Free Report On Organizational Behavior
The purpose of this essay is to analyze and investigate the issues regarding the case study of Goldberg, Choo, and McKay Associates, a newly merged organization, in terms of organizational behavior (OB). First, the paper provides a brief background on OB and how it has evolved over the years. It then proceeds to identify the issues that plagued the subject organization and analyze it in OB perspective. As desired, after the analysis, a recommendation is arrived, which aims to improve the processes, attitudes and behaviors within the organization. This paper would like to emphasize the importance of OB in analyzing organizations and their members. For the same reason, OB is recommended as an essential training for leaders and key executives to aid them in their decision making.
On why people behave in a particular way in an organizational setting given a stimulus has been the main focus of Organizational Behavior (OB) studies. As defined by Thompson and Pozner, “Organizational behavior (OB) is the study of how people think, feel, and act in organizations and similarly, how they are affected by the activities within organizations”. OB is a managerial tool as much as it is a theoretical framework. By using OB, one can predict possible actions or outcomes given a particular stimulus or it can also work the other way around and that is given the outcome, what particular stimulus or environment is necessary to achieve a particular goal. OB aims to understand the mechanics within an organization and by understanding such; actions can be made to achieve the desired results. The case of McKay, Sanderson, and Smith Associates accounting firm in Boston is just one example of an OB problem. This paper would like to investigate how OB applies to McKay, Sanderson, and Smith Associates and how OB can help fix organizational their organizational issues.
Importance of Studying Organizational Behavior (OB)
Organizational Behavior (OB) deals with the study of how people act and behave in an organization and how they are interrelated with each other. . For the same reason, OB can be used as a managerial tool to understand and analyze certain scenarios that in an organizational setting. OB theories are strongly based on psychological and sociological framework and it encompass a wide scope of organizational studies such as organizational performance, employee motivation, leadership, team building, organizational structures, organizational management and many other organizational structures and mechanics. It can be argued that OB studies are as old as human civilization, itself. The building of enormous ancient structures, the formation of governments and armies and many other feats that require people to organize themselves suggests that even at an early age, people must have at least a basic understanding of organizational behavior. It should be noted though that OB theories have evolved over time; the most influential of which have been developed in the early 1900’s when industrialization began in the Europe and America. The impact of industrialization to OB is quite enormous and game changing. For a fact, industrialization significantly changed the size, trade and methods of organizations, which could have forced them to evolve in order to adapt to the changing environment brought by industrialization. Among the most notable contributors to understanding OB were developed by Frederick Taylor and Max Weber. Taylor’s scientific management approach enabled him to study and analyze individual and team behavior in a production setting. On the other hand, as the Taylor is experimenting on production work, Max Weber was also developing his theoretical framework regarding organizations. According to his observation, most managers are running their organizations like families, which, according to him, prevents organization from realizing their true potential (Hartzell, S., n.d.). Weber suggests that in order for an organization to grow, it must adapt a bureaucratic structure wherein he envisions an organization as a machine where each of its components have a clearly defined function that contributes significantly to the whole organization (Hartzell, S., n.d.). In Weber’s bureaucratic management model, an organization should have a set of stable, consistent and obtainable rules and policies that must be followed by members of an organization. Rules are considered as impersonal and impartial, which ideally should apply to all situations (Visitchaichan, S., n.d.). Unlike traditional organizations wherein the level of authority is not formally established, bureaucratic organizations have well-defined authority and positions. The establishment of formal organizational hierarchy and their functions as determined by their positions limits the authority and power of bosses within an organization. As a result, employees become more detached from their supervisors and loyalty is more inclined towards the organization rather than their direct supervisors (Hartzell, S., n.d.). Taylor’s scientific management approach and Weber’s bureaucracy have remained as a significant feature of most organizations. However, the modern studies of OB have leaned on the human factor, which scholars’ term as the Human Relations approach. The Human Relations approach considers the social, political, emotional and physiological factors that influence an individual. Among its common features are naturalness, interaction (or group dynamics), empathy or the ability to relate with another person’s emotion, social distance (or the lack of such since member feels that they are all equal within their informal group), democracy, leadership, group pressure, cohesiveness and unity. Today, OB has evolved into a well-developed discipline that considers all organizational and individual factors. As observed by Thermozhi, “an organization environment is not some set of fixed, impersonal forces but rather a complex, dynamic, web at people interacting with each other” (Thenmozhi, M., n.d.).
In the context of organizational behavior, there are several organizational issues that can be identified with how employees of McKay, Sanderson, and Smith Associates interact with each other. It should be noted that the narrator points out to the merger as the cause of all his work troubles. Accordingly, because of the merger, the organization has developed into a complicated organizational structure. As observed, the narrator, who was once working for a midsize accounting firm in Boston, would have to collaborate with his counterparts that are stationed in different offices that are far from each other. Among the difficulties that he observed regarding the long distance interaction is the lack of centralized leadership and control. As a result, efficient communication and coordination is difficult to achieve. The distance, for example, has forced the team members to change their established work schedules since their work time does not coincide with each other. It is also obvious that the narrator finds the new processes ineffective and is therefore reluctant to change. Accordingly, before the merger, he normally submitted his own reports but now he have to coordinate with other team members through email and phone calls. The team relationship even got more problematic when they were tasked to develop a strategic plan that required them to collaborate with each other. According to the narrator, misunderstandings were common and most of them could not seem to agree on a particular strategy.
Mergers and Organizational Structure
Among the primary observations that has led to the internal conflict between team members of the organization in the case study is the complicated organizational structure that resulted from the firm’s merger with other accounting firms. Organizational issues resulting from mergers have been subsequently observed even in established organizations. One particular example is the merger of AOL and Time Warner. Considered as one of the biggest mergers in internet and media history, it was at first perceived as revolutionary. Unfortunately, problems began to show up as the different cultures and work processes of each organization clashed with each other. As observed Time Warner’s president Richard Parsons, “I remember saying at a vital board meeting where we approved this, that life was going to be different going forward because they’re very different cultures, but I have to tell you, I underestimated how different”. Evidently, mergers results to abrupt change in size and structure of the organization, which could make things more complicated for members of the organization. Complicated organizational structures have adverse impact to the organization. As observed in the case study, the decentralized and undefined functions of members within the organization can lead to misunderstanding and inefficient working conditions.
Resistance to Change
Another major OB issue that can be identified in the case study is the narrator’s resistance to change. In organizational studies, change has always been viewed with skepticism and most members of the organization are reluctant towards change. It is quite obvious that as an organization expands, several challenges arise that would force an organization to change. Since change could not be avoided, it is desirable for an organization to become more flexible and to accept the need for change if necessary. However, resistance to change has been a prevalent feature of organizations and its members. As observed by Lewin, organizations have the tendency to freeze, which refers to the tendency of members to reject any attempts for change . For the same reason, Lewin suggests that in order to initiate change, first, the person or organization initiating the change must ‘unfreeze’ the members’ resistance. Several suggestions have been made in order to initiate organizational change will less resistance. Among the major change models are the Lewin’s Change Management Model, the McKinsey 7-S Model and Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model. The ‘Lewin’s Change Management Model’ is based on the assumption that change could not be forced since members of an organization prefer to operate within their comfort zones . For the same reason, Lewin suggests gradual change in order for change to be more effective. The McKinsey 7-S model, on the other hand, provides a system of elements that influence change. For this model, change is viewed as a stimulus that has ripple effect on the seven elements of the organization, which are shared values, strategy, structure, systems, style, staff and skills . Kotter’s change model, on the other hand, is more of an action oriented approach. For Kotter, in order for change to become effective, the leaders must first convince their members of the urgency for change. In Kotter’s model, change is a campaign that heavily lies on the ability of the leaders that initiate it.
It is quite apparent that the merger of McKay, Sanderson, and Smith Associates has caused internal issues. Most likely, the merger was not well planned that work related issues were not foreseen before the actual merger was formed. There are three major recommendations that need to be employed in order to address the organization’s issue. First, organizational leadership must be centralized and well defined. This will enable the members of the organizations to have a clear direction and avoid confusion. Another recommendation is for functions of the team members to be well-defined. In order to achieve this, division of work must be employed and studied so that functions do not overlap each other. By setting work boundaries and expectations, a stressful and exploitative work environment can be avoided. Lastly, it is recommended that critical organizational functions such as the accounting division must be placed in a single location for increased efficiency in communication and coordination among members. It should be noted that these recommendation requires change and in order to initiate change effectively, it is necessary that cultures of each organizations must be studied and understood. For the same reason, it is also recommended that key leaders and executives must be well-versed with OB in order to initiate these recommended strategies effectively.
In reference to the case study, it is quite obvious that the merger of McKay, Sanderson, and Smith Associates with other accounting firms became problematic because of several factors such as distance, undefined boundaries and functions and inefficient coordination and communication between members. When viewed in the OB perspective, it is quite evident that the merger was not well-planned, which resulted to an unsmooth transition. As a result, work efficiency was affected as well as employee attitudes. Evidently, several factors within an organization can affect members’ attitude and behavior towards work. For the same reason, knowledge on OB is necessary to address issues that arise because of these factors. OB can therefore, offer solutions to complicated issues of an organization, which makes it a necessary course of study for key executive and leaders within the organization.
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