Custom «Organizational Behavior» Essay Paper Sample

Organizational Behavior

I have worked as an independent business consultant for the last twenty years giving advice and offering business solutions to large and medium sized firms. Last year, I worked with a large sized law firm ''Chicano Williams Attorneys'' (CWA) in solving problems relating to its employees and management strategies. The firm is one of the premier corporate law firms in Australia with offices in Adamstown, Alofi and Canberra. The firm employs 250 specialized lawyers out of whom 50 are partners and a total staff of 385. The firm is recognized worldwide for its technical legal services.

The senior partner at CWA, Mr. Chicano exposed to me some of the prevailing challenges within the firm. Lack of motivation among the lawyers and the staff in general was causing low morale hence breaking the unity among them. It seemed as if none of them was deriving satisfaction from his work. This had really influenced their attitudes and behavior towards each other negatively. Their productivity, commitment and sense of belonging to the organization were very low. Conflicts between the employees and absenteeism were high. Dissatisfaction with superiors and frustrations had increased tremendously within the organization. The staff felt that they were handling too much workload and were proposing through their actions that more lawyers should be employed to ease the burden.

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My role was to provide solutions to the various challenges facing the firm. I was charged with the responsibility of motivating the employees to boost their morale at the work place. I observed that Senior Management Committee (SMC) in the firm controlled everything. There was no delegation of power within the firm and the SMC or professional groups made all decisions. The professional groups consisted of banking and finance headed by Mr. Stephen Griphins, Commercial litigation headed by Mr. Robert Kennedy, commercial law group headed by Mr. Rodgers Reed, intellectual property group headed by Mr. Philip Ballow, and conveyancing group headed by Mrs. Salome Richards.

The groups had the responsibility of setting procedures for every case. In several cases, adequate information was not provided to each participant in the group in order to influence the groups' decision towards what Mr. Chicano desired. Dissenters in one professional group would be moved to another group hence creating a problem of unfamiliarity among the members in a group. The firm lacked human resource structure and most of its operations were disorganized. Lack of planning led to interruptions of organizations' procedures. After analyzing the situation and getting the required facts, I realized that the issues raised were serious and needed immediate attention without which the firm was facing an eminent collapse (Mullins, 2004).

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Each person wants to feel that he is in control of the tasks he is performing. No one likes to be pushed around especially if no proper explanation is provided (Griffin & Moorhead, 2007). In several cases, employees are left feeling as if they are in competition with the management. This makes failure in the cases that lawyers work on inevitable. The reason why the atmosphere engulfing the entire organization is negative is that everyone in the organization experience emotions of fear, anger and insecurity. In such an environment, these are the results, low self-esteem in the employees and lack of teamwork in the respective groups (Mullins, 2010). The employees only accomplish tasks for fear of losing their jobs while the entry and exit rate of workers remains very high.

Only the senior leaders make decisions and they never delegate authority to their juniors. There is no cooperation among the employees and they lack respect for the leaders. The management desires to improve everything but do not know how to go about it. They therefore expect only the minimal performance from the employees. The secret yearning of the management is that they make more money. Employees are never recognized for their work making the general performance to be low. Employees remain in one position for a very long time; this has led to their contentment in their current positions. They do not form part of the decision making process. Self-discipline in the entire organization is low.

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Issues that surround their work affect the employees in CWA negatively. This leads to their possessing of the wrong attitude. The constant supervision is draining the passion and creativity of employees (Peale, 1967). This leaves most of them feeling irritated and stressed. Since the leader in each group is a manager and can direct or control the actions of each employee, the employees feel that they are not treated with respect. For illustration, if a lawyer was representing clients in a given case and the management decides that he should move to another, they normally feel bitter and angry.

Human nature is both simple and complex thus making it difficult to understand (Bloisi, Cook & Hunsaker, 2006). It is important to analyze it so that we can effectively motivate employees at the workplace. For this to take place, the importance of management and effective leadership cannot be over emphasized. Motivation theories concentrate on how we can inspire employees at the workplace.

The moral benefits that accrue when we treat colleagues with dignity are immeasurable. They become motivated, creative and more productive (Kidder, 2003). This in turn leads to improved performance.

The theory introduced by Abraham Maslow focused on the psychological needs of employees (Owen, 2009) He classified human needs into five levels, which employees expect to fulfill at the workplace. Immidiately the the needs in the lower level has been have been fulfilled, the worker will be motivated to seek the need up in the hierachy fulfilled. For illustration,an employee who is hungrywill be seeking only the basic wage sothat he can buy food. But if he gets the basic wage he will be motivated to desire having a secure job contract.if he can have this he will still be motivated to seek the respect of other human beings and everything furthr up in the hierachy.if an individual ascends up to the peak of the pyramid,he raches self actualization. This can only occur if someone achieves a state of harmony and understanding.

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An organiation should therefore provide various incentives to employees so that they can fulfill their needs and advance up the hierachy. The management should also realise that employees are not all motivated the same way hence their progress up the heirachy is different. This calls for a variety of incentives to be provided to each worker or group of workers at the workplace (Edu, 2011).

Frederick Herzberg also intrduced the two factor theory of motivating workers at the workplace. He proposed that certain factors if introduced at the workplace would motivate employees. He called them motivators (David & Lundman 2001). Motivators are based on the actual job.for instance, factors such as how intresting the job is, the opportunities available for the progress of an employee, promotion and recognition. Frederick also argues that there are other factors which would demotivate the employee if absent but their presence would not actually motivate them. These ones are called hygienefactors and are factors that surround the job (Jones, 2004). For illustration, an employee will come to work because at the end of acertain duration he is paid, but the fact that he is paid will not make him work harder. The pay therefore is a hygiene factor.

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He also proposed that for workers to be motivated, adoption of democratic approach to managementis necessary. This can be accomplished if the nature and content of the job are improved. He further proposed the following methods to be used by the management to accomplish this. Job enlargement which involves the employees being provided with a wider viriety of tasks to carry out to make their work more intresting. Job enrichment involve employees being provided with a greater range of more complex and challenging tasks.

If this sorround the complete unit of work, it has the potentialto give an employee a higher sense of achievement. Finally, Frederick proposed that employees should be empowered. This means that more power should be delegated to the workers so that they can make their own decisions regarding their work. His findings support the works of Maslow that individuals will not contend with lower order needs. Factors like minimal salary and safe working environment will not motivate workers. Instead higher psychological needs will. These include achievements, recognition, responsibility and advancement.

This involves the study of groups and group processes. If two or more people are joined together by a social relationship such that they interact and influence each other, we refer to them as a group (Robbins, 2004) The relationships enable them to develop certain dynamic processes which makes them different from diferent from a haphazard colection ofindividuals. The processes include the norms, relations, roles, social influence and need to belong. In order to understand the group process, I needed to analyze the behavior of the people within the group. I realised that for the firm to accomplish the many objectives that it had, the groups within the firm should function as a decision making entity.

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This will call for pooling of ideas, generating insights, sharing of experiences honestly nad giving feedback. The group should be an arena for sharing of ideas and provision of support and reasuarance. Each individual within the group should participate since all decisions that will be reached depend upon participation of the members. It is true that all members cannot participate in the same way, some are active while others are passive. But if each member of a group understands the importance of his or her involvement, they will contribute towards the group goal. Each member of a group should understand the factors that affect participation within the group (Richard & Levy 2006).

These factors include the task of the group. the task should be intresting , important and relevant to accomplishing of the task. The phisical atmosphere in which the group holds its discusiions should be comfotrtable bothe socially and psychologically. Members should check their personal preoccupations to ensure that they donnot distract their thoughts while in adiscussion. The level of interaction in discussions will be high if adequate information is provided and each member understands the basics in the discussion.the members within a group should be familiar with each other.

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Communication within the group is another important factor that should be addressed. The explicit and non verbal masseges that are exchanged in a meeting should be analyzed (Weick, 1979) There must be a two way communication where individuals not only talk but also listen to each other. This will assist in areas where one or more members are in doubt and need clarification. In creating of groups, it is useful to uderstand that each individual within a group brings his experience and has a set of expectation from the group. each individual also brings his personality like perception, attitudes and values in the group. Therefore, priorities and expectations of the individuals within the group influence the groups development over a period. In non performing groups, a facilitator who will consciously assist the groupto achieve its tasks may be necessary.

There are also certain factors that increase team spirit and participation. These include inter- group competition and interaction at personal level (Kanigel, R 1997). There is need for a culture of prior planning of the various meetings that are scheduled so that participants can be prepared psychologically. This will enable creative and innovative ideas to be aired in the meetings. Development of team culture instills values that that support positive group behavior. Encouraging vertical and horizontal communication in the organization will support innovation. This will be instilled further if they are directed towards the vision, mission and goals of the organization. A general approach is necessary in order for everyone in the organization to share these values.

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Understanding the psychology of attitudes and perceptions enables better management of employees in the organization (Robbins, 2008). Employees within any organization should be treated with respect, their jobs should be made intresting and fulfilling so as to motivate the employees to a higher performance. The attitude is simply the mental state of readiness attained through experience thet influences an individuals' response to all situations (Papa, Daniels, & Spiker, 2007). The mindset that one attains duev to experience and temparament.

It involve the prsonality, beliefs, values, and behaviors of an individual. For illustration, most of the employees at CWA have a negative attitude towards work. the work that that is provided generates a bad feeling, which is related ton a though or a belief hence causing them to behave in a certain way. The employess view the situation at CWA as intolarable hence this attitude is affecting every decision and actions that they make. I used the Morrel-Samuel guidelines to survy the attitudes of employees at CWA. The average results was 1.5 which showed that they have a negative attitude towards their work and the organization.

The employees should be informed before taking any action that the goal of the exercise is to encourage proffesionalism and excellence (Bakke, 2005). This is important because without informing them, they might take the exercise as a tool to point out their weaknesses.

Managing attitudes and perception


Opotunities for development

Communication skills, Leadership skills and Interpersonal skills of the employees can be improved by allowing them to attend short seminars or classes that will impart them with the same. Such courses will enhance their skill viriety. After vacquiring such skills, employees should be allowed to perform different tasks using different skills.

The work itself

Task identity, lawyers should be allowed to complete a case that they had began, moving lawyers from one case to the other does not cultivate a sense of responsibility in them.

Attitude survey

The negative attitude in the organization can be overcome if there will be set goals and objectives in every group. the setting of goals should not be done by the leaders only but thrugh particiption of each member of the given group. Involvement of employees changes thir perception about everything. Each member of the grup should use his or her decision making skills so that the best decision is obtaned. participation in the decision making process instils a sense of responsibility in them in the employees. There should also be a follow up on the implementation of the decisions made and provding the various groups with the feedback, the management should develop ways of informing the employees how they are performing


The general negative feeling within the organization can be improved by improving the reward programs. In putting up effort to improve the attitudes of employees, the manegement should realise that it must also use financial resources.other incentives, allowances and improving the general condition at the workplace will also cause apositive change of attitude.

Motivation of the people and the actions to be taken to improve the situation.


Organizational plan

The senior managemant committee should providec the organizationwitjh the basic guidelines that will move the organization ahead. The low morale in CWA is caused by the general lack of clear direction. The plan to motivate employees will only work if there are set goals in the organization. The heads of each group, Mr. Stephen, Robert, Rodgers, Philip and Mrs. Salome should have an agreement that transfering of employees from one group to the other wiil cease unless it is under unavoidable circumstances.this should be followed by clear goals and objective to be achieved by each group. these goals should be consistent with the overall goal of the entire organization.

Application of theories of motivation

group dynamics

Application of the Humanistic theories of self-actualization by Abraham Maslow and Two-factor theory will motivate the employees greatly. Everyone works to satisfy his basic needs. Immidiately the the needs in the lower level has been have been fulfilled, the employee will be motivated to seek the need up in the hierachy fulfilled. If the opportunity to advance ones propects exists in the organization, he will remain focused in order to reach the peak. Achieve ment of higher psychological needs should be made possible in CWA. Achievements, recognition, responsibility and possibility of advancement should be within every employees' reach. advancement.


Incorporation of positivity in groups.

Factors such as specific goals, a clear effort to stimulate participation by all group members and team purpose are necessary in setting team direction. Creating a team building program will assist in building a culture that promotes the participation of everyone. The benefits of vertical and horizontal communication cannot be over emphasized.

CWA has the potential to change the attitudes and perception of workers in the organization.the appliccation of the proposed ideas has a great likelihood of accomplishing this. leaders should apply the ideas gradually and should not expect immeduiate results. The results will only be seen after a long period of time. Changing the prevailing negative attitude in the organization is not easy; changing corporate culture is even much more difficult (Zaremba, 2009). The solutions to these problems begins with a changing the attitude of the management in the first place. This should be followed by putting an effort to understand employee behavior. The management should consider various ways of ensuring that all employees are motivated such that they have a positive attitude. A change of attitude will causes them to embrace the change process.

The negative attitude particularly at group level is a result of lack of lack of direction (Tompkins, 1999). The leadership at group level should consider developing the multi step approach to directing the efforts of the group to bear fruits. Organizational culture must be coupled with commitment from the management to drive everyone to success. The leadership must be consistent in sharing the positive values to motivate the employees. Fostering corporate culture begins with the senior management. The other factor is to hire talented employees who will come in with new drive and motivate the existing staff.

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