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Stavroula Leka – Introduction to Work Psychology
CHAPTER 9: The Organization of the Organization
Differences in organizational style in the workplace range from the rigid, hierarchical bureaucracy of the military and the civil service to the open, participatory plan that fosters high employee involvement. The trend toward the humanization of work has led to a modification of many bureaucracies. This shift in organizational style has brought about radical changes in the way work is organized and performed and has led to an improvement in the quality of work life for many employees. Classic and Modern Organizational Styles: Changes in Communication and Decision-Making Processes Bureaucracy Bureaucracies: a formal, orderly and rational approach to organizing business enterprises. The bureaucratic organization style was once as revolutionary as the modern participative style, and it was considered just as humanistic in its intentions. Bureaucracies were devised to improve the quality of work life, and for a time, they did. As a movement of social protest, bureaucracy was designed to correct the inequalities, favoritism, and cruelty that characterized organizations at the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. Companies were owned and managed by their founders, who had absolute control over the terms and conditions of employment. To correct these abuses, Max Weber, a German sociologist, promoted a new organizational style that would eliminate social and personal injustice. Bureaucracy was to be a rational, formal structure organized along impersonal and objective lines – an orderly, predictable system that would function like an effective machine, unaffected by the prejudices of the factory owners. Workers would have the opportunity to rise from one organizational level to the next on the basis of their ability, not because of their social class or whether the boss liked them. Organization Charts: The first practical application of the bureaucratic organizational style appeared in the US even before Weber. The organization chart, which may be the most famous symbol of the bureaucratic approach, came into being in the 1850s. It formalized the position and status of all employees in a hierarchical structure. Weber’s ideas about bureaucracy, as depicted on the organization chart, involved breaking down or decentralizing the organization into component parts and operations. Each operation would be linked to others in a fixed rank order of control. This arrangement effectively cut employees off from contact with other levels and sectors of the organization.
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Organizations must promote the personal development of their employees because it makes them more valuable to the company. People want to participate. allowing employees to help determine how best to perform their tasks. Assumes that employees are motivated to seek and accept responsibility for their work. Just as they prevent personal growth for employees. Compatible with Theory Y of McGregor. as interchangeable as the machines they operate. Bureaucracies foster rigidity and permanence and do not adapt quickly or well to the kinds of changing social conditions and technological innovations characteristic of today’s workplace. Jobs and organizations must become less rigid in design and structure. the result is better solutions to organizational problems. Human relations: People should be treated fairly and with respect. Employees within a bureaucracy have no individual identity and no control over their work or over the organizational policies that influence the quality of their working life. They do not recognize human motivations. Decision making should involve participation at all levels. 2. And organizations must become more flexible. they will accept change and become more satisfied with and committed to the organization. Decisions are made for their own good because they are considered incapable of deciding for themselves. Organizations must decrease workers’ dependency and subordination in order to take better advantage of their potential. Jobs can be enriched to increase challenge and responsibility. and when they are allowed to do so. When they participate in decision making. bureaucracies minimize opportunities for organizational growth. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Chapter 9 / Page 2 of 9 . such as needs for personal growth. impersonal squares on the chart. High-involvement management: the management style necessary for the modern organizational approach of participatory democracy. capable of changing in response to employee needs and to social. Stavroula Leka – Introduction to Work Psychology Problems with Bureaucracies: Bureaucracies ignore human needs and values. Participatory Democracy Participative organizational style: emphasis on the behaviors and needs of employees instead of a rigid focus on job tasks. They treat employees as inanimate. 1986): 1. Human resources: People are a valuable resource because they have knowledge and ideas. Leaders should become less autocratic and more responsive to employee input. and participation in decision making. self-actualization. They have a high level of creativity. commitment and need for personal growth. technological and economic conditions.Dr. participation and performance (Lawler. in part because of the barriers to upward communication. It rests on 3 assumptions about people.
QWL programs have a high probability of failure when they do not have the forceful advocacy and commitment of senior executives and when supervisors view such programs as a threat to their power. QWL efforts can be doomed when managers continue to try to control their subordinates instead of working with them to share power and authority. The overall goal is enhanced quality and quantity of production. guides. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Chapter 9 / Page 3 of 9 . quantity and quality of output and work procedures and to an enhanced ability to attract and retain competent employees (Lawler. 1986). Also. McClelland and Herzberg. The Effects of Worker Participation Programs An analysis of QWL programs at 20 plants showed that in general they can lead to improvements in job satisfaction. High involvement: Peole can be trusted to develop the knowledge and skills to make important decisions about the management of their work. Many managers find this a difficult adjustment to make. When people are allowed to make decisions. but it should be noted that some have failed. more rather than less direct supervision. although the programs did influence both factors. There are many reports of successful QWL programs. High-involvement management calls for active employee participation in decision and policy making at all levels and can lead to greater opportunities for personal growth and fulfillment and increased organizational effectiveness. Quality Control Circles Quality control circles: employee groups organized to deal with specific production problems. It should be noted that adverse economic circumstances and high unemployment rates may temporarily replace the desire for a challenging job with an interest in finding any kind of job. 1986). These changes in organizational style have been expressed in varous quality-ofwork-life (QWL) programs: organizational programs based on active employee participation in decision and policy making. Stavroula Leka – Introduction to Work Psychology 3. mentors and resource persons. or need. Workers reported that being offered the opportunity to participate in decision making was just as important as the actual participation itself (Miller & Monge. Based on the work of Maslow. Managers and supervisors must learn to share power and to function willingly as coaches. Some workers prefer. the result is an improvement in organizational performance. This may be because some employees have no desire to participate in decision making or to assume responsibility for determing the best way to perform their jobs.Dr. A meta-analysis of 47 studies on the effectiveness of employee participation programs found that they had a greater impact on job satisfaction than on productivity.
One problem with quality control circles is that not all eligible workers volunteer to participate in the programs. evidence suggests that quality control circles. Another difficulty is that some quality circles disband after a period of time. The hierarchical structure of the organization remains untouched. They typically have an impact only on their organizational unit. although still operating in many organizations. increases in production and satisfaction. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Chapter 9 / Page 4 of 9 . the more likely it is to yield benefits for the organization. as they do with large-scale employee participation programs. there is no longer any reason for them to continue. For these reasons. Members are trained in human relations skills and problem-solving techniques before they are permitted to deal with specific problems relating to productivity. Also. are losing their popularity. Other quality control circles have become victims of their own success. I/O psychologists have found that the longer a quality control circle operates. A quality control circle typically consists of 7 to 10 employees from the same section or department. Having solved major problems and maximized productivity. they do not affect the majority of organizational decisions. those who join want a greater degree of job involvement than those who decline to participate. Membership is voluntary and meetings are usually held once a week. Reasons for these terminations include a lack of support from management or resistance from midlevel managers who have difficulty accepting suggestions and ideas from their subordinates. and solve them faster than do worker-initiated programs. Companies using quality control circles have reported savings in money and time.Dr. and decreases in absenteeism and turnover. Managers do not share power with quality control circles. Although quality control circles afford workers the opportunity to advise management and to participate in the decision-making process. Stavroula Leka – Introduction to Work Psychology Quality control circles require that workers be given greater responsibility for their work and be allowed to participate in decisions affecting the nature of the work and the way it is performed. Failure to implement workers’ suggestions and ideas can lower employees’ expectations and willingness to continue to participate. Management initiated quality control circles appear to solve more problems.
An analysis of self-managing work groups yielded the following behavioral characteristics (Hackman. Employees help members of their work group and employees in other groups to improve job performance and raise productivity for the organization as a whole. however. Employees manage their performance and take corrective action when necessary to improve their performance and the performance of other group members. quality of work. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Chapter 9 / Page 5 of 9 . 4. and monitor all facets of their work. from recruiting. Employees monitor their own performance and seek feedback on how well they are accomplishing their tasks and meeting organizational goals. The need to monitor and review the progress of the groups can also dampen the initial enthusiasm for this approach. a support staff to provide technical expertise. 50% of the employees in these companies are reported to be members of at least one team (Gordon. and many organizations misunderstand the extent of the investment required. without problems. 3. They are not. They also need clear direction from the organization about production goals. Also. In some cases. Self-managing work groups also depend on the maturity and responsibility of managers. 5. 2. who must be willing to surrender authority to their subordinates. operating. as minibusinesses within the larger organization. 1992). Employees seek guidance. they underestimate the amount of training and meeting time involved and have unrealistic expectations about how soon self-managing work groups can become productive. assistance. in effect. Employees assume personal responsibility and accountability for the outcomes of their work. 1986): 1. and adequate material resources. engineers and accountants are added to the self-management teams so that they can deal with a full range of problems. Converting from traditional management to self-management is difficult. one estimate suggests that up to 80% of organizations with more than 100 employees are using selfmanaging work teams. expensive and time-consuming. control. Stavroula Leka – Introduction to Work Psychology Self-Managing Work Groups Self-managing work groups: employee groups that allow the members of a work team to manage. not all employees like them. Several studies of self-managing work groups confirm positive effects on productivity. Self-managing work groups require a level of employee maturity and responsibility not called for in supervisor-managed groups. hiring and training new employees to deciding when to take rest breaks. and resources from the organization when they do not have what they need to do the job.Dr. turnover and job satisfaction. These autonomous work groups have become highly popular. In addition. In particular.
the results provide feedback to higher management. called organizational development (OD). work schedules. and working effectiveness. then workers are more likely to respond positively and accept the change. When a structural change is to be introduced into an organization. or reassignment of personnel. it often meets with hostility. They evaluate strengths and weaknesses and develop strategies for solving problems and for coping with future changes. office layout. and the benefits workers and management can expect from it. Stavroula Leka – Introduction to Work Psychology Introducing Change in Organizations The employee participation programs we have discussed call for radical changes in organizational style. involves techniques such as sensitivity training.Dr. Team building technique: an organizational development technique that works with small groups or work teams to enhance team morale and problem-solving abilities. the reasons for implementing it. and job enrichment as well as survey feedback and team building. If change is imposed on employees in an autocratic manner and they are given no explanation or opportunity to participate. Organizational development (OD): the study and implementation of planned organizational changes. Survey feedback technique: an organizational development technique in which surveys are conducted periodically to assess employee feelings and attitudes. It is based on the fact that many organizational tasks are performed by small work groups or teams. However. procedures. production slowdowns. group discussion. it will usually be resisted at first. Organizational Development (OD) I/O psychologists have focused considerable attention on the problems of total organizational change and on systematic ways to bring about planned change. functions and culture with greater objectivity than in-house managers. when managers make an effort to explain the nature of the change. The factor most responsible for determining whether change will be received positively or negatively is the way in which change is proposed and implemented. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Chapter 9 / Page 6 of 9 . To enhance a team’s morale and problem-solving abilities. or increased absenteeism and turnover. using questionnaires and interviews to determine the organization’s problems and needs. Whether the change involves new equipment. Outside consultants or change agents are usually able to view an organization’s structure. OD consultants (called change agents) work with the groups to develop self-confidence. This effort. strikes. Change agents’ first task is diagnosis. group cohesiveness. then they are most likely to react negatively. Change agents: organizational development facilitators who work with business groups to implement change and develop group confidence and effectiveness. role playing.
feedback and co-workers who have high morale and a positive attitude toward the organization. Unless organizational change has management support. low motivation and productivity. Ideally. self-confidence. Improper socialization can foster frustration. they must be cautious about introducing changes without allowing employees to participate in the process. The socialization of new employees Organizations are constantly undergoing change through the addition of new employees at all levels of the work force. The implementation of the recommended strategies. and the behaviors considered acceptable by their work group. success experiences. begins with top management. Socialization involves several organizational strategies. Poor socialization to an organization – a negligent or haphazard introduction to the company’s policies and practices – can undermine the accomplishment of the most sophisticated employee selection rpogram. They bring various needs and values that affect the organizations for which they work. which can lead to low job involvement and organizational commitment. and dissatisfaction for new employees. In general. regardless of the specific techniques applied. Stavroula Leka – Introduction to Work Psychology However. motivation and desire to perform their job well. Socialization occurs more quickly when there is greater interaction between new and established employees. New employees have much to learn beyond the necessary job skills.Dr. Socialization: the adjustment process by which new employees learn their role in the organizational hierarchy. anxiety. the company’s values. the mastery of skills. the company should provide new employees with challenging jobs that offer opportunities for growth and development. the OD process helps to free the typical bureaucratic organization from its rigidity and formality. The specific intervention techniques depend on the nature of the problem and on the organizational climate. allowing more responsiveness and open participation. positive interactions with superiors. the chance of success is small. An organization can recruit and hire qualified people and lose them in the early stages of employment because of an inadequate reception. and to dismissal or quitting. New workers come with different levels of ability. or intervention. The OD process is flexible and can be adapted to the needs of the situation. They must learn their role in the hierarchy. and the behaviors considered acceptable by their work group. their company’s values. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Chapter 9 / Page 7 of 9 .
An organization’s culture is influenced by the type of industry of which it is part. satisfaction with supervisor. For example. Organizational climate is what we perceive when we observe the way a company functions. many new employees act on their own to obtain information about the job and organization from their co-workers and supervisors. competitive environments. the causes of an organization’s operational style. To resolve them. can develop their own subcultures that may differ from that of the dominant organizational culture. and organizational commitment. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Chapter 9 / Page 8 of 9 . engineering and marketing. Organizational Culture A major organizational factor to which new employees must be socialized is the culture of the group they are joining. Resocialization: Most people can expect to change jobs several times during their working life. This means that throughout your career you are likely to experience new socialization experiences – or resocialization – every time you join a different organization.Dr. and with a high rate of turnover. arguing that the concepts share a fundamental similarity. such as research. Some I/O psychologists use the terms organizational ‘culture’ and organizational ‘climate’ interchangeably. steel manufacturers share cultural characteristics that are distinct from those of publishers. Different departments within a company. Stavroula Leka – Introduction to Work Psychology Role Ambiguity and Role Conflict Role ambiguity: a situation that arises when job responsibilities are unstructured or poorly defined. whereas organizational culture relates to deeper issues. different companies within the same industry can be expected to have a common organizational culture. and values as manifested in company and industry practices. These 2 factors relate to socialization. Role conflict: a situation that arises when there is a disparity between job demands and the employee’s personal standards. and customer expectations. High levels of role ambiguity and role conflict are associated with low levels of job satisfaction. expectations. hospitals or movie studios because of different market conditions. Organizational culture: the organization’s pattern of beliefs. Others note that climate is the surface manifestation of culture.
Job tenure – staying with a company for a long period of time – will tend to assure a closer person-organization fit. Person-environment congruence: the match between an employee’s perception of the requirements and the actual requirements of the organization. skills. Stavroula Leka – Introduction to Work Psychology Person-Organization Fit Person-organization fit: the degree of congruence between an employee’s values and organizational values. and abilities are suitable for a particular job but also whether the applicants fit the organization’s culture. selection. That agreement can be maximized through recruitment. ___________________________________________________________________________________ Chapter 9 / Page 9 of 9 . The higher the person-organization fit. and socialization procedures.Dr. Employees who cannot accept the company’s values may have quit or been fired. the higher the job satisfaction and organizational commitment and the lower the turnover. suggesting that companies should evaluate not only whether the applicants’ knowledge. whereas employees who remain on the job are likely to have internalized the company’s values and attitudes. Some organizational psychologists advocate a more comprehensive approach to employee selection.
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