Every person is unique because of background, individual characteristics, needs, and how they perceive the world and other individuals People who perceiv e things differently behave differently. People with different attitudes or biases respond differently to instructions and work assignments. People with different personalities interact differently with supervisors, co-workers, subordinates, and customers. Individual differences explain why some people embrace changes, and others are fearful of changes; why some people are productive only when they receive detailed directions, others just require a broad outline. Individual differences shape our organizational behavior and impact our success.
Cultural values and norms play a substantial role in the development of personality. Social factors include family life, religion, and many kinds of formal and informal groups. Situational factors reflect the opportunities or constraints imposed by the operational context.
Who we are is a function of two forces: what we have inherited (nature), and how we are raised (nurture). OB researchers have found significant evidence of this relationship by studying groups of twins. A recent study found that heredity, family experience, and work experience all contributed to whether or not an individual assumed a leadership role. Similar patterns were shown for males and females.
Personality combines a set of physical and mental characteristics that reflect how a person looks, thinks, acts, and feels. Special tests have been developed that attempt to measure personality dynamics, and thereby predict certain. Some employers have used these tests in hiring and in promotion. Managers should use caution. There is no foolproof ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to aligning a personality type to job situation. Also, technological sophistication has spawned various forms of cheating on these tests - from acquiring electronic answer keys, coaching by friends who supply the ‘correct’ answers, to the prevalence of overall dishonesty.
The degree to which you are aware of how your actions and behaviors affect others, and monitoring those behaviors to adapt to the situation. High self-monitors are: Sensitive to external cues. Behave differently in different situations. Good at changing behavior contingent on the environmental circumstance. Low self-monitors: Not sensitive to external cues. Not able to disguise their behaviors. “What you see is what you get”. Are not always able to hide their feelings. In many situations, it is not prudent for others to always know what your are thinking. Recall Chapter introduction regarding Anne Mulcahy’s (Xerox CEO) relationship with Xerox president Sandra Burns, during developmental years. Mulcahy tells Burns to develop a poker face… “Ursula, they could read your face. You have to be careful. Sometimes it’s not appropriate.”
Since it is difficult to completely separate work and non-work lives, life stressors can spillover into the workplace. This compounds the stress and can negatively impact attitudes and performance.
Too much stress can overload and break down a person’s physical and mental systems, resulting in absenteeism, turnover, errors, accidents, dissatisfaction, reduced performance, unethical behavior, and even illness.
Parents, friends, teachers, and external reference groups can influence individual values. Values develop as a product of learning and experiences.
Terminal values are the goals individuals would like to achieve during their lifetime. Instrumental values represent how a person might go about achieving important end states.
Different professions rank these categories differently.
Maglino’s values schema is aimed at people in the workplace. Maglino’s framework should be particularly relevant for studying values in OB.
Researchers have found greater follower satisfaction with the leader when there was congruence in terms of achievement, helping, honesty, and fairness values.
Younger workers perform better when supervisors share their values. Studies identified the nine more prevalent work-related values to be: Recognition of competence and accomplishment Respect Personal choice and freedom Involvement at work Pride in one’s work Quality of life Financial security Self development Health and wellness
Culture can be thought of as the “software of the mind.” It helps define boundaries between different groups and affects how their members relate to one another.
Geert Hofstede studied how value differences can influence behavior at work. The dimensions are interrelated, expressing each dimension to a larger or lesser degree.
High power distance and collectivism are often found together. Although the group reaches a consensus, they may still defer to the authority of the leader.
The challenge of workforce diversity is respecting individuals’ perspectives and contributions and promoting a shared sense of organizational vision and identity.
Demographic characteristics may serve as the basis of stereotypes that obscure individual differences and prevent people from getting to know each others as individuals. Stereotypes may present an obstacle that prevents an accurate assessment their performance potential.
Stereotyping that views senior management roles as occupied by males presents a significant barrier to advancement. Studies show that both men and women viewed women as supportive and encouraging roles, and men as taking charge. Impact of stereotypic bias has been generally underestimated. Research shows that gender is not a reliable predictor of how people will lead.
Organizations have acknowledged the social and business advantages that are gained with a diverse, multicultural workforce. Maintaining this diversity needed more than affirmative recruitment efforts. Policies and practices of inclusion were developed that offer equal opportunity for advancement to all levels of the organization.
Organizations may inadvertently set up potentially discriminatory situations by naming or creating special racial or ethnic clubs or social groups.
Baby Boomers value hard work, professional dress, long hours, and steady organizational advancement through established hierarchy. GenXers value work-life balance and professionalism. Millenials value diversity and gender equality, flexibility, fun, meaningful work, and flexible career paths.
Americans with Disabilities Ac t is a federal civil-rights statute that protect the rights of people with disabilities. The ADA has helped to generate a more inclusive climate in organizations. Universal design has resulted in greater access to buildings and work spaces.