THE NATURE OF PEOPLE Six basic concepts exist in regard to people: individual differences, perception, a whole person, motivated

behavior, desire for involvement, and the value of the person. Individual Differences People have much in common (they become excited by an achievement; they are grieved by the loss of a loved one), but each person in the world is also individually unique. The idea of individual differences is supported by science. Each person is different from all others, just as each person’s DNA profile is different. And these differences are usually substantial rather than meaningless. Think, for example, of a person’s billion brain cells and the billions of possible combinations of connections and bits of experience stored there. All people are different, and this diversity should be recognized and viewed as a valuable asset to organizations. The idea of individual differences comes originally from psychology. From the day of birth, each person is unique (the impact of nature), and individual experiences after birth tend to make people even more different (the influence of nurture). Individual differences mean that management can motivate employees best by treating them differently. If it were not for individual differences, some standard across-the-board way of dealing with employees could be adopted, and minimum judgment would be required thereafter. Individual differences require that a manager’s approach to employees be individual, not statistical. This belief that each person is different from all others is typically called the law of individual differences.

Perception People look at the world and see things differently. Even when presented with the same object, two people may view it in two different ways. Their view of their objective environment is filtered by perception, which is the unique way in which each person sees, organizes, and interprets things. People use an organized framework that they have built out of a lifetime of experiences and accumulated values. Having unique views is another way in which people act like human beings rather than rational machines. Employees see their work worlds differently for a variety of reasons. They may differ in their personalities, needs, demographic factors, and past experiences, or they may find themselves in different physical settings, time periods, or social surroundings. Whatever the reasons, they tend to act on the basis of their perceptions. Essentially, each person seems to be saying, “I react not to an objective world, but to a world judged in terms of my own beliefs, values, and expectations.” This way of reacting reflects the process of selective perception, in which people tend to pay attention to those features of their work environment that are consistent with or reinforce their own expectations. Selective perceptions can not only cause misinterpretations of single events at work but also lead to future rigidity in the search for new experiences. Managers must learn to expect perceptual differences among their employees, accept people as emotional beings, and manage them in individual ways. A Whole Person Although some organizations may wish they could employ only a person’s skill or brain, they actually employ a whole person rather than certain characteristics. Different human traits may be studied separately, but in the final

Also.analysis they are all part of one system making up a whole person. People function as total human beings. they want to be treated with caring. so management must care about the job’s effect on the whole person. Home life is not totally separable from work life. This can be achieved through employee empowerment—a practice that will result in mutual benefit for both parties (see Chapter 8). it is trying to develop a better employee. and they play many roles inside and outside the firm. Because of this distinction. be provided with opportunities to develop themselves. So her supervisor had to consider her needs as a whole person. Clearly. Motivated Behavior From psychology. when Anika was offered the job. her workstation required a substantial adjustment in height. Desire for Involvement Many employees today are actively seeking opportunities at work to become involved in relevant decisions. a person’s needs may be unrealistic. She was talented. They hunger for the chance to share what they know and to learn from the experience. since she had a minor handicap. If the whole person can be improved. thereby contributing their talents and ideas to the organization’s success. Jobs shape people somewhat as they perform them. However. For example. When management applies the principles of organizational behavior. experienced. To an outside observer. and willing to work the second shift. people are motivated not by what w think they ought to have but by what they themselves want. a path toward increased need fulfillment is the better approach. Employees belong to many organizations other than their employer. These may relate to a person’s needs or the consequences that result from acts. we learn that normal behavior has certain causes. Value of the Person People deserve to be treated differently from other factors of production (land. but they are still controlling. and this illustrates that motivation is essential to the operation of organizations. capital. They refuse to accept the old idea that they are simply economic tools or a ―pair of hands. or it can threaten decreased need fulfillment if they follow an undesirable course of action. Consequently. and dignity— and they increasingly demand such treatment from their employers. and emotional conditions are not separate from physical conditions. This fact leaves management with two basic ways to motivate people. and be given reasonable chances to make meaningful contributions—now. technology) because they are of a higher order in the universe. she responded by saying that she would need to start a half hour late on Wednesdays because her child care service was not available until then. organizations need to provide opportunities for meaningful involvement. It can show them how certain actions will increase their need fulfillment. but it also wants to develop a better person in terms of growth and fulfillment. then benefits will extend beyond the firm into the larger society in which each employee lives. a supervisor wanted to hire a new telemarketer named Anika Wilkins. not just as a worker. In the case of needs.‖ They want to be valued for their skills and abilities. Skill does not exist apart from background or knowledge. . respect.

and the other is the informal social system. rewarded employees for notable ethical behavior. They are formed and maintained on the basis of some mutuality of interest among their participants.3. Everything is related to everything else. they also have social roles and status. we learn that organizations are social systems. Glenda Ortiz. The idea of a social system provides a framework for analyzing organizational behavior issues. Social Systems From sociology. One is the formal (official) social system. and each part is subject to influence by any other part. was running for reelection. The action was within the rules and considered routine by Ortiz. mutual interest provides a superordinate goal— one that can be attained only through the integrated efforts of individuals and their employers. Just as people have psychological needs. Ortiz disciplined an employee for a safety violation. Ethics In order to attract and retain valuable employees in an era in which good workers are constantly recruited away. Jimmie Swallen. publicized positive role models. Mutual Interest Organizations need people. they are formed on the basis of mutual interest. Managers need employees to help them reach organizational objectives. the union president. Their behavior is influenced by their group as well as by their individual drives. provided ethics training. and set up internal procedures to . The existence of a social system implies that the organizational environment is one of dynamic change rather than a static set of relations as pictured on an organization chart. The union encouraged the employee to file a grievance about Ortiz’s action. Companies have established codes of ethics. and they must treat employees ethically.THE NATURE OF ORGANIZATIONS The three key concepts of organizations are that they are social systems. The effects of the broader social system can be seen in the experience of a supervisor. More and more firms are recognizing this need and are responding with a variety of programs to ensure a higher standard of ethical performance by managers and employees alike. consequently. because there is no common base on which to build.6 If mutuality is lacking. It helps make organizational behavior problems understandable and manageable. and the simple disciplinary matter became a complex labor relations problem that consumed the time of many people before it was resolved. people need organizations to help them reach individual objectives. organizations must treat employees in an ethical fashion. and people need organizations. activities therein are governed by social laws as well as psychological laws. the local union already was upset because of what it considered to be unfair discipline for safety violations in another branch of the company. Organizations have a human purpose. publicized statements of ethical values. and he wanted to show members that he was protecting their interests. trying to assemble a group and develop cooperation makes no sense. However. two types of social systems exist side by side in organizations. As shown in Figure 1. In fact. and it also wanted to show management that it would not accept similar treatment in this branch. All parts of the system are interdependent. In addition. It wanted to show sympathy for its fellow members in the other branch.

growing. (See. the argument for moral intelligence in ―What Managers Are Reading. because it has better products and services. They have begun to recognize that since organizational behavior always involves people.handle misconduct. They are learning. organizational.‖) Because of the importance of ethics. and costs are reduced. When the organization’s goals and actions are ethical. for example. it is more likely that individual. This creates a three-party win–win–win result in which there need not be any losers. People find more satisfaction in work when there is cooperation and teamwork. Quality is better. this theme will be addressed periodically throughout the text. . ethical philosophy is involved in one way or another in each action they take. and social objectives will be met. and an overall climate of cooperation and progress. Perhaps the greatest beneficiary is society itself. service is improved. more capable citizens. and contributing. The organization is also more successful because it operates more effectively.

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