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Organization Behavior

Discuss how Managing People in Organizations helps?

Organization Behavior refers to the actions and the general attitudes of employees in an
organization. In this essay, I begin with the definition of Organization Behavior and how it
relates to other disciplines. Secondly, I comprehensively cover the actions and attitudes that
influence OB specifically the aspect of Motivation and the theories that underline it, its
justification and importance in OB. I finally look at the application of Motivation in OB and its
relevance to HR by giving examples on how it has shaped or directed the HR practice. (Hatch
Organization Behavior is defined as the general study of the behaviors of human beings in
organizational settings and how the behavior interacts within the organization. (Wagner &
Hollenbeck 2010) Organizational Behavior includes the knowledge derived from all these
attitudes and actions and also how these knowledge can assist managers to understand the
complexities within the organizations, identify major problems, make informed decisions and
also determine the best course of action to take with a view of solving the problems and also to
determine whether the actions taken would make a positive change or contribute a significant
positive difference. (Taylor & Hansen 2005) Organizational Behavior has its major roots in
economics as it targets improved productivity and human efficiency but it synthesizes other
fields of study such as psychology in organizational psychology which is the major contributor in
organizational behavior. (Miner 2006) Whereas Psychologists study human beings behaviors,

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organizational psychologists attempts to address the behavior of human beings in organizations
settings. Individual differences and Motivation play a major role in determining the
organizational behavior of people in organizations. OB is related also to sociology as it involves
the study of social systems such as occupational classes, families and organizations. OB clearly
overlaps with certain areas of sociology that generally relates to the organization as part of the
social system. Anthropology is mainly the study of the interactions between people or individual
groups of people and their environment particularly their cultural environment. (Tompkins &
Jonathan 2005) Culture has a huge impact in people’s behavior in organizations hence it forms
part of the OB. Other disciplines that are related to OB are political science and industrial
The importance of OB is very clear as people are born, educated and acquire wealth in
organizations and also die as part or members of organizations. Organizations call governments
control and regulate human activities and most people spend almost their entire lives working for
such organizations. (Robbins & Stephen 2004) These organizations influence human existence
powerfully and it’s the sole reason why OB determines our relationship with these organizations.
(Jex & Britt 2008)
Motivation stems from Organization Behavior that involves the conceptualization of
organization life with internal factors that promote job satisfaction through rewards and other
external or internal motivators. Motivation initiates, sustains and directs human behavior by
satisfying psychological and other physiological needs. Direction in motivation defines the
deliberate behavior that an individual may relate with while the effort is the energy that is
expended towards the achievement of a particular event or activity. Persistence is the duration an

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individual is willing to sustain the behavior especially during difficulty difficult periods. The
theories of motivation that were developed in the early 1960s and 1970’s are categorized into
two major groups, Needs or the content theory and the process theories. The content or the needs
theory involves the Maslow’s theory of the needs hierarchy, the ERG Alderfers theory, the
Acquired needs McClelland’s theory and the Two-factor Herzbergs theory. The process theories
are the Expectancy Vroom’s theory, Adam’s theory of Equity and the Locke’s Goal theory.
The importance of Motivation in Organization Behavior and its justification
Individual differences and Motivation play a major role in determining the organizational
behavior of people in organizations. The objective of motivation in various organizations is to
achieve improvement in productivity, develop and sustain employee integration, to reinforce
employee commitment and development, ensure smoother running processes and the
development of appropriate framework that addresses the needs of the employees and other
related groups. In order to achieve these objectives the nature of human behavior must be clearly
understood as it forms the basis of motivation. Intrinsic motivation provides the driving force
behind human behavior that finds its origins in the satisfaction and enjoyment of performing the
action in itself while extrinsic motivation is the urge that originates externally for a person to
perform a task. The following theories relate to the human nature and their application to
motivation factors that managers must implement to get better results through employee
satisfaction and improved productivity and performance.
Motivation is a basic skill that is essential for a business to survival of any company and for any
HR department to succeed in its operations. The performance of any business setup is equated to
motivation which applies to Job Performance = f*(ability) (motivation) The ability to perform

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satisfactorily is connected to better qualifications and education, job experience and training. To
improve performance, the human resource manager must introduce positive reinforcement which
are tied to high expectations, effective reward, punishment or discipline systems that are fair,
satisfying and work related. Motivation must be tailored to induce the employees to work
towards the stated organizational goals that conform to its corporate policy.
Content’s Theories
Maslow’s Theory of the Needs Hierarchy
Abraham Maslow’s theory of motivation is founded on his concept of Hierarchy of needs which
encourages all employers to target maximum output from their employees by creating conducive
work environment. Most people or employees will not be efficient or well adjusted if all their
basic needs are not met. Maslow identified only five types of needs that are basic and which
begin from the lowest level to the highest. The lowest level, begins with physiological needs are
food, air, water and shelter. (Maslow 1954) These needs are primary to all human needs. Safety
needs are second as individuals need safe and secure environment to operate from. Social needs
are third and they entails being like and accepted socially while esteem needs are fourth they
explain the need to gain respect and also approval. Self esteem is achieved by recognizing staff
achievements like employee of the month or other reward based recognitions. The final need is
self actualization where people strive to be self-actualized. This level is associated with
maximum level of human creativity, an asset that is very valuable to organizations. (Mittelman

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The Alderfers ERG Theory is related to Maslow’s concepts but it reduces the universal needs to
three from Maslow’s five. Alderfers removes Maslow’s restriction that for one to get to another
level then the needs of the lower must be met before proceeding to the next level of needs.
Alderfers contends that those who fail to meet all the three needs eventually regress. (Alderfer
Herzberg, just like Maslow, attempted to instill management principles in organizations that lack
humanity. His famous hygiene, motivational factors theory and employees well being at work
was an attempt to bring more humanity and caring at the employees working places. (Herzberg
McClelland’s theory of Acquired needs is acquired mostly through life experiences. These are
the needs for achievements or to accomplish a difficult task or project, the needs for affiliation
and form close relationships just like children are encouraged and rewarded to make more
friends and the need to gain more power and control. (McClelland 1961)
Process theories
Expectancy Vroom’s theory is part of the contingency concept that entails that an employee or
an individual should be rewarded or compensated as per what he perceives or believes to be
important to him not the manager. For example, employee may value a promotion more than an
increment in salary. (Vroom 1964)
Adams equity theory emphasizes the need to be fair, what exactly constitutes fairness and the
response people have when they feel that they have been treated unfairly. (Adams 1965)
Impact of Motivation on the HR Department

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The HR functions have been compelled to adopt a wide range of motivation techniques that are
relevant to the needs of the employees. Some companies have adopted several bonus schemes
and reward systems that entail several methods of compensation like paid holidays, stock
options, cash incentives and promotion strategies that are aimed at motivating the employees and
consequently improve performance.
Motivation in Contemporary Society
Organization scientist and certain managers have discovered that certain conditions related to
goal setting may lead to high improvement in employee performance when three conditions
spelled out a) Goals and aims are specific, b) the goals are difficult but can be achieved and c)
there is a feedback system. (Locke & Latham 1990) When a supervisor requests a typist to type
faster and sets out a target of 100 words per minute which may be slightly above a normal range
of 80 words per minute then the typist will do her best as requested or directed. Most people find
it challenging when they are required to meet specific goals and they are usually motivated to
meet such goals and fulfill the management’s targets by convincing themselves that they can do
better. When people or employees believe in their self-efficacy they will work harder to prove
themselves. (Porter & Lawler 1968) It’s worth noting that most people will automatically reject
goals that are not realistic or unattainable. Feedback should be provided to the levels that have
actually been met. Just like golfers are energized when they discover where their balls have
landed employees are also motivated when they learn that they have almost achieved their
performance goals. (Locke 1968)

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Frederick Taylor’s concept of stimulating improved job performance was to create and design
jobs that could be performed faster and also efficiently. Wastages in movements were minimized
but Taylor failed to consider that monotony leads to boring routines which led to high staff
turnovers. Contemporary companies have worked out ways to increase productivity by creating
jobs that pleasant and enjoyable. The process is known as Job Enlargement where employees
perform more work which is basically of the same kind. The number of tasks is increased but it’s
at the same level of responsibility and difficulty. Horizontal job loading expands the content of a
particular job but the difficulties remain the same. It increases intrinsic motivation as it decreases
boredom by increasing jobs varieties. The other forms of job motivation that may be used are job
enrichment which allows employees to plan their work schedules, learn new skills, check their
own feedbacks and decide their job preferences among the expanded alternatives. (Deci & Gagne
2005) The other approaches are the models of job characteristics which also build on the idea of
job enrichment.
Finally to conclude, motivation is a key aspect of management in most organizations and it’s
largely attributed as the basis of most successful companies globally. Various theories and
concepts have been presented in different ways and by various philosophers on the issue of
motivation and its impact on employee performance. Every job is affected by an element of
motivation or demotivation factors and which also directly related to performance and
productivity levels. Money has been considered as having low influence on an employee’s life as
compared to other effective reward systems, positive reviews, job titles and other valid
motivators. Most organizations have implemented the concepts of McGregor and Mayo in order
to increase productivity and also motivate the employees as they believe that motivated
employees are easier and more successful to work with than a demotivated workforce.

8 Managing People in Organizations Assignment 1 –

Adams, J.S., 1965, Inequity in social exchange. Adv. Exp. Soc. Psychol. 62:335-343.
Alderfer, C.P., 1972, Existence, Relatedness and Growth, Free Press, NY
Deci, E.L. & Gagne, M., 2005, Self –Determination Theory and Work Motivation, Journal of
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Hatch, M.J., 2006, Organization Theory: Modern, symbolic, and postmodern perspectives.” 2nd
Ed. Oxford University Press
Herzberg, F., 1968, Work and the Nature of Man, Staples Press, London.
Jex, S. & Britt, T., 2008, Organizational Psychology: A Scientist-Practitioner Approach. 2nd
Locke, E. A., 1968, Toward a Theory of Task Motivation and Incentives, Organizational
Behaviour and Human Performance, (3)2: 157-189.

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Locke, E.A. & Latham, G.P., 1990, A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance
Maslow, A., 1954, Motivation and personality. New York, Harper, NY.
McClelland, D., 1961, Achieving Society, Van Nostrand, Princeton.
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Humanistic Psychology, 31(1), 114–135.
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Vroom, V. H., 1964, Work and Motivation, Wiley, New York, pg 331
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advantage. Routledge, New York.

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