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University of California

Berkeley
Haas School of Business

UGBA 105: Organizational Behavior


Fall, 2009

Professor Edward Eli Kass Office: F496


email: Edward_kass@haas.berkeley.edu
Office Hrs: Mon 11-12 and by appointment.
Course Room: Haas F 295
Mon 12:30-2:00 pm

Discussion Sections:

Discussion
GSI Wed Room

Osman Malik 8:00-9:30 C 110 osman_malik@mba.berkeley.edu


Gopi Pai 11:00-12:30 C 110 gopi_pai@mba.berkeley.edu
Ian Lee 11:00-12:30 C 125 ian_lee@mba.berkeley.edu
Osman Malik 12:30-2:00 C 110
Ian Lee 12:30-2:00 C 125

Course Description and Objectives

This course provides students with the tools needed to diagnose and solve organizational
problems and influence the actions of individuals, groups, and organizations. Specifically,
Organizational Behavior is designed to provide a practical guide to understanding and managing
behavior – your own, and that of your coworkers – in organizations. We draw on social science
theory to identify the key human tendencies that can pose obstacles to career achievement even
for the most talented and technically competent individuals. These include the challenges of
making decisions effectively, motivating others to implement your vision, influencing those who
resist your ideas, and managing your own authority. We will explore these issues using readings,
cases, lectures, discussions, and in-class exercises.

The objective is to familiarize you with the basic ideas and some applications of those ideas, and
to give you a framework for organizing your own past experience as well as guiding additional
learning and reading you will be doing after you complete the course. Our objective is not to
teach you how to follow a specific recipe for doing something, but rather to teach you to cook for
yourself, by developing conceptual skills and knowledge so that you can solve novel problems
independently and with confidence.
The following is a partial list of course objectives:

• To provide an overview of the fundamental theories and principles of organizational


behavior, so that you can learn how to diagnose and find solutions to organizational
people problems.
• To learn how to get things done effectively and efficiently when working with or
managing other people.
• To further your development in leadership and interpersonal skills through experiential
exercises and discussion.
• To help you gain further insight into how your own experiences, preferences, strengths,
and weaknesses may impact your ability to become an effective member of
organizations.

TEXTS

The required text is: George and Jones, Understanding and Managing Organizational Behavior
(5th edition). Any reading designated as “Chapter…” refers to the text.

Course Reader available at on Study.Net (see Attachment)

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

1. Participation: The class is comprised of a combination of lectures, case discussions, exercises,


and videos. You are expected to participate in class discussions and all exercises as they are the
central component of the course. Your participation is evaluated on discussion and analyses of
written and video cases, participation in exercises and contributions to the class discussion. You
are expected to read the assignments before each class session and it is fair game for me to ask
you personally about them during class. Evaluations of this part of your participation will be
based on your ability to contribute comments that are insightful, relevant, and progressive (move
the discussion along). Please pay careful attention to all cases, exercises and videos as these
aspects of the course can find their way onto the midterm and final exams.

2. Exams: There will be a midterm and a non-cumulative final exam each worth 25% of your
course grade. The tests may include multiple choice, true false, fill in the blank, and short
answer/short essay questions. Information from the readings, lectures, and class discussions will
be covered on the exams. There will be no make-up exams nor will exams be given early.

3. Team Project--Organizational Encounter: Since organizational work involves team-building,


communication, and interaction with others, you are asked to participate in a team project. The
team project requires you to examine a problem or issue of concern in a real organization. The
purpose of this project is to give you the opportunity to apply course materials to an actual
organizational situation.

Additionally, you will have the opportunity to experience the processes and problems involved in
working with other group members to reach a specific objective. You will work on the project
with three other classmates (4 total in a group). The goal of the team project is to increase your
understanding of organizational behavior. A requirement is that you visit an organization and
interview two of its employees (any level employee is fine).

The project will involve the following steps:

a) Choosing an Organization or Contact Person: Choose an organization of interest to you and


establish a contact person or if you already have a contact person in mind, this is fine also. You
may want to ask your contact person for various materials such as annual reports, a mission
statement or a statement of corporate goals, or any other information that is relevant and
accessible, to get familiar with the organization. The organization may be a government agency,
a community group, a student association, a religious organization, a voluntary association, a
business firm or any other organization with which you are familiar. Your contact person may be
someone you do not know or it may be a friend or family member. Your group should visit the
organization you are studying and team members should participate in the interview session. An
example of some of the more popular organizations that have been studied in the past include:
UPS, FedEx, Safeway, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Levi Strauss, various software
companies, Sororities, the campus Bookstore, and Mom/Dad/Friend's place of work.

b) Defining a Topic: Choose an OB topic or issue early. The most important criteria for choosing
the topic/issue is that it is interesting to you and relevant to the organization. Suggested topics
include, but are not limited to analyzing power and leadership in organizations, the impact of
new communication technologies in team effectiveness, improving motivation, managing
diversity, increasing commitment among workers, reducing stress, and the impact of
organizational culture on job satisfaction. I will be happy to brainstorm topics with you.

c) The Interview. Your group should prepare a list of questions as the basis for your interview
(you don't necessarily have to stick to this list). It should help you think about what you want to
ask the person. Please include your list of interview questions in the back of your paper. * I will
post tips on how to conduct an interview and also sample interview questions online.

d) Write-up. Present a concise (5 pages max!) and readable paper. The paper should cover the
following points:

i) Identify the organization or person in question and describe the person you are interviewing
(i.e., his/her position in the company, how long he/she has worked for the company, etc.).

ii) Describe your impressions of the organization.

iii) Briefly describe the topic you are examining (i.e., “we were interested in how student athletes
handle stress” or “how the management tries to motivate its workers”).

iv) Summarize what you learned in your interviews using occasional quotes. Please do not
format your paper in a question/answer format. Try to compare the interviewee's statements with
OB theory (e.g., "the management has a typical Theory Y approach to management", "the
students use a number of techniques suggested by OB to reduce stress such as....", "the workers'
feel that their higher order needs are not being satisfied"). Your goal in this section is to apply
OB theory. This involves analyzing whether the organization you studied uses OB theory
effectively or needs to be educated in OB theory (i.e., the interviewee has lots of complaints that
you think can be addressed using OB theory).

v) You should draw some conclusions about how OB theory relates to the organization. Does the
organization need to change its practices or do you think it will be successful? Try to give some
prescriptive advice based on your knowledge of OB. Example: “The organization needs to
consider that not all employees are motivated by money. They should try to increase motivation
by focusing on other needs. They could have more social events (social needs) and awards
banquets (esteem needs) to help increase work motivation.”

e) Team Effort Grading Policy: Since not all members contribute equally, there is a grading
policy to discourage slackers or freeriders. Students in a group do not have to receive the same
grade; some students may receive more and some less. When the group submits their project,
each individual must also submit a confidential document that states how much each member
(including self) has contributed to the group. This can be done by distributing points across
group members such that the total is 100%. If you believe that each member of your 4 member
team contributed equally, you would allocate 25% to each member. If you believe that 3 of you
did all of the work while the fourth person contributed nothing, you would assign the points 33
1/3, 33 1/3, 33 1/3, 0. This summary of contribution is due the same day as the project.
Here are some additional hints that may help you in working on your team project:

1) Start early selecting your organization and delineating your topic


2) Name your group
3) Find regular meeting times
4) Define what each person wants to contribute or get out of the experience
5) Develop leadership and organization in your team meetings

4. Participation in Research Experiments: Throughout this class, you will be studying topics
that incorporate knowledge generated from studies of organizational behavior. Many of these
studies have included laboratory experiments with students like you. You can gain an inside
perspective and understanding of the social scientific research process involved in the study of
organizational behavior by being a participant in them. By doing so, you also contribute to the
ongoing production of knowledge about organizational behavior.

For this class, you will be required to complete a pre-measure questionnaire packet (to be
administered in class) and 3 hours of organizational behavior studies. Haas faculty and graduate
students will conduct these studies. At the end of these studies you will be debriefed and given
time to ask questions about the study. In some cases, experimenters may explain the purpose of
their studies to the class after they have been completed, providing you with an opportunity learn
more about the topic being studied. Approximately 3 different experimental studies will be run
during the semester, each lasting one hour. Thus, each study is worth 1 experimental credit. You
will be e-mailed by Catalyst when an experiment is about to be run so that you can sign up to
participate in it. You are allowed to participate in up to 3 different BA 105 studies. You are not
allowed to participate in the same study more than once. If you sign up for a study you have
already completed, you will not receive credit for participation. If you fulfill all of your required
experimental hours, you will receive 100% credit; if you fulfill only a portion of your required
experimental hours, you will receive credit only for the portion you completed.
If you decline participation in the experimental studies, the alternative option by which you can
fulfill the research requirement is to write one 5-page paper (double-spaced) on an organizational
behavior topic of your choice for each hour you do not participate in a research experiment.
Some students have written on leadership, job design, or done case studies. These alternative
papers are due by the day of your FINAL EXAM and should be turned into the subject pool
coordinator’s mailbox. No email submissions will be accepted. See Appendix E for information
about signing-up, rescheduling or canceling information.

Format for written work: Due to page limits, to ensure fairness for all, please use 1-inch
margins, double space and 12 point Times New Roman font. Papers that do not adhere to these
standards will incur up to a 5-point penalty.

Double Submission Requirement: The Dean of the Haas School recently requested
instructors to collect double submissions of assignments (both paper and electronic) as a means
for discouraging and detecting plagiarism and other forms of dishonesty.

File Naming Conventions: When you post an assignment or document online, or email one, it
is very helpful for you and your team to adopt the following conventions. Use the format
TeamName_AssignmentName_version#.doc for group work.

Late Paper Policy: All papers are due at the beginning of class. Papers turned in during class
receive a 5% penalty. Those received after class receive a 10% penalty per day late.

Course Grading
Course grades will be determined by the following weighting:
Midterm 25%
Final 25%
Group Project 30%
Participation 15%
Research Participation 5%

Course Schedule and Readings: (Note: This schedule is tentative and may be changed. Each
class is a novel learning community. Depending on class conversation and interest, the syllabus
may change. If it does change, I will give you advance notice.)
Week 1 Introduction
Mon Introduction to Organizational Behavior and Course
8/31
Wed Read: Chapter 1
9/2 Appendix 1
Week 2 Begin Forming Teams
Mon
9/7 Labor Day Break
Wed
9/9 Begin forming teams today
Week 3 Learning and Motivation
Mon Learning and motivation 1
9/14 Read: Chapter 5
Wed Learning and motivation 2
9/16 Read: Rainbarrel case
What Shamu taught me about a happy marriage
Week 4 Motivation and Job Design
Mon
9/21 Read: Chapters 6 and 7
Wed
9/23 T.B.A.
Week 5 Decision-Making and Perception
Mon
9/28 Readings: None
Wed
9/30 Read: Chapters 4 and pages 497-510 of chapter 15
Week 6 Organizational Structure
Mon Structure 1
10/5 Read: Chapter 16
Wed Read: Rondell case
10/7 Group Project Outlines Due (Team name and list of members,
organization to be studied)
Week 7 Midterm Exam
Mon
10/12 Midterm Exam
Wed
10/14 T.B.A.
Week 8 Organizational Culture
Mon Culture
10/19 Video: Mary Kay & Boiler Room
Read: Chapter 17
Wed Read: Smile Factory Case
10/21
Week 9 Power
Mon Power and persuasion 1
10/26 Chapter 13
Wed Power and persuasion 2
10/28 Submit Survey questions to GSI with some hypotheses regarding
what you expect to find.
Read: Monica Ashley case
Week 10 Groups, Teams, and Diversity
Mon Please bring money to the Mon and Wed classes.
11/2 Read: Chapters 10 and 11
Wed
11/4 Groups and Teams 2
Week 11 Strategy and strategic thinking or TBA
Mon
11/9 Read: Brand called you
Wed
11/11 Veteran’s Day Break
Week 12 Conflict and Negotiation
Mon
11/16 No Readings
Wed
11/18
Week 13 Bonus Days
Mon Bonus Day
11/23
Wed Bonus Day
11/25
Week 14 Leadership and Change
Mon
11/30 Read: Chapters 12 and 18.
Wed Team Projects and Peer Assessments are due
12/2 Readings: TBA
Week 15 Wrap-Up
Mon Review Wrap-Up
12/7
Wed Review
12/9
Using Study.net

Student Instructions
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Experimental Credit Information:

Signing-up, rescheduling, or canceling information:

• This semester we will be implementing a new method of signing up for experimental sessions
via the internet. You will receive detailed instructions on how to use this system shortly. All
sign-ups, cancellations and rescheduling will be completed through this system.
• If you would like to reschedule an appointment, you must do so at least 48 hours in advance of
your session. In the event you cannot reschedule 48 hours in advance of your session, you should
cancel your appointment.
• You must cancel an appointment at least 24 hours in advance of your sign-up time. If you fail
to cancel an appointment, you will be considered a no-show and given a penalty.
• The penalty for no-shows is that you will be required to complete an additional hour of
experimental participation. If there are only 3 experimental studies being run, then you will have
to write the alternative 5-page paper to fulfill this requirement.
• Please be courteous to your fellow students and the researchers in selecting a sign-up time.
Several of these studies involve groups and if one person does not show, we will not be able to
run the study and the session may be cancelled.
• If our experimenters need to cancel an experimental session, we will notify you 24 hours in
advance. You will not receive experimental credit for a cancelled session unless we fail to notify
you 24 hours in advance.

The experimental session:

• All sessions start at Berkeley time (10 after the hour) and you must be on time. Once a session
has started, latecomers may be considered no-shows (and assigned a penalty).
• Participation in these experimental studies is voluntary. You are free to decline to be in an
experimental session at any point. However, you will not receive the one-hour credit if you do
not complete the study. If you participate throughout the study, you may refuse to answer any
questions that make you feel uncomfortable and still receive full credit.

Checking your experimental participation status:


• A status sheet detailing how many and which experiments you have participated in as well as
any assigned penalty hours will be posted on the bulletin board outside F424 and F426.
If you have any questions regarding the experimental research requirement, feel free to contact
the subject pool coordinator, Sebastien Brion (brion@haas.berkeley.edu).

Contacting me:
I have office hours. Calling is not so efficient. The fastest way to reach me is via email. You may
email me at Edward_kass@haas.berkeley.edu Due to some browser setting issues, I may reply to
your email from obprofessor@gmail.com If you send me an email and haven’t heard back,
please check your spam folder in case it ended up there and let your filter know to accept my
other email address.
1. Please write clear, well-formatted, concise emails. The subject should specifically describe
what you’re asking about. Attachment file names should be complete and clear (see File
Naming, earlier in syllabus).
2. If you send me a question that might require some explaining, please also send me a phone
number and a time I can reach you at that number. I will answer all the questions I can by email,
but sometimes the phone is a more efficient way to actually get you the explanation you need
than via email.
3. Finally, please only send questions that cannot be answered by simply reading your syllabus
or the slides and materials that have been made available to you.