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FOUNDATIONS OF INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR
Finding and analyzing the variables that have an impact on employee productivity, absence, turnover, and satisfaction is often complicated. Many of the concepts—motivation, or power, politics or organizational culture—are hard to assess. Other factors are more easily definable and readily available—data that can be obtained from an employee’s personnel file and would include characteristics such as: 1. The relationship between age and job performance is increasing in importance. First, there is a widespread belief that job performance declines with increasing age. • Second, the workforce is aging; workers over 55 are the fastest growing sector of the workforce. Third, U.S. legislation largely outlaws mandatory retirement. They see a number of positive qualities that older workers bring to their jobs, specifically experience, judgment, a strong work ethic, and commitment to quality. Older workers are also perceived as lacking flexibility and as being resistant to new technology. Some believe that the older you get, the less likely you are to quit your job. That conclusion is based on studies of the age-turnover relationship. 3. It is tempting to assume that age is also inversely related to absenteeism. Most studies do show an inverse relationship, but close examination finds that the age-absence relationship is partially a function of whether the absence is avoidable or unavoidable. In general, older employees have lower rates of avoidable absence. However, they have higher rates of unavoidable absence, probably due to their poorer health associated with aging and longer recovery periods when injured. 4. There is a widespread belief that productivity declines with age and that individual skills decay over time. Reviews of the research find that age and job performance are unrelated. This seems to be true for almost all types of jobs, professional and nonprofessional. Contributor: Punit Jajodia 2K9 To register as a contributor, log on to www.notesforexams.com 5. The relationship between age and job satisfaction is mixed. Most studies indicate a positive association between age and satisfaction, at least up to age 60. • Other studies, however, have found a U-shaped relationship. When professional and nonprofessional employees are separated, satisfaction tends to continually increase among professionals as they age, whereas it falls among nonprofessionals during middle age and then rises again in the later years. 1. There are few, if any, important differences between men and women that will affect their job performance, 2. Women are more willing to conform to authority, and men are more aggressive and more likely than women to have expectations of success, but those differences are minor. 3. There is no evidence indicating that an employee’s gender affects job satisfaction. 4. There is a difference between men and women in terms of preference for work schedules. Mothers of preschool children are more likely to prefer part-time work, flexible work schedules, and telecommuting in order to accommodate their family responsibilities. • Women’s quit rates are similar to men’s. The research on absence consistently indicates that women have higher rates of absenteeism. The logical explanation: cultural expectation that has historically placed home and family responsibilities on the woman. Marital Status
1. There are not enough studies to draw any conclusions about the effect of marital status on job productivity. 2. Research consistently indicates that married employees have fewer absences, undergo less turnover, and are more satisfied with their jobs than are their unmarried coworkers. 3. More research needs to be done on the other statuses besides single or married, such as divorce, domestic partnering, The issue of the impact of job seniority on job performance has been subject to misconceptions and Extensive reviews of the seniority-productivity relationship have been conducted: There is a positive relationship between tenure and job productivity. Contributor: Punit Jajodia 2K9 To register as a contributor, log on to www.notesforexams.com There is a negative relationship between tenure to absence. Tenure is also a potent variable in explaining turnover. Tenure has consistently been found to be negatively related to turnover and has been suggested as one of The evidence indicates that tenure and satisfaction are positively related. 1. We were not all created equal; most of us are to the left of the median on some normally distributed ability curve. 2. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses in terms of ability in performing certain tasks or activities; the issue is knowing how people differ in abilities and using that knowledge to increase performance. 3. Ability refers to an individual’s capacity to perform the various tasks in a job. It is a current assessment of what one 4. Individual overall abilities are made up of two sets of factors: intellectual and physical. 1. Intellectual abilities are those needed to perform mental activities. 2. IQ tests are designed to ascertain one’s general intellectual abilities. Examples of such tests are popular college admission tests such as the SAT, GMAT, and LSAT. 3. The seven most frequently cited dimensions making up intellectual abilities are: number aptitude, verbal comprehension, perceptual speed, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, spatial visualization, and memory. 4. Jobs differ in the demands they place on incumbents to use their intellectual abilities. For example, the more information-processing demands that exist in a job, the more general intelligence and verbal abilities will be necessary to perform the job successfully. 5. A careful review of the evidence demonstrates that tests that assess verbal, numerical, spatial, and perceptual abilities are valid predictors of job proficiency at all levels of jobs. 6. The major dilemma faced by employers who use mental ability tests is that they may have a negative impact on racial 7. New research in this area focuses on “multiple intelligences,” which breaks down intelligence into its four sub-parts: cognitive, social, emotional, and cultural. 1. Specific physical abilities gain importance in doing less skilled and more standardized jobs. 2. Research has identified nine basic abilities involved in the performance of physical tasks. 3. Individuals differ in the extent to which they have each of these abilities. 4. High employee performance is likely to be achieved when management matches the extent to which a job requires each of the nine abilities and the employees’ abilities. Employee performance is enhanced when there is a high ability-job fit. The specific intellectual or physical abilities required depend on the ability requirements of the job. For example, pilots need strong spatial-visualization abilities. Directing attention at only the employee’s abilities, or only the ability requirements of the job, ignores the fact that employee performance depends on the interaction of the two. When the fit is poor employees are likely to fail. Contributor: Punit Jajodia 2K9 To register as a contributor, log on to www.notesforexams.com When the ability-job fit is out of sync because the employee has abilities that far exceed the requirements of the job, performance is likely to be adequate, but there will be organizational inefficiencies and possible declines in employee satisfaction. Abilities significantly above those required can also reduce the employee’s job satisfaction when the employee’s desire to use his or her abilities is particularly strong and is frustrated by the limitations of the job. Values represent basic convictions that “a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence.” There is a judgmental element of what is right, good, or desirable. Values have both content and intensity attributes. The content attribute says that a mode of conduct or end-state of existence is important. The intensity attribute specifies how important it is. Ranking an individual’s values in terms of their intensity equals that person’s value system. Values are not generally fluid and flexible. They tend to be relatively stable and enduring. A significant portion of the values we hold is established in our early years—from parents, teachers, friends, and others. The process of questioning our values, of course, may result in a change, but more often, our questioning acts to Importance of Values
1. Values lay the foundation for the understanding of attitudes and motivation because they influence our perceptions. 2. Individuals enter organizations with notions of what is right and wrong with which they interpret behaviors or outcomes—at times this can cloud objectivity and rationality. 3. Values generally influence attitudes and behavior. Types of Values
It consists of two sets of values, with each set containing 18 individual value items. One set—terminal values—refers to desirable end-states of existence, the goals that a person would like to achieve during his/her lifetime. The other—instrumental values—refer to preferable modes of behavior, or means of achieving the terminal values. Several studies confirm that the RVS values vary among groups. People in the same occupations or categories tend to hold similar values. There are some significant differences as well. Contributor: Punit Jajodia 2K9 To register as a contributor, log on to www.notesforexams.com
Values, Loyalty, and Ethical Behavior
Many people think there has been a decline in business ethics since the late 1970s. The four-stage model of work cohort values might explain this perception. Managers consistently report the action of bosses as the most important factor influencing ethical and unethical behavior in the organization. Through the mid-1970s, the managerial ranks were dominated by Veterans whose loyalty was to their employer; their decisions were made in terms of what was best for the employer. Boomers entered the workforce at this time and by the early 1990’s held a large portion of the middle and top management positions. Loyalty was to their careers. Self-centered values would be consistent with a decline in ethical values. Can this help explain the alleged decline in business ethics beginning in the late 1970’s? Recent entrants to the workforce—Xers—are now moving into middle management. Loyalty is to relationships; therefore they may be more likely to consider the ethical implications of their actions on others around them. Values Across Cultures
Values differ across cultures; therefore, understanding these differences helps to explain and to predict behavior of employees from different countries. One of the most widely referenced approaches for analyzing variations among cultures has been done by Geert Hofstede. Hofstede’s A framework for assessing cultures; five value dimensions of national culture: The degree to which people in a country accept that power in institutions and organizations is distributed unequally. Individualism is the degree to which people in a country prefer to act as individuals rather than as members of groups. Achievement is the degree to which values such as the acquisition of money and material goods prevail. Nurturing is the degree to which people value relationships and show sensitivity and The degree to which people in a country prefer structured over unstructured situations. Long-term versus short-term orientation: Long-term orientations look to the future and value thrift and persistence. Short-term orientation values the past and present and emphasizes respect for tradition and Contributor: Punit Jajodia 2K9 To register as a contributor, log on to www.notesforexams.com Asian countries were more collectivist than individualistic. US ranked highest on individualism. German and Hong Kong rated high on achievement; Russia and The Netherlands were low. China and Hong Kong had a long-term orientation; France and US had short-term. Americans have developed organizational behavior within domestic contexts—more than 80 percent of the articles published in journals were by Americans. OB has become a global discipline. Concepts need to reflect the different cultural values of people in different countries: Recent global research allows specification of where OB concepts are universally applicable across countries and where they are not. Attitudes
Attitudes are evaluative statements that are either favorable or unfavorable concerning objects, people, or events. Attitudes are not the same as values, but the two are interrelated. The belief that “discrimination is wrong” is a value statement and an example of the cognitive component of an attitude. Value statements set the stage for the more critical part of an attitude—its affective component. Affect is the emotional or feeling segment of an attitude. Example: “I don’t like Jon because he discriminates again minorities.” The behavioral component of an attitude refers to an intention to behave in a certain way toward someone or something. Example: “I chose to avoid Jon because he discriminates.” Viewing attitudes as made up of three components helps with understanding of the potential relationship between attitudes and behavior, however, when we refer to attitude essentially we mean the affect part of the three components. In contrast to values, your attitudes are less stable. Advertisements are directed at changing your attitudes and are often successful. In organizations, attitudes are important because they affect job behavior. Types of Attitudes
OB focuses our attention on a very limited number of job-related attitudes. Most of the research in OB has been concerned with three attitudes: job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment. 1. Job satisfaction
Definition: refers to a collection of feelings that an individual holds toward his or her job.
A high level of job satisfaction equals positive attitudes toward the job and vice versa. Contributor: Punit Jajodia 2K9 To register as a contributor, log on to www.notesforexams.com Employee attitudes and job satisfaction are frequently used interchangeably. Often when people speak of “employee attitudes” they mean “employee job satisfaction.” 2. Job involvement
A workable definition: the measure of the degree to which a person identifies psychologically with his/her job and considers his/her perceived performance level important to self-worth. High levels of job involvement are thought to result in fewer absences and lower resignation rates. Job involvement more consistently predicts turnover than absenteeism. 3. Organizational commitment
Definition: A state in which an employee identifies with a particular organization and its goals, Research evidence demonstrates negative relationships between organizational commitment and both absenteeism and turnover. An individual’s level of organizational commitment is a better indicator of turnover than the far more frequently used job satisfaction predictor because it is a more global and enduring response to the organization as a whole than is job satisfaction. This evidence, most of which is more than three decades old, needs to be qualified to reflect the changing employee-employer relationship. Organizational commitment is probably less important as a job-related attitude than it once was because the unwritten “loyalty” contract in place when this research was conducted is no longer in place. In its place, we might expect “occupational commitment” to become a more relevant variable because it better reflects today’s fluid workforce. Attitudes and Consistency
People sometimes change what they say so it does not contradict what they do. Research has generally concluded that people seek consistency among their attitudes and between their attitudes and their behavior. Individuals seek to reconcile divergent attitudes and align their attitudes and behavior so they appear rational and consistent. When there is an inconsistency, forces are initiated to return the individual to an equilibrium state where attitudes and behavior are again consistent, by altering either the attitudes or the behavior, or by developing a rationalization for the discrepancy. Contributor: Punit Jajodia 2K9 To register as a contributor, log on to www.notesforexams.com
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Leon Festinger, in the late 1950s, proposed the theory of cognitive dissonance, seeking to explain the linkage between attitudes and behavior. He argued that any form of inconsistency is uncomfortable and that individuals will attempt to reduce the dissonance. Dissonance means “an inconsistency.” Cognitive dissonance refers to “any incompatibility that an individual might perceive between two or more of his/her attitudes, or between his/her behavior and attitudes. “ No individual can completely avoid dissonance. The desire to reduce dissonance would be determined by: The importance of the elements creating the dissonance. The degree of influence the individual believes he/she has over the elements. The rewards that may be involved in dissonance. Importance: If the elements creating the dissonance are relatively unimportant, the pressure to correct this imbalance will be low. Influence: If the dissonance is perceived as an uncontrollable result, they are less likely to be receptive to attitude change. While dissonance exists, it can be rationalized and justified. Rewards: The inherent tension in high dissonance tends to be reduced with high rewards. Moderating factors suggest that individuals will not necessarily move to reduce dissonance Organizational implications
Greater predictability of the propensity to engage in attitude and behavioral change The greater the dissonance—after it has been moderated by importance, choice, and rewards factors—the Measuring the A-B Relationship
Early research on attitudes and common sense assumed a causal relationship to behavior. In the late 1960s, this assumed relationship between attitudes and behavior (A-B) was challenged. Recent research has demonstrated that attitudes significantly predict future behavior. Contributor: Punit Jajodia 2K9 To register as a contributor, log on to www.notesforexams.com Importance: Reflects fundamental values, self-interest, or identification with individuals or groups that a person values.
Specificity: The more specific the attitude and the more specific the behavior, the stronger the link between the two.
Accessibility: Attitudes that are easily remembered are more likely to predict behavior than attitudes that are not accessible in
memory.
Social pressures: Discrepancies between attitudes and behavior are more likely to occur where social pressures to behave in
certain ways hold exceptional power.
Direct experience: The attitude-behavior relationship is likely to be much stronger if an attitude refers to an individual’s direct
personal experience.
Self-perception theory
Researchers have achieved still higher correlations by pursuing whether or not behavior influences attitudes. Self-perception theory argues that attitudes are used to make sense out of an action that has already occurred rather than devices that precede and guide action. Example: I’ve had this job for 10 years; no one has forced me to stay, so I must like it! Contrary to cognitive dissonance theory, attitudes are just casual verbal statements; they tend to create plausible answers for what has already occurred. While the traditional attitude-behavior relationship is generally positive, the behavior-attitude relationship is stronger particularly when attitudes are vague and ambiguous or little thought has been given to it previously. An Application: Attitude Surveys
The most popular method for getting information about employee attitudes is through attitude surveys. Using attitude surveys on a regular basis provides managers with valuable feedback on how employees perceive their working conditions. Managers present the employee with set statements or questions to obtain specific information. Policies and practices that management views as objective and fair may be seen as inequitable by employees in general or by certain groups of employees and can lead to negative attitudes about the job and the organization. Employee behaviors are often based on perceptions, not reality. Often employees do not have objective data from which to base their perceptions. The use of regular attitude surveys can alert management to potential problems and employees’ intentions early so that action can be taken to prevent repercussions. Attitudes and Workforce Diversity
Managers are concerned with changing employee attitudes to reflect shifting perspectives on racial, gender, and other diversity issues. Majority of large U.S. employers and a substantial proportion of medium-sized and smaller, sponsor some sort of diversity training. Contributor: Punit Jajodia 2K9 To register as a contributor, log on to www.notesforexams.com These diversity programs include a self-evaluation phase where people are pressed to examine themselves and to confront ethnic and cultural stereotypes they might hold. This is followed by discussion with people from diverse groups. Additional activities designed to change attitudes include arranging for people to do volunteer work in community or social service centers in order to meet face to face with individuals and groups from diverse backgrounds, and using exercises that let participants feel what it is like to be different. Following 9/11, many organizations have added diversity exercises that focus on relationships with coworkers from Middle Eastern backgrounds and followers of the Islamic faith. Job Satisfaction
Measuring Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction is “an individual’s general attitude toward his/her job.” Jobs require interaction with co-workers and bosses, following organizational rules and policies, meeting performance standards, living with working conditions that are often less than ideal, and the like. This means that an employee’s assessment of how satisfied or dissatisfied he or she is with his/her job is a complex summation of a number of discrete job elements. The two most widely used approaches are a single global rating and a summation score made up of a number of job facets. The single global rating method is nothing more than asking individuals to respond to one question, such as “All things considered, how satisfied are you with your job?” A summation of job facets is more sophisticated: It identifies key elements in a job and asks for the employee’s feelings about each one ranked on a standardized Typical factors that would be included are the nature of the work, supervision, present pay, promotion opportunities, and relations with co-workers. Comparing these approaches, simplicity seems to work as well as complexity. Comparisons of one-question global ratings with the summation-of-job-factors method indicate both are valid. Most people are satisfied with their jobs in the developed countries surveyed. However, there has been a decline in job satisfaction since the early 1990s. In the US nearly an eight percent drop in the 90s. Sharpest declines occurred among workers in the 35 to 44 age group. In 1995, 61% were satisfied, by 2002, only 47% indicated that they were satisfied. What factors might explain the decline despite growth: Increased productivity through heavier employee workloads and tighter deadlines Employees feeling they have less control over their work The Effect of Job Satisfaction on Employee Performance
Managers’ interest in job satisfaction tends to center on its effect on employee performance. Much research has been done on the impact of job satisfaction on employee productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. Contributor: Punit Jajodia 2K9 To register as a contributor, log on to www.notesforexams.com
Satisfaction and productivity:
Happy workers are not necessarily productive workers—the evidence suggests that productivity is likely to lead At the organization level, there is renewed support for the original satisfaction-performance relationship. It seems organizations with more satisfied workers as a whole are more productive organizations. Satisfaction and absenteeism
We find a consistent negative relationship between satisfaction and absenteeism. The more satisfied you are, It makes sense that dissatisfied employees are more likely to miss work, but other factors have an impact on the relationship and reduce the correlation coefficient. For example, you might be a satisfied worker, yet still take a “mental health day” to head for the beach now and again. Satisfaction and turnover
Satisfaction is also negatively related to turnover, but the correlation is stronger than what we found for Other factors such as labor market conditions, expectations about alternative job opportunities, and length of tenure with the organization are important constraints on the actual decision to leave one’s current job. Evidence indicates that an important moderator of the satisfaction-turnover relationship is the employee’s level Job Satisfaction and OCB
It seems logical to assume that job satisfaction should be a major determinant of an employee’s organizational citizenship behavior. More recent evidence, however, suggests that satisfaction influences OCB, but through perceptions of fairness. There is a modest overall relationship between job satisfaction and OCB. Basically, job satisfaction comes down to conceptions of fair outcomes, treatment, and procedures. When you trust your employer, you are more likely to engage in behaviors that go beyond your formal job requirements. Job Satisfaction and Customer Satisfaction
Evidence indicates that satisfied employees increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Customer retention and defection are highly dependent on how front-line employees deal with customers. Satisfied employees are more likely to be friendly, upbeat, and responsive. Customers appreciate that. Companies hire upbeat, friendly employees, train them in the importance of customer service, provide positive employee work climates, and regularly track employee satisfaction through attitude surveys. What About Employee Dissatisfaction
There are a number of ways employees can express dissatisfaction Contributor: Punit Jajodia 2K9 To register as a contributor, log on to www.notesforexams.com Exit: Behavior directed toward leaving the organization, including looking for a new position as well as resigning. Voice: Actively and constructively attempting to improve conditions, including suggesting improvements, discussing problems with superiors, and some forms of union activity. Loyalty: Passively but optimistically waiting for conditions to improve, including speaking up for the organization in the face of external criticism, and trusting the organization and its management to “do the right thing.” Neglect: Passively allowing conditions to worsen, including chronic absenteeism or lateness, reduced effort, and increased error rate. Exit and neglect behaviors encompass our performance variables—productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. Voice and loyalty are constructive behaviors allow individuals to tolerate unpleasant situations or to revive satisfactory working conditions. It helps us to understand situations, such as those sometimes found among unionized workers, where low job satisfaction is coupled with low turnover. Contributor: Punit Jajodia 2K9 To register as a contributor, log on to www.notesforexams.com

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