ESSAY QUESTIONS 1. Explain why it is important to study organizational behavior.
ANSWER: Of the four principal ingredients (task, technology, structure, and people) of an organization, employees are the most difficult to manage and change. Individuals display numerous differences, group norms can influence productivity, and leaders can fail. Motivation, leadership, and group dynamics are very difficult to understand. Greater understanding of these behavioral phenomena can enhance one's managerial effectiveness. (pg. 7-9)
2. Provide an example of a business firm as an open system.
ANSWER: An open system gathers or receives inputs from its environment, transforms these inputs through application of technology, and provides a finished product to the environment or market place. A Heinz food processing plant purchases raw tomatoes, onions, and other vegetables from the environment. It then mixes and cooks these ingredients and converts them into catsup. The catsup is bottled, packaged, and shipped to the marketplace. (pg. 9)
3. Distinguish between informal and formal organizations. Are they complementary or contradictory?
ANSWER: The formal organization consists of positions, departments, organization levels, and the authority and lines of communication that link organization parts and people together. The personal relationships and friendships between two or more organizational members constitute an informal organization. The formal and informal can coexist, be mutually reinforcing, or in conflict. The task of the manager is to be aware of the informal and try to manage the situation so that the informal supports and furthers the goals of the formal organization. (pg. 11)
4. Identify the four reasons managing organizational behavior will be challenging in the 1990s.
ANSWER: They are (1) the increasing globalization of the marketplace, (2) greater workforce diversity, (3) continuing technological development and innovation, and (4) the continuing concern and demand for higher moral and ethical behavior at work. (pg. 20)
5. What is the difference between objective knowledge and skill knowledge?
ANSWER: Objective knowledge is the information gained from research and scholarly activity. Answers to scientific questions resulting from research studies form the knowledge base for effectively managing organizations. Skill development refers to the practice and feedback associated with mastering behavioral abilities necessary for successful management. (pg. 21)
6. In addition to basic enabling skills, the Department of Labor has identified five essential functional skills necessary to be successful in the workplace now and in the future. Briefly identify these skills.
ANSWER: The essential skills include (1) resource management skills such as time management; (2) information management skills such as data interpretation; (3) personal interaction skills, such as teamwork; (4) systems behavior and performance skills, such as cause-effect relationships; and (5) technology utilization skills, such as troubleshooting skills. (pg. 22)
7. Briefly identify and discuss the major challenge to managers in today’s "market or environment.”
ANSWER: Change is the biggest challenge on American managers’ minds. Changing realities in the workplace are challenging managers, employees, and executives alike to learn new skills and to adapt themselves to new work environments. Change becomes its own challenge and where change is especially rapid, organizations must be responsive and flexible. (pg. 15)
8. Briefly identify the major drivers of change in the current work environment.
ANSWER: Change is driven by (1) global markets, (2) evolving customer needs, (3) breakthrough technological developments, and (4) competition (international). (pg. 15-18)