Psychology of organizations
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Psychology of Organizations. Reflect on own assumptions about organizations, individuals and individuals in organizational contexts Discuss the implications of these assumptions for the analysis and management of OB in contemporary society. Organizational Behaviour.

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Psychology of organizations
Psychology of Organizations

  • Reflect on own assumptions about organizations, individuals and individuals in organizational contexts

  • Discuss the implications of these assumptions for the analysis and management of OB in contemporary society

Organizational behaviour
Organizational Behaviour

‘we are shaped, nurtured, controlled, rewarded and punished by organizations throughout our lives’ (Furnham, 1997:1)

Questions about what organizations are, what makes them work the way they do and the implications of this for individuals

Importance of political, economic, historical and social context

What is the organization
What is the organization?

  • Discussion =>

  • Historical approaches – Scientific Mgt, Human Relations (both closed systems)

  • Economic and political origins

  • Metaphors of organization….

    e.g. computer, social organism, psychic prison, cultural entity, cooperative system of exchange, bundle of roles..

Implications for analysis and intervention
Implications for analysis and intervention

The language of organization, does it matter? Psychology => individual in a social vacuum, organization as a collection of individuals

Whose metaphor? Yours, Organizational Representative, Employees

Exercise and Discussion

The organization
The organization..

Does the way we talk about organizations have an effect on the way we think about organizations?

Does any of this matter to the way managers manage organizations on a day-to-day basis and/or the way we intervene if problems arise?

Different metaphors of organization have different implications for how we think about and manage organizations and the people therein

Fall out considerations
Fall out considerations…

  • Organizational design (role of structure, dictate of process or harnessed in pursuit of a particular process or as process)

  • People in organizations – individual at the interface, individual in organizations

  • Management and Human resource mgt

  • Technology and organizations


Organizational structures and systems shape individual and group behaviour and vice versa

Deterministic assumptions dominate

Structure can be reified and can inhibit flexibility

Flexible structures are process dominated; structure is a process of applying strategy flexibly as suits the occasion e.g. migrating authority in the military


How to organise work and allocate it

How to recruit, train, and effectively manage people

How to create working conditions and reward systems to maintain high morale and sustained effectiveness

How to adjust the organization to changing conditions

How to cope with competition

People 2
People - 2

Crude assumptions made about human nature – who are we managing?

Psychology – individualistic

‘the organization is a complex social system which must be studied as a total system if individual behaviour within it is to be truly understood’

Management and hrm
Management and HRM

What do managers do? Control philosophies

HRM – employee relations styles in relation to business strategy


Flexible firm



HRM rhetoric and reality (mask harsh business realities)


Relationship humans and technology is central to work of all kinds

Is technology serving us or are we slaves? What is the relationship between work, organization and technology?

Today’s workplace = an influx of fast developing new technologies

Reconciling interests
Reconciling interests

  • One of the biggest issues within the study of organizations is that of how to reconcile individual and organizational interests

  • Is it possible?

  • How to conceptualise?

  • How to manage?


  • What are the outcomes you are aspiring to? (individual and organizational levels of analysis)

  • What assumptions do you hold about the organization and where do they come from?

  • What role do they play in the way you formulate organizational problems?

A useful metaphor
A useful metaphor?

  • Cooperative ‘open’ system of exchange

  • Contributions from individual and organization

    individual-organizational linkage concepts

    e.g. relationship of exchange, dynamic, systems approach, role (congfluence of subjective and structural)

    But, ignores role of conflict

Review and reflection
Review and Reflection

What are your own metaphors?

What could be problematic about the sweeping use of one or two metaphors?

When might one particular metaphor be more appropriate than another?

What are the limitations of any metaphor in use?

How would you use metaphor as an intervention tool?

Organizational behaviour1
Organizational Behaviour

Behavioural processes in organizational contexts

Aim to understand, explain and manage employee performance

And enhance/maintain employee health and wellbeing

Are these two aims efficiency and welfare possible?