This paper will provide a basic description and evaluation of the trends in Organizational Behavior (OB). It then goes on to expound on the influence of ethical behavior on decision making in an organization and its prevalence in modern day corporate environment. It also explores the ethical area of Organizational Behavior and how it can cause friction in the organization stemming from personal and career oriented causes. The final parts of this thesis speak about work stress and technological aspects of OB. Firstly one must know what OB is.
It’s an interdisciplinary field of study and practice, investigating the impact of individuals, groups, structure and environment on behavior within organizations. The primary concern of OB is with people, what they do and how their behavior affects individual, group and organizational performance. Life is full of decisions. Each day, people are faced with different problems requiring answers and solutions. Decision making is the process of defining problems and choosing a course of action from among alternatives.
Decision making at best is a challenge for employees in general and managers in particular. For example, many decisions management faces turn out to be ethical decisions or have ethical implications or consequences. Once we leave the realm of relatively ethical-free decisions (such as which production method to use for a particular product), decisions quickly become complex, and many carry with them an ethical dimension. Decision making in itself is not a simple process and is even more complicated when one thinks about the character and nature of decision making that includes ethical dimensions.
It would be nice if decision making was indeed a simple process and that a set of ethical principles was readily available for employees to “plug in” and walk away from, with a decision to be forthcoming. However, in reality that is not, nor will it ever be, the case when it comes to ethics and decision making. It is safe to say that decision making is one of the most important – if not the most important – of all individual and group efforts within an organization.
Ethics are the rules, principles, standards, or beliefs that commonly define right and wrong. Ethics are involved in all facets of business from decision-making to budgeting, from personnel issues to leadership. Today’s managers must be able to see the ethical issues in the choices they face, make decisions within an ethical framework, and build and maintain an ethical work environment. Managers must be particularly sensitive to ethical issues because of their key role as a bridge between upper management and operating employees.
For most employees, their manager is the only contact they have with middle and top management. As such, employees interpret the company’s ethical standards through the actions and words of their managers. If managers take company supplies home, cheat on maintenance reports, or engage in other unethical practices, they set a tone for their work groups that is likely to undermine all the efforts by top management to create a corporate climate of high ethical standards.
In a sense, therefore, managers must be even more ethical than their employees. There are many stakeholders with interests in ethical decision making: the organization itself, corporate boards, middle and top management, managers, operating employees, customers and clients, suppliers, competitors, the industry at large, the community, and the nation. At one time or another, ethical decisions affect all of these constituencies, and ethical considerations may change based on the particular group of stakeholders affected.
When an organization operates ethically, the people who manage that organization evaluate the organization’s business practices in light of human values of morality. An ethical dilemma occurs when two or more values or goals (e. g. , profit, growth, technological progress, desire to contribute to some basic good) conflict. The best solution to any problem almost always involves a cost of some kind. The difficulty is that ethical behavior often collides with the bottom line at least in the short-run. But things are changing.
The word is getting out: Ethical behavior is good business it contributes to organizational success. A reputation for honesty and integrity attracts and holds customers and it will ultimately show up in the bottom line. Organizations that have strong ethical values and consistently display them in all their activities derive other benefits: improved management control, increased productivity, avoidance of litigation, and an enhanced company image that attracts talent, improves morale, and earns the public’s good will.
For today’s managers, leading effectively therefore also means leading ethically and morally. While businesses expand over geographic and cultural boundaries, questions concerning the sense of right and wrong within an organization become more complex. It is the responsibility of managers to guide the design, implementation, and monitoring of the organization’s moral environment and strategies. As organizations put increased pressure on managers and employees to cut costs and increase productivity, ethical dilemmas are almost certain to increase.
By what they say and do, managers contribute toward setting their organization’s ethical standards. Personal ambition and self-interest are probably the most common causes of unethical decisions and behaviors. People act in self-serving or unethical ways in order to improve their personal situation or reputation, to gain advancement, to increase income, or to avoid criticism or punishment. Your peers can also put pressure on you to behave unethically. But the talent of an individual shines when he chooses to give priority to “right way” over the “easy way”.
This may cause pressure, yet the strain which workplace creates, leads to genuine stress. But what is stress? Stress refers to pressure, strain, or force on a system. Human stress includes physical and psychological stress. Too much of either can lead to fatigue or damage of the affected system. During the past decade, stress has become a significant topic in organizational behavior, in part due to the increase in competitive pressures in many industries, increased globalization, and advances in technology.
Globalization and strategic alliances have led to a dramatic increase in employee travel stress and relocation. The environmental impact of advanced information technology has led to a new term of techno stress. Loss of privacy, information inundation, erosion of face-to-face contact and continually having to learn new skills are also problems created for today’s employees at all levels by exploding technology. Techno stress is a relatively new term that refers to “a computer-generated form of physical and emotional burnout” that is caused by an inability to adapt to rapidly changing technology.
Technology has a dark side. It can liberate and empower its users with seemingly endless possibilities for processing and exchanging information. It can also overwhelm people with more information than they can handle, placing impossible demands on their time, diverting them from important work, and causing stress. Technology is hence a double-edged sword that enhances workplace productivity at the cost of increasing stress on workers. Employees rely on computer technology as a convenient and powerful tool for research and communication.
As workplace stress increases, employers take steps to combat its effects on workers. While employers seem to recognize the importance of work-life balance in reducing stress levels, the same does not appear to be true for workspace organization. Regardless of the cause of stress in the workplace, a majority of workers believe that stress-related problems have tremendous financial implications for their employers. Ironically, a study found that attempting to maintain work-life balance increases stress at work, and that increased stress negatively affects time spent with the family.
A survey found that 54 percent of workers feel that trying to maintain a work-life balance is a great source of additional stress at work. More than half of workers surveyed (57%); report the amount of stress in their lives affects the quality of time they spend with their families “somewhat” or “a great deal. ” This survey also revealed that most workers make a direct connection between workplace stress and accidents or illnesses. The majority of those surveyed agreed that stress is a leading cause of accidents and mistakes in the workplace (78%), and that people who experience a great deal of stress have higher absenteeism (76%).
Workers also believe that high levels of stress cause or exacerbate illnesses. The majority of people surveyed (74%), also agrees that three-fourths of all illnesses seen in medical practices are caused or made worse by stress. Despite the negative effects of stress, which range from on-the-job accidents to adverse impact on personal lives, nearly two thirds (63%) of all workers feel there is nothing that can be done about stress which it’s something people have to get used to.