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