Reflection Journal sample essay
This is the first time I have had the opportunity to study this subject. Being a science student, I have a very basic understanding on the different aspects of Organisational behaviour. I am interested in learning the different theories, concepts and practises that are a part of this course and relating the same with experiences I have had in the past at my previous workplace. This course would also benefit me at my future workplace by honing my job-related and inter-personal skills.Management is an art of getting things done through and with the people in formally organized groups. The five major functions of management are planning, organising, staffing, directing and controlling.
Planning refers to the process of setting goals and how best to achieve them, organising refers to evenly distributing resources so that the plans can be carried out successfully, Staffing pertains to recruitment, selection, development and compensation of subordinates aiming to place right people in the right job, directing refers to the process in which the managers instruct, guide and oversee the performance of the workers to achieve predetermined goals and controlling refers to the process of regulating organisational activities so that actual performance conforms to expected organisational standards and goals.
Organisational behaviour can be assessed at three major levels – At the individual level, of analysis, At the group level and At the organization level. Even though the basic skills required for a manager are networking skills, traditional management skills, HRM skills and communication skills, the focused skillset is different for different management levels.There are five basic trends in managing contemporary organisations. Globalization refers to the company’s desire to be a part of the global market. Changing workforce implies increased diversity among the working population, primarily more women being part of it. Employment relationship refers to the flexibility and ease of work schedule and culture.
Information technology refers to the increased ease with which employees interact and how organisations are configured. Values and ethics refer to important long-lasting beliefs and moral principles for the benefit of the company. Based on these trends, there are many challenges and opportunities for organisational behaviour.An organisation’s Intellectual capital is of three types – human capital, structural capital and relationship capital.The process of knowledge management can be broadly classified into acquisition (learning and experimenting), sharing (communicating) and use (application). In my last workplace, My organisation overcame many challenges related to various aspects of organisational behaviour.
Emphasizing on the final result, they allowed the employees to have a flexible work schedule and/or to work from home. This made it very convenient for the employee. We also used trends in Information Technology and scheduled a Video call between a particular project team and our most potential clients once a month. This improved communication and strengthened our relationship with the client.My previous company had its major clientele in the US but it made a lot of attempts to go global. They were trying to pursue projects in the Middle East, UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore, and India and succeeded establishing a clientele in the Middle East.
This was an advantage for the employees as it gave us opportunities to experience the work culture in different markets.| 11/12/2012| Unit 2:Individual Behavior, Personality, and Values| There are various factors that influenced my behaviour at my workplace. I can particularly relate to the MARS model in this instance. Positive and negative (that I would look at from a positive angle) motivation from others throughout the tenure of my work has help me become more passionate about my career. Early on in my career, I had not defined my set of goals properly. As a result, the amount of time and effort invested into achieving those unstable goals was wasted. It is very important to have a sound understanding of our work tasks from every angle.
During the last few months of my work, I was simultaneously allocated to three projects. I was not able to concentrate on any project properly as my roles and tasks were not clearly defined. Now, after having a clear, sound understanding of the MARS model, I have realized the importance of clearly defining my goals to get self-motivated and my tasks to increase productivity. With respect to my personality, I am responsible for things that happen to me. I am a little low on self-esteem but realizing that future failures will decrease it all the more, I will take considerable steps to improve the same. I am more of a Type-B person by nature and will take that as an advantage in my life as I love setting aside time for leisure and moving at a normal pace.
With respect to the CANOE personality model, I am a combination of the Agreeableness and the Extraversion type. With every company trying to become a part of the global market, it is good for everyone to be able to adapt to all cultures. In my previous workplace, I was deployed in the US on a short-term assignment. It would have been great if someone had emphasized the importance of globalization so that I would have mentally prepared myself to adapt to the culture there instead of going there and taking time to get adjusted. Cross cultural issues are predominant in every workplace though a lot of companies are striving hard to get rid of the same.
My company has recently acquired a clientele in the Middle East. A few of my colleagues who were deployed on projects there were not aware of the work culture and practises there. They took a while to get used to the culture there. It would have helped them a lot had they had been given a nugget on the importance of being open-minded and flexible.| 17/12/2012| Unit 3: Perception| Perception is an apprehension or intuition that a person has about somebody or something. The world plays a major role in influencing perception. Perceptions in most cases are superficial and far from reality. Perceptions are generally a result of trends, emotions and trying to fill in missing information.
Stereotyping is also a kind of perception that and it refers to assigning traits to people based on their social category. It is possible to minimize the trait of stereotyping but is difficult to prevent it. Stereotyping causes unnecessary discrimination and generalization. Perceptions can be more accurate by being wary of perceptual biases, improving self-awareness and increasing meaningful interactions. The self-fulfilling prophecy cycle refers to the way an employee reacts to his leader’s expectations and the way the leader reacts back to the employee’s performance. Leaders should maintain realistic positive expectations towards their employees. A person is an achiever if he does a particular task differently, better than others and maintains his performance consistently.
The Johari window improves self-awareness and understanding between colleagues. It asks an individual to be more expressive and also be open to feedback from others so that people are aware of the individual’s level of perception.A global mindset refers to a person’s ability to perceive, interact and get along with people from other cultures. We can cultivate a global mindset by getting to know about other cultures, cross-cultural trainings and understanding oneself and comparing the mindset of people from different cultures. Emotional intelligence refers to a person using his emotions intelligently while dealing with other people. It can be used to motivate oneself and work well with others. Consequences refer to results of a particular behaviour. If the consequence is positive, a reinforcement strategy is applied and if the same is negative a punishment strategy is applied.
Perceptions demotivate leaders and the people working with them. In my previous workplace, I had a perception that freshers did not have sufficient technical knowledge to play a major role in challenging projects. But many freshers working with me excelled their tasks well within their deadlines. Therefore, perception is not reality but what we see of reality.Emotional intelligence is an important leadership quality. The project manager at my previous workplace never motivated any of her subordinates and we always had a very negative view of her managerial skills.
Now, since I have a fair idea about how to motivate my peers and subordinates using Emotional Intelligence and setting realistic goals, I will learn from my ex-project manager’s mistakes and do the right thing when I become a future leader. | 18/12/2012| Unit 4:Motivation| Motivation refers to the processes that arouse and sustain a person’s desire to attain a particular goal. The main reasons for a person being motivated in a workplace are money, opportunity, belonging, involvement and satisfaction. There are many theories related to what motivates a person. Taking an example of the Maslow’s theory, it applies when one wants to be motivated to succeed in his job and further, but the same does not apply when one wants to be motivated to play a role in Social Responsibility.
The other theories are ERG theory where the main reasons for motivation are existence, belonging and growth and McClelland’s theory where the main reasons for motivation are the need for affiliation, power and achievement and Herzberg’s theory where the reasons for motivation are the factors involved in performing a job that lead to satisfaction. All the above content motivation theories confirm that rewards are what play an important role in motivating a person. There are process theories that emphasize on why and how a person gets motivated in the workplace. These theories emphasize on factors that managers have more influence over.
If managers get their employees to love their jobs by clearly defining their roles and setting their goals to give them a strong support system and encouraging them, that will be the best form of motivation. Goal setting plays a major role in motivating an employee. A manager and employee should work together and set the employee’s goals. A goal that is moderate to challenging will generally result in a higher employee performance. An employee will also perform better in his job if he is trusted by his manager, given the right level of independence, allocated well-defined tasks and exposed to increased client interaction.
The other aspects that motivate an employee are providing them with options like telecommuting, flexible timing and job sharing. Remuneration and rewards do motivate people to a great extent. But that form of motivation does come with a few disadvantages as well.My first team lead at my previous workplace was very stringent with respect to us putting in long hours of work. That demotivated the entire team and decreased our work productivity in the long run. Had he not insisted on long work hours, the team would have achieved its required targets much faster. Opportunity is a key motivation factor as well. One year into my job, my manager promoted me and gave me the opportunity to interact directly with my client.
Interacting with the client directly for the first time, I took it up as a challenge and was determined to perform well. The client was very happy with me and gave me a very positive feedback at the end of the project. Unnecessary pressure from the senior management is not a motivating factor. When my project was going through very tight deadlines, the senior management would never be satisfied with our work. Lack of satisfaction and appreciation from our leads made us very disinterested in our work.
Had they understood the amount of pressure we were going through and motivated us the right way, We could have gotten through that rough phase a lot more easily. | 7/1/2013| Unit 5:Team Dynamics| Team work is one of the most important aspects of corporate culture. A team is a group of people who are together to achieve a common goal. Teams motivate employees, increase the ease of information sharing and increase work productivity. The major disadvantage of a team is social loafing. In order to minimize social loafing, smaller teams should be formed and individual performance needs to be measured. It is a good idea to plaster the walls of a team space with key issues. This will give instant access to information to quickly resolve issues.
Teams are better at complex, structured issues that require a lot of co-ordination. Good team members must be able co-operate, resolve conflict, co-ordinate, comfort and communicate. There are four stages of team development – forming, storming, norming and performing. The better performing team is always a cohesive one. Virtual teams are teams that operate across time, space and organisational boundaries. These teams are more necessary because of factors like globalisation. Brainstorming is a practise that is followed amongst the world’s most creative firms.Team work has always played an important role in my work life.
I am a very strong team player. I was working with this client called Toyota and we were a sixteen member team. Though we completed our project successfully at the end, there were many cases of dismal individual performance. People took advantage of the fact that they were part of a team. Had I known then that smaller teams were more productive, I could have suggested to my manager to split us into sub-teams and designate individual tasks at that level. I have been part of a brain storming session many times. Those sessions would have been much more valuable and productive had we defined a set of rules that needed to be followed while brainstorming.| 8/1/2013| Unit 6:Power and Politics| Power is the ability of a person, team or organization to influence others.
Power can be legitimate or otherwise. An example of legitimate power would be Obama. An example of misuse of power would be historic Adolf Hitler. The other types of power are reward, coercive, expert and referent power. Reward power is when someone has the power to control rewards and remove negative sanctions. Coercive power is power that can be used to punish. Expert power is power resulting from possessing valuable knowledge or skills. Referent power is power that arises out of respect. Non-substitutability refers to power that comes out of being unique in an environment or industry. Centrality refers to the interdependence between the power holders and others. Centrality is a phenomenon that will strengthen the spirit of a team to a large extent. Influence refers to any behaviour that alters someone else’s behaviour.
A person can influence or get influenced positively or negatively. The person can resist, comply or commit to influence. Politics exists at every level of the organisation. Politics increases as management hierarchy increases. It exists at the upper management level the most. People trigger politics to make things easier for themselves. It disturbs the peace and cohesion in a team. Politics cannot be abolished but depending on the individuals in the organisation, it can definitely be minimized and controlled.
As with any other organisation, abusive power and politics existed at my previous workplace as well. It existed at a more intense level as we were a very small organisation. We were terribly understaffed when compared to the amount of projects that needed to be completed. Managers used their power and over worked the employees to get work done. Had they been taught to use their authority and power properly they would could have used their power in the right way and implemented long term solutions to the understaffing problems. Politics probably brought individual gain to the person responsible for it but brought about a very negative atmosphere in the team. | 14/1/2013| Unit 7:Leadership| Leadership refers to the process of guiding someone in a work environment to achieve organisational objectives.
Followership refers to the process of following a leader. A leader need s to have the drive to lead, integrity, motivation, self-confidence, emotional intelligence, intelligence and a sound knowledge of the business. A leader’s style can be rigid (autocratic), understanding (democratic) or unsuccessful (Laissez-Faire). A leader can be production-oriented or employee-oriented. Though the former will ultimately get the work done, the latter will get the work done bearing in mind the needs and concerns of the employee. For a manager to be successful, It is very important for him to have leadership qualities. He will be able to inspire and drive the team towards reaching its necessary targets.
There was gender discrimination with respect to leadership. But now, female leaders have been rated more favourably than male leaders. There have been very few leaders in my previous workplace who have had the right leadership traits. Most of the others were very bossy and managerial by nature. They did not have the right Emotional Intelligence to understand their employees, nor did they have any integrity and did not have the leadership drive in them. It would have been easier for us to complete our tasks without them interfering and troubling us.| 15/1/2013| Unit 8:Change| Change is the only thing that does not change. Change in an organisation is inevitable and is intended for the betterment of the organisation.
In the conventional perspective, change had three stages – recognizing the need for change and fighting those resisting it, making the change and finally confirming the change. But this model does not promote continuous change. Lewin’s force field analysis model classifies two forces with respect to change – there are restraining forces that oppose change and driving forces that encourage change. People resist change due to fear of the unknown, saving face, breaking routines and loss in current perks. We can minimize the resistance to change by communicating the change well in advance, implementing the change over a stretched period of time and involving everyone necessary to be a part of the change.
Change can also be made through social networking. Change agents refer to anyone who can facilitate the change correctly. Typically, change agents are consultants from outside the company who diagnose the change, introduce it, stabilize it and finally collect feedback. Change in an organisation will take its employees some time getting used to. Initially, my company had an attendance register that we used to sign every time we got into the office. Then, the management implemented a policy asking us to swipe our access cards insisting on us clocking a minimum of eight hours in our office. A lot of people suffered salary cuts because of forgetting to swipe in or swipe out. This change was sudden and took us quite a while to get used to. | 16/1/2013| Unit 9:Organisational Culture| Organisational culture is the backbone of every organisation.
It is the company’s DNA, invisible but the most important part of the organisation. It is important for an employee to be comfortable and adapt to the company’s culture. A strong organizational culture involves innovation, stability, respect for people, outcome orientation, attention to detail, team orientation and positive aggression. Culture can be defined at the organisational, local, regional and national level. The basic artefacts of organisational culture comprise of rituals, ceremonies, language and physical structures/symbols. A company with a strong culture has better performance. When one company acquires another company or merges with another company, the cultures of both the companies are usually combined into one corporate culture.
An organisation’s culture becomes stronger by attracting applicants, selecting applicants to become company employees and the employees finally quitting the company. Socializing refers to learning and adjusting to strategic and cultural dynamics of an organisation. An employee goes through three general stages of socialization first being an outsider, then a newcomer and finally an insider (employee) of the organisation. | | Overview Summary| This course has stressed on the significance of various concepts that are a vital part of organisational behaviour. I have realised the significance of motivation, managerial leadership, minimizing workplace politics, team building and cohesion, knowledge management, change management, efficient use of authority, perception evading, emotional intelligence, modern organisational trends and overcoming of cross cultural issues amongst others.
In my previous workplace, I was deployed on an onsite assignment in the US to work at Twentieth Century Fox. There, I was allocated to work for two projects at the same time, all of which involved getting work done from my inexperienced subordinates in India. I can relate to a lot of OB concepts that could have helped me manage my all aspects of my work better.
The work culture in the US differed a lot from that in India. It took me some time to adjust to the differences. At Fox, My challenge was to interact with people from all cultures at a global level. Also, my senior management had not defined my roles in both the projects properly. Since I had freshers working with me from India, I perceived them to not be capable of working in such critical projects and hence did not motivate them. That did not spread any team spirit among our project members. If I had been enlightened with the importance of workplace motivation, it would have been easier for us to complete the project tasks.
I have also understood the pertinence of positive leadership. I lacked the leadership qualities to drive the project in a positive manner even though I had a sound understanding of the business. In the future, I will motivate my subordinates and address all their concerns so that they contribute better to the project. My company did not have a knowledge management process in place.
When I was leaving the company, since there was nobody else competent enough to replace me, we lost one project to a competitor. This loss could have been avoided if there had been an efficient knowledge management and succession planning strategy in place. In future, as a leader, I am very sure all the concepts learnt as part of this course will help me overcome a lot of organisational level obstacles at my workplaces and make my road to success a lot easier.