Ryerson Computer Science MHR405 - Organizational Behavior

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Course Map


Goal of OB is to make the organization efficient

  • Org efficiency:
    • Productivity - measure including effectiveness and efficiency
    • Effective - goal was met
    • Efficient - goal achieved with appropriate use of resources

Ch2 - Individuals

Relatively enduring characteristics of the individual

Why use personality?

  • selection
  • promotion
  • development

Describing Personality

The Big 5


Emotional Stability (neuroticism)

Positive & Negative Affectivity

Can be a good thing to have some with Negative Affectivty, to question, be critical, etc, as a check


has the strongest correlation with job performance


Openness to Experience

Personality tests

  • Jungian tests - unrealiable, not related to job performance
  • MMPI - more clinical (used by police)
  • Five-Factor Model tests

Best to use standardized, developed, reliable tests

Cross cultural values



Power distance

Uncertainty avoidance

Achievement orientation

Personality - big 5 Dimensions





Openness to experience

Personality tests

Ch3 - Perception

Subject Characteristics

  • visual appearance

Perceiver Variables

Factors affecting Perception

  • Past experiences and Expectations
  • Needs & interests
  • limited information processing
  • Perceptual biases & stereotypes

Perceptual Biases

  • Halo effect
    • judging characteristics based on the qualities of other characteristics
    • adversely affects the accuracy of perception of other characteristics
  • False-consensus / similar-to-me effects
  • Primacy/Recency Effect


  • assumption about an individual based on a characteristic they share with a larger group

Kelley's Theory o Causal Attributions

  • Internal vs external
  • external - high, high, (low consistency)
  • Internal ?

Attributional Biases

  • attribute success to us, failures to the situation


  • helps predict performance, absenteeism, etc
  • formed in memory; once formed, difficult to change
  1. Cognitive component
  2. Affective component
  3. Behavioral component
    • behavioral intentions may be good, but actual behavior may be affected by situational factors and personal factors
    • behavior may come first, followed by forming attitude

Cognitive Dissonance theory

acting in a way that is incongruent with our attitudes

Three bases of commitment

  • Affective commitment
    • expend higher effort
    • have higher performance rating
    • show more extra role behavior
    • less stress
  • Continuance commitment
    • feel they have no options
  • Normative commitment
    • similar to Affective but....
    • resentful, indebtedness

Self Concept (3C's)

Four "selves" of self-concept

  • Self-enhancement
  • Self-verification
  • Self-evaluation
  • Social-self

Job Satisfaction

Job Satisfaction is a dispositional variable






Locus of control


Selective attention

Confirmation bias

Attribution theory (internal vs external)

  • Consistency
  • Distinctiveness
  • Consensus

Processes and problems


  • To categorize
  • To homogenize
  • To differentiate

Fundamental attribution error - applying internal blame to others

Assigned wrong cause or answer to a problem or question

  • internal attribution: root cause is with the individual
  • external attribution: root cause is with the situation, circumstances
  • self-interest (aka self-serving bias) in looking good is a common bias which contributes to attribution error.

Self serving bias

Self fulfilling prophecy

Halo effect

Primacy effect

Recency effect

False consensus


Johari window model

  • Open
  • Blind
  • Unknown
  • Hidden

Ch4 - Workplace Emotions, Attitudes, and Stress


Cognitive dissonance

Emotional dissonance

Job Satisfaction

Exit-Voice-Loyalty-Neglect dissatisfaction model

Job Stress


Personal factors

Situational factors

Organizational Commitment

Affective commitment

  • Higher effort
  • Better performance
  • Less stress

Continuance commitment

  • Lower performance

Normative commitment

  • Resentful
  • Unenthusiastic

Ch5 - Motivation

Motivation is like an energetic force; hismuch effort are you willing to put in. Getting things done is based on motivation and ability


  • Direction
  • Intensity
  • Persistence

Components from Lecture Notes

  • Arousal
  • Direction
  • Maintenance
  • Goal

Maslow (Needs Theory)

Has been dismissed by most motivation experts: people do not progress through the hierarchy as the theory suggests

  • Deficiency
    • Physiological
    • Safety
    • Social
  • Growth
    • Self actualization
    • Esteem
  • Key assumptions
    • Prepotency principle
    • Invariant ordering

McClelland (Needs Theory)

McClelland's theory is about needs that are learned through socialization

  • Need for achievement: want to accomplish reasonably challenging goals through their own effort
  • Need for affiliation: desire to seek approval from others, conform to their wishes and expectations, avoid conflict
  • Need for power: desire to exercise control over others; concerned about maintaining their leadership position

Practical suggestions for Managers...

  1. Promote healthy workforce
  2. Provide financial security
  3. Provide socialization opportunities
  4. Recognize accomplishments

Equity theory (Adams) (Process Theory)

People are motivated to perform well when they believe that the outcomes they receive are equitable

  • Motivation based on perceived outcomes (equality)
    • Person A vs B comparison
      • Guilty
      • Angry
      • Satisfied
  • Six ways to restore inequity
    • Behavioral
      1. Change my inputs
      2. Change your outcomes
      3. Leave the situation
    • Psychological
      1. Distort own inputs/outcomes
      2. Distort comparison of others I/o
      3. Change comparison others

Practical suggestions for Managers...

  1. Avoid mismatched payment
  2. Fair procedures
  3. Deliver negative outcomes sensitively

Expectancy theory (0.2 to 0.7 workplace correlation) (Process Theory)

  • Expectancy: belief that effort will improve performance
  • Instrumentality: perceived likelihood of being rewarded for performance
  • Valence: value placed on a specific reward

Multiplicative model

Motivation = E x I x V

  • Effort results in performance,performance results in outcomes,outcomes are considered valuable
  • Increasing outcomes valences
    • Individualized rewards

Practical suggestions for Managers...

  1. Increase Expectancies: help make the desired performance attainable
  2. Administer highly valued rewards
  3. Link performance and rewards clearly

Goal setting theory

Goals affect behavior in four ways:

  1. direct attention to a particular task
  2. mobilize on-task effort
  3. enable us to persist
  4. facilitates strategies that can be used at at higher cognitive level to move toward goal attainment

Ch7 - decision making

Traditional Analytical Model

  • when the outcome is framed negatively, we tend to make more risks in our decision making
  • events that have possibility of invoking vivid emotion causes us to thinking that the outcome may occur more frequently than it actually does

Representativeness Heuristic

  • we apply our stereotypes to make decisions

Should groups be used to make decisions

  • + pooling of resources
  • + specialization of labour
  • - wastes time
  • - group conflict

Groupthink - tendency for cohesive groups to value consensus over decision quality

Groupshift - tendency for people to become more extreme on their position than they originally were

Negative mood promotes increased vigilance

Information processing problems

Implicit favorite

Anchoring heuristic

Availability heuristic

Representativeness heuristic



Confirmation bias

Rational choice paradigm

Subjective expected utility


  • Problem clarity
  • Lack of criteria




Escalation of commitment

  • Reluctance to cutting losses
  • Prospect theory - unequal treatment of losing vs gaining

Ch8 - team dynamics


Two or more people interacting interdependently for achieve a common goal

  • security - spreading the blame
  • status
  • self-esteem
  • power - in numbers; can control others as a group
  • goal achievement - need help
  • personal development -

Stages of group development

  • pre-stage 1
  • stage 1 - forming
  • stage 2 - storming
  • stage 3 - norming
  • stage 4 - performing
  • stage 5 - adjourning

Groups vs Teams

  • Performance: G: individual contributions vs T: individual contributions & collective work products
  • Accountability for outcomes rest on: G: individual outcomes vs T: mutual outcomes
  • Members are interested in: G: common goals vs T: common goals and commitment to purpose
  • Responsive to: G: demands of management vs T: self-imposed demands

When to use teams?

  • Use teams when the task/decision is complex and/or very important
  • Use teams when a variety of skill sets and competencies are needed
  • Use teams for tasks that require creativity and/or innovation ??

Advantages & Disadvantages


  • make better decisions, products/services
  • better information sharing
  • increase employee motivation/engagement


  • Individuals better/faster than groups
  • Process losses
  • Social loafing
    • free-rider: slacks off and lets others do the work
    • sucker: might slack off if others appear to be slacking; match the common percieved effort

Overcoming Social loafing

  • identify performers - choose specific areas to work on
  • punish the lazy

Maximizing team composition

Expertise: right mix of tech expertise, problem solving, etc

Diversity: enough similarity to get along, but enough diversity to bring together perspectives

Size: smaller teams faster at tasks, larger better at problem solving, generation of information



Process losses

Brooke's law (mythical man month)

Social loafing

tendency for people to do worse on simple tasks but better on complex tasks when in the presence of others

Task interdependence










Trust types, high to low

Identification based

Knowledge based

Calculus based

Constraints on decision making

Production blocking

Evaluation apprehension



Smaller - faster at tasks

Larger - better at complex problem solving

Team member competencies





Conflict resolution

Ch9 - communication in teams

Importance of communication

  • coordinating work activities
  • vehicle for organizational learning
  • critical ingredient for decision making
  • influencing others - changing their behavior
  • employee well-being

Communication Process Model

Choosing a medium

Hierarchy of Richness: Low to high: flyers, memos, computer, telephone, face-to-face

For non-routine ambiguous messages, use the richest possible channel

Non-verbal Communication

  • body language
  • style of dress
  • time

Sending a clear message

  • use multiple channels
  • be complete and specific
  • use personal pronouns
  • be congruent
  • simplify your language - avoid jargon
  • obtain feedback

Active Listening

  • sensing - listening to the tone of voice
  • attending -
  • responding - responding & paraphrasing back

Formal process


  • Form message
  • Encode message
  • Receive encoded feedback
  • Decode feedback


  • Receive encode message
  • Decode message
  • Form feedback
  • Encode feedback

Channel selection

Ambiguous -> use richest medium

Clear -> use simple medium

Active listening



Responding (repeat what was said)





Information overload

Ch10 Power & Influence

Power provides the potential for influence


  • Legitimate: based on title or position
  • Referential: based on personal character
  • Coercive: based on threat
  • Reward: based on rewards
  • Expert: based on knowledge

Modern changes due to technology

Access to information


Discretion and visibility

Hanging diplomas etc

Influencing others

6 Tactics

Commitment and consistency

  • Foot in the door
    • Small request at the start, followed by a large request later


  • Door in the face -- asking forsomething unreasonable


  • If someone acts like they like us,we tend to like them more

Authority (misuse)

Organizational politics


  • Managing impressions
  • Blaming others
  • Controlling information
  • Cultivating networks
  • Obligations - provide favors forothers, generate others debt

Machiavellianism - try to get their way through manipulation of others

Consequences of political environments -- high turnover if people don't want to participate in politics

Ch11 Conflict

Perception of one party's interests being opposed

Good and bad


  • Better decisions


  • Wastes time and energy
  • Dissatisfaction
  • Stress


Constructive vs relationship

Styles for resolving

Problem solving



Giving in


Ch12 Leadership

Individual influences group members toward a goal

Leader creates essential purpose for an organization

Leader vs manager


  • Establish organizational mission
  • Strategy
  • Manager
    • Implement


Trait theory

  • Weak correlation
    • Traits don't dictate behavior

Behavior theory

  • Mutually exclusive aspects
    • Initiating structure ... Toenhance productivity
    • Concern

Contingency theories

  • Path-goal theory
    • Leaders make goals clear tohelp followers achieve
    • Four styles -- chosen basedon the situation; is the workroutine or unstructured?What are characteristics ofthe subordinate?
      • Instrumental
      • Supportive
      • Participative
      • Achievement oriented

Transformational leadership


  • Factors
    • Idealized influence
    • Inspirational motivation
  • More like leaders


  • More like managers

Ch15 Organizational Change

Lewin's force field analysis Model of Change

Lewin posits that there are driving forces and restraining forces. When they are in equilibrium, we have stability. We need to unfreeze the equilibrium to move to a new set of conditions, then we should re-freeze again there to regain stability.

Resistance to Change

Employees often use a subtle form of resistance or avoidance to get around changes imposed by management

Why Employees Resist

  • Direct costs
  • Saving Face
  • Fear of Unknown
  • Breaking Routines
  • Incongruent Team Dynamics
  • Incongruent Organizational Systems

Creating Driving Forces

  • Customer-driven
  • Create urgency for change without external forces

Reducing Restraining Forces

  • communication
  • learning
  • employee involvement
  • stress management
  • negotiation
  • coercion