Organizational Behavior and Success
Progressive organizations attempting to harness success in the ever-changing global economy have found they must adapt quickly to changing environments, develop and implement new management strategies, and boldly anticipate the future. Without a clear vision, a well-defined mission, a strong organizational culture, and the ability to work successfully within a wide range of cultures, organizations seeking to hire skilled employees will find themselves at an extreme disadvantage.
"The most important company assets go in and out the doors every day, i.e. the employees," said Shelly Meyers (2000), CEO of Meyers Capital Management. The new workplace is diverse, informal, and has abandoned the vertical in favor of a more horizontal approach. An organization's effectiveness, its ability to achieve its goals and efficiency, along with its ability to do so with minimal waste, will depend on how well it can implement these concepts.
The study of individuals and groups in organizations is referred to as OB, an abbreviated term for Organizational Behavior. Of all the assets available to organizations in today's modern world, it is still the people that are the most important to its success. Effectively managing people is key to the long-term success of any organization. Understanding the new demands and expectations now placed on employees can prove instrumental in creating a comfortable and productive work environment.
"Yesterday's strategies won't necessarily make you a success in tomorrow's world" (Ernst & Young, cited in Organizational Behavior, 2003). Unlike the workplaces of the past where traditional hierarchies ruled, there is a new emphasis on teamwork and the empowerment of employees at all levels, an increased concern for work-life balance, a greater dependency on technology, and considerably higher standards regarding ethics and social responsibility.
OB strategies are unique to each situation and do not recognize one method as being best to manage people. OB utilizes surveys, case studies, laboratory studies, field studies, and statistics called meta analyses, to gain insight and better understand each individual situation, carefully determining the best approach.
Earning the trust and respect of employees will always be at the foundation of any effective management strategy and OB seeks to maintain that standard. Its ultimate goal however, is to constantly improve the organization's functions as well as the experiences of all its members.
"People should be valued for their differences- not in spite of them." (Bissonnette, 2005). Technology and globalization have changed the face of corporate America. There is no longer one face, one language, or one culture. People from all over the globe have found themselves gathering under the same umbrella, sharing in actions, values, beliefs, and common purpose with people continents away. The co-existence of gender, race, ethnicity, age, able-bodiedness, and sexual orientation differences in the workplace are referred to as workforce diversity. Progressive organizations embrace this type of diversity, preferring to hire employees based on talent, no longer harboring any kind of bias. Ability has become the most sought after characteristic.
Organizational culture can be considered the fabric from which all organizational garments are woven. Formally defined, organizational culture is: A pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, which has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way you perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems (Schein). Developing from within, the system is comprised of shared actions, values, and beliefs that guide the behavior of its members. Recognizing its heroes, belief in rituals, rites and ceremony, having its own jargon and symbols, organizational cultures in their purest form are easily observed, providing a strong identity and a stable social system that needs little in the way of outside control.
High performance employees are often after more than just a high paying job; they seek out organizations whose culture stands for something they can believe in. For those who found the slogan "Truth, Justice and the American Way!" appealing, there was Superman. His creators were after a symbol that the American culture would buy into. Between the slogan, Superman's heroic actions, the suit made from the blanket the infant was found wrapped in, and the familiar "S" symbol which came to stand for the true essence of the man- Superman's creators were able to develop a culture of followers who shared in his beliefs, values, and was also aspired to share in his actions...
Communication is a vital part of any organization's ability to build trusting relationships. It is through communication that employees at all levels feel empowered. Maintaining close communication keeps employees connected at all levels; it is the chain that collectively links the organization. A slight lapse in communication can break that chain and any trust can quickly become substantially diminished. Communication, whether done by phone, email, or in person, links organizational members to one another, empowers individuals at all levels by giving them a voice, and makes globalization possible.
The new workplace puts certain demands on its employees that traditional workplaces did not. One of those demands is life-long learning. No longer can individuals learn one technology and stop there. The environment is constantly changing and to keep up in the progressive workplace, employees must constantly acquire the latest available information, increase their knowledge, and be capable of adapting to every new circumstance. It's no longer what you know or even whom you know, it’s what you've just learned and whom you've just met, that is fast becoming more important.
"Turn and face the strain- changes" (Bowie, 1972). The new workplace has forced changes in organizational behavior. To keep pace and to offer a work environment that attracts high-performance employees, progressive organizations have had to be dedicated to learning, listening, analyzing, and be willing to change in order to remain competitive.
Along with building trust through communication, empowering employees at all levels, and developing a sense of cultural sensitivity; in order to be successful, progressive organizations must continue to keep one eye on the future while keeping both feet firmly on the ground.