The first lecture that we had was basically explaining the module and gave a brief outline of what we are going to be studying throughout the year. We then went on to discuss this in the seminar. Obviously there was not much work done for this week as we were just taking everything in and coming to grips with what the module entailed. Lecture number two started off with a series of quotes with people defining organisational behaviour.
I consider the ‘organisational behaviour is one of the most complex and perhaps least understood academic elements of modern general management but since it concerns the behaviour of people within organisations it is also one of the most central’ as one of the most accurate and appropriate ways to describe organisational behaviour. The other two quotes were by no means inaccurate, but they were a bit brief and wouldn’t really explain much if you were trying to tell somebody what organisational behaviour was. This then brought us to the organisational iceberg, this is an interesting and key point.
I have found a diagram from the internet to illustrate the iceberg I found this model very fascinating and the quote about what sinks a ship is very clever, because so much that goes on in an organisation is not seen. It is simply that an informal organisation is a ‘looser’ structured flexible organisation with informal relationships and a formal organisation would be an opposite one with a planned structure with a hierarchy. Hugh put some definitions of organisational behaviour up and I read them and found that they were both fairly strong definitions although one was a lot more detailed than the other.
The next lecture was very much defining what an organisation is, different types of organisations and how we define them. This was a fairly big lecture and there was quite a lot to take in I thought. What is an organisation? I agree with the definition of JD Mooney that organisation is the form of every human association for the attainment of a common purpose, as well as Huczynski & Buchanans ‘entity’ view because they are short yet strong and easy to understand and I feel that I would definitely be more likely to remember these definitions than Robbins’ definition for example, which sounds a bit more intricate.
The next lecture brought us to something similar, giving us the chance to reflect on the organisational iceberg, and still defining organisational structure. I researched into tall and flat organisational structures this week and found this diagram on the internet which helps demonstrate how different organisations have different structures, and there is no better or worse structure, because each organisation requires a different structure. I found centralisation and decentralisation quite challenging, so I looked up the meanings to begin with on the internet.
I found that centralisation is described as the process by which the activities of an organisation, particularly those regarding planning decision-making, become concentrated within a particular location or group. Alternatively, decentralisation was defined as the process of dispersing decision-making governance closer to the people and citizen. It includes the dispersal of administration or governance in sectors or areas like engineering, management science, political science, political economy, sociology and economics.
These definitions helped me understand the table in the lecture slides easier. The matrix structure was also covered in this lecture. This seemed a more complex structure where a lot of individuals are mixed together and each person may have to work under several managers at a time. For this week’s lecture we were given a SEMCO case study and some organisational charts to look at. We spoke about trying to define work and then got into small groups and came up with our own definition of work. It was very interesting how everyone’s opinions and definitions of work were so different.
Although nearly everyone agreed that we work for money and for example in our group, we said that if you are not paid, for instance voluntary work, it is simply a hobby. We then went on to organisation theory and classical management. This focuses on then total design of the total organisation. This is different to scientific management because that focuses on the design and management of individual jobs. This was quite a difficult lecture to fully comprehend with again a lot of information to take in.
Through research I found that Henri Fayol was the main classical theorist and he proposed the functions such as technical; commercial; financial; accounting; security and managerial. He believed the latter to be slightly different to all the rest. In our lecture it said that management is a process of planning, organisation, command, coordination and control. I found that Fayol was very influential to the modern concepts of management and proposed his own theory, called fayolism. I also discovered that there is a set of 14 principles of management that he devised and I found this quite thought-provoking.
The lecture also told us about Taylorism, which is a scientific management theory. We then went on to Hawthorne studies, which I had previously learnt about in sociology at A level so I was fairly familiar with. Then it went on explaining that there is more to the work than just the pay, there needs to be a strong sense of belonging. I agree with this because I feel in today’s society too many people are driven by money and instead of opting for being happy in life, they would rather have more money.
I feel that the media makes people feel that they should put money before a sense of belonging and I don’t think that is right. In this week’s seminar we went back to organisational structures and charts. Our group discussed that the needs of all organisations are very different so there will always be different structures suiting different organisations. Bureaucratic structures were brought up and we spoke about how they were suitable for larger organisations rather than smaller ones, also how they tend to stick to a tall rather than flat structure.
I found other structures such as a divisional structure, where they group organisational functions into different divisions. I then looked back over earlier lectures about defining work, and the extrinsic purposes which are essential yet do not reap the same intrinsic rewards where workers should have a considerably high level of job satisfaction. The occupational structure- this is shaped by several factors like bureaucracy, technology and the economy. Watson’s patterns are key points for the subject of occupations and the structure of work because he points out the key elements.
Mobility is seen as a key part of occupational structure and there are factors which positively and negatively affect mobility. The next lectures brought us to organisational culture; there was a good quote to start the lecture saying that “The ideologies, beliefs and deep-set values which occur in all firms…. and which are the prescriptions for the ways in which people should work in those organisations. ” This got me thinking about organisation culture and what it was about. Organisational culture frequently refers to the collective patterns of behaviour, beliefs and values within an organisation.
I also found a different definition of organisation culture saying that ‘organisation culture is a set of values, often taken for granted, that help people in an organisation understand which actions are considered acceptable and which actions are considered unacceptable. ’ Often these values are shaped in the course of stories. I feel that culture is significantly hard to define and measure. We covered socialisation in this lecture and it is quoted as ‘getting ones hands dirty’. I found that Socialization is the main way humans start to obtain the skills needed to carry out their task of being a member of society.
The largely basic look of culture is set up at the individual level. Through both learning and teaching is the how cultural and social characteristics achieve permanence. I believe that the best quote of this lecture was that ‘to change an organisation in any significant or lasting way you need to change the values and beliefs that lie at the core. ’ This brings us to the iceberg and the onion. The onion illustrates that the core is shielded by many layers, and you have to change everything right down to the bottom to make a significant change for the organisation.
Through my research I found some different information as to what was in our lectures on the several different types of culture, such as person cultures and task cultures. Person cultures are basically an organisational structure in a business which is constantly changing and has no permanent foundation, no real formal role and no sole objective. Where all the people involved believe themselves to be superior to the organisation, because of this some of these organisations struggle to cope, but can do because of the certain expertise each different individual possesses.
On the other hand, task cultures are often found in a matrix type organisation, where employees tend to have similar roles and responsibilities, they solve problems as and it is often described as a business based around the high skills of an employee. More organisational cultures are power cultures, and role cultures. Power cultures I think are the most interesting because they are more or less based around one ultimate source, which everything revolves around and depends on.
These are often found in small organisations and have little bureaucracy and a small number of rules. Role cultures is similar to that of a tall structure that I have spoken about earlier where there is a basic hierarchy of roles and power. In the seminar this week we spoke about different retailers and what kind of organisation structures they had. I found this seminar very enjoyable because we found out from each other in depth about what sort of organisations each company were and decided what frame they would be in and whether we would prefer to be in one or another.
The next lecture was mostly on change, I found this fairly weird because there were not many things I could relate to or understand so I just had to try and take as much in as possible. Although it brought us to again this man Charles Handy. He said that “Less than half the workforce in the industrial world will be holding conventional full-time jobs in organisations by the beginning of the 21st century. Those full-timers, or insiders, will be the new minority. ” This has obviously been proved correct to some extent, so Handy was right.
Because of technology fewer and fewer people are needed from day to day in the industrial sector, because machines are replacing them. Today we again talked about the paradigm and how organisations all have different values and missions and how they go about them. I think the most powerful part of this lecture is the part where it says the only permanent thing is change. This is such a good quote because no matter change will never ever end, it can’t. Yet everything else can. This is another one of those quotes that gets you thinking.
I liked the 7-S framework part because it helps me remember all the very important reasons of change. This week’s lecture was on organisational change. This was different to previous lectures because I didn’t feel there was much we could talk about. I researched more into organisational cultures again and found information on strong cultures and weak cultures. A strong culture is one where staff responds to stimulus because of their position to organisational values. In a strong culture, it is believed that the people do what they are told to do, because they think that is the right way to do things.
In a weak culture things are fairly different. They do it their own way and things would be pretty much the opposite. Research suggests that organisations with a strong culture will achieve the companies’ goals a lot easier than a weak culture; they will also have higher levels of employee satisfaction, motivation and loyalty. We came on to leadership today, and spoke about management. It started with a man I was familiar with Max Weber again because of A level sociology so I was intrigued to how he linked in with this element. We then came on to Fayol’s 14 principles of management.
I decided to research into these 14 principles out of curiosity and it is proved that Fayols principles still have a big relevance to contemporary management, so do his 6 functions that I mentioned earlier, however most people these days like to only talk about 4 of the 6 functions that Fayol originally proposed and they have been slightly tweaked into; planning; leading; organising and controlling. Taylorism popped up this week and we discussed the difference between the bosses and the workers, as Taylor says the bosses think as the workers do.
Then onto other theorists such as Drucker, he proposed the five basic operations of a manager. I very much agree with these five operations because at my workplace it seems that the managers are trying to set objectives, organise, measure, motivate and develop people. I think that managers are different to leaders. Yes some managers are leaders, but they are two completely different things in my eyes. As it says in the lecture slides managers plan, organise, direct etc, leaders envision, inspire, influence, leaders effect people more emotionally than managers do.
We also spoke about how hard it is to describe leadership, who would we call a leader? How do we become a leader? These are all questions that I do not know the answer to. Yukl says that “Most definitions of leadership reflect the assumption that it involves a process whereby intentional influence is exerted by one person over people….. to guide, structure and facilitate activities and relationships in a group or organisation’ I don’t think that this is as good of a description as “Leadership is a process of giving purpose (meaningful direction) to collective effort, and causing willing effort to be expended to achieve purpose. By Jacob and Jacques because they seem to hit the nail on the head because I believe leadership is all about giving a meaningful purpose to effort and be willing to do anything to achieve your goal. I still very much agree with Yukls view on leadership because what he says is true but I don’t feel it would give me anything that I can learn or think about whereas Jacob and Jacques’ I can. There were a lot of quotes in today’s lecture, some I felt more powerful than others. They have taught me a lot about leadership, one being that it there is not a definition.
I even googled it and there wasn’t one. Another being leadership is what you make of it, from what I think will be different to what the next guy thinks, so I can understand why it raises so many controversies and discussions. I can understand why it proved virtually impossible to identify the particular traits that separate leaders from non-leaders. I believe that leadership is based on many things, personality being the main one. Many people would think you have to be at the top of the hierarchy to be branded a leader, for instance they would think of a manager of a leader.
But a leader can be anyone, some people just possess a trait that makes them a natural born leader, for example a footballer that steps on the pitch and instantly tells everyone what to do, they all listen to him without question. Even though he may not be captain, he is the leader. In today’s lecture we looked at technology, a new topic. Technology has played a massive part in how businesses operate as of recent years, I didn’t find this as interesting as the previous few weeks but there were still things I wanted to look up on. We also touched on leadership again this week. This week brings us onto personality.
This lecture was one of the tougher ones because there was a lot of material I have never heard of before. I agree with everything Robertson and Smith have put forward because for instance if there was no variety in the tasks, or if there was no feedback given or no significance of the tasks, then the employees job satisfaction would surely be lower, and I think it would be a hard job to try and make someone completely satisfied with their job in every aspect because nearly everybody isnt happy with atleast one aspect of their job. Our lecture this week was on motivation, learning about motivation was quite enjoyable.
I find the american and chinese needs hierarcies quite interesting and how they differ. The american hierarchy has self-actualisation in individual development at the top whereas the chinese hierarchy has self-actualisation in service to society. This goes back to the collectivist and individualist cultures. I have found a slightly more detailed diagram of a hierarchy here: Another big difference is that the sense of belonging is in the middle of the american hierarchy and it is right at the bottom of the chinese one, maybe because the chinese people see society as a whole more important.
I also find Hertzbergs two factor theory quite interesting because of what he thinks motivates and de-motivates intrinsically and extrinsically. Today we looked at perception. I was quite amazed at how the mind perceives things and it sees what it wants to see instead of what it actually might be. The quote “You see, that’s the problem with you Jerry. You think we’re arguing, I think we’re finally communicating! ” defines what perception is really about. You think you are doing one thing, yet you are doing another. Throughout this year my favourite topic has definitely been leadership.
I feel genuinely interested in this subject because it is so intriguing and there are so many talking points about it. I think one of the most meaningful and intelligent quotes I have ever heard has come from the leadership topic, managers do things right, leaders do the right thing. It has made believe that being a leader is such a good thing. Most people probably think managers are leaders, but they are really nothing alike what so ever, when you look into it in detail you realise. I particularly like how Bennis describes both Managers and leaders, saying that Managers ask how and when, leaders and what and why.
Managers rely on people, leaders inspire trust. Managers focus on systems and structure, leaders focus on people, and so on. It is strange how they seem so true yet every one is the completely different. This proves surely that there is a real big difference between a leader and a manager. I was quite amazed at the perception topic though because it enlightened me slightly on how our minds actually work. Like the non-standard shaped polygon, I would never think it is one of those, yet that is what it is. Also the x’s and o’s in alternating rows is clever. One of the least exciting topics I would say is organisational change.
It was challenging yet quite boring and I didn’t really enjoy the content in the lectures or the seminars around this time. One of the more tricky subjects I found was motivation. Although it was more interesting than most of the others, it was one of the hardest to understand and I found it hard to relate to this lecture because it didn’t seem like there was much relevance to business in it. It is definitely an area I will need to revise more for my exam. I have also found writing this learning log challenging as I have never done anything like this before. But it is different I guess.