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Benefits of Understanding Organisational Behaviour for Management

Info: 8285 words (33 pages) Dissertation
Published: 24th Aug 2021

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Tagged: BusinessManagementPsychology

Table of Contents

Definitions of Organisational Behaviour

History of Organisational Behaviour


The Big Five

The Locus of Control

Type A and Type B Personalities

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator



Classical & Operant Conditioning

Workplace Stress

General Adaptation Syndrome

Consequences of Stress

Managing & Reducing Stress


D.C. McClelland’s Theory

Process and Expectancy Theories




This project will look at how a knowledge of organisational behaviour can benefit management in the running of their organisation. The topics that will be covered are personality, learning, workplace stress and motivation. The topics covered are the topics I feel are most important for managers to know.

Definitions of Organisational Behaviour

“Organizational behaviour studies the impact individuals, groups, and structures have on human behaviour within organizations. It is an interdisciplinary field that includes sociology, psychology, communication, and management. Organizational behaviour complements organizational theory, which focuses on organizational and intra-organizational topics, and complements human-resource studies, which is more focused on everyday business practices.” (Boundless, 2016)

“Organizational behaviour (OB) is the study of the way people interact within groups. Normally this study is applied in an attempt to create more efficient business organizations. The central idea of the study of organizational behaviour is that a scientific approach can be applied to the management of workers. Organizational behaviour theories are used for human resource purposes to maximize the output from individual group members.” (Staff, 2010)

“Organisational behaviour is the study of organisations and the people who work in them. People tend to take the influence that organisations have on their lives for granted, even though they affect everything that people do. Organisations have a very significant and powerful effect on individuals. People are educated by organisations, buy food and clothing and many other goods and services from organisations, work in organisations and are regulated by government organisations. Therefore, the relationships that people have with organisations include being an employee, a customer, a competitor, a supplier, an owner and/or an investor.” (Kehoe, 2013)

Organisational behaviour is the study of the way people behave within an organisation. It seeks to learn about individual, group and organisational-level characteristics that impact behaviour within the organisation.

History of Organisational Behaviour

Scientific Management

Founded by Frederick Taylor. Scientific Management is a set of principles set out to give management more control over jobs and to increase efficiency in production.


Henry Ford was inspired by Taylor’s ideas and was responsible for mass production and the assembly line.


Max Weber wanted to be more efficient but focussed on administrative efficiency. Under this method the organisation has high levels of formality, hierarchy, rules and procedures and specialisation of tasks.

Human Relations School

In 1924, the Hawthorne studies began to examine behaviour in the work place. It was one of the first methods to use science to study behaviour. This method sees the importance of social processes in the workplace and that interpersonal relations and group membership are important. The results of the studies were:

  • People are motivated by more than just pay and conditions.
  • That groups influence behaviour.
  • Workers have social and emotional needs.
  • Supervisors need to take these needs into consideration.

General Systems Theory

“Views the organisation as a collection of interrelated parts working together towards a common goal and where the whole is greater than the sum of parts.”

Social Construction

Rejects science, it believes that way a worker interprets the workplace decides that worker’s efficiency


Rejects the modernist perspective, is political and enjoys uncertainty.


Gareth Morgan invented eight metaphors; these metaphors looked at the organisation in eight separate ways. He invented the metaphors as he saw a pattern in the way the other methods looked at the organisation, these eight metaphors can be applied in any view of the organisation.


“Generally defined using trait-related concepts as a stable set of psychological characteristics that are relatively unchanging over time that differentiate people from one another in a range of identifiable ways and that cannot be explained by the social or biological pressures of the moment.” (Moore et al., 2004)

“Personality refers to individuals’ characteristic patterns of thought, emotion, and behaviour, together with the psychological mechanisms — hidden or not — behind those patterns. This definition means that among their colleagues in other subfields of psychology, those psychologists who study personality have a unique mandate: to explain whole persons.”
(Funder, D. C., 1997, cited in Cherry, 2016)

“Although no single definition is acceptable to all personality theorists, we can say that personality is a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behaviour.”
(Feist and Feist, 2009, cited in Cherry, 2016)

Personality is a set of permanent traits and characteristics unique to an individual. Personality has external and internal components.

The Big Five

The big five categories are used to acknowledge and distinguish the differences people have in their personalities.

Emotional Stability

Emotional Stability is about how emotionally stable a person is. The scale of emotional stability ranges from emotionally stable to neurotic. To be considered emotionally stable is to be adequately and consistently able to handle the stresses and challenges life throws at you. On the further end of the scale, is neuroticism which is a tendency to experience negative emotional states. People who are affected by neuroticism are considered to find stress in the most trivial occurrences and are unable to react reasonably to everyday life situations. Characteristics tied to emotional stability are realistic, no irrational fears and can solve own problems. The characteristics tied to neuroticism are anxiousness, obsessiveness and low self-esteem.


Another range of personality is extroverts and introverts. Extroverts are more outgoing than introverts, who are more reserved. Extroverts focus their time and energy on people, they need to have people around them and have social interaction.

Positive Extroverts Traits:

  • Active.
  • Social.
  • Open About their Emotions.

Negative Extroverts Traits:

  • Have trouble planning.
  • Struggle to concentrate on one thing.
  • Struggle to work without a team.

Introverts focus on themselves; they prefer to be in their own company or with only a couple of people. Introverts do not rely on other people, they tend to become quiet and reserved when in groups. Introverts do not share emotions, are reserved and aren’t impulsive.

Introverts cannot work as effectively with large groups as they become reserved and have trouble contributing their thoughts in a large group.

Openness to Experience

Low Openness

  • Prefer not to change
  • Practical
  • Traditional

High Openness

  • Adapt to change
  • Imaginative
  • Like Variety

Rogers (1961) saw that people had different levels of openness to experience. According to him, for an individual to be ‘fully functioning’ that individual should have a high level of openness to experiences and feelings. However, there is no health difference between high levels of openness or low levels of openness, nor is there any adjustment differences, simply two different ways of looking at the world.


People who are agreeable would be easy to get along with, kind, caring and selfless. Making them a good colleague, friend and worker. People with high levels of agreeableness have the ability to create strong relationships. People with low levels of agreeableness are more self-absorbed, less interested in the people around them and less likely to build strong relationships.


A person who is conscientious aims to achieve, they are planners, they have willpower and are caring. A conscientious person likes to complete tasks well.

The Locus of Control

Locus of control relates to the amount of control people believe they have over the occurrences which impact their lives. Those who feel that they have control over these occurrences are said to have an internal locus of control. A person with an internal locus of control takes responsibility, are independent and work hard to achieve success. Those who feel that they have no control over these occurrences, that other forces impact their lives are said to have an external locus of control. A person with an external locus of control lack responsibility, feel powerless and blame luck or chance for their success.

Type A and Type B Personalities

Type A:

Type A personalities are active, tend to seek accomplishments, they strive for social status. Because of this they are high-achievers, constantly try to achieve higher goals, don’t relax, have high stress levels, competitive, good multitaskers, do not accept failure and are driven.

Type B:

Type B personalities do not over stretch themselves they steadily achieve their goals, can accept failure, do not have high stress levels, may be too relaxed and laidback to achieve their full potential and are reflective.

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

This is a questionnaire a person may take to be able to self-assess how they psychologically adapt and perceive the world.


“Acquiring knowledge and skills and having them readily available from memory so you can make sense of future problems and opportunities.” (Peter C. Brown et al, cited in Malamed, 2017)

“Learning is a process that occurs within nebulous environments of shifting core elements – not entirely under the control of the individual. Learning (defined as actionable knowledge) can reside outside of ourselves (within an organization or a database), is focused on connecting specialized information sets, and the connections that enable us to learn more are more important than our current state of knowing.” (George Seimens, cited in Malamed, 2017)

“Learning can be defined as the permanent change in behaviour due to direct and indirect experience. It means change in behaviour, attitude due to education and training, practice and experience. It is completed by acquisition of knowledge and skills, which are relatively permanent.” (www.tutorialspoint.com, 2017)

To learn is to gain knowledge. Learning changes a person’s behaviour permanently. Learning is to gain new information, remember it and apply this new information to your values, attitude, knowledge, skills and behaviour from that point on. There are two types of knowledge; explicit and tacit knowledge. Explicit knowledge is theory and is communicated. Tacit knowledge is physical and is an action. Learning is a process, there are different methods of training and teaching to accommodate learning. Although there are many theories on learning, it is not fully understood, many people learn in different ways.


This model looks at learning as a direct connection between:

Drive: May be primary, a natural need or secondary, which is learned.

Stimulus: A stimulus is a prompt that causes a person to react(respond).

Response: A response is a reaction to a stimulus; a response can be automatic or trained.

Reinforcements: Are events that substantiate responses e.g. praise or criticism of a person’s action.

Classical & Operant Conditioning

The experiment associated with classical conditioning was performed by Ivan Pavlov in the 1880s. The experiment was based on a dog’s stimulus, the experiment was performed to understand stimulus and response. A dog given the stimulus of food would salivate. The food is the unconditioned stimulus, saliva is the unconditioned response, the bell is the conditioned stimulus and the reinforcement is allowing the dog to eat the food. Every time the dog was shown food Pavlov rang a bell, in time when the bell rung the dog salivated without needing to see the food. This is the stimulus-response model (S-R).

Behaviour and changes in behaviour are the consequence of conditioning. When there is a straightforward link joining a specific stimulus and specific response learning can occur. The conditioned response is dependent on the secondary stimulus. If the secondary stimulus is eliminated the conditioned response will fade.

Naturally, when learning, humans associate events and ideas that happen together.  On this basis then learning can be improved by correlating the new learning with something previously learnt.

According to B.F. Skinner correct behaviour could be conditioned by introducing rewards. His theory states that behaviour is a ramification of its own consequences. Skinner experimented on birds and animals. Skinner believed that Pavlov’s model could account for all innate behaviour prompted by stimuli, however does not accept this for behaviour that is not directly linked to stimuli (operant behaviour). Skinner’s model stated that people get conditioned through particular consequences for particular behaviour. Therefore, Skinner called his model the response-stimulus model (R-S). Working hard is the response for achieving high wages. You work hard and then receive the high wages.

Classical vs. Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning applies consequences from particular kinds of behaviour and is not just focused on identifying what the reasons behind behaviour are. Skinner’s model stated that positive reinforcement was more effective at encouraging learning. Skinner believed that in the organisation trainees should be thought by breaking down tasks, receiving exact instructions and should be clearly able to identify rewards for correct behaviour. He says that machines are more effective for giving instructions than humans.

Operant Conditioning & Training

To apply operant conditioning to occupational training everything must be very clear, trainees should be clearly able to monitor their progress, have short, simple, reachable goals and trainees should have ample opportunities to practise tasks. Management must reinforce motivation by giving rewards and desired responses to particular stimuli must be made simple, clear and obvious. Management should break down big goals into smaller tasks s employees can track their progress.

Operant Conditioning: The different types of reinforcement

Positive Reinforcement: The likely hood of a desired outcome increases due a particular behaviour. This encourages employees to continue this behaviour to get the reward e.g. bonus.

Punishment: A desired outcome becomes less likely or is denied due to certain behaviour. This is to deter certain behaviour e.g. demotion or loss of chance of a bonus.

Negative Reinforcement: This is when undesired outcomes stop as the employee acts in the desired behaviour e.g. management stops criticising a lazy worker when they work hard.

Extinction: This is when there is no outcome from a particular behaviour and so that behaviour stops. e.g an employee gets neither praise nor criticism from being lazy, so the employee works hard to earn the praise.

The most used methods of reinforcement are positive reinforcement and extinction combined management reward desired behaviours, ignore undesired behaviours. Punishment and negative reinforcement leads to negative attitudes and feelings so are best only used when they are necessary.

Social Learning

This theory suggests that learning can take place by observing a behaviour and that behaviour’s outcomes. Social learning involves observing and evaluating behaviour. Reinforcement is not the key to this theory but is involved.

An example of social learning in teaching is observing experts at work.

Cognitive Learning

This theory requires the learner to be involved with the learning materials. Cognitive learning is based on the learners ideas, interpretation and existing knowledge. The learning comes from within the learner: they have to want to learn, they take the information in and link and map it internally. An example of cognitive learning in teaching is a very enquiry-based project.

The Learning Organisation

The learning organisation is an organisation which is constantly expanding its abilities. In a learning organisation employees are always training and developing their skills. In a learning organisation employees are always learning and so management must be able to facilitate their employees’ learning so that they can keep up with the organisation.

Workplace Stress

“Stress is defined in terms of how it impacts physical and psychological health; it includes mental, physical, and emotional strain. Stress occurs when a demand exceeds an individual’s coping ability and disrupts his or her psychological equilibrium. Stress occurs in the workplace when an employee perceives a situation to be too strenuous to handle, and therefore threatening to his or her well-being.” (Boundless, 2017)

“Work-related stress is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope. Stress occurs in a wide range of work circumstances but is often made worse when employees feel they have little support from supervisors and colleagues, as well as little control over work processes. There is often confusion between pressure or challenge and stress and sometimes it is used to excuse bad management practice.” (Who.int, 2017).

“Stress has been defined in different ways over the years. Originally, it was conceived of as pressure from the environment, then as strain within the person. The generally accepted definition today is one of interaction between the situation and the individual. It is the psychological and physical state that results when the resources of the individual are not sufficient to cope with the demands and pressures of the situation. Thus, stress is more likely in some situations than others and in some individuals than others. Stress can undermine the achievement of goals, both for individuals and for organisations.” (Michie, 2002)

Stress is a response to pressure. Stress is based on the individual; different people have different stress levels they react differently to different levels of pressure. Stress occurs when an individual feels pressure from both the external environment and internally, the individual cannot cope with the demands they face. This pressure can result in changing the individual’s psychological and physical state, it throws them off balance. Work-place stress occurs when an employee is faced with pressures which they cannot handle, this pressure exceeds the threshold of the employee and leads to stress. If a task an employee is given exceeds their skills  this would be an example of when they may become stressed. When choosing a career path people should reflect on how they can handle the pressures and stresses of that job, being in a job which exceeds your tolerance for stress can have a very serious negative impact on a person’s health; both mentally and physically.

Stress triggers our fight or flight response. It has many physical effects on an individual’s body; muscles tighten, perspiration increases, heart rate increases, breathing speeds up, blood rushes to the brain releasing adrenaline and other hormones, extra fatty acids and glucose are released to fuel the system, senses are sharpened and even the immune system is shut down to conserve resources to specifically target stress.

Stress has both positive and negative effects. Negative stress is referred to as ‘distress’ this is when stress impacts the individual physiologically and psychologically, beyond a healthy function. Positive stress is referred to as ‘eustress’ which considers the constructive outcome of stressful events and the stress response. ‘Eustress’ occurs when an individual experiences a moderate stress level, which is enough to motivate and activate an individual to achieve goals, change their environments and succeed in life’s challenges, stress is needed to survive. However, distress is more common in the workplace, it significantly affects employees’ health and job performance.

General Adaptation Syndrome

Hans Selye was the first documented person to research stress. Selye concluded that people have a reasonably consistent physiological response to stressful events. This is called the ‘General Adaptation Syndrome’, which is an automatic defense system to aid us in handling pressures in our in environment. There are three stages:. Alarm, resistance and exhaustion..

Alarm Reaction: This is the first stage of the stress model. It happens when the pressures an individual face cause the physiological responses to stress e.g. increased heart rate etc. An individual’s coping effectiveness and energy levels decrease due to the shock. Extreme cases have caused death and incapacity. Mainly, this reaction is to notify the individual to the environmental pressures and prepares the individual’s body for the resistance reaction.

Resistance: During this stage various behavioural, biochemical and psychological mechanisms are triggered to allow the individual to cope and rise to the demand of the environment.

Exhaustion: This stage occurs when an individual has exceeded their capacity of resistance and the stress persists. In the average workplace stress situation, the GAS ends before complete exhaustion. Most employees tend to resolve or withdraw before destructive consequences can occur. People who regularly experience stress increase their risk of long-term psychological and physiological damage. This model  doesn’t account for the causes, consequences and individual differences in the stress experience it simply describes it.

The Causes of Stress

The causes of stress are called stressors. Stressors consist of any environmental circumstances that put an emotional or physical pressure on an individual. Individuals face many stressors both in the workplace and out of the work place.

Work place Stressors:

Interpersonal Stressors

These stressors originate from interacting with people, these stressors come from relationships and communicating with co-workers. Employees may not get on with each other there may be personality clashes, this would be another interpersonal stressor.

Task Demands

Task demands are the demands relative to a specific job/occupation. Task demands are based on what job you have, the environment in that workplace, the expected performance and behaviour of employees.

Specific Job: The stress an employee is faced with in a job is specific to that job. Certain jobs are more stressful and demanding than others.

Physical Threats: If an employee faces physical threats in their job this increases the stress level for that job. E.g. firefighter

Job security: If an employee fears they might lose their job (income) or have no protection of their job then this could lead to stress. e.g. zero hour contracts.

Overload: Overload causes employees to become anxious and tense. Over load occurs when employees are given too much work to do within too short a timeframe. Or if an employee is given a task that they do not have the skills or qualification for.

Underload: Is when an employee is not given enough work or is given too much time to complete a simple task or when an employee is overqualified for a task or job. This results in an employee experiencing boredom and apathy.

Physical Demands

This is about the environment and conditions of the workplace. If a workplace has extreme temperatures, poor office design or poor lighting this can lead to an increase in stress levels. Open plan layouts can be too noise and workers may not be able to concentrate. Closed plan layout can leave workers feeling secluded and doesn’t meet their social needs. If the chairs in an office are uncomfortable this may cause some employees back pain which would lead to stress.

Role Demands

Role stressors occur when an employee has trouble performing, balancing or understanding their various roles. There are two different types of role stressor role ambiguity and role conflict. Role ambiguity is when an employee doesn’t fully understand the task they are expected to perform. This can happen because of unclear instructions, a vague job description or little help from co-workers. In the workplace, not being able to complete a job will get an employee into trouble or will make management question the employee’s role in the company. Due to this role ambiguity could be a major cause of stress. Role conflict happens when expectations of roles contradict each other. Inter-role conflict happens when expectations from separate roles contradict each other for example work and college, students need to work to make money but they also need to study for exams and sometimes students don’t have enough time for both. Intra-role conflict happens when expectations within the same role contradict each other. For example, a manager is told by the boss to ensure employees follow a set of rules, however the employees believe that some of the rules are unfair and urge the manager to change them.

Acute Stress

This is the most common type of stress. Acute stress originates from pressures and demands. Some acute stress is exciting, too much will exhaust. If an individual goes over their stress limit it can lead to unhealthy symptoms. As acute stress is considered short-term it doesn’t cause long-term symptoms. The symptoms are emotional distress, muscular problems and stomach, gut and bowel problems.

Episodic Stress

This is when an individual experiences acute stress quite often. People who experience episodic stress generally are unable to organise themselves properly, no matter how hard they try. This type of person is angry, in a hurry, abrupt and come across as hostile.

The other type of episodic stress sufferers are people who tend to worry about everything, see trouble around every corner. They are tense, anxious and depressed. The symptoms are extended acute stress symptoms, chest pain and heart disease.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is a long-term problem. It is a much more serious stress condition caused by a constant problem e.g. a person working in a job they hate. This stress eats away at an individual. It is a form of stress that many people get used to, which is what makes it hard to recover from. Chronic stress can be fatal it’s affects are violence, stroke, suicide and heart attack. Chronic stress drains an individual’s mental and physical resources by constantly weakening them. Chronic stress is hard to treat.

All individuals have unique characteristics; they have different thresholds of resistance to a stressor e.g. younger people have more energy for stress, different coping strategies some people ignore stress some face it head on and some people have more experience, confidence and optimism levels.

Consequences of Stress

The physiological consequences of stress shuts down the immune system, leading to bacterial and viral infections, tension headaches, back and muscle pain, cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart attack and hypertension.

The psychological consequences of stress are job dissatisfaction, moodiness, depression, low organisation commitments, emotional fatigue and burnout. Burnout is a result of prolonged exposure to stress. A job burnout is due to role-related and interpersonal stressors and is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion and low feelings of personal accomplishment. The stages of job burnout are emotional exhaustion/compassion fatigue, depersonalisation/cynicism and reduced professional efficiency/reduced personal accomplishment.

The behavioural consequences of stress are memory becomes impaired, job performance falls, frequent work accidents, less effective decisions, make mistakes, overstressed employees tend to be absent more – flight and workplace aggression – fight.

Managing & Reducing Stress

Methods to manage stress are; remove the stressor, withdraw from the stressor, change stress perceptions and receive social support.

Stress management programme:

A programme to help employees use a variety of techniques to handle stress e.g. meditation and relaxation.

Wellness Programme:

A programme to inform employees on to use a healthy lifestyle to reduce their stress levels.

Employee Assistance Programme:

A programme set up for employees to be able to avail of assistance in recovering from organisational stressors and/or personal stressors/problems. Provides counselling.



“Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role or subject, or to make an effort to attain a goal.
Motivation results from the interaction of both conscious and unconscious factors such as the (1) intensity of desire or need, (2) incentive or reward value of the goal, and (3) expectations of the individual and of his or her peers. These factors are the reasons one has for behaving a certain way.”(BusinessDictionary.com, 2017)

“the act or an instance of motivating, or providing with a reason to actin a certain way. 2. the state or condition of being motivated or having a strong reason to act or accomplish something. 3. something that motivates; inducement; incentive.”(Dictionary.com, 2017)

“Motivation is a theoretical construct used to explain behaviour. It gives the reason for people’s actions, desires, and needs. Motivation can also be defined as one’s direction to behaviour, or what causes a person to want to repeat a behaviour and vice versa.[1] A motive is what prompts the person to act in a certain way, or at least develop an inclination for specific behaviour.[2] According to Maehr and Meyer, “Motivation is a word that is part of the popular culture as few other psychological concepts are.”[3]“(En.wikipedia.org, 2017)

An employee’s motivation to work consists of all the drives, forces and influences- conscious or unconscious- that cause the employee to want to achieve certain aims.

Motivation is a crucial factor in the workplace. Motivation is what keeps employees working towards the company’s goals. Managers need to understand what motivates their employees. This is so they can keep their employees motivated and achieving their goals. Contemporary theories of motivation believe that human needs are a major aspect of motivation. The theory is that human needs dictate when human activity takes place. There are basic human needs: food, water, shelter and sleep and then you have social needs: need for interacting with others, affection, personal development and social status. Employment satisfies most of these needs in the workplace, you interact with your colleagues, you may have the opportunity for promotion, your status within the company and of course the most important- wages which is what satisfies your basic human needs. Wages mean you can afford food, water and a roof over your head. Security is a big need for people, they want to feel secure that they will be able to maintain their basic requirements. Employment gives people security through wages, sick pay, pension plans and redundancy. Peoples non-basic needs are power seekers, some are achievement seekers. People who need power are power seekers, people who need achievement are achievement seekers. Taylors theory is that the main motive is high wages. He believed the higher the wages the harder the employee worked. In Taylors theory management must ensure work is organised as efficiently as possible, for the company to be able to maintain high wages. This meant the workplace should be organised strictly in the areas of work measurement division of labour and method study. However, the human relations school believes that the social factors eg. Inter and intra group relations are just as important motivators.

D.C. McClelland’s Theory

McClelland believed that achievement was the biggest motivator, followed by the need for affiliation and the need for power. He called:

People with achievement needs: nAch

People with power needs: nPow

People with affiliation needs: nAff

People with high nAch would establish their own standards if there are set standards and work hard to achieve these standards. They want to do better than others, experience anxiety when they face failure and are likely to succeed as managers or entrepreneurs. People with a high nAff need to interact with others to help their colleagues and have good relationships. They tend to desire approval from colleagues and tend to adopt conformist attitudes when working in groups. They like to be social and get involved in social activities and they like to avoid conflict. People with a high nPow like to have power over others. They like to control things they want to be responsible for people and influence them. Power seekers try to gain control over resources, information, people’s behaviour and attitudes so they can influence them.

Process and Expectancy Theories


The big process theories are: E.E Lawlor, V.H Vroom and L.W Porter. Their work together is called the expectancy theory. Process theorists attempt to predict/foresee an individual’s motivation by identifying the processes that determine the patterns of behaviour a person will follow when pursuing desired objectives.


This theory states that employees own observations on if they are fairly treated by management is an enormous factor influencing motivation. Individual employees regularly compare the returns they receive vs. the returns other employees receive, taking into account the effort put into the work done. If an employee feels that all the returns are equal is said to be in a state of “distributive justice”. When an employee feels that their returns do not match other employees returns, then it is a state of ‘cognitive dissonance’. If an employee is in a state of ‘cognitive dissonance’ management should remove the dissonance as the employee would very much appreciate it. The theory is if perceived inputs do not match, employees will not work as hard and vice versa. However, there are 3 big problems with this theory: an employee’s opinion of equity can be hard to measure, inputs and outputs might not be correctly acknowledged by employees and there are loads of other factors which can affect somebody’s motivation.


This theory stares that someone’s behaviour will reflect what that individual has learned or believes will help them achieve, self selected goals. Therefore, a person is motivated by their expectations that certain modes of behaviour will lead to desired events. Following this theory would mean that a person would only be motivated to work hard if it suited their needs and if making an effort is unlikely to meet their needs that they won’t bother.

Vroom’s Expectancy Theory:

V.H Vroom’s theory states that: what a person wants to happen, that person’s estimate of the probability of various events occurring, including the desired outcome, the strength of a person’s belief that a certain outcome will satisfy his or her needs affects a person’s behaviour. Vroom’s formula: Motivation = Valence x Expectation.

Valence: is a person’s desire for something to happen. Valence can be positive or negative. Negative valence is the desire that an outcome/event will not happen.

Expectancy: is how strong the individual’s belief that an outcome/event will actually occur. It is the individual’s own probability calculation that the outcome/event is happening. This model states that to motivate employees management must, raise the value of outcomes, which would raise the level of valence and demonstrate the links between modes of behaviour and desired events e.g. giving a hardworking, motivated employee gets the desired raise in income. If either Valence or Expectancy is zero than motivation is zero.

If a company changes working practices, jobs or environment then according to Vroom’s model this will cause uncertainty and employee motivation levels to decrease. This is due to an inability to predict probability of desired events/outcomes. When management makes big changes like this they should ensure employees are clearly informed on expectations from new policies. This is because you cannot make a prediction with no previous occurrences.

Implications of Vroom’s Model:

• Employees need to be shown a visible link between rewards and effort put in.
• A complicated bonus scheme will not motivate employees.
• Experience in jobs shows employees quantity and quality of production required to reap the benefits.
• Employees get satisfaction out of working hard and seeing the results.

Porter and Lawler:

Two factors that determine the effort employees put into their jobs.
1. How rewards are likely to satisfy an employee’s needs for personal development, esteem, security and independence.
2. The employee’s expectation that effort put in will result in receiving these rewards.
The higher the expectation that rewards depend on effort put in the greater effort an employee will give to their job.

The efficiency of an employee’s effort depends on ability and interpretation of role. Then there is the fact that different employees have different values in different rewards. Employees could value money, personal relations or recognition.

The problems with the Expectancy Theory is:

• Assumption that people think logically and act rationally.
• You cannot test this theory
• There’s only two variables, this restricts analysis.
• Employees may fail to see the importance of particular aspects of performance which greatly contribute to getting desired objectives.

Fredick Taylor

Taylor’s theory was that employees could be motivated by money and being supervised. He believed that it was important for management to match workers to the job that best suited them.

Elton Mayo

Mayo’s theory was that employees were motivated by their social needs. Mayo called for better working conditions, managers to improve their social skills and counselling for employees. Mayo set up the Hawthrone Studies.

Hawthrone Studies

According to these studies, individuals should be seen as group members, fitting in at work was more important than making money and groups have influence over employees.

Maslow’s Needs Theory

Physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualisation are the needs Maslow believed that people were motivated by. One set is met than the next and so on down the list. The needs are like an employee’s goals they are working towards having all their needs met, this is their motivation.

Motivated vs. Demotivated Staff



High performers



Disputes & grievances

Absenteeism & Tardiness


Motivation Influences

The management style, the individual, the occupation and the organisation’s environment all influence motivation.

Reasons to Motivate Staff

Motivated staff work harder and are happier in their job than un-motivated staff. If staff work hard and are happy, it increases job performance meaning more money for the employer, less employee turnover due to happy workers cut out the cost of hiring new employees.


Having studied organisational behaviour I believe it is important to have an understanding of this subject in an organisation. If managers have an understanding of the topics discussed in this project then they will know how to act appropriately in these areas. They will have the skills to identify how an employee learns, is motivated, their stressors and their personality. Knowing how to motivate staff, keep their stress levels low and train staff are some of the most important jobs of management. This keeps performance levels up, promotes a happy working environment and lowers employee turnover.


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