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Organizational Behavior. Lecture 6 – Administrative Processes in Government. Example: Groupthink. The mode of thinking that persons engage in when concurrence seeking becomes so dominant in a cohesive in-group that it tends to override realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action.

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Organizational Behavior

Lecture 6 – Administrative Processes in Government

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Example: Groupthink

  • The mode of thinking that persons engage in when concurrence seeking becomes so dominant in a cohesive in-group that it tends to override realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action.

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Example: Groupthink

  • Symptoms of groupthink:

    • An illusion of invulnerability;

    • Collective construction of rationalizations that permit group members to ignore warnings or other other forms of negative feedback;

    • Unquestioning belief in the morality of the in-group;

    • Strong, negative stereotyped views about the leaders of enemy groups;

    • Rapid application of pressure against group members who express even momentary doubts about virtually any illusions the group shares;

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Example: Groupthink

  • Symptoms of groupthink (contd.):

    • Careful, conscious, personal avoidance of deviation from what appears to be a group consensus;

    • Shared illusions of unanimity of opinion; And.

    • Establishment of mind guards – people who “protect” the leader and fellow members from adverse information that might break the complacency they shared about the effectiveness and morality of past decisions.

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Example: Groupthink

  • Incidents of groupthink at the federal level:

    • The 1941 failure to prepare for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

    • The 1950 decision during the Korean War to send General Douglas McArthur to the Yalu River.

    • The 1961 decisions to allow an American-sponsored invasion of Cuba by expatriate Cubans trained by the CIA to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro.

    • The 1965 decision to introduce American ground troops into Vietnam.

    • The 2001 failure to anticipate the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

    • The 2003 decision to invade Iraq.

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Organizational Behavior

  • The study of organizational behavior comprises those aspects of behavioral sciences that focus on the understanding of human behavior in organizations.

  • Classic model: authoritarian and militaristic.

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Organizational Behavior: Major Themes

  • McGregor’s humanistic model.

  • Group dynamics.

  • Organization development.

  • The impact of personality on organizational behavior.

  • The impact of bureaucratic structure on organizational behavior.

  • Motivation.

  • The future of organizations.

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Organizational Behavior

  • Douglas McGregor’s (1960) humanistic model:

    • Organizations are created to serve human ends;

    • Organizations and people need each other (organizations need ideas, energy, and talent; people need careers, salaries, and work opportunities);

    • When the fit between the needs of the individual and the organization is poor, one or both will suffer (exploitation by one or the other or both).

    • A good fit between individuals and organizations benefits both because people gain meaningful satisfying work.

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Organizational Behavior

  • When confronted with change, classical model assumes no concern for workers.

  • By contrast, modern behaviorists assume that organization will:

    • Minimize fear of change by inclusion of many in decision-making process;

    • Minimize negative impacts of change on vulnerable workers;

    • Coopt formal and informal leaders; and

    • Find alternatives for those workers for whom change is negative.

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Organizational Behavior

  • Group dynamics

    • Organizations involve the development of formal and informal work groups built around specializations.

    • Groups develop norms (shared beliefs, values, and assumptions) and expect conformity through reward and punishment.

    • Norms generate organizational stability, but can lead to overconformity.

    • When a group becomes institutionalized, the norms become the basis for a cohesive group and an organizational subculture.

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Organizational Behavior

  • Group dynamics (contd.).

    • Group dynamics is the subfield of organizational behavior concerned with the nature of groups, how they develop, and how they interrelate with individuals and other groups.

    • Primary groups (face-to-face interaction)

      • Formal (task-oriented).

      • Informal (socially-defined). Critical to the functioning of the organization.

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Organizational Behavior

  • Organization development.

    • All organizations need constant change and renovation.

    • O.D. is planned organizational change.

    • O.D. is not a philosophy, but a strategy for increasing organizational effectiveness.

    • Art, not science.

    • Large scale, not incremental.

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Organizational Behavior

  • The impact of personality.

    • Personality can impact performance (Hippocrates’ four humors, 500 BC).

      • Sanguine (optimistic and energetic).

      • Melancholic (moody and withdrawn).

      • Choleric (irritable and impulsive).

      • Phlegmatic (calm and slow).

    • Mismatches are commonplace in organizations.

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The Impact of Bureaucratic Structure on Behavior

  • Each organization has structures that define the unique ways that labor is divided, how specialized roles and functions are coordinated, how information flows among people and groups, and how the system of controls (task measurement, evaluation, and change) is to work.

  • Structure is only one of the forces that affect behavior. Others include peer group pressure, group norms, social and technical aspects of work tasks, and internal and external cultures.

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The Impact of Bureaucratic Structure on Behavior

  • The structures of a bureaucracy are inherently conservative. Common complaint is slowness of response.

  • But slowness reflects legal mandates.

  • As government increased in size, bureaucratic organizations provided an ideal structural model. Allowed control from the top.

  • But, also stifled initiative.

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The Impact of Bureaucratic Structure on Behavior

  • Bureaucratic dysfunctions.

    • Inherently dysfunctional and and pathological over the long run.

    • Blind conformance and double binds.

      • Catch-22.

        • There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle. "That's some catch, that Catch-22," he [Yossarian] observed. "It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed (Joseph Heller, Catch-22).

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The Impact of Bureaucratic Structure on Behavior

  • Bureaucratic dysfunctions.

    • Depersonalized relations.

    • Power derived from position.

    • Advantages of bureaucracy.

      • Order, predictability, stability, professionalism, consistency.

    • Disadvantages of bureaucracy.

      • Rule-bound, over-procedural, protection of authority and influence.

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The Impact of Bureaucratic Structure on Behavior

  • Bureaucratic impersonality.

    • Three virtues.

      • Increases organizational effectiveness by ensuring distance from critical decisions.

      • Reduces personal and emotional considerations in decisions.

      • Even-handed rule application.

    • Vices.

      • May sacrifice substantive justice for procedural justice.

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The Impact of Bureaucratic Structure on Behavior

  • Bureaucrat bashing.

    • Focus: alleged incompetence and secular humanism.

    • Reality: Satisfactory treatment the norm rather than the exception.

    • Reality: Public performance not inferior to private performance.

    • Reality: American bureaucratic performance vastly superior to performance in other countries.

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  • Hawthorne experiments – Workplaces are predominantly social institutions. Direct challenge to economic models of motivation.

  • Maslow’s needs hierarchy.

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  • Motivation – hygiene theory.

    • Herzberg, Mauser, Snyderman.

    • Determinants of job satisfaction.

      • Achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility, and advancement (Job content - motivations). Internal

    • Determinants of job dissatisfaction.

      • Company policy and administration, supervision, salary, interpersonal relations, and working conditions (job environment – hygiene). External.

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  • Toward a democratic environment.

    • A more participatory management style.

    • Three stratagems for a more democratic working environment.

      • Symbolic.

      • Management-initiated.

      • Management-union initiated.

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  • Douglas McGregor.

    • Theory X.

      • The average human being has an inherent dislike for work.

      • Most people must be coerced or threatened with punishment to get them to put forth adequate effort.

      • People prefer to be directed and wish to avoid responsibility.

      • RESULT – Hierarchy and military organization.

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  • Douglas McGregor.

    • Theory Y.

      • The expenditure of physical and mental effort in work is as natural as play or rest.

      • A person will exercise self-direction and self-control in the service of objectives to which he is committed.

      • Avoidance of responsibility, lack of ambition, and emphasis on security are generally consequences of experience, not inherent human characteristics.

      • The capacity to exercise a relatively high degree of imagination, ingenuity, and creativity in the solution of organizational problems is widely, not narrowly, distributed in the population.

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  • Assumptions about behavior can be self-fulfilling prophecies.

  • However, public organizations have difficulty developing coherent philosophies because of conflicting goals and objectives.

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The Future of Organizations

  • Postbureaucratic organizations.

    • Bennis – Temporary society (adaptive organizations).

    • Toffler – Adhocracy.

    • However, hierarch still dominates, still serves a purpose in bringing order out of chaos.

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The Future of Organizations

  • Postmodernism.

    • What is really changing organizations is postmodernism: increasing complexity and unpredictability.

    • Primary source: information technology.

      • Instant access to information eliminates the need for multiple levels of hierarchy.

    • Power arising from technology – Technocracy.

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The Future of Organizations

  • Themes of postmodernism.