Organizational behavior is the combination of four areas of study—psychology, social psychology, sociology, and anthropology. While each of these areas involves an examination of people and their interactions, the focuses are quite different:
- Psychology studies the mind and how people make decisions.
- Social Psychology examines how people work in groups.
- Sociology explores how systems work within the organization.
- Anthropology examines how culture works within the organization.
Now, assume that you are an organizational consultant and have been asked by a new CEO to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the organization.
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Respond to the following.
- Of the four areas of study listed above, which would you focus on first?
- Make sure to explain why you chose this area, and why it would take precedence over the other areas.
Organizations from time to time must make hard decisions (expand, lay off employees, or close a facility). As a manager, you will have to use work experiences, advice from supervisors, and the organizational culture to support your decision. Organizational culture is the sum of the values and beliefs shared among employees.
Suppose you are a manager who is faced with having to reduce headcount (lay off one of your two employees) in your unit. Sales within the company have declined due to the downward spiral of the economy and each department within the organization is faced with making the same decision. Fortunately, you only have to cut one job; others are reducing more.
- Mary is in her mid-20s, single, college graduate, she is very hard working and was in the top 10% of the performance ratings this year, she constantly volunteers to travel, work weekends and evenings. However, she supports political causes that could be viewed as contrary to the goals of the company.
- Alice is in her mid-40s, has two young children, her husband is a doctor, her performance is good, and she has above average performance reviews. However, she has limited availability on weekends and limitations on overnight travel due to her volunteer work with local charities.
Respond to the following:
- As a manager who would you select to layoff and why?
- What is the potential impact of this choice on organizational culture?