when the people making them are high in task motivation. Creativity happens in part because people work exceptionally hard to resolve a problem or exploit an opportunity. And creative decisions are more likely when the people involved have strong creativity skills like the following.34

• Work with high energy.

• Hold ground in face of criticism.

• Accept responsibility for what happens.

• Be resourceful even in diffi cult situations.

• Be both systematic and intuitive.

• Be objective—step back and question assumptions.

• Use divergent thinking—think outside of the box.

• Use convergent thinking—synthesize and fi nd correct answers.

• Use lateral thinking—look at diverse ways to solve problems.

• Transfer learning from one setting to others.

Team Creativity Drivers If you mix creative people together on a team, will you get creative results? Not necessarily.35 All the team creativity drivers shown in Figure 9.5 are important.

Task Expertise

Creativity Skills

Task Motivation

Creativity in Team

Individual Creativity Drivers

Decision Techniques

Creative Membership

External Support

Team Creativity Drivers Figure 9.5 Individual and team creativity drivers.

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Creativity in Decision Making 213

Finding the Leader in You ENTREPRENEUR TOM SZAKY KNOWS HOW TO MAKE SMART DECISIONS Smart decisions led Tom Szaky from dorm-room brainstormer to Walmart supplier. And it’s all based on “sustainability,” “green,” and “recycling.” Szaky is what many call an “eco-capitalist,” someone who brings environmentalism into the world of business and consumers. If you buy his book Revolution in a Bottle you enter the world of “upcycling”—the art, if you will, of

meaningful use for waste materials.” The original liquid fertilizer became TerraCycle Plant Food. And the fi rm also upcycles waste products such as cookie wrappers, drink contain- ers, and discarded juice packs into usable products from tote bags to backpacks to pencil cases. It’s all about fi nding value in waste. Szaky says this about decision making and creativity: “Unlike most companies, which spend years in product development and testing, TerraCycle moves through these stages very quickly. First we identify a waste stream, then we fi gure out what we can make from that material. This is our strength—creatively solving the “what the hell do we make from it” issue. If a retailer bites, we are in full production in a matter of weeks.”

What’s the Lesson Here? Are you able to make decisions quickly, or do you fi nd yourself overanalyzing? How good are your instincts when it comes to making smart decisions? If they are not good, how can you better develop them?

turning waste that isn’t recyclable into reusable packaging.

While a freshman at Princeton University, Szaky was concerned about campus garbage. So he ordered a million red worms with the goal of learning how to use them to recycle the garbage and reduce landfi ll usage. It worked, but scaling was a problem. One thing led to another, including conversations with classmate Jon Beyer. Before long the original idea of eco-friendly waste management became a decision to sell liquid fertilizer made from worm excrement.

It was pure entrepreneurship, but Szaky points out: “The scary thing is you are always making decisions without knowing the future.” While making the liquid fertilizer proved fairly easy, being able to afford the expensive plastic bottles to package it in was a lot more diffi cult. That’s when the team expanded to three— adding entrepreneur Robin Tator. More conversations led to the idea of collecting and reusing bottles sent for recycling.

The idea worked so well that a new fi rm called TerraCycle quickly took shape with a mission to “fi nd a

Yes, the basic building block of team creativity is membership composition. If we want teams to be creative, they should be staffed with a creative member- ship. But beyond this, the use of special decision techniques such as brainstorm- ing and the nominal group technique discussed in Chapter 8 can also be helpful. This is especially true when a team encounters process problems. Some of the other useful techniques when teams are trying to become more creative in deci- sion making include:36

• Associative play—making up and telling stories, engaging in art projects, and building toy models that come to mind when dealing with a problem.

• Cross pollination—switching members among teams to gain insights from diverse interests, backgrounds, and experiences when working on problems.

• Analogies and metaphors—using analogies and metaphors to describe a problem and open pathways to creative thinking.

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214 9 Decision Making and Creativity

Even with the right members and decision techniques available, the full cre- ative potential of a team can only be unlocked when external support is added to the mix. At one level this involves making creativity a strategic priority in the broader organizational context. But it also involves smaller, more everyday things that are easily missed. Team creativity is enhanced by leaders who have the patience to allow creative processes time to work themselves through a decision situation. It is also enhanced by top management that is willing to provide the resources—technology, opportunity, and space, for example, that are helpful to the creative processes.

Think creativity nurtured the next time you see a young child playing with a really neat toy. It may be from Fisher-Price toys, part of Mattel, Inc. In the fi rm’s headquarters you’ll fi nd a special place called the “cave,” and it’s not your typical offi ce space. Picture bean-bag chairs, soft lighting, casual seats, and couches. It’s a place for brainstorming where designers, marketers, engineers, and others can meet and join in freewheeling to come up with the next great toy for preschool- ers. Consultants recommend that such innovation spaces be separated from the normal workplace and be large enough for no more than 15 to 20 people.37

9 study guide Key Questions and Answers What is involved in the decision-making process?

• Decision making is a process of identifying problems and opportunities and choosing among alternative courses of action for dealing successfully with them.

• The steps in the decision-making process are (1) fi nd and defi ne the problem, (2) generate and evaluate alternatives, (3) decide on the preferred course of action, (4) implement the decision, and (5) evaluate the results.

• Ethical reasoning should be used in the decision-making process to ensure that all possible moral problems and dilemmas are dealt with properly.

• Decisions in organizations are made under conditions of certainty, risk, and uncertainty; the challenges to the decision maker are higher in risk and uncertain environments.

• Routine problems can be dealt with by programmed decisions; nonroutine or novel problems require specially crafted nonprogrammed decisions; crisis problems occur unexpectedly and can lead to disaster if not handled properly.

What are the alternative decision-making models?

• In the classical decision model, optimum decisions identifying the absolute best choice after analyzing with full information all possible alternatives and their consequences.

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Terms to Know 215

• In the behavioral decision model, satisfi cing decisions that choose the fi rst accept- able alternative are made with limited information and bounded rationality.

• In the intuitive model, decision makers deal with many aspects of a problem at once, jump quickly from one issue to another, and act on hunches from experience or on spontaneous ideas.

What are key decision-making traps and issues?

• The use of judgmental heuristics, or simplifying rules of thumb, can lead to biased results in decision making; such heuristics include availability decisions based on recent events, representativeness decisions based on similar events, and anchoring and adjustment decisions based on historical precedents.

• Other sources of decision-making bias are confi rmation error, seeking information to justify a decision already made; hindsight trap, overestimating the extent to which current events could have been predicted; and framing error, viewing a problem in a limited context.

• Individuals and teams must know when to make decisions, realizing that not every problem requires an immediate decision.

• Individuals and teams must be know who should be involved in making decisions, making use of individual, consultative, and team decisions as needed to best fi t the problems and opportunities being faced.

• Individuals and teams must be able to counteract tendencies toward escalating commitment to previously chosen courses of action that are not working; they must know when to quit and abandon a course of action.

What can be done to stimulate creativity in decision making?

• Creativity is the generation of a novel idea or unique approach to solving perfor- mance problems or exploiting performance opportunities.

• Creativity in decision making can be enhanced by personal creativity drivers that include task expertise, motivation, and individual creativity skills.

• Creativity in decision making can be enhanced by team creativity drivers that include a creative membership, helpful decision techniques, and external support for creativity.

Anchoring and adjustment heuristic (p. 205)

Availability heuristic (p. 205) Behavioral decision model (p. 203) Certain environments (p. 201) Classical decision model (p. 203) Confi rmation error (p. 206) Consultative decisions (p. 208) Creativity (p. 211) Crisis decision (p. 200) Criteria questions (p. 199)

Terms to Know Decision making (p. 196) Escalating commitment (p. 211) Ethics (p. 198) Framing error (p. 206) Heuristics (p. 205) Hindsight trap (p. 206) Individual decisions (p. 208) Intuitive thinking (p. 204) Lack of participation error (p. 197) Moral dilemmas (p. 198) Moral problem (p. 198)

Nonprogrammed decisions (p. 200) Optimizing decision (p. 203) Programmed decisions (p. 200) Representativeness heuristic (p. 205) Risk environments (p. 201) Risk management (p. 202) Satisfi cing decisions (p. 204) Spotlight questions (p. 199) Systematic thinking (p. 204) Team decisions (p. 208) Uncertain environments (p. 202)

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216 9 Decision Making and Creativity

Self-Test 9 Multiple Choice 1. After a preferred course of action has been implemented, the next step in the

decision-making process is to ____________. (a) recycle the process (b) look for additional problems or opportunities (c) evaluate results (d) document the reasons for the decision

2. In which environment does the decision maker deal with probabilities regarding possible courses of action and their consequences? (a) certain (b) risk (c) organized anarchy (d) uncertain

3. If a team approaches problems in a rational and analytical way, with members trying to solve them in step-by-step fashion, it is well described as a team using ____________. (a) systematic thinking (b) intuitive thinking (c) escalating thinking (d) associative thinking

4. An individual or team that must deal with limited information and substantial risk is most likely to make decisions based on ____________. (a) optimizing (b) classical decision theory (c) behavioral decision theory (d) escalation

5. A team leader who makes a decision not to launch a new product because the last new product launch failed is falling prey to the ____________ heuristic. (a) anchor- ing (b) availability (c) adjustment (d) representativeness

6. The criteria questions for assessing ethics in decision making include the issue of ____________, making sure that the decision satisfi es the interests of all stakeholders. (a) utility (b) justice (c) rights (d) caring

7. In Vroom’s decision-making model, the choice among individual and team decision approaches is based on criteria that include quality requirements, availability of information, and ____________. (a) need for implementation commitments (b) size of the organization (c) number of people involved (d) position power of the leader

8. The saying “If at fi rst you don’t succeed, try, try again” is most associated with a decision-making tendency called ____________. (a) groupthink (b) the confi rmation trap (c) escalating commitment (d) associative choice

9. The ____________ decision model views individuals as making optimizing deci- sions, whereas the ____________ decision model views them as making satisfi cing decisions. (a) behavioral/judgmental heuristics (b) classical/behavioral (c) judgmen- tal heuristics/ethical (d) crisis/routine

10. A common mistake by managers facing crisis situations is ____________. (a) trying to get too much information before responding (b) relying too much on team decision making (c) isolating themselves to make the decision alone (d) forgetting to use their crisis management plan

11. What is a possible disadvantage of choosing to make a decision by the team rather than by the individual method? (a) people are better informed about the reason for the decision (b) it takes too long to reach a decision (c) more information is used to make the decision (d) it won’t ever result in a high-quality decision

12. The ____________ bases a decision on similarities between the situation at hand and stereotypes of similar occurrences. (a) representativeness heuristic (b) anchoring and adjustment heuristic (c) confi rmation trap (d) hindsight trap

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Next Steps 217

13. The ____________ bases a decision on incremental adjustments to an initial value determined by historical precedent or some reference point. (a) representativeness heuristic (b) anchoring and adjustment heuristic (c) confi rmation trap (d) hindsight trap

14. The ____________ is the tendency to focus on what is already thought to be true and not to search for disconfi rming information. (a) representativeness heuristic (b) anchoring and adjustment heuristic (c) confi rmation trap (d) hindsight trap

15. Team creativity drivers include creative members, decision techniques, and ____________. (a) task motivation (b) task expertise (c) long-term goals (d) external support

Short Response 16. What are heuristics, and how can they affect individual decision making?

17. What are the main differences among individual, consultative, and team decisions?

18. What is escalating commitment, and why is it important to recognize it in decision making?

19. What questions might a manager or team leader ask to help determine which problems to deal with and in which priority?

Applications Essay 20. As a participant in a new mentoring program between your university and a local

high school, you have volunteered to give a presentation to a class of sophomores on the challenges of achieving creativity in teams. The goal is to motivate them to think creatively as individuals and to help make sure that their course teams achieve creativity as well when assignments call for it. What will you tell them?

• Decisions, Decisions • Decode • Lost at Sea • Entering the Unknown • Fostering the Creative

• Intuitive Ability • Decision-Making Biases

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Eduardo Saverin: “You’re Out.”

Breaking up is hard to do. Especially with millions of dollars of venture capital at stake. Co-founder confl ict is an all-too common reason entrepreneurs either dissolve startups or fundamentally alter their core management teams. Just ask Eduardo Saverin, Mark Zuckerberg’s co-founder of thefacebook, the Harvard-based social networking site that eventually became Facebook.

From the start, notes venture capitalist and fellow Harvard alum Larry Cheng, Zuckerberg and Saverin brought funda- mentally different approaches to managing their fl edgling startup, which at that time was limited to Harvard students and grads. Zuckerberg, the programmer, “exuded a killer instinct” and “was not shy about sharing his aspirations of dominating the college market.” Saverin, who incorporated and managed thefacebook from their dorm, was “jovial, likeable, and the fast follower.”a Founders with these style differences can and do complement each other, but only when they stick together.

When they don’t, there’s bound to be confl ict. In Facebook’s case—as happens when co-founders collide—the exact details are murky, and mired in allega- tions. According to Rolling Stone, Zucker- berg sued Saverin, contending that he put the startup at risk by freezing its assets. Saverin’s countersuit claimed Zuckerberg never matched his initial seed money, instead dipping into it for personal expenses.b

Acting alone, Zuckerberg quickly reincor- porated Facebook’s interests in a new

version of the startup, moved to Palo Alto, California, and set about raising hundreds of millions of dollars. For years after, Facebook publicly denied Saverin’s role in starting the social networking behemoth.

Though he hasn’t enjoyed the celebrity attention of his co-founder, things might not be all bad for Eduardo Saverin. Though no one will confi rm publicly, he’s rumored to currently hold a 5 percent stake in Facebook. He has also recently been acknowledged as a co-founder on Facebook’s site.

“It seemed like in all his dealings, it was a big deal to him that he be the CEO when he got the fi rst round of fi nancing, and that he maintain control of the company.” —Stephen Haggerty, former Harvard student and Face- book intern.

• Brazilian-born Eduardo Saverin met Mark Zuckerberg during their freshman year at Harvard. One year later, Saverin incorporated and managed Zuckerberg’s social networking project, thefacebook, from their dorm.

• Saverin invested $20,000 of his own money as seed funds to attract investors. Tensions rose when Saverin froze the company’s assets after he accused Zuckerberg of spending the money on personal expenses. Zuckerberg in turn reincorpo- rated Facebook, locked Saverin out, and moved to Palo Alto, California, where he sought venture capital by himself.

• Despite Facebook’s immense success, Saverin has kept a very low profi le. For years Facebook denied Saverin’s role in the company’s early days. But just before the release of a tell-all movie, The Social Network, Facebook changed its position and acknowledged Saverin as a co-founder.

FYI: According to Forbes, Eduardo Saverin’s share in Facebook is worth $2.5 billion, and growing.c

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10 Confl ict and Negotiation key point

The Facebook story is full of intrigue, innuendo, and unknowns. It also shows how confl ict and negotiation often take center stage in organizational dynamics. Everyone has to be able to deal with them in positive ways. In teamwork and in interpersonal relationships the word “yes” can often open doors in situations prone to confl ict or involving negotiations.

What Is the Nature of Conflict in Organizations?

How Can Conflict Be Managed?

What Is the Nature of Negotiation in Organizations?

What Are Alternative Strategies for Negotiation?





don’t forget the power of “yes”

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220 10 Confl ict and Negotiation

The daily work of organizations revolves around people and their interpersonal relationships. We all need skills to work well with others who don’t always agree with us, even in situations that are complicated and stressful.1 Confl ict occurs whenever disagreements exist in a social situation over issues of sub- stance, or whenever emotional antagonisms create frictions between individuals or groups.2 Team leaders and members can spend considerable time dealing with confl icts. Sometimes they are directly involved, and other times they act as mediators or neutral third parties to help resolve confl icts between other peo- ple.3 Confl ict dynamics are inevitable in the workplace and it’s best to know how to handle them.4

Types of Confl ict Confl icts in teams, at work, and in our personal lives occur in at least two basic forms—substantive and emotional. Both types are common, ever present, and challenging. The question is: How well prepared are you to deal successfully with them?

Substantive confl ict is a fundamental disagreement over ends or goals to be pursued and the means for their accomplishment.5 A dispute with one’s boss or other team members over a plan of action to be followed, such as the marketing strategy for a new product, is an example of substantive confl ict. When people work together every day, it is only normal that different viewpoints on a variety of substantive workplace issues will arise. At times people will disagree over such things as team and organizational goals, the allocation of resources, the distribu- tion of rewards, policies and procedures, and task assignments.

Emotional confl ict involves interpersonal diffi culties that arise over feelings of anger, mistrust, dislike, fear, resentment, and the like.6 This confl ict is com- monly known as a “clash of personalities.” How many times, for example, have you heard comments such as “I can’t stand working with him” or “She always rubs me the wrong way” or “I wouldn’t do what he asked if you begged me”? When emotional confl icts creep into work situations, they can drain energies and dis- tract people from task priorities and goals. Yet, they emerge in a wide variety of settings and are common in teams, among co-workers, and in superior–subordi- nate relationships.

Levels of Confl ict Our fi rst tendency may be to think of confl ict as something that happens between two people, and that is certainly a valid example of what we call “interpersonal confl ict.” But scholars point out that confl icts in teams and organizations need to be recognized and understood in other forms as well. The full range of confl icts that we experience at work includes those emerging from the interpersonal, intra- personal, intergroup, and interorganizational levels.

• Confl ict occurs when parties disagree over

substantive issues or when emotional antagonisms create friction between

• Substantive confl ict involves fundamental

disagreement over ends or goals to be pursued and

the means for their accomplishment.

• Emotional confl ict involves interpersonal

diffi culties that arise over feelings of anger, mistrust,

dislike, fear, resentment, and the like.

LEARNING ROADMAP Types of Confl ict / Levels of Confl ict / Functional and Dysfunctional Confl ict / Culture and Confl ict

Confl ict in Organizations

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Confl ict in Organizations 221

Interpersonal Conflict

Intrapersonal Conflict

Intergroup Conflict

Inter- organizational

Interpersonal confl ict occurs between two or more individuals who are in opposition to one another. It may be substantive, emotional, or both. Two persons debating each other aggressively on the merits of hiring a specifi c job applicant is an example of a substantive interpersonal confl ict. Two persons continually in disagreement over each other’s choice of work attire is an example of an emo- tional interpersonal confl ict. Interpersonal confl ict often arises in the performance evaluation process. When P. J. Smoot became learning and development leader at International Paper’s Memphis, Tennessee, offi ce, for example, she recognized that the traditional concept of the boss passing judgment often fails in motivating subordinates and improving their performance. So she started a new program that began the reviews from the bottom up—with the employee’s self-evaluation and a focus on the manager’s job as a coach and facilitator. Her advice is to “Lis- ten for understanding and then react honestly and constructively. Focus on the business goals, not the personality.”7

Intrapersonal confl ict is tension experienced within the individual due to actual or perceived pressures from incompatible goals or expectations. Approach–approach confl ict occurs when a person must choose between two positive and equally attractive alternatives. An example is when someone has to choose between a valued promotion in the organization or a desirable new job with another fi rm. Avoidance–avoidance confl ict occurs when a person must choose between two negative and equally unattractive alternatives. An example is being asked either to accept a job transfer to another town in an undesirable location or to have one’s employment with an organization terminated. Approach– avoidance confl ict occurs when a person must decide to do some- thing that has both positive and negative consequences. An example is being offered a higher-paying job with responsibilities that make unwanted demands on one’s personal time.

Intergroup confl ict occurs between teams, perhaps ones competing for scarce resources or rewards, and perhaps ones whose members have emotional problems with one another. The classic example is confl ict among functional groups or departments, such as marketing and manufacturing. Sometimes these confl icts have substantive roots, such as marketing focusing on sales revenue goals and manufacturing focusing on cost effi ciency goals. Other times such con- fl icts have emotional roots as “egos” in the respective departments cause each to want to look better than the other in a certain situation. Intergroup confl ict is quite common in organizations, and it can make the coordination and integration of task activities very diffi cult.8 The growing use of cross-functional teams and task forces is one way of trying to minimize such confl icts by improving horizon- tal communication.

Interorganizational confl ict is most commonly thought of in terms of the competition and rivalry that characterizes fi rms operating in the same markets. A good example is the continuing battle between U.S. businesses and their global rivals: Ford versus Hyundai, or AT&T versus Verizon, for example. But interorganizational

• Interpersonal confl ict occurs between two or more individuals in opposition to each other.

• Intrapersonal confl ict occurs within the individual because of actual or perceived pressures from incompatible goals or expectations.

• Intergroup confl ict occurs among groups in an organization.

• Interorganizational confl ict occurs between organizations.

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222 10 Confl ict and Negotiation

confl ict is a much broader issue than that represented by market competition alone. Other common examples include disagreements between unions and the organizations employing their members, between government regulatory agen- cies and the organizations subject to their surveillance, between organizations and their suppliers, and between organizations and outside activist groups.

Functional and Dysfunctional Confl ict There is no doubt that confl ict in organizations can be upsetting both to the indi- viduals directly involved and to others affected by its occurrence. It can be quite uncomfortable, for example, to work in an environment in which two co-workers are continually hostile toward each other or two teams are always battling for top management attention. In OB, and as shown in Figure 10.1, however, we recog- nize that confl ict can have both a functional or constructive side and a dysfunc- tional or destructive side.

Functional confl ict, also called constructive confl ict, results in benefi ts to individuals, the team, or the organization. On the positive side, confl ict can bring important problems to the surface so they can be addressed. It can cause deci- sions to be considered carefully and perhaps reconsidered to ensure that the right path of action is being followed. It can increase the amount of information used for decision making. And it can offer opportunities for creativity that can improve performance. Indeed, an effective manager or team leader is able to stimulate constructive confl ict in situations in which satisfaction with the status quo is hold- ing back needed change and development.

Dysfunctional confl ict, or destructive confl ict, works to the disadvantage of an individual or team. It diverts energies, hurts group cohesion, promotes inter- personal hostilities, and overall creates a negative environment for workers. This

• Functional confl ict results in positive benefi ts

to the group.

• Dysfunctional confl ict works to the group’s or

organization’s disadvantage.

Functional Conflict Moderate

levels of conflict are constructive

Dysfunctional Conflict

Too little or too much conflict is destructive

Intensity of Conflict

Impact on Performance

Figure 10.1 The two faces of confl ict: functional confl ict and dysfunctional confl ict.

All That Twitters Is Not Gold Employers are fi nding that all that Twitters isn’t gold. Problems and confl icts arise when employee “tweets” cross the line in discussing customers, new hires, and even co-workers. Two rules of thumb are fi nding their way into Twitter Codes of Conduct: 1—Think before you tweet. 2—Don’t tweet anything you don’t want your mom to read.

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Confl ict in Organizations 223

type of confl ict occurs, for example, when two team members are unable to work together because of interpersonal differences—a destructive emotional confl ict— or when the members of a work unit fail to act because they cannot agree on task goals—a destructive substantive confl ict. Destructive confl icts of these types can decrease performance and job satisfaction as well as contribute to absenteeism and job turnover. Managers and team leaders should be alert to destructive con- fl icts and be quick to take action to prevent or eliminate them—or at least mini- mize any harm done.

Culture and Confl ict Society today shows many signs of cultural wear and tear in social relationships. We experience diffi culties born of racial tensions, homophobia, gender gaps, and more. They arise from tensions among people who are different from one another


It is easy and tempting to set up your own blog, write about your experiences and impressions, and then share your thoughts with others online. So, why not do it?

Catherine Sanderson, a British citizen living and working in Paris, might have asked this question before launching her blog, Le Petite Anglaise. At one point it was so “successful” that she had 3,000 readers. But the Internet diary included reports on her experiences at work—and her employer, the accounting fi rm Dixon Wilson, wasn’t at all happy when it became public knowledge.

Even though Sanderson was blogging anonymously, her photo was on the site, and the connection was eventually discovered. Noticed, too, was her running commentary about bosses, colleagues, and life at the offi ce. One boss, she wrote, “calls secretaries ‘typists.’” A Christmas party was described in detail, including an executive’s “unforgivable faux pas.” Under the heading “Titillation,” she told how she displayed cleavage during a video conference at the offi ce.

It’s all out now. News reports said that one of the fi rm’s partners was “incandescent with rage” after learning what Sanderson had written about him. Now Sanderson is upset. She says that she was “dooced”—a term used to describe being fi red for what one writes in a blog. She wants fi nancial damages and confi rmation of her rights, on principle, to have a private blog.

Who’s in the Right? Would you agree with the observer who asks: “Say you worked for a large corporation, and in your spare time you wrote an anonymous ‘insider’s view’ column for the Financial Times. Would you expect anything less than termination upon discovery?” Or would you agree with another, who asks: “Where does the infl uence your employer has on your day-to-day life stop?” Just what are the ethics issues here—from the blogger’s and the employer’s perspectives? Who has what rights when it comes to communicating in public about one’s work experiences and impressions?

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224 10 Confl ict and Negotiation

in some way. They are also a reminder that cultural differences must be consid- ered for their confl ict potential. Consider the cultural dimension of time orienta- tion. When persons from short-term cultures such as the United States try to work with persons from long-term cultures such as Japan, the likelihood of confl ict developing is high. The same holds true when individualists work with collectiv- ists and when persons from high-power-distance cultures work with those from low-power-distance cultures.9

People who are not able or willing to recognize and respect cultural differences can cause dysfunctional confl icts in multicultural teams. On the other hand, mem- bers with cultural sensitivity can help the team to unlock its performance advan- tages. Consider these comments from members of a joint European and American project team at Corning. “Something magical happens,” says engineer John Thomas. “Europeans are very creative thinkers; they take time to really refl ect on a problem to come up with the very best theoretical solution. Americans are more tactical and practical—we want to get down to developing a working solution as soon as pos- sible.” His partner at Fontainebleau in France says: “The French are more focused on ideas and concepts. If we get blocked in the execution of those ideas, we give up. Not the Americans. They pay more attention to details, processes, and time schedules. They make sure they are prepared and have involved everyone in the planning process so that they won’t get blocked. But it’s best if you mix the two approaches. In the end, you will achieve the best results.”10

Confl ict can be addressed in many ways. But true confl ict resolution—a situa- tion in which the underlying reasons for dysfunctional confl ict are eliminated, can be elusive. And when confl icts go unresolved, the stage is often set for future con- fl icts of the same or related sort. Rather than trying to deny the existence of con- fl ict or settle on a temporary resolution, it is always best to deal with important confl icts in such ways that they are completely resolved.11 This requires a good understanding of the stages of confl ict, the potential causes of confl ict, and indirect and direct approaches to confl ict management.

Stages of Confl ict Most confl icts develop in stages, as shown in Figure 10.2. Confl ict antecedents establish the conditions from which confl icts are likely to emerge. When the ante- cedent conditions become the basis for substantive or emotional differences between people or groups, the stage of perceived confl ict exists. Of course, this perception may be held by only one of the confl icting parties. And there is quite a difference between perceived and felt confl ict. When confl ict is felt, it is expe- rienced as tension that motivates the person to take action to reduce feelings of discomfort. For confl ict to be resolved, all parties should perceive the confl ict and feel the need to do something about it.

Manifest confl ict is expressed openly in behavior. At this stage removing or correcting the antecedents results in confl ict resolution, while failing to do so

• Confl ict resolution occurs when the reasons

for a confl ict are eliminated.

LEARNING ROADMAP Stages of Confl ict / Hierarchical Causes of Confl ict / Contextual Causes of Confl ict / Indirect Confl ict Management Strategies / Direct Confl ict Management Strategies

Confl ict Management

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Confl ict Management 225

results in confl ict suppression. With suppression, no change in antecedent condi- tions occurs even though the manifest confl ict behaviors may be temporarily controlled. This occurs, for example, when one or both parties choose to ignore confl ict in their dealings with one another. Confl ict suppression is a superfi cial and often temporary state that leaves the situation open to future confl icts over similar issues. Although it is perhaps useful in the short run, only true confl ict resolution establishes conditions that eliminate an existing confl ict and reduce the potential for it to recur in the future.

Hierarchical Causes of Confl ict The very nature of organizations as hierarchical systems provides a convenient set- ting for confl ict to occur as individuals and teams try to work with one another. Vertical confl ict occurs between levels and commonly involves supervisor–subor- dinate and team leader–team member disagreements over resources, goals, dead- lines, or performance results. Horizontal confl ict occurs between persons or groups working at the same hierarchical level. These disputes commonly involve goal incompatibilities, resource scarcities, or purely interpersonal factors. Line–staff con- fl ict involves disagreements between line and staff personnel over who has author- ity and control over decisions on matters such as budgets, technology, and human resource practices. Also common are role ambiguity confl icts that occur when the communication of task expectations is unclear or upsetting in some way, such as a team member receiving different expectations from the leader and other members. Confl ict is always likely when people are placed in ambiguous situations where it is hard to understand who is responsible for what, and why.

Contextual Causes of Confl ict The context of the organization as a complex network of interacting subsystems is a breeding ground for confl icts. Task and workfl ow interdependencies cause disputes and open disagreements among people and teams that are required to

Perceived conflict

Substantive or emotional differences are sensed

Felt conflict

Tension creates motivation to act

Addressed by conflict resolution or suppression

Manifest conflict

Antecedent conditions

Set the conditions for conflict

Figure 10.2 The stages of confl ict.

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226 10 Confl ict and Negotiation

cooperate to meet challenging goals.12 Confl ict potential is especially great when interdependence is high—that is, when a person or group must rely on or ask for contributions from one or more others to achieve its goals. Confl ict escalates with structural differentiation where different teams and work units pursue different goals with different time horizons as shown in Figure 10.3. Confl ict also develops out of domain ambiguities when individuals or teams lack adequate task direction or goals and misunderstand such things as cus- tomer jurisdiction or scope of authority.

Actual or perceived resource scarcity can fos- ter destructive confl ict. Working relationships are likely to suffer as individuals or teams try to posi- tion themselves to gain or retain maximum shares of a limited resource pool. They are also likely to resist having their resources redistributed to others.

Power or value asymmetries in work relation- ships can also create confl ict. They exist when inter- dependent people or teams differ substantially from one another in status and infl uence or in values. Confl ict resulting from asymmetry is likely, for example, when a low-power person needs the help of a high-power person who does not respond, when people who hold dramatically different val- ues are forced to work together on a task, or when a high-status person is required to interact with and perhaps be dependent on someone of lower status.

Indirect Confl ict Management Strategies Most managers will tell you that not all confl ict in teams and organizations can be resolved by get- ting the people involved to adopt new attitudes, behaviors, and stances toward one another. Think about it. Aren’t there likely to be times when per- sonalities and emotions prove irreconcilable? In such cases an indirect or structural approach to confl ict management can often help. It uses such strategies as reduced interdependence, appeals to common goals, hierarchical referral, and altera- tions in the use of mythology and scripts to deal with the confl ict situation.

Research & Development Team

Emphasizes • Product quality • Long time horizon

Manufacturing Team

Emphasizes • Cost efficiency • Short time horizon

Marketing Team

Emphasizes • Customer needs • Short time horizon

Figure 10.3 Structural differentiation as a potential source of confl ict among functional teams.

Stay Alert for These Common Causes of Confl icts in Organizations

• Unresolved prior con- fl icts—When confl icts go unresolved, they remain latent and often emerge again in the future as the basis for confl icts over the same or related matters.

• Role ambiguities—When people aren’t sure what they are supposed to do, confl ict with others is likely; task uncertain- ties increase the odds of working at cross-purposes at least some of the time.

• Resource scarcities—When people have to share resources with one another and/or when they have to compete with one another for resources, the conditions are ripe for confl ict.

• Task interdependencies—When people must depend on others doing things fi rst before they can do their own jobs, confl icts often occur; dependency on others creates anxieties and other pressures.

• Domain ambiguities—When people are unclear about how their objectives or those of their teams fi t with those being pursued by others, or when their objectives directly compete in win–lose fashion, confl ict is likely to occur.

• Structural differentiation—When people work in parts of the organization where structures, goals, time horizons, and even staff compositions are very different, confl ict is likely with other units.

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Confl ict Management 227

Managed Interdependence When workfl ow confl icts exist, managers can adjust the level of interdependency among teams or individuals.13 One simple option is decoupling, or taking action to eliminate or reduce the required contact between confl icting parties. In some cases team tasks can be adjusted to reduce the number of required points of coordination. The confl icting parties are sepa- rated as much as possible from one another.

Buffering is another approach that can be used when the inputs of one team are the outputs of another. The classic buffering technique is to build an inven- tory, or buffer, between the teams so that any output slowdown or excess is absorbed by the inventory and does not directly pressure the target group. Although it reduces confl ict, this technique is increasingly out of favor because it increases inventory costs.

Confl ict can sometimes be reduced by assigning people to serve as liaisons between groups that are prone to confl ict.14 Persons in these linking-pin roles are expected to understand the operations, members, needs, and norms of their host teams. They are supposed to use this knowledge to help the team work better with others in order to accomplish mutual tasks.

Appeals to Common Goals An appeal to common goals can focus the atten- tion of confl icting individuals and teams on one mutually desirable conclusion. This elevates any dispute to the level of common ground where disagreements can be put in perspective. In a course team where members are arguing over content choices for a PowerPoint presentation, for example, it might help to remind everyone that the goal is to impress the instructor and get an “A” for the presentation and that this is only possible if everyone contributes their best.

Upward Referral Upward referral uses the chain of command for confl ict reso- lution.15 Problems are moved up from the level of confl icting individuals or teams for more senior managers to address. Although tempting, it has limitations. If confl ict is severe and recurring, the continual use of upward referral may not result in true confl ict resolution. Higher managers removed from day-to-day affairs may fail to see the real causes of a confl ict, and attempts at resolution may be superfi cial. And, busy managers may tend to blame the people involved and even act quickly to replace them.

Altering Scripts and Myths In some situations, confl ict is superfi cially man- aged by scripts, or behavioral routines, that are part of the organization’s culture.16 The scripts become rituals that allow the confl icting parties to vent their frustrations and to recognize that they are mutually dependent on one another. An example is a monthly meeting of “department heads,” which is held presumably for purposes of coordination and problem solving but actually becomes just a polite forum for

Workplace Bullying Institute Have you been bullied at work, perhaps in confl ict situations? About 37 percent of workers say they have been exposed to such bullying tactics as being glared at with hostility, given the silent treatment, or treated rudely and disrespectfully, as well as having false rumors spread about them.

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228 10 Confl ict and Negotiation

agreement.17 Managers in such cases know their scripts and accept the diffi culty of truly resolving any major confl icts. By sticking with the script, expressing only low- key disagreement, and then quickly acting as if everything has been taken care of, for instance, the managers can leave the meeting with everyone feeling a superfi cial sense of accomplishment.

Direct Confl ict Management Strategies In addition to the indirect confl ict management strategies just discussed, it is also very important to understand how confl ict management plays out in face-to-face fashion. Figure 10.4 shows fi ve direct confl ict management strategies that vary in their emphasis on cooperativeness and assertiveness in the interpersonal dynamics of the situation. Although true confl ict resolution can occur only when a confl ict is dealt with through a solution that allows all confl icting parties to “win,” the reality is that direct confl ict management may also pursue lose–lose and win–lose outcomes.18

Lose–Lose Strategies Lose–lose confl ict occurs when nobody really gets what he or she wants in a confl ict situation. The underlying reasons for the confl ict remain unaffected, and a similar confl ict is likely to occur in the future. Lose–lose outcomes are likely when the confl ict management strategies involve little or no assertiveness. Avoidance is the extreme where no one acts assert- ively and everyone simply pretends the confl ict doesn’t exist and hopes it will

• Avoidance involves pretending a confl ict does

not really exist.


Confl ict can occur on any one of four levels and sometimes on multiple levels simultaneously. While we tend to think about confl icts between individuals as most serious, sometimes the agonizing choices an individual must make can be equally as diffi cult. Intrapersonal confl ict arises when an individual experiences incompatible goals. Confl icts at this level are represented by having to choose between two good things, two choices each with bad outcomes (having to pick the lesser of two evils), or a single choice with pros and cons.

The Beck’s commercial opens with a woman struggling to remove an article of clothing from the jaws of a dog and a room in total disarray. When the boyfriend arrives, the woman gives him an ultimatum—either the dog goes or I go—choose between man’s best friend or man’s better half. It is quite a dilemma. While the boyfriend acknowledges a sense of loyalty to the dog he owned for eight years, he also recognizes that the woman is the best thing that ever happened to him.

The choice in the commercial clearly illustrates an intrapersonal confl ict. Whether it is approach—approach (choosing between two good things) or avoidance–avoidance (a choice involving two unequally unattractive outcomes) depends on the viewer’s perspective.

Get to Know Yourself Better Complete Assessment 18, Confl ict Management Strategies, in the OB Skills Workbook. What did you learn about your preferred style for dealing with confl ict? Sometimes the styles tend to be about equal. In other cases, we may learn that we have a dominant style. What about you? If you have a dominant style, how well does it serve you?

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Confl ict Management 229

go away. Accommodation, or smoothing as it is sometimes called, involves play- ing down differences among the confl icting parties and highlighting similarities and areas of agreement. This peaceful coexistence ignores the real essence of a confl ict and often creates frustration and resentment. Compromise occurs when each party shows moderate assertiveness and cooperation, and is ultimately willing to give up something of value to the other. But because no one gets what they really wanted, the antecedent conditions for future confl icts are established.

Win–Lose Strategies In win–lose confl ict, one party achieves its desires at the expense and to the exclusion of the other party’s desires. This is a high-assertiveness and low-cooperativeness situation. It may result from outright competition in which one party achieves a victory through force, superior skill, or domination. It may also occur as a result of authoritative command, whereby a formal author- ity such as manager or team leader simply dictates a solution and specifi es what is gained and what is lost by whom. Win–lose strategies fail to address the root causes of the confl ict and tend to suppress the desires of at least one of the con- fl icting parties. As a result, future confl icts over the same issues are likely to occur.

Win–Win Strategies Win–win confl ict is achieved by a blend of both high coop- erativeness and high assertiveness.19 Collaboration and problem solving involve

• Accommodation, or smoothing, involves playing down differences and fi nding areas of agreement. • Compromise occurs when each party gives up something of value to the other.

• Competition seeks victory by force, superior skill, or domination. • Authoritative command uses formal authority to end confl ict. • Collaboration and problem solving involve recognition that something is wrong and needs attention through problem solving.



Unassertive Assertiveness

(attempting to satisfy one’s own concerns)

Compromise Working toward par- tial satisfaction of everyone’s concerns; seeking “acceptable” rather than “optimal” solutions so that no one totally wins or loses.

Accommodation or Smoothing Letting the other’s wishes rule. Smoothing over differences to maintain superficial harmony.

Collaboration and Problem Solving Seeking true satisfaction of everyone’s concerns by work- ing through differences, finding and solving problems so everyone gains as a result.

Avoidance Downplaying disagreement; failing to participate in the situation and/or staying neutral at all costs.

Competition and Authoritative Command Working against the wishes of the other party, fighting to dominate in win–lose competi- tion, and/or forcing things to a favorable conclusion through the exercise of authority.

Cooperativeness (attempting to satisfy the other party’s concerns)

Figure 10.4 Five direct confl ict management strategies.

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230 10 Confl ict and Negotiation

recognition by all confl icting parties that something is wrong and needs attention. It stresses gathering and evaluating information in solving disputes and making choices. All relevant issues are raised and openly discussed. Win–win outcomes eliminate the reasons for continuing or resurrecting the confl ict because nothing has been avoided or suppressed.

The ultimate test for collaboration and problem solving is whether or not the confl icting parties see that the solution to the confl ict: (1) achieves each party’s goals, (2) is acceptable to both parties, and (3) establishes a process whereby all parties involved see a responsibility to be open and honest about facts and feelings. When success in each of these areas is achieved, the likelihood of true con- fl ict resolution is greatly increased. However, this process often takes time and consumes lots of energy, things to which the parties must be willing to commit. Collaboration and problem solving may not be feasible if the fi rm’s dominant culture rewards competition too highly and fails to place a value on cooperation.20 And, as the visual sidebar points out, each of the confl ict management strategies may have advantages under certain conditions.

Picture yourself trying to make a decision in the following situation: You are about to order a new state-of-the-art notebook computer for a team member in your department. Then another team member submits a request for one of a different brand. Your boss says that only one brand can be ordered. Or consider this one: You have been offered a new job in another city and want to take it, but are disap- pointed with the salary. You’ve heard friends talk about how they “negotiated” bet- ter offers when taking jobs. You are concerned about the costs of relocating and would like a signing bonus as well as a guarantee of an early salary review.

The preceding examples are just two of the many situations that involve negotiation—the process of making joint decisions when the parties involved have different preferences.21 Negotiation has special signifi cance in teams and work settings, where disagreements are likely to arise over such diverse matters as wage rates, task objectives, performance evaluations, job assignments, work schedules, work locations, and more.

Negotiation Goals and Outcomes Two important goals must be considered in any negotiation: substance goals and relationship goals. Substance goals deal with outcomes that relate to the “content” issues under negotiation. The dollar amount of a salary offer in a recruiting situ-

• Negotiation is the process of making joint

decisions when the parties involved have different


LEARNING ROADMAP Negotiation Goals and Outcomes / Ethical Aspects of Negotiation / Organizational Settings for Negotiation

You Should Know When Alternative Confl ict Management Strategies May Be Useful

• Avoidance may be used when an issue is trivial, when more important issues are pressing, or when people need to cool down temporarily and regain perspective.

• Accommodation may be used when issues

are more important to others than to yourself or when you want to build “credits” for use in later disagreements.

• Compromise may be used to arrive at temporary settlements of complex issues or to arrive at expedient solutions when time is limited.

• Authoritative command may be used when quick and decisive action is vital or when unpopular actions must be taken.

• Collaboration and problem solving are used to gain true confl ict resolution when time and cost permit.

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Negotiation 231

ation is one example. Relationship goals deal with outcomes that relate to how well people involved in the negotiation and any constituencies they may repre- sent are able to work with one another once the process is concluded. An exam- ple is the ability of union members and management representatives to work together effectively after a labor contract dispute has been settled.

Effective negotiation occurs when substance issues are resolved and work- ing relationships are maintained or even improved. Three criteria for effective negotiation are:

• Quality—The negotiation results in a “quality” agreement that is wise and satisfactory to all sides.

• Harmony—The negotiation is “harmonious” and fosters rather than inhibits good interpersonal relations.

• Effi ciency—The negotiation is “effi cient” and no more time consuming or costly than absolutely necessary.

• Effective negotiation occurs when substance issues are resolved and working relationships are maintained or improved.

Finding the Leader in You ALAN MULALLY NEGOTIATES A NEW FUTURE FOR FORD When Alan Mulally, a former Boeing executive, was appointed CEO of Ford Motor Company, many wondered if an “airplane guy” could run a car company. William Ford Jr. said, “Alan was the right choice and it gets more right every day.”

Ford has reported record earnings, and Fortune magazine named Mulally executive of the year in 2010. Not too long ago, however, the picture wasn’t so bright. With

themselves, Mulally remained tough: “They can either work together or they can come see me.” He hasn’t shied away from the United Auto Workers Union either. He negotiated new agreements that brought labor costs down to be more competi- tive with foreign rivals.

As one consultant noted: “The speed with which Mulally has transformed Ford into a more nimble and healthy operation has been one of the more impressive jobs I’ve seen. . . . without Mulally’s impact Ford might well have gone out of business.”

What’s the Lesson Here? How comfortable are you with confl ict? Can you tolerate heated discussions around you, and can you recognize the difference between productive and nonpro- ductive confl ict? Would you be able to stand fi rm when others disagree with you (e.g., try to protect the status quo) or would you question your judgment?

the bankruptcies of both Chrysler and General Motors, Ford was fi ghting for its life. But Mulally was determined to transform the company for the future.

In addition to many changes to modernize plants and stream- line operations, he tackled problems dealing with functional chimneys, a lack of open commu- nication and hidden confl ict among the various parts of Ford. William Ford says the fi rm had a culture that “loved to meet.” Managers would get together to discuss the message they wanted to communicate to the top executives: all agreement and no confl ict, even as all went their separate ways.

Mulally changed that with a focus on transparency, data-based decision making, and cooperation between divisions. When some of the senior executives balked and tried to complain to Ford, he refused to listen and reinforced Mulally’s authority to run the fi rm his way.

When executives were reluctant to resolve confl icts among

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232 10 Confl ict and Negotiation

Ethical Aspects of Negotiation Managers and others involved in negotiations should strive for high ethical stan- dards of conduct, but this goal can get sidetracked by an overemphasis on self- interests. The motivation to behave ethically in negotiations can be put to the test by each party’s desire to “get more” than the other from the negotiation and/or by a belief that there are insuffi cient resources to satisfy all parties.22 After the heat of negotiations dies down, the parties may try to rationalize or explain away questionable ethics as unavoidable, harmless, or justifi ed. Such after-the-fact ra- tionalizations can have long-run negative consequences, such as not being able to achieve one’s wishes again the next time. At the very least the unethical party may be the target of revenge tactics by those who were disadvantaged. Once some people have behaved unethically in one situation, furthermore, they may become entrapped by such behavior and more likely to display it again in the future.23

Organizational Settings for Negotiation Managers and team leaders should be prepared to participate in at least four major action settings for negotiations. In two-party negotiation the manager nego- tiates directly with one other person. In a group negotiation the manager is part of a team or group whose members are negotiating to arrive at a common deci- sion. In an intergroup negotiation the manager is part of a group that is negotiat- ing with another group to arrive at a decision regarding a problem or situation affecting both. And in a constituency negotiation each party represents a broader constituency—for example, representatives of management and labor negotiating a collective bargaining agreement.

When we think about negotiating for something, perhaps cars and salaries are the fi rst things that pop into mind. But people in organizations are constantly negotiating over not only just pay and raises, but also such things as work goals or preferences and access to any variety of scarce resources—money, time, peo- ple, facilities, equipment, and so on. The general approach to, or strategy for, any negotiation can have a major infl uence on its outcomes.

In OB we generally talk about two broad negotiation strategies that differ mark- edly in approach and possible outcomes. Distributive negotiation focuses on “positions” staked out or declared by confl icting parties. Each party tries to claim certain portions of the available “pie” whose overall size is considered fi xed. Inte- grative negotiation, sometimes called principled negotiation, focuses on the “mer- its” of the issues. Everyone involved tries to enlarge the available pie and fi nd mutu- ally agreed-upon ways of distributing it, rather than stake claims to certain portions of it.24 Think of the conversations you overhear and are part of in team situations. The notion of “my way or the highway” is analogous to distribution negotiation; “let’s fi nd a way to make this work for both of us” is more akin to integrative negotiation.

• Distributive negotiation focuses on positions staked out or declared by the parties

involved, each of whom is trying to claim certain

portions of the available pie. • Integrative

negotiation focuses on the merits of the issues,

and the parties involved try to enlarge the available pie rather than stake claims to

certain portions of it.

LEARNING ROADMAP Approaches to Distributive Negotiation / How to Gain Integrative Agreements / Common Negotiation Pitfalls / Third-Party Roles in Negotiation

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Negotiation Strategies 233

Workers in France Negotiate by

Taking Managers Hostage Laid-off workers in Caterpillar’s French plant took fi ve managers hostage for 24 hours. The bosses were released after the company agreed to renegotiate compensation for workers losing their jobs. A poll showed some 45 percent of French people approved of such “bossnapping.”

Approaches to Distributive Negotiation Participants in distributive negotiation usually approach it as a “win–lose” epi- sode. And, things tend to unfold in one of two directions, with neither one nor the other yielding optimal results.

“Hard” distributive negotiation takes place when each party holds out to get its own way. This leads to competition, whereby each party seeks dominance over the other and tries to maximize self-interests. The hard approach may lead to a win–lose outcome in which one party dominates and gains. Or it can lead to an impasse.

“Soft” distributive negotiation takes place when one party or both parties make concessions just to get things over with. This soft approach leads to accom- modation, in which one party gives in to the other, or to compromise, in which each party gives up something of value in order to reach agreement. In either case at least some latent dissatisfaction is likely to remain.

Figure 10.5 illustrates classic two-party distributive negotiation by the exam- ple of the graduating senior negotiating a job offer with a corporate recruiter.25 Look at the situation fi rst from the graduate’s perspective. She has told the recruiter that she would like a salary of $55,000; this is her initial offer. But she also has in mind a minimum reservation point of $50,000—the lowest salary that she will accept for this job. Thus she communicates a salary request of $55,000 but is will- ing to accept one as low as $50,000. The situation is somewhat the reverse from the recruiter’s perspective. His initial offer to the graduate is $45,000, and his maximum reservation point is $55,000; this is the most he is prepared to pay.

The bargaining zone is the range between one party’s minimum reservation point and the other party’s maximum reservation point. In Figure 10.5, the bargain- ing zone is $50,000–$55,000. This is a positive bargaining zone since the reservation points of the two parties overlap. Whenever a positive bargaining zone exists, bar- gaining has room to unfold. Had the graduate’s minimum reservation point been greater than the recruiter’s maximum reservation point (for example, $57,000), no

• The bargaining zone is the range between one party’s minimum reservation point and the other party’s maximum.

Bargaining Zone

Graduating senior’s initial offer Er Employer’s maximum reservation point Gr Graduating senior’s minimum reservation point Ei Employer’s initial offer

Figure 10.5 The bargain- ing zone is classic two-party negotiation.

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234 10 Confl ict and Negotiation

room would have existed for bargaining. Classic two-party bargaining always involves the delicate tasks of fi rst discovering the respective reservation points (one’s own and the other’s) and then work- ing toward an agreement that lies somewhere within the bargaining zone and is acceptable to each party.

How to Gain Integrative Agreements The integrative approach to negotiation is less con- frontational than the distributive, and it permits a broader range of alternatives to be considered in the negotiation process. From the outset there is much more of a “win–win” orientation. Even though it may take longer, the time, energy, and effort needed to negotiate an integrated agreement can be well worth the investment. But always, the integrative or principled approach involves a willingness to nego- tiate based on the merits of the situation. The foun- dations for gaining truly integrative agreements can be described as supportive attitudes, constructive behaviors, and good information.26

Attitudinal Foundations There are three attitudi- nal foundations of integrative agreements. First, each party must approach the negotiation with a willing- ness to trust the other party. This is a reason why ethics and maintaining relationships are so important in negotiations. Second, each party must convey a willingness to share information with the other party. Without shared information, effective problem solv- ing is unlikely to occur. Third, each party must show a willingness to ask concrete questions of the other party. This further facilitates information sharing.

Behavioral Foundations During a negotiation all behavior is important for both its actual impact and the impressions it leaves behind. This means the following behavioral foundations of integrative

agreements must be carefully considered and included in any negotiator’s reper- toire of skills and capabilities:

• Separate people from the problem.

• Don’t allow emotional considerations to affect the negotiation.

• Focus on interests rather than positions.

• Avoid premature judgments.

• Keep the identifi cation of alternatives separate from their evaluation.

• Judge possible agreements by set criteria or standards.

Information Foundations The information foundations of integrative agree- ments are substantial. They involve each party becoming familiar with the BATNA,

Sooner or Later You’ll Need to Know How to Negotiate a Better Raise

We’ve all done it—wish we’d asked for more when negotiating a starting salary or a pay raise. Why didn’t we? And, even if we did, would it have made a difference? Chances are you’ll go into a salary negotiation unprepared. And you may pay a price

for that. There’s quite a bit of advice around for how to negotiate pay raises. A compilation of thoughts and tips follows.

• Prepare, prepare, prepare—do the research and fi nd out what others make for a similar position inside and outside the organization, including everything from salary to benefi ts, bonuses, incentives, and job perks.

• Document and communicate—identify and communicate your value; put forth a set of accomplishments that show how you have saved or made money and created value for an employer, or how your skills and attributes will do so for a prospective one.

• Advocate and ask—be your own best advocate; in salary nego- tiation the rule is “Don’t ask, don’t get.” But don’t ask too soon; your boss or interviewer should be the fi rst to bring up salary.

• Stay focused on the goal—the goal is to satisfy your interests to the maximum extent possible; this means everything from getting immediate satisfaction to being better positioned for future satisfaction.

• View things from the other side—test your requests against the employer’s point of view; ask if you are being reasonable, convincing, and fair; ask how the boss could explain to higher levels and to your peers a decision to grant your request.

• Don’t overreact to bad news—never “quit on the spot” if you don’t get what you want; be willing to search for and consider alternative job offers.

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Negotiation Strategies 235

or “best alternative to a negotiated agreement.” That is, each party must know what he or she will do if an agreement cannot be reached. Both negotiating par- ties must identify and understand their personal interests in the situation. They must know what is really important to them in the case at hand. And, they must come to understand what the other party values.

Common Negotiation Pitfalls The negotiation process is admittedly complex on ethical and many other grounds. It is subject to all the possible confusions of complex, and sometimes even vola- tile, interpersonal and team dynamics. And as if this isn’t enough, negotiators need to guard against some common negotiation pitfalls.27

Fixed pie myth

Escalating commitment

Over- confidence

Too much telling

Too little listening

The fi rst pitfall is the tendency to stake out your negotiating position based on the assumption that in order to gain your way, something must be subtracted from the gains of the other party. This myth of the fi xed pie is a purely distributive approach to negotiation. The whole concept of integrative negotiation is based on the premise that the pie can sometimes be expanded or used to the maximum advantage of all parties, not just one.

Second, the possibility of escalating commitment is high when negotiations begin with parties stating extreme demands. Once demands have been stated, people become committed to them and are reluctant to back down. Concerns for protecting one’s ego and saving face may lead to the irrational escalation of a confl ict. Self-discipline is needed to spot tendencies toward escalation in one’s own behavior as well as in the behavior of others.

Third, negotiators often develop overconfi dence that their positions are the only correct ones. This can lead them to ignore the other party’s needs. In some cases negotiators completely fail to see merits in the other party’s position— merits that an outside observer would be sure to spot. Such overconfi dence makes it harder to reach a positive common agreement.

Fourth, communication problems can cause diffi culties during a negotiation. It has been said that “negotiation is the process of communicating back and forth for the purpose of reaching a joint decision.”28 This process can break down because of a telling problem—the parties don’t really talk to each other, at least not in the sense of making themselves truly understood. It can also be damaged by a hearing problem—the parties are unable or unwilling to listen well enough to understand what the other is saying. Indeed, positive negotiation is most likely when each party engages in active listening and frequently asks questions to clarify what the other is saying. Each party occasionally needs to “stand in the other party’s shoes” and to view the situation from the other’s perspective.29

Third-Party Roles in Negotiation Negotiation may sometimes be accomplished through the intervention of third parties, such as when stalemates occur and matters appear to be unresolvable under current circumstances. In a process called alternative dispute resolution, a neutral third party works with persons involved in a negotiation to help them resolve impasses and settle disputes. There are two primary forms through which it is implemented.

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236 10 Confl ict and Negotiation

In arbitration, such as the salary arbitration now common in professional sports, the neutral third party acts as a “judge” and has the power to issue a deci- sion that is binding on all parties. This ruling takes place after the arbitrator listens to the positions advanced by the parties involved in a dispute. In mediation, the neutral third party tries to engage the parties in a negotiated solution through persuasion and rational argument. This is a common approach in labor–manage- ment negotiations, where trained mediators acceptable to both sides are called in to help resolve bargaining impasses. Unlike an arbitrator, the mediator is not able to dictate a solution.

• In arbitration a neutral third party acts as judge with the power to issue a decision

binding for all parties.

• In mediation a neutral third party tries to engage the parties in a negotiated

solution through persuasion and rational argument.

A study of dispute resolution among eBay buyers and sellers fi nds that using words that give “face” were more likely than words that attack “face” to result in the settlement of online disputes. Jeanne Brett, Marla Olekans, Ray Friedman, Nathan Goates, Cameron Anderson, and Cara Cherry Lisco studied real disputes being addressed through Square Trade, an online dispute resolution service to which eBay refers unhappy customers. For purposes of the study, a “dispute” was defi ned as a form of confl ict in which one party to a transaction made a claim that the other party rejected.

The researchers point out that most past research on dispute resolution has focused on situational and participant characteristics. In this case they adopted what they call a “language-based” approach based on the perspectives of face theory, essentially arguing that how participants use language to give and attack the face of the other party will have a major impact on results. In fi ling a claim, for example, an unhappy buyer might use polite words that preserve the positive self-image or face of the seller, or they might use negative words that attack this sense of face. Examples of negative words are “agitated, angry, apprehensive, despise, disgusted, frustrated, furious, and hate.”

This study examined 386 eBay-generated disputes processed through Square Trade. Words in the fi rst social interchange between parties were analyzed. Results showed that expressing negative emotions and giving commands to the other party inhibited dispute resolution, whereas providing a causal explanation, offering suggestions, and communicating fi rmness all made dispute resolution more likely. A hypothesis that expressing positive emotions would increase the likelihood of dispute resolution was not supported. The study also showed that the longer a dispute played out, the less likely it was to be resolved.

In terms of practical implications the research- ers state: “Watch your language; avoid attacking the other’s face either by showing your anger toward them, or expressing contempt; avoid signaling weakness; be fi rm in your claim. Provide causal accounts that take responsibility and give face.” Finally, they note that these basic principles apply in other dispute resolution contexts, not just online.

Words Affect Outcomes in Online Dispute Resolution

Dispute resolution less likely when

• Negative emotions are expressed

• Commands are issued

Dispute resolution more likely when

• Causal explanation given

• Communications are firm

• Suggestions are offered

Source: Jeanne Brett, Marla Olekans, Ray Friedman, Nathan Goates, Cameron Anderson, and Cara Cherry Lisco, “Sticks and Stones: Language and On-Line Dispute Resolution,” Academy of Management Journal 50 (February 2007).

Do the Research Consider the suggestions for successful online dispute resolution. Can you design a study to test how well they apply to disputes that may occur in virtual teamwork?

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Key Questions and Answers 237

10 study guide Key Questions and AnswersWhat is the nature of confl ict in organizations?

• Confl ict appears as a disagreement over issues of substance or emotional antagonisms that create friction between individuals or teams.

• Confl ict situations in organizations occur at intrapersonal, interpersonal, intergroup, and interorganizational levels.

• Moderate levels of confl ict can be functional for performance, stimulating effort and creativity.

• Too little confl ict is dysfunctional when it leads to complacency; too much confl ict is dysfunctional when it overwhelms us.

How can confl ict be managed?

• Confl ict typically develops through a series of stages, beginning with antecedent conditions and progressing into manifest confl ict.

• Indirect confl ict management strategies include appeals to common goals, upward referral, managed interdependence, and the use of mythology and scripts.

• Direct confl ict management strategies of avoidance, accommodation, compromise, competition, and collaboration show different tendencies toward cooperativeness and assertiveness.

• Lose–lose confl ict results from avoidance, smoothing or accommodation, and compromise; win–lose confl ict is associated with competition and authoritative command; win–win confl ict is achieved through collaboration and problem solving.

What is the nature of negotiation in organizations?

• Negotiation is the process of making decisions and reaching agreement in situations where participants have different preferences.

• Managers may fi nd themselves involved in various types of negotiation situations, including two-party, group, intergroup, and constituency negotiation.

• Effective negotiation occurs when both substance goals (dealing with outcomes) and relationship goals (dealing with processes) are achieved.

• Ethical problems in negotiation can arise when people become manipulative and dishonest in trying to satisfy their self-interests at any cost.

What are alternative strategies for negotiation?

• The distributive approach to negotiation emphasizes win–lose outcomes; the integra- tive or principled approach to negotiation emphasizes win–win outcomes.

• In distributive negotiation the focus of each party is on staking out positions in the attempt to claim desired portions of a “fi xed pie.”

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238 10 Confl ict and Negotiation

• In integrative negotiation, sometimes called principled negotiation, the focus is on determining the merits of the issues and fi nding ways to satisfy one another’s needs.

• The success of negotiations often depends on avoiding common pitfalls such as the myth of the fi xed pie, escalating commitment, overconfi dence, and both the telling and hearing problems.

• When negotiations are at an impasse, third-party approaches such as mediation and arbitration offer alternative and structured ways for dispute resolution.

Terms to Know Accommodation (smoothing) (p. 229) Arbitration (p. 236) Authoritative command (p. 229) Avoidance (p. 228) Bargaining zone (p. 233) Collaboration and problem solving

(p. 229) Competition (p. 229)

Compromise (p. 229) Confl ict (p. 220) Confl ict resolution (p. 224) Distributive negotiation (p. 232) Dysfunctional confl ict (p. 222) Effective negotiation (p. 231) Emotional confl ict (p. 220) Functional confl ict (p. 222)

Integrative negotiation (p. 232) Intergroup confl ict (p. 221) Interorganizational confl ict (p. 221) Interpersonal confl ict (p. 221) Intrapersonal confl ict (p. 221) Mediation (p. 236) Negotiation (p. 230) Substantive confl ict (p. 220)

Self-Test 10 Multiple Choice 1. A/an ____________ confl ict occurs in the form of a fundamental disagreement over

ends or goals and the means for accomplishment. (a) relationship (b) emotional (c) substantive (d) procedural

2. The indirect confl ict management approach that uses the chain of command for confl ict resolution is known as ____________. (a) upward referral (b) avoidance (c) smoothing (d) appeal to common goals

3. Confl ict that ends up being “functional” for the people and organization involved would most likely be ____________. (a) of high intensity (b) of moderate intensity (c) of low intensity (d) nonexistent

4. One of the problems with the suppression of confl icts is that it ____________. (a) cre- ates winners and losers (b) is a temporary solution that sets the stage for future confl ict (c) works only with emotional confl icts (d) works only with substantive confl icts

5. When a manager asks people in confl ict to remember the mission and purpose of the organization and to try to reconcile their differences in that context, she is using a confl ict management approach known as ____________. (a) reduced interdepen- dence (b) buffering (c) resource expansion (d) appeal to common goals

6. An ____________ confl ict occurs when a person must choose between two equally attractive alternative courses of action. (a) approach–avoidance (b) avoidance– avoidance (c) approach–approach (d) avoidance–approach

7. If two units or teams in an organization are engaged in almost continual confl ict and the higher manager decides it is time to deal with things through managed interdependence, which is a possible choice of confl ict management approach? (a) compromise (b) buffering (c) appeal to common goals (d) upward referral

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Next Steps 239

8. A lose–lose confl ict is likely when the confl ict management approach is one of ____________. (a) collaborator (b) altering scripts (c) accommodation (d) problem solving

9. Which approach to confl ict management can be best described as both highly cooperative and highly assertive? (a) competition (b) compromise (c) accommoda- tion (d) collaboration

10. Both ____________ goals should be considered in any negotiation. (a) performance and evaluation (b) task and substance (c) substance and relationship (d) task and performance

11. The three criteria for effective negotiation are ____________. (a) harmony, effi ciency, and quality (b) quality, effi ciency, and effectiveness (c) ethical behavior, practicality, and cost-effectiveness (d) quality, practicality, and productivity

12. Which statement is true? (a) Principled negotiation leads to accommodation. (b) Hard distributive negotiation leads to collaboration. (c) Soft distributive negotia- tion leads to accommodation or compromise. (d) Hard distributive negotiation leads to win–win confl icts.

13. Another name for integrative negotiation is ____________. (a) arbitration (b) media- tion (c) principled negotiation (d) smoothing

14. When a person approaches a negotiation with the assumption that in order for him to gain his way, the other party must lose or give up something, which negotiation pitfall is being exhibited? (a) myth of the fi xed pie (b) escalating commitment (c) overconfi dence (d) hearing problem

15. In the process of alternative dispute resolution known as ____________, a neutral third party acts as a “judge” to determine how a confl ict will be resolved. (a) media- tion (b) arbitration (c) conciliation (d) collaboration

Short Response 16. List and discuss three confl ict situations faced by managers.

17. List and discuss the major indirect confl ict management approaches.

18. Under what conditions might a manager use avoidance or accommodation?

19. Compare and contrast distributive and integrative negotiation. Which is more desirable? Why?

Applications Essay 20. Discuss the common pitfalls you would expect to encounter in negotiating your

salary for your fi rst job, and explain how you would best try to deal with them.

• The Case of the Missing Raise

• Choices • The Ugli Orange • Vacation Puzzle • Confl ict Dialogues

• Confl ict Management Strategies

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Nordstrom: 115 Stores, 1 Inventory

Misplacing a pair of pants or favorite shirt happens to all of us from time to time. But when you’re a highly successful chain of 100� department stores, it’s a bigger problem.

Seattle-based Nordstrom faced this issue recently. For nearly 100 years, the company fl ourished by pairing high-quality clothes with excellent customer service. But success came at a price—while the stores’ fashions changed with the times, its inventory management strategy did not.

A customer who fell in love with a pair of candy red Prada pumps one day might return to her Nordstrom store 24 hours later to fi nd they are completely out

of her size. While inventory naturally fl uctuates, Nordstrom associates couldn’t easily locate a pair in another store or verify when they’d return to stock. And in an era of booming online sales, Nordstrom realized

they were likely to lose such a customer faster than you could say, “I’ll just Google that.”

To catch up with competitors, Nordstrom collabo- rated with Accenture Consulting to unify access to inventory. After an immense overhaul of the chain’s inventory management processes, customers at their laptops and associates behind sales counters see the same thing—the entire inventory of Nordstrom’s 115 stores presented as one selection.

So now Nordstrom doesn’t have to turn away the customer who spied that pair of candy red Pradas; she can order them online or in her local store, and they’ll be shipped to her door directly from a store that has them in stock, even if it’s located across the country.

Items don’t stay in stock very long at Nordstrom stores these days, and that’s the point. The chain is current turning inventory about twice as fast as its competitors, thanks to strong help from Web sales. And quick, continuous turnover of inventory attracts investors, even in unsure markets.a

“Traditional retailers have traditional ways of doing things, and sometimes those barriers are hard to break down.” —Adrianne Shapira, Goldman Sachs retail analyst.b

FYI: Nordstrom keeps items in its inventory for an average of 62 days, compared to Macy’s for 119 days and Saks for 140 days.c

• 100-year-old department store Nordstrom fl ourished because of its sharp focus on customer service. But as competition grew fi erce and sales slid, top brass conceded that the company had done so at the expense of modernizing its inventory control systems.

• Working with Accenture Consulting, Nordstrom merged the inventories of all stores into a single view accessible by both customers and retail associates.

• Nordstrom stores now keep less stock on hand, and the chain draws praise from analysts for doing so in a challeng- ing retail environment.

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11 Communication and Collaboration the key point

Communication is the “lifeblood” of the organization. All organizational behavior, good and bad, stems from communication. As illustrated by Nordstrom’s struggles with inventory control, effective communication creates the pathway to a more collaborative and coordinated workplace. Understand- ing the nature of the communication process can help us manage it more effectively in organizations.

What Is Communication?

What Are the Issues in Interpersonal Communication?

What Is the Nature of Communication in Organizations?

How Can We Build More Collaborative Work Environments?





communicating in a collaborative world

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242 11 Communication and Collaboration

As workplaces become increasingly collaborative, communication is more impor- tant than ever. Social tools such as wikis and blogs are putting more communica- tion power in the hands of employees and customers. New technologies, trends toward global real-time work, and a socially connected generation are dramati- cally reshaping the way work gets done. Do companies worry that this will lead to confusion and loss of control? Not at Google, IBM, and Xerox, where collabo- ration is becoming the new organizing principle for the workplace.

Communication is the glue that holds collaboration and organizations together. It is the way we share information, ideas, goals, directions, expectations, feelings, and emotions in the context of coordinated action. As we will see, suc- cessful organizations value and promote effective communication both at the interpersonal level and across organizational boundaries.

The Communication Process Communication is a process of sending and receiving messages with attached meanings. The key elements in the communication process are illustrated in Fig- ure 11.1. They include a source, which encodes an intended meaning into a mes- sage, and a receiver, which decodes the message into a perceived meaning. The receiver may or may not give feedback to the source. Although this process may appear to be elementary, it is not quite as simple as it looks. Noise is the term used to describe any disturbance that disrupts communication effectiveness and interferes with the transference of messages within the communication process. For example, if your stomach is growling because your class is right before lunch, or if you are worried about an exam later in the day, these can interfere with your

• Communication is the process of sending and receiving symbols with

attached meanings.

• Noise is anything that interferes with the

effectiveness of communication.

LEARNING ROADMAP The Communication Process / Feedback and Communication / Nonverbal Communication


Intended meaning

Encodes message

Decodes message

Perceived meaning

Physical distractions Semantic errors Mixed messages Cultural differences Absence of feedback Status effects

Figure 11.1 The communi- cation process and possible sources of “noise.”

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The Nature of Communication 243

ability to pay attention to what your professor and classmates are saying. In effect, they are noise in the communication process.

The information source, or sender, is a person or group trying to commu- nicate with someone else. The source seeks to communicate, in part, to change the attitudes, knowledge, or behavior of the receiver. A team leader, for example, may want to communicate with a division manager in order to explain why the team needs more time or resources to fi nish an assigned project. This involves encoding—the process of translating an idea or thought into a message consist- ing of verbal, written, or nonverbal symbols (such as gestures), or some combi- nation of them. Messages are transmitted through various communication channels, such as face-to-face meetings, e-mail and online discussions, written letters or memoranda, and telephone communications or voice mail, among oth- ers. The choice of channel can have an important impact on the communication process. Some people are better at using certain channels over others, and spe- cifi c channels are better able to handle some types of messages. In the case of the team leader communicating with the division manager, for example, it can make quite a difference whether the message is sent face to face, in a written memo, by voice mail, or by e-mail.

The communication process is not completed even though a message is sent. The receiver is the individual or group of individuals to whom a message is directed. In order for meaning to be assigned to any received message, its con- tents must be interpreted through decoding. This process of translation is compli- cated by many factors, including the knowledge and experience of the receiver and his or her relationship with the sender. A message may also be interpreted with the added infl uence of other points of view, such as those offered by friends, co-workers, or organizational superiors. Ultimately, the decoding may result in the receiver interpreting a message in a way that is different from that originally intended by the source.

Feedback and Communication Most receivers are well aware of the potential gap between the intended message of the source and the perceived meaning assigned to it by the recipient. As dis- cussed in Chapter 4 on perception, learning, and attribution, this often occurs because individuals misinterpret the message by attributing motives or meanings the sender did not intend. When there are gaps in messages (and even when there aren’t), receivers will often “fi ll in the blanks,” resulting in a large potential for miscommunication in the workplace.

One way these gaps are identifi ed and corrected is feedback, the process through which the receiver communicates with the sender by returning another message. Feedback represents two-way communication, going from sender to receiver and back again. Compared to one-way communication, which fl ows from sender to receiver only, two-way communication is more accurate and effec- tive, although it may also be more costly and time consuming. Because of their effi ciency, one-way forms of communication—memos, letters, e-mail, reports, and the like—are frequently used in work settings. One-way messages are easy for the sender but often frustrating for the receiver, who may be left unsure of just what the sender means or wants done.

In most workplaces, there is too little feedback rather than too much. This is particularly true when the feedback is negative in nature because people are

• The sender is a person or group trying to communicate with someone else.

• Encoding is the process of translating an idea or thought into a message consisting of verbal, written, or nonverbal symbols (such as gestures), or some combination of them. • Communication channels are the pathways through which messages are communicated. • The receiver is the individual or group of individuals to whom a message is directed.

• Feedback communicates how one feels about something another person has done or said.

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244 11 Communication and Collaboration

afraid of how the feedback will be received or of raising emotions they are not prepared to handle. Words that are intended to be polite and helpful can easily end up being perceived as unpleasant and even hostile. This risk is particularly evident in the performance appraisal process. A manager or team leader must be able to do more than just complete a written appraisal to document another per- son’s performance for the record. To serve the person’s developmental needs, feedback regarding the results of the appraisal—both the praise and the criti- cism—must be well communicated. There is an art to giving feedback so that the receiver accepts it and uses it constructively.

Nonverbal Communication We all know that people communicate in ways other than the spoken or written word. Indeed, the nonverbal communication that takes place through facial expres- sions, body position, eye contact, and other physical gestures is important both to understand and to master. People who are effective communicators recognize the importance of presence, or the act of speaking without using words. Moreover, research on kinesics, the study of gestures and body postures, has shown the power- ful infl uence that nonverbals have on how people communicate with one another.1

For example, the nonverbal side of communication can often hold the key to what someone is really thinking or meaning. When verbal and nonverbal do not match, research has shown that receivers will pay more attention to the nonver- bal. Nonverbal can also affect the impressions we make on others. Interviewers, for example, tend to respond more favorably to job candidates whose nonverbal cues are positive, such as eye contact and erect posture, than to those displaying negative nonverbal cues, such as looking down or slouching. The art of impres- sion management during interviews and in other situations requires careful atten- tion to both verbal and nonverbal aspects of communication, including one’s dress, timeliness, and demeanor.

Nonverbal communication can also take place through the physical arrange- ment of space or workspace designs, such as that found in various offi ce layouts. Proxemics, the study of the way space is used, is important to communication.2 Figure 11.2 shows three different offi ce arrangements and the messages they may

• Nonverbal communication occurs

through facial expressions, body motions, eye contact,

and other physical gestures. • Presence is the act of

speaking without using words.

“I am the boss!” “I am the boss, but let’s talk.” “Forget I’m the boss, let’s talk.”

Figure 11.2 Furniture placement and nonverbal communication in the offi ce.

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Interpersonal Communication 245

communicate to visitors. Check the diagrams against the furniture arrangement in your offi ce or that of your instructor or a person with whom you are familiar. What are you or they saying to visitors by the choice of furniture placement?3

Our organizations are information rich and increasingly high tech. But even with the support provided by continuing developments in information technology, it is important to remember that people still drive organizational systems and perfor- mance. People who are willing and able to collaborate and commit their mutual talents and energies to the tasks at hand are the foundations of any high- performance organization. And to create this foundation, people must excel in interpersonal communication and not succumb to the barriers that can detract from it.

Communication Barriers In interpersonal communication, it is important to understand the barriers that can easily create communication problems. The most common barriers in the workplace include interpersonal issues, physical distractions, and meaning, or semantic, barriers.

Interpersonal barriers are refl ected in a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: “I can’t hear what you say because who you are speaks so loudly.”4 Interpersonal barriers occur when individuals are not able to objectively listen to the sender due to things such as lack of trust, personality clashes, a bad reputation, or ste- reotypes/prejudices. In such cases, receivers and senders may distort communica- tion by evaluating and judging a message or failing to communicate it effectively. Think of someone you don’t like or a co-worker or a classmate who rubs you the wrong way. Now think about how you communicate with that person. Do you listen effectively, or do you turn him or her off? Do you share information, or do you keep your interactions short and curt, or potentially even evasive?

Such problems are indicative of selective listening and fi ltering. In selective listening, individuals block out information or only hear things that match pre- conceived notions. Someone who does not trust will assume the other is not tell- ing the truth, or may “hear” things in the communication that are not accurate. An employee who believes a co-worker is incompetent may disregard important information if it comes from that person. Individuals may also fi lter, or convey only parts of the information (e.g., not tell the “whole” truth). If we don’t like a co-worker, we may decide to leave out critical details or pointers that would help him or her be more successful in getting things done.

Interpersonal barriers may also occur due to ego problems or poor commu- nication skills. Individuals with ego problems may twist what someone says to serve their own purpose, or may overly emphasize their own contributions while failing to acknowledge those of others. Poor communication skills involve failing to effectively listen, rambling on in meetings rather than presenting a concise and coherent message, or being unable to frame messages appropriate to the audience.

• Interpersonal barriers occur when individuals are not able to objectively listen to the sender due to things such as lack of trust, personality clashes, a bad reputation, or stereotypes/ prejudices.

• In selective listening, individuals block out information or only hear things that match preconceived notions. • Senders fi lter information by conveying only certain parts that are relevant.

LEARNING ROADMAP Communication Barriers / Active Listening / Cross-Cultural Communication

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246 11 Communication and Collaboration

Physical distractions are another barrier that can interfere with the effectiveness of a communication attempt. Some of these distractions are evi- dent in the following conversation between an employee, George, and his manager.5

Okay, George, let’s hear your problem (phone rings, boss picks it up, promises to deliver the report “just as soon as I can get it done”). Uh, now, where were we—oh, you’re having a problem with marketing. So, (the manager’s secretary brings in some papers that need immediate signatures; he scribbles his name and the secretary leaves) . . . you say they’re not cooperative? I tell you what, George why don’t you (phone rings again, lunch partner drops by) . . . uh, take a stab at handling it yourself. I’ve got to go now.

Besides what may have been poor intentions in the fi rst place, George’s man- ager allowed physical distractions to create information overload. As a result, the communication with George suffered. Setting priorities and planning can elimi- nate this mistake. If George has something to say, his manager should set aside adequate time for the meeting. In addition, interruptions such as telephone calls, drop-in visitors, and the like should be prevented. At a minimum, George’s man- ager could start by closing the door to the offi ce and instructing his secretary to not disturb them.

Semantic barriers involve a poor choice or use of words and mixed mes- sages. When in doubt regarding the clarity of your written or spoken messages, the popular KISS principle of communication is always worth remembering: “Keep it short and simple.” Of course, that is often easier said than done. The fol- lowing illustrations of the “baffl egab” that once tried to pass as actual “executive communication” are a case in point.6

A. “We solicit any recommendations that you wish to make, and you may be assured that any such recommendations will be given our careful consid- eration.”

B. “Consumer elements are continuing to stress the fundamental necessity of a stabilization of the price structure at a lower level than exists at the present time.”

One has to wonder why these messages weren’t stated more understandably: (A) “Send us your recommendations; they will be carefully considered.” (B) “Consum- ers want lower prices.”

Active Listening “We have two ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we speak.”7 This quote, a variation on that of the Greek philosopher Epictetus, indi- cates another common interpersonal communication pitfall: the failure to effec- tively listen. The ability to listen well is a distinct asset to anyone whose job suc- cess depends on communicating with other people. After all, there are always two sides to the communication process: (1) sending a message, or “telling,” and (2) receiving a message, or “listening.” And as the quote indicates, the emphasis should be more on the listening and less on the telling.8

Everyone in the new workplace should develop good skills in active listening— the ability to help the source of a message say what he or she really means. The

• Physical distractions include interruptions from

noises, visitors, and the like, that interfere with


• Semantic barriers involve a poor choice or use of words and mixed

• Active listening encourages people to say

what they really mean.

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Interpersonal Communication 247

concept comes from the work of counselors and therapists who are trained to help people express themselves and talk about things that are important to them.9 Here are some guidelines for active listening:

1. Listen for content—try to hear exactly what is being said. 2. Listen for feelings—try to identify how the source feels about things. 3. Respond to feelings—let the source know feelings are recognized. 4. Note all cues—be sensitive to both verbal and nonverbal expressions. 5. Refl ect back—repeat in your own words what you think you are hearing.

Finding the Leader in You IDEO SELECTS FOR COLLABORATIVE LEADERS IDEO has built a business based on design thinking—an approach that brings diverse people into heated dialogue in the hopes of generating breakthrough ideas and creative solutions. Design thinking requires a certain kind of leader, so IDEO is careful in its selection process. They seek out individuals who are smart and willing to engage in collaborative work: “We see ourselves as a mosaic of individu- als, where the big picture is beautiful but each individual is different.”

“We ask ourselves . . . what will this person be like at dinner, or during a brainstorm, or during a

suspicious when employees are at their desk all day,” according to general manager Tom Kelley, “because it makes you wonder how they pretend to work.”

Stimulating interactions are encouraged by making bikes available to go from building to building and by designing lobbies to foster movement between buildings. Designers are encour- aged to talk to one another in whatever forum possible, and experts commingle in offi ces that look like “cacophonous kindergar- ten classrooms.” As described by Tom Peters, “Walk into the offi ces of IDEO design in Palo Alto, California, immediately you’ll be caught up in the energy, buzz, creative disarray and sheer lunacy of it all.” Lunacy or not, for IDEO, creative interaction and collabora- tive communication are keys to success.

What’s the Lesson Here? Would you succeed as a leader at IDEO? How would you deal with the confusion and ambiguity of the creative environment? How comfortable are you with failure?

confl ict? We are eclectic, diverse and there is always room for another angle.” Brainstorming is a fundamental element of design thinking, and failure is an accepted part of the culture. To succeed at IDEO, you have to be able to function with “confusion, incom- plete information, paradox, irony, and fun for its own sake.”

Once ideas are developed, the key becomes telling the story. Approaches such as videos, skits, immersive environments, narratives, animations, and even comic strips are used to help ideas get embraced, adopted, and elaborated faster and more effi ciently. To

accomplish this, IDEO promotes a “democracy of ideas.” It discourages formal titles, does not have a dress code, and encourages employees to move around, especially during mental blocks. “It’s

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248 11 Communication and Collaboration

Take a moment to review the guidelines for active listening and then read the following conversations. How would you feel as the group leader in each case?10

Conversation 1 • Group leader: Hey, Sal, I don’t get this work order. We can’t handle this

today. What do they think we are?

• Branch manager: But that’s the order. So get it out as soon as you can. We’re under terrifi c pressure this week.

• Group leader: Don’t they know we’re behind schedule already because of that software problem?

• Branch manager: Look, I don’t decide what goes on upstairs. I just have to see that the work gets out, and that’s what I’m going to do.

• Group leader: The team won’t like this.

• Branch manager: That’s something you’ll have to work out with them, not me.

Conversation 2 • Group leader: Hey, Kelley, I don’t get this work order. We can’t handle this

• Branch manager: Sounds like you’re pretty upset about it.

• Group leader: I sure am. We’re just about getting back to schedule while fi ghting that software breakdown. Now this comes along.

• Branch manager: As if you didn’t have enough work to do?

• Group leader: Right, I don’t know how to tell the team about this. They’re under a real strain today. Seems like everything we do around here is rush, rush, rush.

• Branch manager: I guess you feel like it’s unfair to load anything more on them.

• Group leader: Well, yes. But I know there must be plenty of pressure on everybody up the line. If that’s the way it is, I’ll get the word to them.

• Branch manager: Thanks. If you’ll give it a try, I’ll do my best to keep to the schedule in the future.

The second example shows active listening skills on the part of the branch manager. She responded to the group leader’s communication in a way that increased the fl ow of information. The manager learned more about the situation, while the group leader most likely felt better after having been able to really say what she thought—after being heard. Compare these outcomes with those in the fi rst example where the manager lacked active listening skills.

Cross-Cultural Communication We all know that globalization is here to stay. What we might not realize is that the success of international business often rests with the quality of cross-cultural communication. And all is not well. A recent study of large fi rms by Accenture reports that 92 percent fi nd that the biggest challenge in working with outsourc- ing providers is communication.11 People must always exercise caution when they are involved in cross-cultural communication—whether between persons of dif- ferent geographic or ethnic groupings within one country, or between persons of different national cultures.

A common problem in cross-cultural communication is ethnocentrism, the tendency to believe one’s culture and its values are superior to those of others. It

• Ethnocentrism is the tendency to believe one’s culture and its values are

superior to those of others.

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Interpersonal Communication 249

is often accompanied by an unwillingness to try to understand alternative points of view and to take the values they represent seriously. Another problem in cross- cultural communication arises from parochialism—assuming that the ways of your culture are the only ways of doing things. It is parochial for traveling Amer- ican businesspeople to insist that all of their business contacts speak English, whereas it is ethnocentric for them to think that anyone who dines with a spoon rather than a knife and fork lacks proper table manners.

The diffi culties with cross-cultural communication are perhaps most obvious in respect to language differences. Advertising messages, for example, may work well in one country but encounter diffi culty when translated into the language of another. Problems accompanied the introduction of Ford’s European model, the “Ka,” into Japan. (In Japanese, ka means “mosquito.”) Gestures may also be used quite differ- ently in the various cultures of the world. For example, crossed legs are quite accept- able in the United Kingdom but are rude in Saudi Arabia if the sole of the foot is directed toward someone. Pointing at someone to get his or her attention may be acceptable in Canada, but in Asia it is considered inappropriate and even offensive.12

The role of language in cross-cultural communication has additional and some- times even more subtle sides. The anthropologist Edward T. Hall notes important differences in the ways different cultures use language, and he suggests that these differences often cause misunderstanding.13 Members of low-context cultures are

• Parochialism assumes the ways of your culture are the only ways of doing things.

• In low-context cultures, messages are expressed mainly by the spoken and written word.


You hear it often enough: To be successful in today’s business world you must be culturally aware. This is particularly true when it comes to communication. Being profi cient in other languages is an important skill. The ability to recognize the nuances of communication in other cultures, such as body language and the use of space, is even more important. Ethnocentrism, the belief that the ways of our own culture are superior, must be avoided in order to communicate effectively.

In Season 6 of The Amazing Race, contestants travel to Dakar, Senegal, to fi nd the fi nal resting place of a nationally famous poet. The stress of competition combined with the diffi culties of a new culture cause problems for some of the teams. Gus and Hera are clearly uncomfortable with the conditions they face. Adam and Rebecca, limited in terms of language skills, nevertheless make fun of their taxi driver’s inability to communicate with them. Freddy and Kendra get into an argument with a driver over the cab fare. Kris and Jon are excited by the prospects of experiencing a new culture. At the same time, Kris is appalled by how other competitors in the race are handling the situation.

When Jonathan screams for someone to speak to him in English, he is clearly exhibiting the “ugly American behavior” that Kris abhors. It is one thing to be uncomfortable with new surroundings, but to be abusive when individuals from other cultures do not respond the way you want shows disrespect for the host country.

Get to Know Yourself Better Assessment 4, Global Readiness Index, in the OB Skills Workbook measures your global readiness. The increasingly global nature of business demands workers that understand other cultures and are comfortable inter- acting with individuals whose values and practices may be quite different. If you were suddenly dropped into an unfamiliar country, how would you respond?

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250 11 Communication and Collaboration

very explicit in using the spoken and written word. In these cultures, such as those of Australia, Canada, and the United States, the message is largely conveyed by the words someone uses, and not particularly by the “context” in which they are spo- ken. In contrast, members of high-context cultures use words to convey only a limited part of the message. The rest must be inferred or interpreted from the con- text, which includes body language, the physical setting, and past relationships—all of which add meaning to what is being said. Many Asian and Middle Eastern cul- tures are considered high context, according to Hall, whereas most Western cul- tures are low context.

International business experts advise that one of the best ways to gain under- standing of cultural differences is to learn at least some of the language of the country that one is dealing with. Says one global manager: “Speaking and under- standing the local language gives you more insight; you can avoid misunderstand- ings.” A former American member of the board of a German multinational says:

• In high-context cultures, words convey only part of a message,

while the rest of the message must be inferred from body language and

additional contextual cues.


Is there a clear line between your personal and professional life? In the age of social networking, the answer to this question is becoming less clear. Today many companies are using the Internet to evaluate employees—both current and prospective—and if you fail to maintain a “professional” demeanor, you could fi nd yourself at a loss. There are stories of college athletes who are disciplined because of something they posted on their Web site, employees who are fi red for things they say online about the company or their co-workers, or individuals who aren’t hired because of a photo on their Facebook page.

To make matters more complicated, employment law in many states is still quite unclear, and in most cases, provides little protec- tion to workers who are punished for their online postings. Take the

case of Stacy Snyder, 25, a senior at Millersville University in Millersville, Pennsylvania, who was dismissed from the student teaching program at a high school and denied her teaching credential after the school staff came across a photograph on her MySpace profi le showing a pirate’s hat perched atop her head while she was sipping from a large plastic cup whose contents cannot be seen. The caption on the photo: “drunken pirate.”

Ms. Snyder fi led a lawsuit in federal court in Philadelphia contending that her rights to free expression under the First Amendment had been violated. Millersville University, in a motion asking the court to dismiss the case, countered that Ms. Snyder’s student teaching had been unsatisfactory—although they acknowledged that she was dismissed based on her MySpace photograph. The university backed the school authorities’ contentions that her posting was “unprofessional” and might “promote under-age drinking.” It also cited a passage in the teacher’s handbook that said staff members are “to be well-groomed and appropriately dressed.”

Do the Research The case of Stacy Snyder and others raises interesting ques- tions. Should what an employee does after hours, as long as no laws are broken, be any of the organization’s business? Does a line need to be drawn that demarcates the boundary between an employee’s work and his or her private life?

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Organizational Communication 251

“Language profi ciency gives a [non-German] board member a better grasp of what is going on . . . not just the facts and fi gures but also texture and nuance.”14

Although the prospect of learning another language may sound daunting, there is little doubt that it can be well worth the effort.15

One of the greatest changes in organizations and in everyday life in recent years has been the explosion in new communication technologies. We have moved from the world of the telephone, e-mail, photocopying, and face-to-face meetings into one of Skype, texting, twittering, blogs, wikis, video conferencing, net meet- ings, and more. These changes are creating more collaborative environments and are challenging traditional notions of hierarchy and structure in organizations.

Communication Channels Organizations are designed based on bureaucratic organizing principles; that is, jobs are arranged in hierarchical fashion with specifi ed job descriptions and formal report- ing relationships. However, much information in organizations is also passed along more fl uidly, through informal communication networks. These illustrate two types of information fl ows in organizations: formal and informal communication channels.

Formal channels follow the chain of command established by an organiza- tion’s hierarchy of authority. For example, an organization chart indicates the proper routing for offi cial messages passing from one level or part of the hierar- chy to another. Because formal channels are recognized as authoritative, it is typical for communication of policies, procedures, and other offi cial announce- ments to adhere to them. On the other hand, much “networking” takes place through the use of informal channels that do not adhere to the organization’s hierarchy of authority.16 They coexist with the formal channels but frequently diverge from them by skipping levels in the hierarchy or cutting across divisional lines. Informal channels help to create open communications in organizations and ensure that the right people are in contact with one another.17

A common informal communication channel is the grapevine, or network of friendships and acquaintances through which rumors and other unoffi cial infor- mation are passed from person to person. Grapevines have the advantage of being able to transmit information quickly and effi ciently. They also help fulfi ll

• Formal channels follow the offi cial chain of command.

• Informal channels do not follow the chain of command.

• A grapevine transfers information through networks of friendships and acquaintances.

LEARNING ROADMAP Communication Channels / Communication Flows / Status Effects

Collaboration Rules the Wiki

At Google, collaborative interaction means a different kind of control over the way in which decisions are made. CEO Eric Schmidt says, “You talk about the strategy, you get people excited, you tell people what the company’s priorities are, and somehow it works out.”

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the needs of people involved in them. Being part of a grapevine can provide a sense of security that comes from “being in the know” when important things are going on. It also provides social satisfaction as information is exchanged interper- sonally. The primary disadvantage of grapevines arises when they transmit incor- rect or untimely information. Rumors can be very dysfunctional, both to people and to organizations. One of the best ways to avoid rumors is to make sure that key persons in a grapevine get the right information to begin with.

Today, the traditional communication grapevine in organizations is often technology assisted. The most common form is probably the e-mail message, but as text messaging and social networking technologies continue to evolve, so, too, do informal communication channels. In more and more organizations people are communicating offi cially and unoffi cially by blogs and wikis. As evidence of the power of technology in this regard, the U.S. military set strict regulations on blogs after becoming concerned about the messages from a proliferation of blog- gers stationed in Iraq. On the other hand, reports indicate that, by 2009, wikis were used by at least 50 percent of organizations worldwide as a communications improvement tool.18

Channel richness indicates the capacity of a channel to convey information. And as indicated in Figure 11.3, the richest channels are face to face. Next are telephone, video conferences, and instant messaging, followed by e-mail, written memos, and letters. The leanest channels are posted notices and bulletins. When messages get more complex and open ended, richer channels are necessary to achieve effective communication. Leaner channels work well for more routine and straightforward messages, such as announcing the location of a previously scheduled meeting.

Communication Flows Within organizations, information fl ows through both the formal and informal channels just described as well as downward, upward, and laterally. Downward communication follows the chain of command from top to bottom. One of its major functions is to achieve infl uence through information. Lower-level person- nel need to know what those in higher levels are doing and to be regularly reminded of key policies, strategies, objectives, and technical developments. Of special importance are feedback and information on performance results. Sharing such information helps minimize the spread of rumors and inaccuracies regarding higher-level intentions. It also helps create a sense of security and involvement among receivers who believe they know the whole story. Unfortunately, a lack of adequate downward communication is often cited as a management failure. On

• Channel richness indicates the capacity of a

channel to convey information.

• Downward communication follows

the chain of command from top to bottom.

Postings, e-bulletins,

Memos, letters, blogs, text messages

E-mail, wikis, intranets, voice-mail

Low Richness

• Impersonal • One-way • Fast

High Richness • Personal • Two-way • Slow

Telephone, instant

Face-to-face meetings, video


Figure 11.3 Richness of communication channels.

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Organizational Communication 253

the issue of corporate downsizing, for example, one sample showed that 64 per- cent of employees did not believe what management said, 61 percent felt unin- formed about company plans, and 54 percent complained that decisions were not well explained.

The fl ow of messages from lower to higher organizational levels is upward communication. As shown in Figure 11.4, it serves several purposes. Upward communication keeps higher levels informed about what lower-level workers are doing, what their problems are, what suggestions they have for improvements, and how they feel about the organization and their jobs. Upward communication has historically been a problem in organizations due to lower-level employees fi ltering information that goes up, leaving many higher-level organizational man- agers in the dark about what is really happening in the organization.

The importance of lateral communication for promotion of collaborative environments in the new workplace has been a recurrent theme in this book. Today’s customer-sensitive organizations need timely and accurate feedback and product information. To serve customer needs they must get the right informa- tion—and get it fast enough—into the hands of workers. Furthermore, inside the organization, people must be willing and able to communicate across departmen- tal or functional boundaries and to listen to one another’s needs as “internal cus- tomers.” At IDEO, lateral communication is the basis for their core competitive advantage, design thinking—a collaborative approach that engages people from different disciplines in dynamic dialogue to generate breakthrough ideas and creative solutions.

Collaborative organization designs emphasize lateral communication in the form of cross-departmental committees, teams, or task forces as well as matrix structures. There is also growing attention to organizational ecology—the study of how building design may infl uence communication and productivity by improv- ing lateral communications. Information technology is allowing organizations to (1) distribute information more instantaneously, (2) make more information avail- able than ever before, (3) allow broader and more immediate access to this information, (4) encourage participation in the sharing and use of information,

• Upward communication is the fl ow of messages from lower to higher organizational levels.

• Lateral communication is the fl ow of messages at the same levels across organizations.

To Inform: Problems Results Suggestions Questions Needs

Upward Communication

To Influence: Strategies Objectives Instructions Policies Feedback

To Coordinate: Problems Needs Advice Feedback

Downward Communication

Lateral Communication


Figure 11.4 Directions for information fl ows in and around organizations.

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254 11 Communication and Collaboration

and (5) integrate systems and functions as well as use information to link with other environments in unprecedented ways.

These new forms of communication also have potential downsides. When they are largely impersonal or mostly one-way, such as e-mail, they remove non- verbal communications from the situation and thereby lose aspects that may otherwise add important context to an interaction. Studies show that recipients of e-mail are accurate less than 50 percent of the time in identifying the tone or intent of the message.19 They may also create diffi culties with understanding the emotional aspects of communication. In this respect, little smiley or frowning faces and other symbols often do not carry the message. Another problem is a failure in the electronic medium to control one’s emotions, a skill considered essential in interpersonal communications.20 Some argue, for example, that it is far easier to be blunt, overly critical, and insensitive when conveying messages elec- tronically rather than face to face. The term fl aming is sometimes used to describe rudeness in electronic communication. In this sense, the use of computer media- tion may make people less inhibited and more impatient in what they say.

• Flaming is expressing rudeness when using

e-mail or other forms of electronic communication.

In today’s environment, the willingness of all members to provide thoughts and ideas about critical work processes characterizes successful learning in various types of teams. Yet, despite this “learning imperative,” many individuals do not work in environments where they perceive it as safe to speak up. To address these issues, James Detert and Ethan Burris engaged in a study of employee voice, which they defi ne as “the discretionary provision of information intended to improve organizational functioning to someone inside an organization with the perceived authority to act, even though such information may challenge and upset the status quo of the organization and its powerholders.”

In their study of leadership behaviors and employee voice, Detert and Burris found that leader positivity or personalized behavior is not enough to generate employee voice. Instead, if leaders are

going to overcome employee restraint in speaking up, they need to indicate openness to change and willing- ness to act on input from below. Although transforma- tional leader behaviors are positively related to voice, openness behaviors clearly send the stronger signal that voice is welcome. Openness behaviors are impor- tant because they provide a “safe” environment for employees to voice their opinions. The authors con- cluded that the signals leaders send are key inputs to employees in assessing the potential costs and benefi ts of speaking up.

Do the Research Do you think the fi ndings are applicable to your work situation? How would you conduct a study in your workplace to fi nd out? What other variables would you include?

Leadership Behavior and Employee Voice: Is the Door Really Open?

Low GM Openness High GM Openness

Poorer Performers Better Performers

Source: J. Detert and E. Burris, “Leadership Behavior and Employee Voice: Is the Door Really Open?” Academy of Management Journal 50.4 (2007), pp. 869–884.

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Collaborative Work Environments 255

Another very pressing reality of the new workplace is information overload and 24–7 work environments. Too much information may create stressful situa- tions for individuals who have diffi culty sorting the useful from the trivial. Even the IT giant Intel experiences e-mail problems. An employee once commented: “We’re so wrapped up in sending e-mail to each other, we don’t have time to be dealing with the outside.”21 The growing trend toward presence-aware tools that allow for real-time collaboration creates diffi culties for employees trying to determine when they get to fi nish working. As described by Kevin Angley of SAS, there are “a lot of people who fi nd it to be an intrusion and invasion of privacy, because they walk away from their desk for fi ve minutes and their machine declares that they’re idle, or they’re reading a document on paper at their desk and all of a sud- den their computer claims that they’re idle.” At Procter & Gamble, director of computers and communications services Laurie Heltsley says employees are told it’s acceptable for people to turn their presence status to off or unavailable.22

Status Effects Another key element of organizational communication associated with hierarchical organizing principles is status differences. Status differences create potential com- munication barriers between persons of higher and lower ranks. On the one hand, given the authority of their positions, managers may be inclined to do a lot of “tell- ing” but not much “listening.” As mentioned earlier, we know that communication is frequently biased when fl owing upward in organizational hierarchies.23 Subordi- nates may fi lter information and tell their superiors only what they think the bosses want to hear. Whether the reason is a fear of retribution for bringing bad news, an unwillingness to identify personal mistakes, or just a general desire to please, the result is the same: The higher-level decision maker may end up taking the wrong actions because of biased and inaccurate information supplied from below. This is sometimes called the mum effect, in reference to tendencies to sometimes keep “mum” from a desire to be polite and a reluctance to transmit bad news.24

• Presence-aware tools are software that allow a user to view others’ real-time availability status and readiness to communicate.

• Status differences are differences between persons of higher and lower ranks.

• The mum effect occurs when people are reluctant to communicate bad news.

As we proceed deeper into the Internet age, collaborative communication is becoming less a choice and more a reality—and it is changing the face of the work environment. Collaborative environments are characterized by boundary- less information fl ows, more open and transparent communication, and more supportive communication dynamics.

Collaboration Technologies In hierarchical organizing, information can often become a source of power that employees hold and use for their own advantage. With the rise of social networking tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and video technologies, such as camera phones and videography, the withholding of information is becoming more and more diffi cult. Customers now have more information power than ever due to the power of emerging collaboration technologies.

LEARNING ROADMAP Collaboration Technologies / Interactional Transparency / Supportive Communication Principles

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256 11 Communication and Collaboration

Instead of fi ghting these trends, organizations are identifying ways to capitalize on emerging technologies. At Xerox, rather than leaving the design of high-level strat- egy documents to a handful of people at the top of the corporate hierarchy, they set up a wiki that allows researchers in the R&D group to collaboratively generate the company’s technology strategy. Chief Technology Offi cer Dr. Sophie VanDebroek says that with the wiki, “we’ll get more content and knowledge in all of our areas of expertise . . . including everything from material science to the latest document ser- vices and solutions.” At IBM, up to $100 million have been committed to sessions such as the Innovation Jam, where employees in more than 160 countries and their clients, business partners—and even family members—engage in online moderated discussions to glean insights that will transform industries, improve human health, and help protect the environment over the course of the coming decades.25

The result is a reduction of status differentials and breaking down of corpo- rate silos. At Mars Inc., the “President’s Challenge” brings together thought leaders in the company with the most senior people in Mars to explore new enabling strategies for business. As part of this exploration, team members work together to challenge and engage in “fi erce debate” of proposed strategies. As a result, Mars has broken down silos and developed leaders throughout the organization. The collaborative communication has resulted in a ferment of innovation, with many new best practices being driven throughout the business.26

Interactional Transparency In the fi nancial world, “transparency” means opening the books. In the context of management, it is increasingly being used to symbolize more open and honest sharing of information. Interest in transparency concepts has been on the rise since passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which, to guard against corporate fraud, requires public organizations to disclose information concerning fi nancial transactions.

Interactional transparency has been conceptualized in the OB literature as the ability for both leaders and followers to be open, accountable, and honest with each other.27 It comprises multiple components. First, transparent communi- cation involves sharing relevant information. For example, contrary to informa- tion power games of the past, transparent communication means that individuals work together to share all pertinent information and not withhold important information from one another. Second, transparent communication involves being forthcoming regarding motives and the reasoning behind decisions. Such trans- parency about motives helps avoid the problem of faulty attributions that can often break down communication processes. Third, transparent communication involves proactively seeking and giving feedback. Transparent communication is two-way and collaborative, involving a free and open exchange of information.

• Interactional transparency is the open

and honest sharing of information.

The Changing Face of

Information Power The Internet is changing the nature of information power. In today’s era of social networking and collaboration technologies, no longer can information be centralized or controlled. Wikileaks shows the challenges of keeping secrets, and Facebook shows how a youth movement can spawn a revolution in Egypt.

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Collaborative Work Environments 257

Supportive Communication Principles Achieving transparency requires individuals to communicate openly and honestly. However, we know that is not always the case. Avoidance continues to be a major issue in interpersonal communication. If a problem arises between employees or work groups, many individuals are much more likely to avoid than address it. Why is this?

A major reason is fear the conversation will be uncomfortable or worry that trying to talk about the problem will only make it worse. This fear often comes with a lack of understanding about how to approach diffi cult conversations. A set of tools known as supportive communication principles can help overcome this problem. These principles focus on joint problem solving with the intent of addressing communication breakdowns and changing problematic behaviors before they get to be big problems.28

The primary emphasis of supportive communication is to avoid defensive- ness and disconfi rmation. Defensiveness occurs when individuals feel they are being attacked and they need to protect themselves. If you are communicating with someone who begins to get angry and becomes aggressive, that person is likely feeling defensive. Disconfi rmation occurs when an individual feels his self-worth is being questioned. A person shows a disconfi rmed feeling when he or she withdraws from the conversation or starts engaging in show-off behaviors to try to look good. In either case, the communicator needs to stop the conversa- tion and work to reduce the defensiveness and disconfi rmation by refocusing the conversation and building the other person up before continuing.

This can be accomplished by using several techniques. First, focus on the problem and not the person. This helps keep the communication problem- oriented and not person-oriented. For example, instead of saying “you are bad,” you would say “you are behaving badly.” By focusing on behavior you are address- ing something the individual can do something about—he can change his behav- ior but he can’t change who he is as a person.

Second, be specifi c and descriptive, not global or evaluative. In the prior example, once you tar- get the behavior, you then have to be specifi c about which behavior is the problem. Do not focus on too many behaviors at one time. Pick a couple of examples that illustrate the problem behavior and identify them as specifi cally (and as recently) as you can. Instead of saying “you never listen to me,” you can say “the other day in the meeting you interrupted me three times and that made it hard for me to get my point across to the group.”

Third, own the communication. As a man- ager, instead of saying “Corporate tells us we need to better document our work hours,” you would say “I believe that better documenting our work hours will help us be more effective in run- ning our business.”

Finally, be congruent—make sure your mes- sage is consistent with your body language. If your words say “No, I’m not mad,” but your body

• Supportive communication principles are a set of tools focused on joint problem solving.

• Defensiveness occurs when individuals feel they are being attacked and they need to protect themselves. • Disconfi rmation occurs when an individual feels his or her self-worth is being questioned.

1. Focus on the problem and not the person.

. . . Not “You are bad!” but rather “You are behaving badly.”

2. Be specifi c and descriptive, not global or evaluative.

. . . Avoid using never or always, as in “you never listen to me.”

3. Own, rather than disown, the communication.

. . . “I believe we need to change” rather than “Management tells us we have to change.”

4. Be congruent—match the words with the body language.

. . . Don’t say “No I’m not angry!” if your body language says you are.

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258 11 Communication and Collaboration

language conveys anger, you are being dishonest in the communication and are only provoking less open and collaborative communication.

By learning to use supportive communication principles, you can enhance your ability to communicate effectively, not only in your workplace, but also in your life.

11 study guide Key Questions and Answers What is communication?

• Collaborative communication is becoming more important as technology changes the way we work.

• Communication is the process of sending and receiving messages with attached meanings.

• The communication process involves encoding an intended meaning into a message, sending the message through a channel, and receiving and decoding the message into perceived meaning.

• Noise is anything that interferes with the communication process.

• Feedback is a return message from the original recipient back to the sender.

• To be constructive, feedback must be direct, specifi c, and given at an appropriate time.

• Nonverbal communication involves communication other than through the spoken word (e.g., facial expressions, body position, eye contact, and other physical gestures).

• When verbal and nonverbal do not match, research has shown that receivers will pay more attention to the nonverbal.

What are the issues in interpersonal communication?

• To create collaborative communication, people must not succumb to communication barriers.

• Interpersonal barriers detract from communication because individuals are not able to objectively listen to the sender due to personal biases; they include selective listening and fi ltering.

• Physical distractions are barriers due to interruptions from noises, visitors, and so on.

• Semantic barriers involve a poor choice or use of words and mixed messages.

• Active listening encourages a free and complete fl ow of communication from the sender to the receiver; it is nonjudgmental and encouraging.

• Parochialism and ethnocentrism contribute to the diffi culties of experiencing truly effective cross-cultural communication.

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Self-Test 11 259

What is the nature of communication in organizations?

• Organizational communication is the specifi c process through which information moves and is exchanged within an organization.

• Technologies continue to change the workplace, challenging traditional notions of hierarchy and structure in organizations.

• Communication in organizations uses a variety of formal and informal channels; the richness of the channel, or its capacity to convey information, must be adequate for the message.

• Information fl ows upward, downward, and laterally in organizations.

• Status effects in organizations may result in restricted and fi ltered information exchanges between subordinates and their superiors.

How can we build more collaborative work environments?

• With the rise of social networking tools, the restriction of information is becoming more and more diffi cult.

• Instead of fi ghting these trends, organizations are identifying ways to capitalize on emerging technologies that are resulting in a reduction of status differentials and breaking down of corporate silos.

• More companies are valuing transparency in communication.

• Transparency is enhanced through the use of supportive communication principles.

Terms to Know Active listening (p. 246) Channel richness (p. 252) Communication (p. 242) Communication channels (p. 243) Defensiveness (p. 257) Disconfi rmation (p. 257) Downward communication (p. 252) Encoding (p. 243) Ethnocentrism (p. 248) Feedback (p. 243) Filter (p. 245) Flaming (p. 254)

Formal channels (p. 251) Grapevine (p. 251) High-context cultures (p. 250) Informal channels (p. 251) Interactional transparency (p. 256) Interpersonal barriers (p. 245) Lateral communication (p. 253) Low-context cultures (p. 249) Mum effect (p. 255) Noise (p. 242) Nonverbal communication (p. 244) Parochialism (p. 249)

Physical distractions (p. 246) Presence (p. 244) Presence-aware tools (p. 255) Receiver (p. 243) Selective listening (p. 245) Semantic barriers (p. 246) Sender (p. 243) Status differences (p. 255) Supportive communication principles

(p. 257) Upward communication (p. 253)

Self-Test 11 Multiple Choice 1. In communication, ____________ is anything that interferes with the transference of

the message. (a) channel (b) sender (c) receiver (d) noise

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260 11 Communication and Collaboration

2. When you give criticism to someone, the communication will be most effective when the criticism is ____________. (a) general and nonspecifi c (b) given when the sender feels the need (c) tied to things the recipient can do something about (d) given all at once to get everything over with

3. Which communication is the best choice for sending a complex message? (a) face to face (b) written memorandum (c) e-mail (d) telephone call

4. When someone’s words convey one meaning but body posture conveys something else, a(n) ____________ is occurring. (a) ethnocentric message (b) lack of congru- ence (c) semantic problem (d) status effect

5. Personal bias is an example of ____________ in the communication process. (a) an interpersonal barrier (b) a semantic barrier (c) physical distractions (d) proxemics

6. Which communication method has the most two-way characteristics? (a) e-mail (b) blog (c) voice mail (d) instant messaging

7. ____________ is an example of an informal channel through which information fl ows in an organization. (a) The grapevine (b) Top-down communication (c) The mum effect (d) Transparency

8. New electronic communication technologies have the advantage of handling large amounts of information, but they may also make communication among organiza- tional members ____________. (a) less accessible (b) less immediate (c) more informal (d) less private

9. The study of gestures and body postures for their impact on communication is an issue of ____________. (a) kinesics (b) proxemics (c) semantics (d) informal channels

10. In ____________ communication the sender is likely to be most comfortable, whereas in ____________ communication the receiver is likely to feel most informed. (a) one-way; two-way (b) top-down; bottom-up (c) bottom-up; top-down (d) two-way; one-way

11. A manager who spends a lot of time explaining his or her motives and engaging in frank and open dialogue could be described as using ____________. (a) the KISS principle (b) transparency (c) MBO (d) the grapevine

12. ____________ interfere(s) with open communication in most workplaces. (a) Status effects (b) Technology (c) Organizational ecology (d) Nonverbal communication

13. If someone is interested in proxemics as a means of improving communication with others, that person would likely pay a lot of attention to his or her ____________. (a) offi ce layout (b) status (c) active listening skills (d) 360-degree feedback

14. Among the rules for active listening is ____________. (a) remain silent and commu- nicate only nonverbally (b) confront emotions (c) don’t let feelings become part of the process (d) refl ect back what you think you are hearing

15. The use of supportive communication principles is helpful for ____________. (a) reducing defensiveness and disconfi rmation (b) the use of computer technology (c) privacy and electronic performance monitoring (d) improving the correctness of one’s vocabulary

Short Response 16. Why is channel richness a useful concept for managers?

17. What place do informal communication channels have in organizations today?

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Next Steps 261

18. Why is communication between lower and higher levels sometimes fi ltered?

19. What is the key to using active listening effectively?

Applications Essay 20. “People in this organization don’t talk to one another anymore. Everything is e-mail,

e-mail, e-mail. If you are mad at someone, you can just say it and then hide behind your computer.” With these words, Wesley expressed his frustrations with Delta General’s operations. Xiaomei echoed his concerns, responding, “I agree, but surely the managing director should be able to improve organizational communication without losing the advantages of e-mail.” As a consultant overhearing this conversa- tion, how do you suggest the managing director respond to Xiaomei’s challenge?

• The Poorly Informed Walrus

• Active Listening • Upward Appraisal • 3608 Feedback

• “TT” Leadership Style • Empowering Others

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Tweets Heard ’Round the World

The most powerful voice reporting from within Iran about the recent presidential election didn’t belong to a single person. Rather, it was a chorus of many voicesa:

Mohamadreza mohamadreza (Tehran, Iran) It is not offi cially approved by any of candidates but its spreading: Tuesday national strike in Iran. #iranelection 13 June 2009 from web

Iran Election 2009 iran09 (Tehran, Iran) Massive arrests are the sign of a coup! Help us to a REVOLU- TION! #iranelection #newiran 13 Jun 2009 from TwitterFox

tehranelection (Tehran, Iran) On my street, the crowd is pushing the police to the side. 14 Jun 2009 from web

Yashar Khaz douzion Yshar (Tehran, Iran) The rumors are spreading faster . . . Is it true that people have taken over the police station at Tajrish Sq. ?!?! #iranelection 13 June 2009 from Seesmic Desktop.

When Iran blocked text messaging and throttled Internet speeds in the days sur- rounding the hotly contested election, thousands of Iranians took to Twitter because of the service’s worldwide visibility and low bandwidth requirements.

The early postelection tweets tended to focus on individual reactions to voting and the election’s immediate aftermath. But a growing number of social media users took to tagging their tweets with #iranelection, which helped otherwise scattered Iranians fact-check offi cial statements, and coordinate protests. They interconnected to build their power.

Looking back days later at the fl ow of #iranelection tweets, Atlantic Monthly blogger Andrew Sullivan refl ected, “This is the raw data of history, as it happens.”b U.S. intelligence services found the #iranelection tweets so useful that the State Department asked Twitter to delay a preplanned downtime to avoid a gap in updates.c

#iranelection has remained one of Twitter’s most active hashtags. Today, concerned citizens and activists worldwide invoke it to call attention to human rights concerns throughout the Middle East.

FYI: On June 16, 2009, a peak of 221,744 tweets mentioning Iran were sent in one hour. Around the same time, more than 23,750 tweets were tagged with #iranelection.e

• In the hours after its tenth presidential election, Iran shut down text messaging and severely crippled broadband Internet speeds within the country.

• Because of its worldwide visibility and small message size, Iranian social media users turned to Twitter and the hashtag #iranelection to share information about the election results and pursuant protests.

• The steady stream of Iranian tweets provided more information to the outside world than CNN.

“[Twitter] has emboldened the protesters, reinforced their conviction that they are not alone, and engaged populations outside Iran in an emotional, immediate way that was never possible before.” —Lev Grossman, TIME Magazined

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12 Power and Politics the key point

While individuals join organizations for their own reasons and goals, all members are interconnected. Power and politics are inevitable. Even though you may not be planning a protest march, you need to understand the key sources of power and how to use them to effectively manage. You also need to understand and use organizational politics to survive and thrive in today’s modern organization.

What Are Power and Influence?

What Are the Key Sources of Power and Influence?

What Is Empowerment?

What Is Organizational Politics?





getting things done while you help yourself

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264 12 Power and Politics

Without the power to infl uence, neither organizations nor individuals can accom- plish much. Yet, all of us have been warned about the excesses of power. In your organizational life you will need to develop, use, and spread your ability to get things done. You will need to be powerful and exercise infl uence. In OB the basis for both power and politics is the degree of interconnectedness among individuals.1 As individuals pursue their own goals within an organization, they must also deal with the interests of other individuals and their desires.2 There are never enough resources—money, people, time, or authority—to meet everyone’s needs. Choices need to be made. The analysis of choices as to who “wins” resources and rewards and how they win lies at the heart of power and politics in organizational life.

The analyses of power and politics have at least two sides. On the one hand, power and politics are important organizational tools that managers must use to get the job done. More organizational members can “win” when manag- ers identify areas where individual and organizational interests are compatible. On the other hand, organizations are not democracies composed of individuals with equal infl uence. Some people have a lot more clout than others. Managers often see a “power gap” as they constantly face too many competing demands to satisfy. They must choose to favor some interests over others.3 Yet, the astute manager also recognizes opportunities to expand power and increase accom- plishment.

In organizational behavior, power is defi ned as the ability to get someone to do something you want done or the ability to make things happen in the way you want them to. The essence of power is control over the behavior of others.4 Without a direct or indirect connection it is not possible to alter the behavior of others.

While power is the force used to make things happen in an intended way, infl uence is what an individual has when he or she exercises power, and it is expressed by others’ behavioral response to the exercise of power. In Chapters 13 and 14 we will examine leadership as a key power mechanism to make things happen. This chapter will discuss other ways that power and politics form the context for leadership infl uence.

Interdependence, Legitimacy, and Power It is important to remember that the foundation for power rests in interdepen- dence. Each member of an organization’s fate is, in part, determined by the actions of all other members. All members of an organization are interdependent. It is apparent that employees are closely connected with the individuals in their workgroup, those in other departments they work with, and, of course, their supervisors. In today’s modern organization the pattern of interdependence and, therefore the base for power and politics, rests on a system of authority and con- trol.5 In addition, organizations have societal backing to seek reasonable goals in legitimate ways.

• Power is the ability to get someone else to do

something you want done or the ability to make

things happen or get things done the way you want.

• Infl uence is a behavioral response to the

exercise of power.

LEARNING ROADMAP Interdependence, Legitimacy, and Power / Obedience / Acceptance of Authority and the Zone of Indifference

Power and Infl uence

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Power and Infl uence 265

The unstated foundation of legitimacy in most organizations is an understood and unwritten set of social mores and conventions that serve to maintain societal order. From infancy to retirement, individuals in our society are taught to obey “higher authority.” In societies, “higher authority” does not always have a bureau- cratic or an organizational reference but consists of those with moral authority such as tribal chiefs and religious leaders. In most organizations, “higher authority” means those close to the top of the corporate pyramid. The legitimacy of those at the top derives from their positions as representatives for various constituencies. The impor- tance of stockholders is, in turn, a foundation for our capitalistic economic system.

Some senior executives evoke ethics and social causes in their role as authority fi gures because these are important foundations for the power of these institutions. For instance, consider Northwestern Mutual, the largest direct provider of individual life insurance in the United States. Here the customers actually own the fi rm. It’s a mutual company, and none of the stock options go to the executives. Instead, divi- dend proceeds are given back to the customers. Former CEO Edward J. Zore, as the representative for the customers, has said, “Our mutuality is about fairness. It’s about upholding strong principles.” These strong principles helped Northwestern Mutual forgo the short-term profi ts others were posting on mortgage derivatives just before the recent fi nancial crisis hit the insurance industry. Instead of following the crowd and seeking higher short-term gains, Northwestern Mutual charted a safer if somewhat less dramatic course to continued prosperity and growth.

Yet, just talking about the ethical and social foundations for power would not be enough to ensure that individuals comply with their supervisor’s orders if they were not prone to obedience.

Obedience The mythology of American independence and unbridled individualism is so strong we need to spend some time explaining how most of us are really quite obedient. So we turn to the seminal studies of Stanley Milgram on obedience from the early 1960s.6

Milgram designed experiments to determine the extent to which people would obey the commands of an authority fi gure, even if they believed they were endan- gering the life of another person. Subjects from a wide variety of occupations and ranging in age from 20 to 50 were paid a nominal fee for participation in the project. The subjects were told that the purpose of the study was to determine the effects of

Corporate Citizenship at CitiBank Pam Flaherty is CitiBank’s director of corporate citizenship and president/CEO of the Citi Foundation. She is seen here speaking with Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City Mayor, before the opening session of the United Nations climate change debate at UN headquarters in New York. “For us,” says Flaherty, “it’s not just about bringing CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) into the strategic part of the business; it’s having our business colleagues feel that they have a leadership role and an opportunity to fi gure out how they can make a positive difference. . . . CSR is a tremendous motivator for our people.”

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266 12 Power and Politics

punishment on learning. The subjects were to be the “teachers.” The “learner,” a partner of Milgram’s, was strapped to a chair in an adjoining room with an electrode attached to his wrist. The “experimenter,” another partner of Milgram’s, was dressed in a laboratory coat. Appearing impassive and somewhat stern, the “experimenter” instructed the “teacher” to read a series of word pairs to the learner and then to reread the fi rst word along with four other terms. The learner was supposed to indi- cate which of the four terms was in the original pair by pressing a switch that caused a light to fl ash on a response panel in front of the “teacher.”

The “teacher” was instructed to administer a shock to the learner each time an incorrect answer was given. This shock was to be increased one level of inten- sity each time the learner made a mistake. The “teacher” controlled switches that supposedly administered the electric shocks. In reality, there was no electric cur- rent in the apparatus. And the “learners” purposely made mistakes often and responded to each shock level in progressively distressing ways. If a “teacher” proved unwilling to administer a shock, the experimenter used the following sequential prods to get him or her to perform as requested. (1) “Please continue”; (2) “The experiment requires that you continue”; (3) “It is absolutely essential that you continue”; and (4) “You have no choice; you must go on.” Only when the “teacher” refused to go on after the fourth prod would the experiment be stopped.

So what happened? Some 65 percent of the “teachers” actually administered an almost lethal shock to the “learners.” Shocked at the results, Milgram tried a wide variety of variations (e.g., different commands to continue, a bigger gap between the teacher and the experimenter) with similar if less severe shocks. He concluded that there is a tendency for individuals to comply and be obedient—to switch off their emotions and merely do exactly what they are told to do.

The tendency to obey is powerful, and it is a major problem in the corporate boardroom where the lack of dissent due to extreme obedience to authority has been associated with the lack of rationality and questionable ethics.7

Acceptance of Authority and the Zone of Indifference Obedience is not the only reason for compliance in organizations. The author of groundbreaking research in management theory and organizational studies, Chester Barnard, suggested that it also stemmed from the “consent of the gov- erned.”8 From this notion, Barnard developed the concept of the acceptance of authority—the idea that some directives would naturally be followed while others would not. The basis of this acceptance view was the notion of an implicit con- tract between the individual and the fi rm, known as a psychological contract. These two ideas led Barnard to outline the notion of the “zone of indifference” where individuals would comply without much thought.

Acceptance of Authority In everyday organizational life Barnard argued that subordinates accepted or followed a managerial directive only if four circum- stances were met.

• The subordinate can and must understand the directive.

• The subordinate must feel mentally and physically capable of carrying out the directive.

• The subordinate must believe that the directive is not inconsistent with the purpose of the organization.

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Power and Infl uence 267

• The subordinate must believe that the directive is not inconsistent with his or her personal interests.

Note the way in which the organizational purpose and personal interest require- ments are stated. The subordinate does not need to understand how the proposed action will help the organization. He or she only needs to believe that the requested action is not inconsistent with the purpose of the fi rm. Barnard found the issue of personal interest to be more complicated, and he built his analysis on the notion of a psychological contract between the individual and the fi rm.

Zone of Indifference Most people seek a balance between what they put into an organization (contributions) and what they get from an organization in return (inducements). Within the boundaries of this psychological contract, therefore, employees will agree to do many things in and for the organization because they think they should. In exchange for the inducements, they recognize the authority of the organization and its managers to direct their behavior in certain ways. Outside of the psychological contract’s boundaries, however, things become much less clear.

The notion of the psychological contract turns out to be a powerful concept, particularly in the “breach” where an individual feels the contract has been vio- lated. When employees believe the organization has not delivered on its implicit promises, in addition to disobedience, there is less loyalty, higher turnover inten- tions, and less job satisfaction.9

Based on his acceptance view of authority, Chester Barnard calls the area in which authoritative directions are obeyed the zone of indifference. 10 It describes the range of requests to which a person is willing to respond without subjecting the directives to critical evaluation or judgment. Directives falling within the zone are obeyed routinely. Requests or orders falling outside the zone of indifference are not considered legitimate under terms of the psychological contract. Such “extraordinary” directives may or may not be obeyed. This link between the zone of indifference and the psychological contract is shown in Figure 12.1.

• The psychological contract is an unwritten set of expectations about a person’s exchange of inducements and contributions with an organization.

• Zone of indifference is the range of authoritative requests to which a subordinate is willing to respond without subjecting the directives to critical evaluation or judgment.

Inside zone of indifference: Normal inducements sufficient

Requested Action

Work Sundays

Outside zone of indifference: Extraordinary inducements required

Shop during lunch hour for boss

Make coffee for the office

Work 40 hours in the week

Do word processing Yes Schedule meetings Yes Maintain computer databases

Work occasional paid overtime

Compose letters and reports

Computerize member list for boss’s country club

“Fudge” boss’s expense accounts

No Figure 12.1 Hypothetical psychological contract for a secretary.

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268 12 Power and Politics

The zone of indifference is not fi xed. There may be times when a boss would like a subordinate to do things that fall outside of the zone. In this case, the man- ager must enlarge the zone to accommodate additional behaviors. We have cho- sen to highlight a number of ethical issues that are within, or may be beyond, the typical zone of indifference. Research on ethical managerial behavior shows that supervisors can become sources of pressure for subordinates to do such things as support incorrect viewpoints, sign false documents, overlook the supervisor’s wrongdoing, and conduct business with the supervisor’s friends.11 Employees might be willing to do some things for one boss but not another. In different terms, the boss has two sources of power: power position derived from his or her position in the fi rm, and personal power derived from the individual actions of the manager.12

Within each organization a manager’s power is determined by his or her position and personal power, his or her individual actions, and the ability to build on combinations of these sources.

Position Power One important source of power available to a manager stems solely from his or her position in the organization. Specifi cally, position power stems from the for- mal hierarchy or authority vested in a particular role. There are six important aspects of position power: legitimate, reward, coercive, process, information, and representative power.13

Based on our discussion of obedience and the acceptance theory of authority it is easy to understand legitimate power, or formal hierarchical authority. It stems from the extent to which a manager can use subordinates’ internalized values or beliefs that the “boss” has a “right of command” to control their behav- ior. For example, the boss may have the formal authority to approve or deny such employee requests as job transfers, equipment purchases, personal time off, or overtime work. Legitimate power represents the unique power a manager has because subordinates believe it is legitimate for a person occupying the manage- rial position to have the right to command. If this legitimacy is lost, authority will not be accepted by subordinates.

Reward power is the extent to which a manager can use extrinsic and intrin- sic rewards to control other people. Examples of such rewards include money, promotions, compliments, or enriched jobs. Although all managers have some access to rewards, success in accessing and utilizing rewards to achieve infl uence varies according to the skills of the manager. While giving rewards may appear ethical, it is not always the case. The use of incentives by unscrupulous managers can be unethical.

Power can also be based on punishment instead of reward. For example, a manager may threaten to withhold a pay raise or to transfer, demote, or even

• Legitimate power or formal authority is the

extent to which a manager can use the “right of

command” to control other people.

• Reward power is the extent to which a manager

can use extrinsic and intrinsic rewards to control

other people.

LEARNING ROADMAP Position Power / Personal Power / Power and Infl uence Capacity / Relational Infl uence Techniques

Sources of Power and Infl uence

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Sources of Power and Infl uence 269

recommend the fi ring of a subordinate who does not act as desired. Such coer- cive power is the extent to which a manager can deny desired rewards or admin- ister punishments to control other people. The availability of coercive power also varies from one organization and manager to another. The presence of unions and organizational policies on employee treatment can weaken this power base considerably.

Process power is the control over methods of production and analysis. The source of this power is the placing of the individual in a position to infl uence how inputs are transformed into outputs for the fi rm, a department in the fi rm, or even a small group. Firms often establish process specialists who work with managers to ensure that production is accomplished effi ciently and effectively. Closely related to this is control of the analytical processes used to make choices. For example, many organizations have individuals with specialties in fi nancial analy- sis. They may review proposals from other parts of the fi rm for investments. Their power derives not from the calculation itself, but from the assignment to deter- mine the analytical procedures used to judge the proposals.

Process power may be separated from legitimate hierarchical power simply because of the complexity of the fi rm’s operations. A manager may have the

• Coercive power is the extent to which a manager can deny desired rewards or administer punishment to control other people.

• Process power is the control over methods of production and analysis.


Incentives are a major way of infl uencing employees. Key ethical issues in the development of incentive systems often center on voluntarism, legitimacy, and character. Voluntarism is the degree of choice the individual has over the ramifi cations of his or her behavior. Or in simple terms, do you choose to go after the incentive offered? For instance, telemarketers are often required to read a script that includes less than honest statements. If they read the script, they are given a bonus. If they depart from the script no bonus is given, thereby encouraging the employee to act in a way that may be considered unethical.

In addition to voluntarism, incentives are considered ethical only when their purpose is legitimate and when they do not affect the character of the individual being offered the incentive. For example, a CEO’s bonus may depend on a short-term increase in the fi rm’s stock price. Here, the incentive may be considered illegitimate if it is the only one because the fi rm has many goals, not just one. The larger potential bonus from the short-term stock price increase, the greater chances the CEO will manipulate it. For instance, if the potential bonus may be in the tens of millions of dollars, the CEO may be tempted to trade short-term gains (e.g., reductions in R&D) for longer-term benefi ts. Here, the incentive may be considered unethical because it challenges the character of the CEO.

What Would You Do? What would you do if you were a telemarketer given a script to read that included statements you knew weren’t true? What if your boss offered you a bonus for each script you read and each sale you made based on the information in the script? Would you be tempted to read the script and close the sale in order to earn the bonus?

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270 12 Power and Politics

formal hierarchical authority to make a decision but may be required to use the analytical schemes of others or to consult on effective implementation with pro- cess specialists. The issue of position power can get quite complex very quickly in sophisticated operations. This leads us to another related aspect of position power—the role of access to and control of information.

Information power is the access information or the control of it. It is one of the most important aspects of legitimacy. The “right to know” and use information can be, and often is, conferred on a position holder. Thus, information power may complement legitimate hierarchical power. Information power may also be granted to specialists and managers who are in the middle of the information systems in the fi rm.

For example, the chief information offi cer of the fi rm may not only control all the computers, but may also have access to any and all information desired. Managers jealously guard the formal “right to know,” because it means they are in a position to infl uence events, not merely react to them. Most chief execu- tive offi cers believe they have the right to know about everything in “their” fi rm. Deeper in the organization, managers often protect information from oth- ers based on the notion that outsiders would not understand it. Engineering drawings, for example, are not typically allowed outside of the engineering department. In other instances, information is to be protected from outsiders. Marketing and advertising plans may be labeled “top secret.” In most cases the nominal reason for controlling information is to protect the fi rm. The real rea- son is often to allow information holders the opportunity to increase their power.

Representative power is the formal right conferred to an individual by the fi rm enabling him or her to speak as a representative for a group comprised of individuals from across departments or outside the fi rm. In most complex organi- zations there is a wide variety of constituencies that may have an important impact on the fi rm’s operations and its success. They include such groups as investors, customers, alliance partners, and, of course, unions. In government, it is not at all unusual to fi nd positions established to represent offi cials. The top job of this type is, of course, Presidential Press Secretary.

Personal Power Personal power resides in the individual and is independent of that individual’s position within an organization. Personal power is important in many well- managed fi rms, as managers need to supplement the power of their formal

• Information power is the access to and/or the

control of information.

• Representative power is the formal right

conferred by the fi rm to speak for and to a

potentially important group.

Presidential Press Secretary

When President Barack Obama recently chose Jay Carney, the former communications chief to Vice President Joe Biden and magazine journalist, to be the next White House press secretary, he gave him more than a job—he gave him power. Carney is . . . “the face of the administration” to the press. His position of power is based on representing the President and his administration.

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Sources of Power and Infl uence 271

positions. Four bases of personal power are expertise, rational persuasion, ref- erence, and coalitions.14

Expert power is the ability to control another person’s behavior through the possession of knowledge, experience, or judgment that the other person does not have but needs. A subordinate follows a supervisor possessing expert power because the latter usually knows more about what is to be done or how it is to be done than does the subordinate. Expert power is relative, not absolute. So if you are the best cook in the kitchen, you have expert power until a real chef enters. Then the chef has the expert power.

Rational persuasion is the ability to control another’s behavior because, through the individual’s efforts, the person accepts the desirability of an offered goal and a reasonable way of achieving it. Much of what a supervisor does on a day-to-day basis involves rational persuasion up, down, and across the organiza- tion. Rational persuasion involves both explaining the desirability of expected outcomes and showing how specifi c actions will achieve these outcomes. Rela- tional persuasion relies on trust.

Referent power is the ability to alter another’s behavior because the person wants to identify with the power source. In this case, a subordinate obeys the manager because he or she wants to behave, perceive, or believe as the manager does. This obedience may occur, for example, because the subordinate likes the boss personally and therefore tries to do things the way the boss wants them done. In a sense, the subordinate attempts to avoid doing anything that would interfere with the boss–subordinate relationship.

A person’s referent power can be enhanced when the individual taps into the morals held by another or shows a clearer long-term path to a morally desirable end. Individuals with the ability to tap into these more esoteric aspects of corpo- rate life have “charisma” and “vision.” Followership is not based on what the subordinate will get for specifi c actions or specifi c levels of performance, but on what the individual represents—a role model and a path to a morally desired future. For example, an employee can increase his or her referent power by showing subordinates how they can develop better relations with each other and how they can serve the greater good.

Coalition power is the ability to control another’s behavior indirectly because the individual has an obligation to someone as part of a larger col- lective interest. Coalitions are often built around issues of common interest.15 To build a coalition, individuals negotiate trade-offs in order to arrive at a common position. Individuals may also trade across issues in granting support for one another. These trade-offs and trades represent informational obliga- tions of support. To maintain the coalition, individuals may be asked to sup- port a position on an issue and act in accordance with the desires of the supervisor. When they do, there is a reciprocal obligation to support them on their issues. For example, members of a department should support a budget increase.

These reciprocal obligations can extend to a network of individuals as well. A network of mutual support provides a powerful collective front to protect members and to accomplish shared interests. Think about all of the required courses you must take to graduate; the list was probably developed by a coalition of professors led by their department chairs. Faculty members who support a required course from another department expect help from the supported depart- ment in getting their course on the list.

• Expert power is the ability to control another’s behavior because of the possession of knowledge, experience, or judgment that the other person does not have but needs. • Rational persuasion is the ability to control another’s behavior because, through the individual’s efforts, the person accepts the desirability of an offered goal and a reasonable way of achieving it. • Referent power is the ability to control another’s behavior because of the individual’s desire to identify with the power source.

• Coalition power is the ability to control another’s behavior indirectly because the individual owes an obligation to you or another as part of a larger collective interest.

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272 12 Power and Politics

Finding the Leader in You NELSON MANDELA USES POWER FOR THE GREATER GOOD It is a great fi lm and lesson all in one. On the surface, it is a fi lm about a rugby team in South Africa just after the transition to black rule; on a deeper level, it is about Nelson Mandela and his use of power. Invictus (Latin for undefeated or unconquered) is a compelling story of how Nelson Mandela used his personal power and position as president to help transform a whole society using a rugby team.

The story is simple. After being imprisoned from 1964 to 1990

ized the blacks? The blacks won the election and they are the vast majority in the nation. Why not follow the popular sentiment?

Over the objections of his advisers, Mandela provides visible support for a team that is not expected to even be in the fi nals. He is at the games. He meets with the team and its leader. He supports the games as evidence of a new South Africa. The nation is not black or white, it is black and white. This is not the old South Africa, but a new nation, and the Springboks are a new symbol of a new vision of South Africa.

What’s the Lesson Here? As a leader are you able to use your power to bring people together? Do you have it in you to forgive and move on, even when it is diffi cult?

Nelson Mandela becomes president in 1994. The nation is split between whites and blacks and is on the verge of an outright racial war. While the South African blacks hate the national rugby team as a symbol of white power and dominance, the Springboks are beloved by the whites. Mandela reaches across the divide the support the Springboks in their attempt to win an international title when they host the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Of course, the Spring- boks win, as this is a Hollywood fi lm, but this is not the lesson.

Where does this once impris- oned leader fi nd it within himself to not only forgive his captors, but support them? It was always there, as captured in the quote from the poem Invictus by William Earnest Henley, “I am the master of my fate: I am captain of my soul.” Why not marginalize the white popula- tion in the same say they marginal-

Power and Infl uence Capacity A considerable portion of any manager’s time is directed toward what is called power-oriented behavior. Power-oriented behavior is action directed primarily at developing or using relationships in which other people are willing to defer to one’s wishes.16 Figure 12.2 shows three basic dimensions of power and infl uence affecting a manager: downward, upward, and lateral. Also shown in the fi gure are the uses of personal and position power. The effective manager is one who suc- ceeds in building and maintaining high levels of both position and personal power over time. Only then is suffi cient power of the right types available when the man- ager needs to exercise infl uence on downward, lateral, and upward dimensions.

Building Position Power Position power can be enhanced when a manager is able to demonstrate to others that their work unit is highly relevant to organi- zational goals, called centrality, and is able to respond to urgent organizational need, called criticality. Managers may seek to acquire a more central role in the workfl ow by having information fi ltered through them, making at least part of their job responsibilities unique, and expanding their network of communication contacts.

• Power-oriented behavior is action directed primarily at developing or

using relationships in which other people are willing to defer to one’s

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Sources of Power and Infl uence 273

A manager may also attempt to increase task relevance to add criticality. There are many ways to do this. The manager may try to become an internal coordinator within the fi rm or an external representative. When the fi rm is in a dynamic setting of changing technology, the executive may also move to provide unique services and information to other units. A manager may shift the emphasis on his or her group’s activities toward emerging issues central to the organiza- tion’s top priorities. To effectively initiate new ideas and new projects may not be possible unless a manager also delegates more routine activities and expands both the task variety and task novelty for subordinates. Of course, not all attempts to build infl uence may be positive. Some managers are known to have defi ned tasks, so they are diffi cult to evaluate by creating an ambiguous job description or developing a unique language for their work.

Building Personal Power Personal power arises from the individual charac- teristics of the manager. Three personal characteristics—expertise, political savvy, and likeability—have potential for enhancing personal power in an organization. The most obvious is building expertise. Additional expertise may be gained by advanced training and education, participation in professional associations, and involvement in the early stages of projects.

A somewhat less obvious way to increase personal power is to learn politi- cal savvy—better ways to negotiate, persuade individuals, and understand the goals and means they are most willing to accept. The novice believes that most individuals are very much the same: They acknowledge the same goals and will accept similar paths toward these goals. The more astute individual recognizes important individual differences among co-workers. The most experienced man- agers are adept at building coalitions and developing a network of reciprocal obligations.

Finally, a manager’s personal power is increased by characteristics that enhance his or her likeability and create personal appeal in relationships with other people. These include pleasant personality traits, agreeable behavior pat- terns, and attractive appearance.

• Political savvy is knowing how to negotiate, persuade, and deal with people regarding goals they will accept.

Peers and Outsiders

Achieve upward

based on personal

Achieve downward influence

based on position and

personal power

Achieve lateral influence

based on personal power

Higher-level Superiors

Subordinates Team Members

Figure 12.2 Three dimensions of managerial power and infl uence.

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274 12 Power and Politics

Building Infl uence Capacity One of the ways people build infl uence capacity is by taking steps to increase their visibility in the organization. This is done by (1) expanding the number of contacts they have with senior people, (2) making oral presenta- tions of written work, (3) participating in problem- solving task forces, (4) sending out notices of accomplishments, and (5) seeking additional oppor- tunities to increase personal name recognition.17

In the opening section we indicated that the basis for power was interdependence. You often can change the pattern of interdependence by developing and using coalitions. By developing coalitions and networks, executives also expand their access to information and opportunities for participation. Merely being a member of a coali- tion of individuals with relevant knowledge increases your expert power. With membership you have expanded sources of information and greater opportunities for participation. Remember, many important decisions are made outside formal channels and are substantially infl uenced by key individuals with the requisite knowledge.

Managers can also build infl uence capacity by controlling, or at least attempt- ing to control, decision premises. A decision premise is a basis for defi ning the problem and selecting among alternatives. By defi ning a problem in a manner that fi ts your expertise, it is natural for you to be in charge of solving the problem. Thus, by controlling a decision premise the executive can subtly shift his or her position power. To effectively make this shift, it is important for goals and needs to be clear and for bargaining to be done effectively in order to show that the preferred goals and needs are best.

The astute manager does not threaten or attempt to invoke sanctions to build power. Instead, he or she combines personal power with the position of the unit to enhance total power. As the organizational context changes, different personal sources of power may become more important both alone and in combination with the individual’s position power. There is an art to building power, and a key part of this art is to make effective use of a variety of infl uence techniques.

Relational Infl uence Techniques A wide variety of techniques can be used to infl uence other individuals. Almost all individuals will have an opportunity to use these seven techniques:18

Reason: Using facts and data to support a logical argument.

Friendliness: Using fl attery, goodwill, and favorable impressions.

Coalition: Using relationships with other people for support.

Bargaining: Using the exchange of benefi ts as a basis for negotiation.

Assertiveness: Using a direct and forceful personal approach.

Higher authority: Gaining higher-level support for one’s requests.

Sanctions: Using organizationally derived rewards and punishments.

How the Right Skills Can Build Organizational Political Savvy

To develop political savvy, Gerald Ferris, Sherry Davidson, and Pamela Perrewé suggest cultivating your political skills. How? For starters, focus on developing four key skills:

1. Become more aware of others’ concerns and improve your understanding of why they act the way they do.

2. Work on communication skills and develop friendly relationships.

3. Sharpen your ability to network by fi nding others inside and outside the fi rm who have shared interests.

4. Perfect your approach to become viewed as a person who genuinely cares for others.

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Empowerment 275

Research on these strategies suggests that reason is the most popular tech- nique overall.19 Friendliness, assertiveness, bargaining, and higher authority are used more frequently to infl uence subordinates than to infl uence supervisors. This pattern of attempted infl uence is consistent with our earlier contention that downward infl uence generally includes mobilization of both position and per- sonal power sources, whereas upward infl uence is more likely to draw on per- sonal power.

Truly effective managers, as suggested earlier in Figure 12.2, are able to infl u- ence their bosses as well as their subordinates. One study reports that both super- visors and subordinates view reason, or the logical presentation of ideas, as the most frequently used strategy of upward infl uence.20 When queried on reasons for success and failure, however, the two groups show similarities and differences in their viewpoints. The perceived causes of success in upward infl uence are very similar for both supervisors and subordinates and involve the favorable content of the infl uence attempt, a favorable manner of its presentation, and the compe- tence of the subordinate.21

The two groups do disagree, however, on the causes of failure. Subordinates attribute failure in upward infl uence to the closed-mindedness of the supervisor, to an unfavorable and diffi cult relationship with the supervisor, as well as to the content of the infl uence attempt. Supervisors also attribute failure to the unfavor- able content of the attempt, but report additional causes of failure as the unfavor- able manner in which it was presented and the subordinate’s lack of competence.

The concept of empowerment is part of the sweeping change taking place in today’s corporations. Corporate staff is being cut back; layers of management are being eliminated; and the number of employees is being reduced as the volume of work increases. What is left is a leaner and trimmer organization staffed by fewer managers who must share more power as they go about their daily tasks. Indeed, empowerment is a key foundation of the increasingly popular self- managing work teams and other creative worker involvement groups.

Empowerment is the process by which managers help others to acquire and use the power needed to make decisions affecting themselves and their work. More than ever before, managers in progressive organizations are expected to be good at and comfortable with empowering the people with whom they work. Rather than considering power to be something to be held only at higher levels in the tradi- tional “pyramid” of organizations, this view considers power to be something that can be shared by everyone working in fl atter and more collegial structures.22

While empowerment has been popular and successfully implemented in the United States and Europe for over a decade, new evidence suggests it can boost performance and commitment in fi rms worldwide as well.23

Keys to Empowerment One of the bases for empowerment is a radically different view of power itself. So far, our discussion has focused on power that is exerted over other individuals.

• Empowerment is the process by which managers help others to acquire and use the power needed to make decisions affecting themselves and their work.

LEARNING ROADMAP Keys to Empowerment / Power as an Expanding Pie / From Empowerment to Valuing People

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In this traditional view, power is relational in terms of individuals. In contrast, the concept of empowerment emphasizes the ability to make things happen. Power is still relational, but in terms of problems and opportunities, not just individuals. Cutting through all of the corporate rhetoric on empowerment is quite diffi cult because the term has become quite fashionable in management circles. Each individual empowerment attempt needs to be examined in light of how both position power and personal power in the organization will be changed.

Changing Position Power When an organization attempts to move power down the hierarchy, it must also alter the existing pattern of position power. Chang- ing this pattern raises some important questions. Can “empowered” individuals give rewards and sanctions based on task accomplishment? Has their new right to act been legitimized with formal authority? All too often, attempts at empowerment disrupt well-established patterns of position power and threaten middle- and lower- level managers. As one supervisor said, “All this empowerment stuff sounds great for top management. They don’t have to run around trying to get the necessary clearances to implement the suggestions from my group. They never gave me the authority to make the changes, only the new job of asking for permission.”

When embarking on an empowerment program, management needs to rec- ognize the current zone of indifference and systematically move to expand it. All too often, management assumes that its directive for empowerment will be fol- lowed because management sees empowerment as a better way to manage. Man- agement needs to show precisely how empowerment will benefi t the individuals involved and provide the inducement needed to expand the zone of indifference.

Enhancing Personal Power There is also a very personal aspect to empower- ment that goes far beyond the reallocation of position power to involve personal power. To be empowered individuals need to believe that their jobs are (1) mean- ingful to them and consistent with their values, (2) call for them to use their competence, (3) allow for discretion, and (4) have an impact. If one of these is missing, an individual may not feel empowered.24 For instance, even in jobs the individual believes are important and consistent with their values, they need to believe they have some choice in how it is performed. Regardless of the impor- tance, choice, or impact of a job, individuals must also believe they are competent or they will not feel empowered.

Power as an Expanding Pie Although many fi rms want all employees to be empowered, it is extremely diffi - cult to accomplish, for it often changes the dynamics among supervisors and between supervisors and subordinates. The change calls for all to understand an expanded notion of power. From a view that stresses power over others, effective empowerment emphasizes the use of power to get things done. Under the new defi nition of power, all employees can be more powerful and the chances of suc- cess can be enhanced. As stressed in this chapter, alterations in both position and personal power are required.

A clearer defi nition of roles and responsibilities may help managers to empower others. For instance, senior managers may choose to concentrate on long-term, large-scale adjustments to a variety of challenging and strategic forces in the external environment. If top management tends to concentrate on the long

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term and downplay quarterly mileposts, others throughout the organization must be ready and willing to make the key decisions that ensure cur- rent profi tability. Further, when asked to make these decisions, lower management must believe they are not only competent to do so but can also make choices consistent with their values. By pro- viding opportunities for creative problem solving coupled with the discretion to act, real empower- ment increases the total potential power for action available in an organization.

The same basic arguments hold true in any manager–subordinate higher authority, and sanc- tions need to be replaced by appeals to reason. Friendliness must replace coercion, and bargaining must replace orders for compliance. Given the all too familiar history of an emphasis on coercion and compliance within fi rms, special support may be needed for managers so that they become com- fortable in developing their own power over events and activities. For instance, one recent study found that management’s efforts at increasing empower- ment in order to boost performance were successful only when directly sup- ported by individual supervision. Without leader support there is no increase in empowerment, and so there is less improvement in performance.25

With more and more fi rms adopting empowerment, the chances that you will be asked to make important decisions early in your career are much greater. Though exciting and challenging, some of the choices will present you with ethical dilemmas. You can avoid rationalizing unethical behavior by following the tips listed in the sidebar.

From Empowerment to Valuing People Beyond empowering employees, a number of organizational behavior scholars argue that U.S. fi rms need to change how they view employees in order to sustain a competitive advantage in an increasingly global economy.26 Although no one fi rm may have all of the necessary characteristics, Jeffrey Pfeffer suggests that the goals of the fi rm should include placing employees at the center of their strategy. To do so they need to:

• Develop employment security for a selectively recruited workforce.

• Pay high wages with incentive pay and provide potential for employee ownership.

• Encourage information sharing and participation with an emphasis on self-managed teams.

• Emphasize training and skill development by utilizing talent and cross- training.

• Pursue egalitarianism (at least symbolically) with little pay compression across units and enable extensive internal promotion.

How to Avoid Common Rationalizations for Unethical Behavior

Choosing to be ethical involves personal sacri- fi ce. When confronting potentially unethical actions, make sure you are not justifying your actions by suggesting that:

1. the behavior is not really illegal and so it could be morally acceptable;

2. the action appears to be in the fi rm’s best interests even though it hurts others;

3. the action is unlikely ever to be detected; and

4. it appears that the action demonstrates loyalty to the boss, the fi rm, or short-term stockholder interests.

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Of course, this also calls for taking a long-term view coupled with a system- atic emphasis on measuring what works and what does not, as well as a support- ing managerial philosophy. This is a long list. However, it appears consistent with the sentiments of John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, and his emphasis on people and interconnections.

Hard Times Mean Getting Back

to the Basics John Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco Systems, says he is “getting back to the basics in terms of focusing on the areas that a company can infl uence and control: cash generation, available market share gains, productivity increases, profi tability and technology innovation.” Chambers suggests emphasizing interactions that will favor those people who can add value and content to networks.

Any study of power and infl uence inevitably leads to the subject of politics. For many, the word “politics” may conjure up thoughts of illicit deals, favors, and advantageous personal relationships. Organizational politics also seems to involve using the ends to justify the means. In this light organizational politics dates back to Machiavelli’s classic fi fteenth-century work, The Prince, which outlines how to obtain and hold power through political action. For Machiavelli, the ends did justify the means. It is important, however, to understand the importance of orga- nizational politics and adopt a perspective that allows workplace politics to func- tion in a much broader capacity.27

Traditions of Organizational Politics There are two different traditions in the analysis of organizational politics. One tradition builds on Machiavelli’s philosophy and defi nes politics in terms of self- interest and the use of nonsanctioned means. In this tradition, organizational politics may be formally defi ned as the management of infl uence to obtain ends not sanctioned by the organization or to obtain sanctioned ends by way of non- sanctioned infl uence.28 Managers are often considered political when they seek their own goals and use means that are not currently authorized by the organiza- tion or those that push legal limits. Where there is uncertainty or ambiguity, it is often extremely diffi cult to tell whether or not a manager is being political in this self-serving sense.29 For example, to earn a bonus, some mortgage brokers often neglected to verify the income of mortgage applicants. It was not illegal, but it certainly was self-serving and could be labeled political.

The second tradition treats politics as a necessary function resulting from dif- ferences in the self-interests of individuals. Here, organizational politics is viewed

• Organizational politics is the

management of infl uence to obtain ends not sanctioned by the

organization or to obtain sanctioned ends through

nonsanctioned means and the art of creative

compromise among competing interests.

LEARNING ROADMAP Traditions of Organizational Politics / Politics of Self-Protection / Politics and Governance

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as the art of creative compromise among competing interests. According to this view, the fi rm is more than just an instrument for accomplishing a task or a mere collection of individuals with a common goal. It acknowledges that the interests of individuals, stakeholders, and society must also be considered and that these interests are not always consistent with one another.

Individuals will often disagree as to whose self-interests are most valuable, whose interests should be bounded by collective interests, and how individual interests should be bounded. Politics arise because individuals need to develop compromises, avoid confrontation, and live and work together. This is especially true in organizations, where individuals join, work, and stay together because their self-interests are served. It is important to remember that both the goals of the organization and the acceptable means of achieving them are established by powerful individuals in the organization through their negotiation with others. Therefore, organizational politics is also the use of power to develop socially acceptable ends and means that balance individual and collective interests.

Political Interpretation The two different traditions of organizational politics are refl ected in the ways executives describe the effects of organizational politics


One aspect of organizational politics involves using legitimate means to gain nonlegitimate out- comes or using nonlegitimate means to gain any kind of outcome. Political behavior is inherently self- interested, but that does not make it bad or good. Organizations must exhibit a degree of self-interest (e.g., acting to make a profi t, trying to perform better than competitors) in order to succeed.

In Spanglish, John Clasky (Adam Sandler) is an exceptional chef with an exclusive restaurant in California. His assistants, Pietro (Phil Rosenthal) and Gwen (Angela Goethals), are always trying to impress him. Gwen is political, agreeing with and praising the boss and always willing to do favors. Pietro is equally political, just in a more cunning fashion. He controls the actions of others and uses his own cooking skills to make himself invaluable to the boss.

What we see in both cases are employees who want to be viewed favorably by the boss. There is nothing wrong with that. Everyone has a right to “toot their own horn.” However, if the actions keep one from completing legitimate job responsibilities or are designed to mask performance defi ciencies, they represent bad political behaviors. Furthermore, legitimate actions that deny others the right to legitimately infl uence outcomes are also inappropriate political behaviors.

Get to Know Yourself Better Take a look at Assessment 14, Machiavellianism, in the OB Skills Workbook. Machiavellian tendencies are often associated with politi- cal behavior. Take this quick test and see how you score. What does it suggest about your own preferences? Do you have a desire to control and manipulate others? Could this lead to actions that might be viewed unfavorably by co-workers? How can you make sure that you use your power appropriately and effectively?

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on managers and their organizations. In one survey, some 53 percent of those interviewed indicated that organizational politics enhanced the achievement of organizational goals and survival. Yet some 44 percent also suggested that politics distracted individuals from organizational goals.30

Organizational politics is not inherently good or bad. It can serve a number of important functions, including overcoming personnel inadequacies, coping with change, and substituting for formal authority. Even in the best-managed fi rms, mismatches arise among managers who are learning, are burned out, lack neces- sary training and skills, are overqualifi ed, or are lacking the resources needed to accomplish their assigned duties. Organizational politics provides a mechanism for circumventing these inadequacies and getting the job done. It can also facilitate adaptation to changes in the environment and technology of an organization.

Organizational politics can also help identify problems and move ambitious, problem-solving managers into action. It is quicker than restructuring, and it allows the fi rm to meet unanticipated problems with people and resources quickly, before small headaches become major problems. Finally, when a per- son’s formal authority breaks down or fails to apply to a particular situation, political actions can be used to prevent a loss of infl uence. Managers may use political behavior to maintain operations and to achieve task continuity in circum- stances where the failure of formal authority may otherwise cause problems.

Political Forecasting Managers may gain a better understanding of political behavior in order to forecast future actions by placing themselves in the positions of other persons involved in critical decisions or events. Each action and decision can be seen as having benefi ts for and costs to all parties concerned. Where the costs exceed the benefi ts, the manager may act to protect his or her position. Figure 12.3 shows a sample payoff table for two managers, Lee and Leslie, in a problem situation involving a decision as to whether or not they should allocate resources to a special project.

Resources Allocated Resources Withheld

Leslie gains

Leslie loses

Company loses client

Company keeps client

Figure 12.3 Political pay- off matrix for the allocation of resources on a sample project.

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If both managers authorize the resources, the project gets completed on time and their company keeps a valuable client. Unfortunately, if they do this, both Lee and Leslie spend more than they have in their budgets. Taken on its own, a bud- get overrun would be bad for the managers’ performance records. Assume that the overruns are acceptable only if the client is kept. Thus, if both managers act, both they and the company win, as depicted in the upper-left block of the fi gure. Obviously, this is the most desirable outcome for all parties concerned.

Assume that Leslie acts, but Lee does not. In this case, the company loses the client, Leslie overspends the budget in a futile effort, but Lee ends up within bud- get. While the company and Leslie lose, Lee wins. This scenario is illustrated in the lower-left block of the fi gure. The upper-right block shows the reverse situa- tion, where Lee acts but Leslie does not. In this case, Leslie wins, while the com- pany and Lee lose. Finally, if both Lee and Leslie fail to act, each stays within budget and therefore gains, but the company loses the client.

The company clearly wants both Lee and Leslie to act. But will they? Would you take the risk of overspending the budget, knowing that your colleague may refuse to do the same? The question of trust is critical here, but building trust among co-managers and other workers can be diffi cult and takes time. The involve- ment of higher-level managers may be needed to set the stage. Yet in many orga- nizations both Lee and Leslie would fail to act because the “climate” or “culture” too often encourages people to maximize their self-interest at minimal risk.

Subunit Power To be effective in political action, managers should also under- stand the politics of subunit relations.31 Units that directly contribute to organiza- tional goals are typically more powerful than units that provide advice or assistance. Units toward the top of the hierarchy are often more powerful than those toward the bottom. More subtle power relationships are found among units at or near the same level in a fi rm. Political action links managers more formally to one another as representatives of their work units.

Five of the more typical lateral, intergroup relations a manager may engage with are workfl ow, service, advisory, auditing, and approval.32 Workfl ow linkages involve contacts with units that precede or follow in a sequential production chain. Service ties involve contacts with units established to help with problems. For instance, an assembly-line manager may develop a service link by asking the maintenance man- ager to fi x an important piece of equipment on a priority basis. In contrast, advisory connections involve formal staff units having special expertise, such as a manager seeking the advice of the personnel department on evaluating subordinates.

Auditing linkages involve units that have the right to evaluate the actions of others after action has been taken, whereas approval linkages involve units whose approval must be obtained before action may be taken. In general, units gain power as more of their relations with others are of the approval and auditing types. Workfl ow relations are more powerful than are advisory associations, and both are more powerful than service relations.

Politics of Self-Protection Although organizational politics may be helpful to the organization as a whole, it is more commonly known and better understood in terms of self-protection.33 Whether or not management likes it, all employees recognize that in any organization they must fi rst watch out for themselves. In too many organizations, if the employee

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doesn’t protect himself or herself, no one else will. Individuals can employ three common strategies to protect themselves. They can (1) avoid action and risk taking, (2) redirect accountability and responsibility, or (3) defend their turf.

Avoidance Avoidance is quite common in controversial areas where the employee must risk being wrong or where actions may yield a sanction. Perhaps the most common reaction is to “work to the rules.” That is, employees are pro- tected when they adhere strictly to all the rules, policies, and procedures and do not allow deviations or exceptions.

Although working to the rules and playing dumb are common techniques, experienced employees often practice somewhat more subtle techniques of self- protection. These include depersonalization and stalling. Depersonalization involves treating individuals, such as customers, clients, or subordinates, as num- bers, things, or objects. Senior managers don’t fi re long-term employees; the organization is merely “downsized” or “delayered.” Routine stalling involves slow- ing down the pace of work to expand the task so that the individuals look as if they are working hard. With creative stalling, the employees may spend the time supporting the organization’s ideology, position, or program and delaying imple- mentation of changes they consider undesirable.

Redirecting Responsibility Politically sensitive individuals will always pro- tect themselves from accepting blame for the negative consequences of their actions. Again, a variety of well-worn techniques may be used for redirecting responsibility. “Passing the buck” is a common method employees and managers use. The trick here is to defi ne the task in such a way that it becomes someone else’s formal responsibility. The ingenious ways in which individuals can redefi ne an issue to avoid action and transfer responsibility are often amazing.

A convenient method some managers use to avoid responsibility is merely to rewrite history. If a program is successful, the manager claims to have been an early supporter. If a program fails, the manager was the one who expressed seri- ous reservations in the fi rst place. Whereas it is often nice to have a memo in the fi les in order to show one’s early support or objections, some executives don’t bother with such niceties. They merely start a meeting by recapping what has happened in such a way that makes them look good.

For the truly devious, there are three other techniques for redirecting respon- sibility. One technique is to blame the problem on someone or some group that has diffi culty defending itself. Fired employees, outsiders, and opponents are often targets of such scapegoating. Closely related to scapegoating is blaming the problem on uncontrollable events.34 The astute manager goes far beyond this natural tendency to place the blame on events that are out of his or her control. A perennial favorite is, “Given the unexpected severe decline in the overall econ- omy, fi rm profi tability was only somewhat below reasonable expectations.” Mean- ing, the fi rm lost a bundle of money.

Should these techniques fail, there is always another possibility: Facing appar- ent defeat, the manager can escalate commitment to a losing cause of action. That is, when all appears lost, assert your confi dence in the original action, blame the problems on not spending enough money to implement the plan fully, and embark on actions that call for increased effort. The hope is that you will be promoted, have a new job with another fi rm, or be retired by the time the nega- tive consequences are recognized. It is called “skating fast over thin ice.”35

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Defending Turf Defending turf is a time-honored tradition in most large orga- nizations. As noted earlier in the chapter, managers seeking to improve their power attempt to expand the jobs their groups perform. Defending turf also results from the coalitional nature of organizations. That is, the organization may be seen as a collection of competing interests held by various departments and groups. As each group attempts to expand its infl uence, it starts to encroach on the activities of other groups. Turf protection is common in organizations and runs from the very lowest position to the executive suite. Note the example of the Pentagon in its attempts to end the turf wars over control of cyberspace.

Politics and Governance From the time of the robber barons such as Jay Gould in the 1890s, Americans have been fascinated with the politics of the chief executive suite. Recent accounts of alleged and proven criminal actions emanating from the executive suites of Washington Mutual, Bear Stearns, WorldCom, Enron, Global Crossings, and Tyco have caused the media spotlight to penetrate the mysterious veil shrouding poli- tics at the top of organizations.36 An analytical view of executive suite dynamics may lift some of the mystery.

Agency Theory An essential power problem in today’s modern corporation arises from the separation of owners and managers. A body of work called agency theory suggests that public corporations can function effectively, even though their managers are self-interested and do not automatically bear the full consequences of their managerial actions. The theory argues that (1) all of soci- ety’s interests are served by protecting stockholder interests, (2) stockholders have a clear interest in greater returns, and (3) managers are self-interested and unwilling to sacrifi ce these self-interests for others (particularly stockholders) and thus must be controlled. The term agency theory stems from the notion that managers are “agents” of the owners.37 Because agency theory is very popular in economic and fi nancial analyses of corporations, we will spend a minute discussing it.

So what types of controls should be instituted? There are several. One type of control involves making sure that what is good for stockholders is good for

• agency theory suggests that public corporations can function effectively even though their managers are self-interested and do not always automatically bear the full consequences of their managerial actions.

Turf Wars at the Pentagon The Pentagon activated Cyber Command to coordinate cyber units from all the military services. Its success depends on ending turf wars. One general is reported as saying that winning cyber battles will require “harmony of effort.” But he adds “That’s just not part of our DNA. . . . We are programmed to protect ‘what’s in it for me.’ . . . It’s time to start thinking about the ‘what’s in it for us’ perspective.”

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management. Incentives in the pay plan for executives may be adjusted to align with the interests of management and stockholders. For example, executives may get most of their pay based on the stock price of the fi rm via stock options. A second type of control involves the establishment of a strong, independent board of directors, since the board is to represent the stockholders. While this may sound unusual, it is not uncommon for a CEO to pick a majority of the board members and to place many top managers on the board. For example, before General Motors went into bankruptcy the board of directors was passive. The compensation of the CEO increased even when the market share of the fi rm declined. Many board members were appointed at the suggestion of the old CEO, and only a few board members held large amounts of GM stock.

A third way is for stockholders with a large stake in the fi rm to take an active role on the board. For instance, mutual fund managers have been encouraged to become more active in monitoring management. And there is, of course, the so- called market for corporate control. For instance, poorly performing executives can be replaced by outsiders.38

The problem with the simple application of all of these control mechanisms is that they do not appear to work very well even for the stockholders and clearly, some suggest, not for others either. Recent studies strongly suggest that agency- based controls backfi re when applied to CEOs. One study found that when options were used extensively to reward CEOs for short-term increases in the stock price, it prompted executives to make risky bets. The results were extreme with big winners and big losers. In a related investigation, the extensive use of stock options was associated with manipulation of earnings when these options were not going to give the CEOs a big bonus. These researchers concluded that “stock-based managerial incentives lead to incentive misalignment.”39

The recent storm of controversy over CEO pay and the studies cited above illustrate questions for using a simple application of agency theory to control exec- utives. Until the turn of the century, U.S. CEOs made about 25 to 30 times the pay of the average worker. This was similar to CEO pay scales in Europe and Japan. Today, however, many U.S. CEOs are paid 300 times the average salary of workers.40

Why are they paid so much? It is executive compensation specialists who suggest these levels to the board of directors. The compensation specialists list the salaries of the top-paid, most successful executives as the basis for suggesting a plan for a client CEO. The board or the compensation committee of the board, selected by the current CEO and consisting mainly of other CEOs, then must decide if the fi rm’s CEO is one of the best. If not one of the best, then why should they continue the tenure of the CEO? Of course, if the candidate CEO gets a big package, it also means that the base for subsequent comparison is increased. And round it goes.

It is little wonder that there is renewed interest in how U.S. fi rms are gov- erned. Rather than proposing some quick fi x based on a limited theory of the fi rm, it is important to come to a better understanding of different views on the politics of the executive suite. By taking a broader view, you can better under- stand politics in the modern corporation.

Resource Dependencies Executive behavior can sometimes be explained in terms of resource dependencies—the fi rm’s need for resources that are controlled by others.41 Essentially, the resource dependence of an organization increases as (1) needed resources become more scarce, (2) outsiders have more control over needed resources, and (3) there are fewer substitutes for a particular type of

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resource controlled by a limited number of outsiders. Thus, one political role of the chief executive is to develop workable compromises among the competing resource dependencies facing the organization—compromises that enhance the executive’s power.

To create executive-enhancing compromises, managers need to diagnose the relative power of outsiders and to craft strategies that respond differently to vari- ous external resource suppliers. For larger organizations, many strategies may center on altering the fi rm’s degree of resource dependence. Through mergers and acquisitions, a fi rm may bring key resources within its control. By changing the “rules of the game,” a fi rm may also fi nd protection from particularly powerful outsiders. For instance, before being absorbed by another fi rm, Netscape sought relief from the onslaught of Microsoft by appealing to the U.S. government. Mar- kets may also be protected by trade barriers, or labor unions may be put in check by “right to work” laws. Yet there are limits on the ability of even our largest and most powerful organizations to control all important external contingencies.

International competition has narrowed the range of options for chief execu- tives, and they can no longer ignore the rest of the world. For instance, once U.S. fi rms could go it alone without the assistance of foreign corporations. Now, chief executives are increasingly leading companies in the direction of more joint ven- tures and strategic alliances with foreign partners from around the globe. Such “combinations” provide access to scarce resources and technologies among part- ners, as well as new markets and shared production costs.42

While the number of women on corporate boards of directors is increasing, there is still a lack of representation. Less than 16 percent of board members in major U.S. corporations are female. Amy Hillman, Christine Shropshire, and Albert Cannalla used a resource-dependence perspective to identify potentially important factors leading to greater participation by women on the boards of the top 1,000 U.S. fi rms with headquarters in the United States from 1990 to 2003. What did they fi nd?

• Larger fi rms were more likely to have female board members than smaller corporations.

• Firms with more female employees were more likely to have a female board member.

• Firms with less diversifi cation and more closely related products and services were more likely to have a female board member.

• Firms doing a lot of business with organizations that also had a female board member were more likely to have female board members.

Female Members on Corporate Boards of Directors

Do the Research What do you think the proportion of females on a board of directors is in your area? Find a list of the largest private employers in your state. Check each Web site and count the number of female directors. What do you think the proportion should be? If the board were all female, would this be a problem? If it were all male, would this be a problem?

Source: Amy J. Hillman, Christine Shropshire, and Albert Cannalla, “Organizational Predictors of Women on Corporate Boards,” Academy of Management Journal 5 (2007), pp. 941–968; http://www.catalyst.org/fi le/241/08_Census_COTE_JAN.pdf.

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12 study guide Key Questions and Answers What are power and infl uence?

• Power is the ability to get someone else to do what you want him or her to do.

• Power vested in managerial positions derives from three sources: rewards, punish- ments, and legitimacy or formal authority.

• Infl uence is what you have when you exercise power.

• Position power is formal authority based on the manager’s position in the hierarchy.

• Personal power is based on one’s expertise and referent capabilities.

• Managers can pursue various ways of acquiring both position and personal power.

• Managers can also become skilled at using various techniques—such as reason, friendliness, and bargaining—to infl uence superiors, peers, and subordinates.

Organizational Governance With some knowledge of agency theory and resource dependencies, it is much easier to understand the notion of organizational governance. Organizational governance refers to the pattern of authority, infl uence, and acceptable managerial behavior established at the top of the organization. This system establishes what is important, how issues will be defi ned, who should and should not be involved in key choices, and the boundaries for acceptable implementa- tion. Students of organizational governance suggest that a “dominant coalition” com- prised of powerful organizational actors is a key to understanding a fi rm’s governance.43

Although one expects many top offi cers within the organization to be members of this coalition, the dominant coalition occasionally includes outsiders with access to key resources. Thus, analysis of organizational governance builds on the resource dependence perspective by highlighting the effective control of key resources by members of a dominant coalition. It also recognizes the relative power of key con- stituencies, such as the power of stockholders stressed in agency theory.

This dependence view of the executive suite recognizes that the daily practice of organizational governance is the development and resolution of issues. Through the governance system, the dominant coalition attempts to defi ne reality. By accepting or rejecting proposals from subordinates, by directing questions toward the interests of powerful outsiders, and by selecting individuals who appear to espouse particular values and qualities, the pattern of governance is slowly established within the orga- nization. Furthermore, this pattern rests, at least in part, on political foundations.

Organizational governance was an internal and a rather private matter in the past; today it is becoming more public and controversial. Some, as we noted in the discussion of agency theory, argue that senior managers don’t represent shareholder interests well enough. Others are concerned that managers give too little attention to broader constituencies. We think managers should recognize the basis for their power and legitimacy and become leaders. The next two chapters are devoted to the crucial topic of leadership.

• Organizational governance is the pattern of authority, infl uence, and

acceptable managerial behavior established at the

top of the organization.

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Terms to Know 287

What are the key sources of power and infl uence?

• Individuals are socialized to accept power, the potential to control the behavior of others, and formal authority, the potential to exert such control through the legitimacy of a managerial position.

• The Milgram experiments illustrate that people have a tendency to obey directives that come from others who appear powerful and authoritative.

• Power and authority work only if the individual “accepts” them as legitimate.

• The zone of indifference defi nes the boundaries within which people in organizations let others infl uence their behavior.

What is empowerment?

• Empowerment is the process through which managers help others acquire and use the power needed to make decisions that affect themselves and their work.

• Clear delegation of authority, integrated planning, and the involvement of senior management are all important to implementing empowerment.

• Empowerment emphasizes power as the ability to get things done rather than the ability to get others to do what you want.

What is organizational politics?

• Politics involves the use of power to obtain ends not offi cially sanctioned as well as the use of power to fi nd ways of balancing individual and collective interests in otherwise diffi cult circumstances.

• For the manager, politics often occurs in decision situations where the interests of another manager or individual must be reconciled with one’s own.

• For managers, politics also involves subunits that jockey for power and advantageous positions vis-à-vis one another.

• The politics of self-protection involves efforts to avoid accountability, redirect responsibility, and defend one’s turf.

• While some suggest that executives are agents of the owners, politics also comes into play as resource dependencies with external environmental elements that must be strategically managed.

• Organizational governance is the pattern of authority, infl uence, and acceptable managerial behavior established at the top of the organization.

• CEOs and managers can develop an ethical organizational governance system that is free from rationalizations.

Terms to Know Agency theory (p. 283) Coalition power (p. 271) Coercive power (p. 269) Empowerment (p. 275)

Expert power (p. 271) Infl uence (p. 264) Information power (p. 270) Legitimate power (p. 268)

Organizational governance (p. 286) Organizational politics (p. 278) Political savvy (p. 273) Power (p. 264)

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288 12 Power and Politics

Power-oriented behavior (p. 272) Process power (p. 269) Psychological contract (p. 267)

Rational persuasion (p. 271) Referent power (p. 271) Representative power (p. 270)

Reward power (p. 268) Zone of indifference (p. 267)

Self-Test 12 Multiple Choice 1. Three bases of position power are ____________. (a) reward, expertise, and coercive

power (b) legitimate, experience, and judgment power (c) knowledge, experience, and judgment power (d) reward, coercive, and information power

2. ____________ is the ability to control another’s behavior because, through the individual’s efforts, the person accepts the desirability of an offered goal and a reasonable way of achieving it. (a) Rational persuasion (b) Legitimate power (c) Coercive power (d) Charismatic power

3. A worker who behaves in a certain manner to ensure an effective boss–subordinate relationship shows ____________ power. (a) expert (b) reward (c) approval (d) referent

4. One guideline for implementing a successful empowerment strategy is that ____________. (a) delegation of authority should be left ambiguous and open to individual interpretation (b) planning should be separated according to the level of empowerment (c) it can be assumed that any empowering directives from manage- ment will be automatically followed (d) the authority delegated to lower levels should be clear and precise

5. The major lesson of the Milgram experiments is that ____________. (a) Americans are very independent and unwilling to obey (b) individuals are willing to obey as long as it does not hurt another person (c) individuals will obey an authority fi gure even if it does appear to hurt someone else (d) individuals will always obey an authority fi gure

6. The range of authoritative requests to which a subordinate is willing to respond without subjecting the directives to critical evaluation or judgment is called the ____________. (a) psychological contract (b) zone of indifference (c) Milgram experiments (d) functional level of organizational politics

7. The three basic power relationships are ____________. (a) upward, downward, and lateral (b) upward, downward, and oblique (c) downward, lateral, and oblique (d) downward, lateral, and external

8. In which dimension of power and infl uence would a manager fi nd the use of both position power and personal power most advantageous? (a) upward (b) lateral (c) downward (d) workfl ow

9. Reason, coalition, bargaining, and assertiveness are strategies for ____________. (a) enhancing personal power (b) enhancing position power (c) exercising referent power (d) exercising infl uence

10. Negotiating the interpretation of a union contract is an example of ____________. (a) organizational politics (b) lateral relations (c) an approval relationship (d) an auditing linkage

11. ____________ is the ability to control another’s behavior because of the possession of knowledge, experience, or judgment that the other person does not have but needs. (a) Coercive power (b) Expert power (c) Information power (d) Representative power

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Next Steps 289

12. ___________ is the range of authoritative requests to which a subordinate is willing to respond without subjecting the directives to critical evaluation or judgment. (a) A zone of indifference (b) Legitimate authority (c) Power (d) Politics

13. The process by which managers help others to acquire and use the power needed to make decisions affecting themselves and their work is called ______________. (a) politics (b) managerial philosophy (c) authority (d) empowerment

14. The pattern of authority, infl uence, and acceptable managerial behavior established at the top of the organization is called ______________. (a) organizational governance (b) agency linkage (c) power (d) politics

15. __________ suggests that public corporations can function effectively even though their managers are self-interested and do not automatically bear the full consequences of their managerial actions. (a) Power theory (b) Managerial philosophy (c) Virtual theory (d) Agency theory

Short Response 16. Explain how the various bases of position and personal power do or do not apply

to the classroom relationship between instructor and student. What sources of power do students have over their instructors?

17. Identify and explain at least three guidelines for the acquisition of (a) position power and (b) personal power by managers.

18. Identify and explain at least four strategies of managerial infl uence. Give examples of how each strategy may or may not work when exercising infl uence (a) downward and (b) upward in organizations.

19. Defi ne organizational politics and give an example of how it operates in both functional and dysfunctional ways.

Applications Essay 20. Some argue that mergers and acquisitions rarely produce positive fi nancial gains for

the shareholders. What explanations could you offer to explain why mergers and acquisitions continue?

• Faculty Empowerment • Interview a Leader • My Best Manager:

Revisited • Power Circles

• Managerial Assumptions • Empowering Others • Machiavellianism • Personal Power Profi le

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Zappos Insights: Revealing Corporate Secrets

Tony Hsieh doesn’t see the need to protect the secrets to Zappos’s wild success. In fact, the CEO is happy to share them with anyone who comes by the offi ce.

Hsieh has built a $635 million Internet superstore by doing two things very well: exceeding customers’ expecta- tions and driving positive word-of-mouth recommendations. Hsieh believes so strongly in the organizational culture that he’s on a mission to share it with anyone who will listen.

It all comes together in a program called Zappos Insights. The core experience is a tour of Zappos’s headquarters. “Company Evangelists” lead groups of 20 around the cubicles, overfl owing with kitschy action fi gures and brightly colored balloons. Staffers

blow horns and ring cowbells to greet participants in the 16 weekly tours, and each department tries to offer a more outlandish welcome than the last.a

The tours are free, but many visitors actually come for paid one- and two-day seminars that immerse participants in the Zappos culture. The capstone of the two-day boot

camp is dinner at Tony Hsieh’s house, with ample time to talk customer service with the CEO himself. Seminars range from $497 to $3,997. “There are management consulting fi rms that charge really high rates,” says Hsieh. “We wanted to come up with something that’s accessible to almost any business.”b

Those who want to learn Zappos’s secrets without venturing to Las Vegas have a few options. You can subscribe to a members-only community that grants access to video interviews and chats with Zappos management or get a free copy of Zappos Family Culture Book about Zappos’s mission and core values.

They may be giving away hard-earned knowledge, but Zappos defi nitely isn’t losing money—profi ts from the seminars pay for the program, and Hsieh hopes it will some day represent 10 percent of Zappos’s operating profi t. “There’s a huge open market,” says Robert Richman, co-leader of Zappos Insights. “We were afraid that we’ve been talking about this for free for so long. ‘Are people going to be upset we are charging for it?’ Instead, the reaction is opposite.”c

FYI: Customers from over 30 countries have attended Zappos Insights seminars.e

• In addition to free tours of their Las Vegas headquarters, Zappos now offers one- and two-day seminars. Attendees immerse themselves in Zappos’s culture, which CEO Tony Hsieh believes is inseparable from the company’s success.

• Attendees have unprecedented one-on-one access to Zappos executives and managers, all of whom are happy to espouse the customer- and employee-centric policies that increase profi ts and retain employees year after year.

• While the project is in its infancy, Hsieh hopes to develop Zappos’s management consulting business into a venture that earns 10 percent of annual profi ts.

“We open our doors and say, ‘Be part of our family and talk to anybody you want.’ And you see it’s the real deal.” —Robert Richman, co-leader of Zappos Insights.d

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13 Leadership Essentials the key point

Not all managers are leaders and not all leaders are managers. In a managerial position, being a leader requires understanding how to adapt one’s management style to the situation to generate willing and effective followership. As shown in the Zappos example, the most successful leaders are those who are able to generate strong cultures in which employees work together to get things done.

What Is Leadership?

What Are Situational Contingency Approaches to Leadership?

What Are Follower-Centered Approaches to Leadership?

What Are Inspirational and Relational Leadership Perspectives?





leaders make things happen

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292 13 Leadership Essentials

Most people assume that anyone in management, particularly the CEO, is a leader. Currently, however, controversy has arisen over this assumption. We can all think of examples where managers do not perform much, if any, leadership, as well as instances where leadership is performed by people who are not in management. Researchers have even argued that failure to clearly recognize this difference is a violation of “truth in advertising” because many studies labeled “leadership” may actually be about “management.”1

Managers versus Leaders A key way of differentiating between managers and leaders is to argue that the role of management is to promote stability or to enable the organization to run smoothly, whereas the role of leadership is to promote adaptive or useful changes.2 Persons in managerial positions could be involved with both manage- ment and leadership activities, or they could emphasize one activity at the expense of the other. Both management and leadership are needed, however, and if managers do not assume responsibility for both, then they should ensure that someone else handles the neglected activity. The point is that when we dis- cuss leadership, we do not assume it is identical to management.

For our purposes, we treat leadership as the process of infl uencing others to understand and agree about what needs to be done and how to do it, and the process of facilitating individual and collective efforts to accomplish shared objec- tives.3 Leadership appears in two forms: (1) formal leadership, which is exerted by persons appointed or elected to positions of formal authority in organizations, and (2) informal leadership, which is exerted by persons who become infl uential because they have special skills that meet the needs of others. Although both types are important in organizations, this chapter will emphasize formal leader- ship; informal leadership will be addressed in the next chapter.4

The leadership literature is vast—thousands of studies at last count—and consists of numerous approaches.5 We have grouped these approaches into two chapters: Leadership Essentials, Chapter 13, and Leadership Challenges and Orga- nizational Change, Chapter 14. The present chapter focuses on trait and behavioral

• Leadership is the process of infl uencing

others and the process of facilitating individual and

collective efforts to accomplish shared


LEARNING ROADMAP Managers versus Leaders / Trait Leadership Perspectives / Behavioral Leadership Perspectives

Change Brings Out the Leader

in Us Avon CEO Andrea Jung feels “there is a big difference between being a leader and being a manager.” That difference lies in being fl exible and willing to change. According to Jung, if you have diffi culty with change you will have a harder time being successful as a leader.

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Leadership 293

theory perspectives, cognitive and symbolic leadership perspectives, and transfor- mational and charismatic leadership approaches. Chapter 14 deals with such leadership challenges as how to be a moral leader, how to share leadership, how to lead across cultures, how to be a strategic leader of major units, and, of course, how to lead change. Many of the perspectives in each chapter include several models. Although each of these models may be useful to you in a given work setting, we invite you to mix and match them as necessary in your setting, just as we did earlier with the motivational models discussed in Chapter 5.

Trait Leadership Perspectives For over a century, scholars have attempted to identify the key characteristics that separate leaders from nonleaders. Much of this work stressed traits. Trait per- spectives assume that traits play a central role in differentiating between leaders and nonleaders in that leaders must have the “right stuff.”6 The great person-trait approach refl ects the attempt to use traits to separate leaders from nonleaders. This list of possible traits identifi ed only became longer as researchers focused on the leadership traits linked to successful leadership and organizational perfor- mance. Unfortunately, few of the same traits were identifi ed across studies. Part of the problem involved inadequate theory, poor measurement of traits, and the confusion between managing and leading.

Fortunately, recent research has yielded promising results. A number of traits have been found that help identify important leadership strengths, as outlined in Figure 13.1. As it turns out, most of these traits also tend to predict leadership outcomes.7

Key traits of leaders include ambition, motivation, honesty, self-confi dence, and a high need for achievement. They crave power not as an end in itself but as a means to achieve a vision or desired goals. At the same time, they must have enough emotional maturity to recognize their own strengths and weaknesses, and have to be oriented toward self-improvement. Furthermore, to be trusted, they must have authenticity; without trust, they cannot hope to maintain the loyalty of their followers. Leaders are not easily discouraged, and they stick to a chosen

• Trait perspectives assume that traits play a central role in differentiating between leaders and nonleaders or in predicting leader or organizational outcomes.

Energy and adjustment or stress tolerance: Physical vitality and emotional resilience

Prosocial power motivation: A high need for power exercised primarily for the benefit of others

Achievement orientation: Need for achievement, desire to excel, drive to success,

willingness to assume responsibility, concern for task objectives

Emotional maturity: Well-adjusted, does not suffer from severe psychological disorders

Self-confidence: General confidence in self and in the ability to perform the job of a leader

Integrity: Behavior consistent with espoused values; honest, ethical, trustworthy

Perseverance or tenacity: Ability to overcome obstacles; strength of will

Cognitive ability, intelligence, social intelligence: Ability to gather, integrate, and

interpret information; intelligence, understanding of social setting

Task-relevant knowledge: Knowledge about the company, industry, and technical aspects

Flexibility: Ability to respond appropriately to changes in the setting

Positive Impact on Leadership Success

Figure 13.1 Traits with positive implications for successful leadership.

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294 13 Leadership Essentials

course of action as they push toward goal accomplishment. At the same time, they must be able to deal with the large amount of information they receive on a regular basis. They do not need to be brilliant, but usually exhibit above-average intelligence. In addition, leaders have a good understanding of their social setting and possess extensive knowledge concerning their industry, fi rm, and job.

Even with these traits, however, the individual still needs to be engaged. To lead is to infl uence others, and so we turn to the question of how a leader should act.

Behavioral Leadership Perspectives How should managerial leaders act toward subordinates? The behavioral per- spective assumes that leadership is central to performance and other outcomes. However, instead of underlying traits, behaviors are considered. Two classic research programs—at the University of Michigan and at the Ohio State Univer- sity—provide useful insights into leadership behaviors.

Michigan Studies In the late 1940s, researchers at the University of Michigan sought to identify the leadership pattern that results in effective performance. From interviews of high- and low-performing groups in different organizations, the researchers derived two basic forms of leader behaviors: employee-centered and production-centered. Employee-centered supervisors are those who place strong emphasis on their subordinates’ welfare. In contrast, production-centered supervisors are more concerned with getting the work done. In general, employee- centered supervisors were found to have more productive workgroups than did the production-centered supervisors.8

These behaviors are generally viewed on a continuum, with employee- centered supervisors at one end and production-centered supervisors at the other. Sometimes, the more general terms human-relations oriented and task oriented are used to describe these alternative leader behaviors.

Ohio State Studies At about the same time as the Michigan studies, an impor- tant leadership research program began at the Ohio State University. A questionnaire was administered in both industrial and military settings to measure subordinates’ perceptions of their superiors’ leadership behavior. The researchers identifi ed two dimensions similar to those found in the Michigan studies: consideration and initiating structure.9 A highly considerate leader was found to be one who is sensitive to people’s feelings and, much like the employee-centered leader, tries to make things pleasant for his or her followers. In contrast, a leader high in ini- tiating structure was found to be more concerned with defi ning task requirements and other aspects of the work agenda; he or she might be seen as similar to a production-centered supervisor. These dimensions are related to what people sometimes refer to as socioemotional and task leadership, respectively.

At fi rst, the Ohio State researchers believed that a leader high in consider- ation, or socioemotional warmth, would have more highly satisfi ed or better per- forming subordinates. Later results suggested, however, that many individuals in leadership positions should be high in both consideration and initiating structure. This dual emphasis is refl ected in the leadership grid approach.

The Leadership Grid Robert Blake and Jane Mouton developed the leadership grid approach based on extensions of the Ohio State dimensions. Leadership grid results are plotted on a nine-position grid that places concern for production on

• The behavioral perspective assumes that

leadership is central to performance and other

• A leader high in consideration is sensitive

to people’s feelings. • A leader high in

initiating structure is concerned with spelling

out the task requirements and clarifying aspects of

the work agenda.

• Leadership grid is an approach that uses a grid

that places concern for production on the horizontal axis and concern for people

on the vertical axis.

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Leadership 295

the horizontal axis and concern for people on the vertical axis, where 1 is mini- mum concern and 9 is maximum concern. As an example, those with a 1/9 style—low concern for production and high concern for people—are termed “country club management.” They do not emphasize task accomplishment but stress the attitudes, feelings, and social needs of people.10

Similarly, leaders with a 1/1 style—low concern for both production and people—are termed “impoverished,” while a 5/5 style is labeled “middle of the road.” A 9/1 leader—high concern for production and low concern for people—

In an unusual cross-cultural organizational behavior study, Gretchen Spreitzer examined the link between business leadership practices and indicators of peace in nations. She found that earlier research suggested that peaceful societies had (1) open and egalitarian decision making and (2) social control processes that limit the use of coercive power. These two characteristics are the hallmarks of participatory systems that empower people in the collective. Spreitzer reasoned that business fi rms can provide open egalitarian decisions by stressing participative leadership and empowerment.

Spreitzer recognized that broad cultural factors could also be important. The degree to which the culture is future oriented and power distance appeared relevant. And she reasoned that she needed specifi c measures of peace. She selected two major indicators: (1) the level of corruption and (2) the level of unrest. The measure of unrest was a combined measure of political instability, armed confl ict, social unrest, and international disputes. While she found a large leadership database that directly measured participative leadership, she developed the measures of empowerment from another apparently unrelated survey. Two items appeared rel- evant: the decision freedom individuals reported (decision freedom), and the degree to which they felt they had to comply with their boss regardless of whether they agreed with an order (compliance).

You can schematically think of this research in terms of the following model.

As one might expect with exploratory research, the fi ndings support most of her hypotheses but not all. Participative leadership was related to less corruption and less unrest, as was the future- oriented aspect of culture. Regarding empower- ment, there were mixed results; decision freedom was linked to less corruption and unrest, but the compliance measure was only linked to more unrest.

Participatory Leadership and Peace

Do the Research Do you agree that when business used participatory leadership, it legitimated the democratically based style and increased the opportunity for individuals to express their voice? What other research could be done to determine the link between leadership and peace?11

Cultural Factors Future Orientation Power Distance

Empowerment Decision Freedom Compliance

Peace Corruption Unrest

Participative Leadership

Source: Gretchen Spreitzer, “Giving Peace a Chance: Organizational Leadership, Empowerment, and Peace,” Journal of Organizational Behavior 28 (2007), pp. 1077–1095.

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296 13 Leadership Essentials

has a “task management” style. Finally, a 9/9 leader, high on both dimensions, is considered to have a “team management” style; this is the ideal leader in Blake and Mouton’s framework.

Cross-Cultural Implications It is important to consider whether the fi ndings of the Michigan, Ohio State, and grid studies transfer across national boundaries. Some research in the United States, Britain, Hong Kong, and Japan shows that the behav- iors must be carried out in different ways in alternative cultures. For instance, British leaders are seen as considerate if they show subordinates how to use equipment, whereas in Japan the highly considerate leader helps subordinates with personal problems.12 We will see this pattern again as we discuss other theories. The concept seems to transfer across boundaries, but the actual behaviors differ. Sometimes the differences are slight, but in other cases they are not. Even subtle differences in the leader’s situation can make a signifi cant difference in precisely the type of behavior needed for success. Successful leaders adjust their infl uence attempts to the situation.

The trait and behavioral perspectives assume that leadership, by itself, would have a strong impact on outcomes. Another development in leadership thinking has recognized, however, that leader traits and behaviors can act in conjunction with situational contingencies—other important aspects of the leadership situa- tion—to predict outcomes. Traits are enhanced by their relevance to the leader’s situational contingencies.13 For example, achievement motivation should be most effective for challenging tasks that require initiative and the assumption of per- sonal responsibility for success. Leader fl exibility should be most predictive in unstable environments or when leaders lead different people over time.

Prosocial power motivation, or power oriented toward benefi ting others, is likely to be most important in situations where decision implementation requires lots of persuasion and social infl uence. “Strong” or “weak” situations also make a difference. An example of a strong situation is a highly formal organiza- tion with lots of rules, procedures, and policies. An example of a weak situation is one that is ambiguous and unstructured. In a strong situation traits will have less impact than in a weaker, more unstructured situation because the leader has less ability to infl uence the nature of the situation. In other words, leaders can’t show dynamism as much when the organization restricts them.

Traits may also make themselves felt by infl uencing leader behaviors (e.g., a leader high in energy engages in directive, take-charge behaviors).14 In an attempt to isolate when particular traits and specifi c combinations of leader behavior and situations are important, scholars have developed a number of situational contin- gency theories and models. Some of these theories emphasize traits, whereas others deal exclusively with leader behaviors and the setting.

Fiedler’s Leadership Contingency View Fred Fiedler’s leadership contingency view argues that team effectiveness depends on an appropriate match between a leader’s style, essentially a trait measure, and the

• Prosocial power motivation is power

oriented toward benefi ting others.

LEARNING ROADMAP Fiedler’s Leadership Contingency View / Path-Goal View of Leadership / Hersey and Blanchard Situational Leadership Model / Substitutes for Leadership

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Situational Contingency Leadership 297

demands of the situation.15 Specifi cally, Fiedler considers situational control—the extent to which a leader can determine what his or her group is going to do—and leader style as important in determining the outcomes of the group’s actions and decisions.

To measure a person’s leadership style, Fiedler uses an instrument called the least–preferred co-worker (LPC) scale. Respondents are asked to describe the person with whom they have been able to work least well—their least preferred co-worker, or LPC—using a series of adjectives such as the following two:

Unfriendly ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ Friendly 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pleasant ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ Unpleasant 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Fiedler argues that high-LPC leaders (those describing their LPC very posi- tively) have a relationship-motivated style, whereas low-LPC leaders have a task- motivated style. Because LPC is a style and does not change across settings, the leaders’ actions vary depending on the degree of situational control. Specifi cally, a task-motivated leader (low LPC) tends to be nondirective in high- and low- control situations, and directive in those in between. A relationship-motivated leader tends to be the opposite. Confused? Take a look at Figure 13.2 to clarify the differences between high-LPC leaders and low-LPC leaders.

Figure 13.2 shows the task-motivated leader as being more effective when the situation is high and low control, and the relationship-motivated leader as being more effective when the situation is moderate control. The fi gure also shows that Fiedler measures situational control with the following variables:

• Leader-member relations (good/poor)—membership support for the leader

• Task structure (high/low)—spelling out the leader’s task goals, procedures, and guidelines in the group

• Position power (strong/weak)—the leader’s task expertise and reward or punishment authority

• Situational control is the extent to which leaders can determine what their groups are going to do and what the outcomes of their actions are going to be. • The least-preferred co-worker (LPC) scale is a measure of a person’s leadership style based on a description of the person with whom respondents have been able to work least well.

Task-Motivated Leader

Leader–Member Relations

Task Structure

Relationship- Motivated Leader

Weak StrongStrong

High-Control Situations

High LowLow

WeakWeak StrongStrong

Moderate-Control Situations

Low-Control Situations

Figure 13.2 Fiedler’s situational variables and their preferred leadership styles.

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298 13 Leadership Essentials

Consider an experienced and well-trained production supervisor of a group that is responsible for manufacturing a part for a personal computer. The leader is highly supported by his group members and can grant raises and make hiring and fi ring decisions. This supervisor has very high situational control and is oper- ating in situation 1 in Figure 13.2. For such high-control situations, a task-oriented leader style is predicted as the most effective. Now consider the opposite setting. Think of the chair of a student council committee of volunteers who are unhappy about this person being the chair. They have the low-structured task of organizing a Parents’ Day program to improve university–parent relations. This low-control situation also calls for a task-motivated leader who needs to behave directively to keep the group together and focus on the task; in fact, the situation demands it. Finally, consider a well-liked academic department chair who is in charge of determining the fi nal list of students who will receive departmental honors at the end of the academic year. This is a moderate-control situation with good leader– member relations, low-task structure, and weak position power, calling for a relationship-motivated leader. The leader should emphasize nondirective and considerate relationships with the faculty.

Fiedler’s Cognitive Resource Perspective Fiedler later developed a cogni- tive resource perspective that built on his earlier model.16 Cognitive resources are abilities or competencies. According to this approach, whether a leader should use directive or nondirective behavior depends on the following situational con- tingencies: (1) the leader’s or subordinates’ ability or competency, (2) stress, (3) experience, and (4) group support of the leader. Cognitive resource theory is useful because it directs us to leader or subordinate group-member ability, an aspect not typically considered in other leadership approaches.

The theory views directiveness as most helpful for performance when the leader is competent, relaxed, and supported. In this case, the group is ready, and directiveness is the clearest means of communication. When the leader feels stressed, his or her attention is diverted. In this case, experience is more impor- tant than ability. If support is low, then the group is less receptive, and the leader has less impact. Group-member ability becomes most important when the leader is nondirective and receives strong support from group members. If support is weak, then task diffi culty or other factors have more impact than either the leader or the subordinates.

Evaluation and Application The roots of Fiedler’s contingency approach date back to the 1960s and have elicited both positive and negative reactions. The biggest controversy concerns exactly what Fiedler’s LPC instrument mea- sures. Some question Fiedler’s behavioral interpretations that link the style mea- sure with leader behavior in all eight conditions. Furthermore, the approach makes the most accurate predictions in situations 1 and 8 and 4 and 5; results are less consistent in the other situations.17 Tests regarding cognitive resources have shown mixed results.18

In terms of application, Fiedler has developed leader match training, which Sears, Roebuck and Co. and other organizations have used. Leaders are trained to diagnose the situation in order to “match” their LPC score. The red arrows in Figure 13.2 suggest a “match.” In cases with no “match,” the training shows how each of these situational contro