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Some people have suggested that understanding human behavior at work is the single most important requirement for managerial success. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why?
In what ways is organizational behavior comparable to functional areas such as finance, marketing, and production? In what ways is it different from these areas? Is it similar to statistics in any way?
Identify some managerial jobs that are highly affected by human behavior and others that are less so. Which would you prefer? Why?
The text identifies four basic managerial functions. Based on your own experiences or observations, provide examples of each function.
Which managerial skills do you think are among your strengths? Which are among your weaknesses? How might you improve the latter?
Suppose you have to hire a new manager. One candidate has outstanding technical skills but poor interpersonal skills. The other has exactly the opposite mix of skills. Which would you hire? Why?
Some people believe that individuals working in an organization have a basic human right to satisfaction with their work and to the opportunity to grow and develop. How would you defend this position? How would you argue against it?
Many universities offer a course in industrial or organizational psychology. The content of those courses is quite similar to this one. Do you think that behavioral material is best taught in a business or psychology program, or is it best to teach it in both?
Do you believe the field of organizational behavior has the potential to become prescriptive as opposed to descriptive? Why or why not?
Are the notions of systems, contingency, and internationalism mutually exclusive? If not, describe ways they are related.
Get a recent issue of a popular business magazine such as Business Week or Fortune and scan its major articles. Do any of them reflect concepts from organizational behavior? Describe.
Do you read Dilbert? Do you think it accurately describes organizational life? Are there other comic strips that reflect life and work in contemporary organizations?
How might the episode described in the scenario be explained from the situational perspective on organizational behavior from the internationalist perspective?
How do you suppose the executive described in the scenario got to be president of the company?
Have you ever encountered anyone who behaved in ways that can be compared to the behaviour of the president in the scenario—either in the workplace or in any other context? As you think back on your experience, how well does Taylor’s TOT framework help to explain the individual’s behaviour?
Of the items on Burns’ list of recommended coping techniques, which do you think would be most helpful to the employees of the company in the scenario? Which would you be most likely to adopt? Can you think of any potentially effective techniques that aren’t on Burns’ list?
What does this exercise illustrate about the pervasiveness of organizations in our contemporary society?
What recent or classic movies might provide similar kinds of examples?
Do you think television programs from countries other than the United States would provide more or fewer examples set in organizations?
Identify ways in which the internationalization of business affects businesses in your community.
What would you imagine to be the major differences among working for a domestic firm inside the United States, working for a foreign company’s operations inside the United States, and working for an American firm’s operations abroad?
Why do organizations need to be interested in managing diversity? Is it a legal or moral obligation, or does it have some other purpose?
Summarize in your own words what the statistics tell us about the workforce of the future.
All things considered, do you think people from diverse cultures are more alike or more different? Explain the reasons for your answer?
What roles does changing technology play in your daily activities?
How concerned are you regarding Internet security? Are your concerns increasing? Why or why not?
Do you think concerns regarding ethics will remain central in managerial thinking, or will these concerns eventually become less important? Why?
Do you anticipate becoming a “knowledge worker”? How do you think this will shape your own thinking regarding an employer, compensation, and so forth?
What are your personal opinions about the use of international outsourcing?
Why does multiculturalism contribute to competitive advantage for an organization?
Is McNerney’s approach to the company’s ethical problems likely to improve ethical practices at Boeing? If your answer is yes, explain why. If it’s no, propose some actions that would be effective.
In October 2010, Boeing announced a record charge of $1 billion related to delays in delivering its new Dream liner 747 8 jumbo jet. As an investor with a good knowledge of the company’s past record, to what extent do you attribute its performance problems to problems in its corporate governance?
Let’s say that you’re a member of Boeing’s board of directors—and thus a representative of its shareholders. Boeing’s stock price stood at $60 at the beginning of 2009 (down from a high of $105 a little more than year earlier). By October, it had dropped to just over $29, although it again topped $60 at the beginning of 2010. What’s your current thinking about McNerney’s performance as CEO?
Of the seven people listed, which of them is standing at your door? How did you reach this conclusion?
If the woman had not been wearing a white hospital laboratory coat, how might your perceptions of her have differed? Why?
If you find out that she is the surgeon who will be operating on you in the morning, and you thought initially that she was someone else, how confident do you now feel in her ability as a surgeon? Why?
What implications can you draw from this exercise regarding the management of knowledge workers?
What is a psychological contract? Why is it important? What psychological contracts do you currently have?
Sometimes people describe an individual as having “no personality.” What is wrong with this statement? What does this statement actually mean?
Describe how the “big five” personality attributes might affect a manager’s own behavior in dealing with subordinates.
What are the components of an individual’s attitude?
Think of a person that you know who seems to have positive affectivity. Think of another who has more negative affectivity. How constant are they in their expressions of mood and attitude?
How does perception affect behavior?
What stereotypes do you form about people? Are they good or bad?
Identify and describe several important workplace behaviors.
As a manager, how would you go about trying to make someone a better organizational citizen?
Have you ever witnessed or been part of an incident of workplace violence? How would you characterize the personality and behaviour of the perpetrator? Now that you think back on it, were there any warning signs that he or she might engage in violence?
What sort of factors in the workplace depicted here are likely to contribute to cognitive dissonance to negative emotionality and negative affectivity?
How would you characterize Raymond Clark in terms of locus of control of self efficacy of conscientiousness to what extent are your assessments in these categories compatible or incompatible?
Is it possible for someone to be unmotivated, or is all behavior motivated?
When has your level of performance been directly affected by your motivation by your ability by the environment?
Identify examples from your own experience that support, and others that refute, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory.
Do you agree or disagree with the basic assumptions of Herzberg’s dual-structure theory? Why?
How do you evaluate yourself in terms of your needs for achievement, affiliation, and power?
Have you ever experienced inequity in a job or a class? How did it affect you?
Which is likely to be a more serious problem, perceptions of being under rewarded or perceptions of being over rewarded?
What are some managerial implications of equity theory beyond those discussed in the chapter?
Do you think expectancy theory is too complex for direct use in organizational settings? Why or why not?
Do the relationships between performance and satisfaction suggested by Porter and Lawler seem valid? Cite examples that both support and refute the model.
Think of occasions on which you experienced each of the four types of reinforcement.
Identify the five types of reinforcement that you receive most often. On what schedule do you receive each of them?
What is your opinion about the ethics of OB mod?
How might the relationship between happiness and productivity be approached by each of the major motivational theories discussed in the chapter?
Paul Larson says that “people tend to join a company but leave their supervisor.” Do you agree or disagree? Explain your answer.
According to Alexander Kjerulf, there are two things that you can do enhance happiness in your work life: (1) get happy in the job you have or (2) get another job. In your opinion, which of these options is most likely to be successful? Personally, which option appeals to you more? If you must accept option No. 1, what steps would you take to make yourself happier in a job?
What does the exercise tell you about the strengths and limitations of expectancy theory?
Would this exercise be useful for a manager to run with a group of subordinates? Why or why not?
What are the primary advantages and disadvantages of job specialization? Were they the same in the early days of mass production?
Under what circumstances might job enlargement be especially effective especially ineffective? How about job rotation?
Do any trends today suggest a return to job specialization?
What are the strengths and weaknesses of job enrichment? When might it be useful?
Do you agree or disagree that individual differences affect how people respond to their jobs? Explain.
What are the primary similarities and differences between job enrichment and the approach proposed by job characteristics theory?
What are the motivational consequences of increased employee involvement from the frame of reference of expectancy and equity theories?
What motivational problems might result from an organization’s attempt to set up work teams?
Which form of alternative work schedule might you prefer?
How do you think you would like telecommuting?
In which stage of development is each of the four groups listed in question 3? Did any group move too quickly through any of the stages? Explain.
Among the various approaches to enhancing workplace satisfaction and productivity discussed in the chapter, which ones might you take under the circumstances described in the case? Why are some of the other approaches less likely to be effective (or even relevant)?
What about your own values when it comes to balancing your home and work life? Assume that you’re about to graduate from law school and about to get married to a fiancé (e) who’s also about to graduate from law school. When you sit down with your future husband/wife to discuss your plans for married life ever after, what do you want to do about raising a family? What kind of adjustments will you propose if it turns out that your fiancé (e)’s ideas on the matter are more or less the opposite of your own? Be sure to consider such factors as the debt you’ve racked up while in law school and the standard of living that you’d like to achieve.
How might your own pre-existing attitudes explain some of your own perceptions in this exercise?
Are some jobs simply impossible to redesign?
Critique the goal-setting theory of motivation.
Develop a framework whereby an instructor could use goal setting in running a class such as this one.
Why are employees not simply left alone to do their jobs, instead of having their performance measured and evaluated all the time?
In what ways is your performance as a student evaluated?
How is the performance of your instructor measured? What are the limitations of this method?
Can performance on some jobs simply not be measured why or why not?
What conditions make it easier for an organization to achieve continuous improvement what conditions make it more difficult?
As a student in this class, what “rewards” do you receive in exchange for your time and effort? What are the rewards for the professor who teaches this class? How do your contributions and rewards differ from those of some other student in the class?
Do you expect to obtain the rewards you discussed in question 8 on the basis of your intelligence, your hard work, the number of hours you spend in the library, your height, your good looks, your work experience, or some other personal factor?
What rewards are easiest for managers to control? What rewards are more difficult to control?
Often institutions in federal and state governments give the same percentage pay raise to all their employees. What do you think is the effect of this type of pay raise on employee motivation?
If you worked at WFM, how would you vote when the company’s current healthcare plan came up for an employee vote? Explain your reasoning.
To underscore WFM’s relatively high prices, some skeptics add “Whole Paycheck” to the company’s motto of “Whole Foods, Whole People whole Planet”; they also point out that, despite discounts of 15 percent or more, many of the firm’s employees can’t afford to shop where they work. If you were a team member at WFM, how would this fact affect your attitude toward the company? How would it affect your attitude toward your job?
John Mackey now takes $1 a year in pay. In the last year in which he received a regular paycheck as CEO, his pay package totalled $436,000—about 14 times the average WFM worker’s salary of $32,000 and relatively low for the industry. In the same year, however, he exercised nearly $2 million in stock options, bringing his total earnings to about $2.5 million. The company acknowledges that Mackey also holds more money in vested stock options but prefers to publicize its worker friendly pay cap. If you were a team member at WFM, would this fact affect your attitude toward the company? How about your attitude toward your job?
Is there a clear difference between the highest and lowest performer? Why or why not?
Did you notice the differences in the types of information that you had available to make the raise decisions? How did you use the different sources of information?
In what ways did your assignment of raises reflect different views of motivation?
Describe two recent times when stress had both good and bad consequences for you.