Guidance in Management

The Concept of Guidance

Guidance in management can be defined as: – “The act or process of guiding” or “The one who shows the way by leading, directing, or advising. “ or “The one who serves as a model for others, as in a course of conduct.”

Good manager guide their employees to continually learn new skills and work toward organizational goals, while being sensitive to their needs. This kind of guidance gives employees a vested interest in their organization, which will affect the quality of their work. The good manager is a leader, not an order giver.

When a manager tells an employee what he want done, instead of giving an order, the manager give their employees the freedom to come up with their best way of getting that task done. It may not always be the best way, and the manager may have to do some monitoring and guiding, but there is also the chance that they will come up with something better than what the manager has planned.

When an employee is given an instruction, they have to think. They have to think of ways to get the job done. They have to decide which is the best way. They have to invest a little of themselves in the solution.

Also, when a manager give an employee an instruction, and lets his employees decide for themselves the best way to accomplish the task, they are more likely to get their buy-in and support. If they have made the decision about the best way to accomplish the task they are more likely to believe it is correct and valuable.… Read the rest

Learning Curve in an Organizational Context

A highly useful learning concept which is valid for a wide range of situation is the organizational learning curve, a diagrammatic presentation of the amount learned in relation to time. A typical learning curve will show on the Y-axis the amount learnt and the X-axis the passage of time.

Characteristics of the Organizational Learning Curve

Certain characteristics are common to all learning curves. One such feature is the initial spurt. At the beginning, it is natural that the rate of learning exhibits spurt. Usually, the graph levels off at some stage, indicating that maximum performance has been achieved. Apparently at the beginning of the learning process, the subject is highly motivated and seems to exhibit a significant surge of effort. Many experienced trainers exploit this initial spurt by selecting the most important items to be communicated and presenting them as a package to the students at the beginning of the training unit. In many ways, it is possible to exemplify the initial spurt with the aphorism “the first step is the best step”

Another feature of the organizational learning curve is the learning plateau. At some point in the learning process there is a flattening off in terms of the improvement, a plateau. Frequently, the process of learning is marked by discontinuities and involves escalating from one plateau to another. Most learners are only too aware of the experience of finding themselves on a plateau, which manifests itself in the feeling that they are never going to get anywhere.… Read the rest

Concept of Reinforcement in Organizational Behavior

Reinforcement is the attempt to develop or strengthen desirable behavior. There are two types of reinforcement in organizational behavior: positive and negative.

Positive reinforcement strengthens and enhances behavior by the presentation of positive reinforcers. There are primary reinforcers and secondary reinforcers. Primary reinforcers satisfy basic biological needs and include food and water. However, primary reinforcers don not always reinforce. For instance, food may not be a reinforcer to someone who has just completed a five course meal. Most behaviors in organizations are influenced by secondary reinforcers. These include such benefits as money, status, grades, trophies and praise from others. These include such benefits as money, status, grades, trophies and praise from others. These become positive reinforcers because of their associations with the primary reinforcers and hence are often called conditioned reinforcers.

It should be noted that an event that functions as a positive reinforce at one time or in one context may have a different effect at another time or in another place. For example, food may serve as a positive reinforcer for a person who is hungry, but not when the person, as stated above, has already a large meal. Clearly, a stimulus that functions as a positive reinforcer for one person may fail to operate in a similar manner for another person.

Within itself, positive reinforcement has several principles.

  • The principle of contingent reinforcement states that the reinforcer must be administered only if the desired behavior has occurred. A reinforcer administered when the desired behavior has not been performed becomes ineffective.
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Perception in Organizations

Perception in Organizational Behavior

Perception is an important mediating cognitive process. Through this complex process, people make interpretations of the stimulus or situation they are faced with. Both selectivity and organization go into perceptual, interpretations. Externally, selectivity is affected by intensity, size, contrast, repetition, motion and novelty and familiarity. Internally, perceptual selectivity is influenced by the individual’s motivation, learning and personality. After the selective process filters the stimulus situation, the incoming information is organized into a meaningful whole.

Individual differences and uniqueness are largely the result of the cognitive processes. Although there are a number of cognitive processes, it is generally recognized that the perceptual process is a very important one. It is a process that takes place between the situation and the behavior and is most relevant to the study of organizational behavior. For example, the observation that a department head and a subordinate may react quite differently to the same top management directive can be better understood and explained by the perceptual process.

In the process of perception, people receive many different kinds of information through all five senses, assimilate them and then interpret them. Different people perceive the same information differently. Hearing what we want to hear and ignoring information that conflicts with what we know can totally distort the intent or the content of the message.

Perception plays a key role in determining individual behavior in organizations. Organizations send messages in a variety of forms to their members regarding what they are expected to do and not to do.… Read the rest

Components of Learning Process

Learning is an important psychological process that-determines human behavior. Learning can be defined as “relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of experience or reinforced practice”.

There are four important points in the definition of learning:

  1. Learning involves a change in behavior, though this change is not necessarily an improvement over previous behavior. Learning generally has the connotation of improved behavior, but bad habits, prejudices, stereotypes, and work restrictions are also learned.
  2. The, behavioral change must be relatively permanent. Any temporary change in behavior is not a part of learning.
  3. The behavioral change must be based oh some form of practice or experience.
  4. The practice or experience must be reinforced in order so as to facilitate learning to occur.

The components of learning process are: drive, cue stimuli, response, reinforcement and retention.

  • Drive: Learning frequently occurs in the presence of drive – any strong stimulus that impels action. Drives are basically of two types -primary (or physiological); and secondary (or psychological). These two categories of drives often interact with each other. Individuals operate under many drives at the same time. To predict a behavior, it is necessary to establish which drives are stimulating the most.
  • Cue Stimuli: Cue stimuli are those factors that exist in the environment as perceived by the individual. The idea is to discover the conditions under which stimulus will increase the probability of eliciting a specific response. There may be two types of stimuli with respect to their results in terms of response concerned: stimulus generalization and stimulus discrimination.
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Ten Personality Factors in Organizational Behavior

Personality is a complex, multi-dimensional construct and there is no simple definition of what personality is. Salvatore R. Maddi defines personality as, A stable set of characteristics and tendencies that determine those commonalities and differences in the psychological behavior and that may not be easily understood as the sole result of the social and biological pressures of the moment”.

All individuals have some universally common characteristics. Yet they differ in some other specific attributes. This makes it difficult for the managers to assume that they can apply same reward types or motivation techniques to modify different individual behaviors. The definition, however, does not mean that people never change. In simple terms, it asserts that individuals do not change all at once. Their thoughts, feelings, values and actions remain relatively stable over time. Changes in individual’s personality can, however, occur gradually over a period of time. The managers should, therefore, attempt to understand certain dimensions of personality. This can enable them to predict the behavior of their employees on a daily basis.

Personality Factors in Organizational Behavior

Some of the important personality factors that determine what kind of behaviors are exhibited at work include the following:

1. Need Pattern

Steers and Braunstein in 1976 developed a scale for the four needs of personality that became apparent in the ‘work environment. They are as follows:

  • The need for achievement: Those with a high achievement need engage themselves proactively in work behaviors in order to feel proud of their achievements and successes.
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