Management involves a wide range of issues ranging from human resource through finances to planning among others. However, contemporary organizational environmental context encounter some variables that are changing the face of organizational behavior. Conventional organizational behavior involves study and application of cognition regarding either how people, individually or as a group behave in an organization. This is a broad scope of organizational behavior but the entry of the four most important variables in management of organizational behavior changed its face. These factors are information technology, globalization, ethics and diversity. How does each of these variables affect the way people look at organizational behaviors? How can managers utilize them to acquire a competitive advantage?
Globalization in organizational behavior refers to a process whereby people, organizations or governments across the world interact and work together: a factor driven by information technology or changing international trade among other factors like investment. This comes with its advantages and challenges as well. Nevertheless, globalization plays a key role in organizational behavior management. Globalization has caused managers to think beyond boundaries in organizational behavior management. Organizations have to remain afloat in a composite and competitive worldwide environment. In today’s organizations, people come from diverse backgrounds with different cultures and values. This changes the perception of the conventional way of looking at organizational behavior from a national perspective where people share culture and values.
Globalization affects individuals, managers and entire organizations consequently. People come in with different cultures and McCuddy (2004) points out that, culture influences the way people think and make decisions (p. 13). Therefore, mangers need to have a global mindset in managing organizational behaviors in the wake of globalization. Management skills in one country may not be effective in another, or policies in one region may be different from policies in another region. However, organizations from these diverse backgrounds have to work together courtesy of globalization. Other components accompanying globalization include differing religions, language and time orientation among others. For instance, think of managing people from individualistic and collectivistic cultures. These people have different thought pattern and this has changed organizational behavior management a great deal. This calls for a shift from the conventional organizational behavior management to contemporary management techniques that involve wide range of tactics and special training to address these issues successfully.
Globalization brings together people with different expertise and abilities that managers could tap to create a competitive edge in market. For instance, people from collectivistic backgrounds will have peculiar talents and beliefs lacking in people from individualistic backgrounds. Focusing on the strengths of given group and disseminating duties to another group that is strong in the weak points of the other, fosters development.
The second variable is diversity. Apparently, diversity goes hand in hand with globalization. Diversity presents organizational behavior management with a peculiar challenge and that is exclusion. According to Mor-Barak (2005), employees from a given region may feel excluded from the integral constituent of an organization (p. 6). Diversity groupings differ from one culture, country or organization to another. The element of exclusion from job opportunities, information, decision-making issues or even memberships among others, seem to surpass national boundaries. This still calls for a change in management strategies to cater for the needs of each individual. Diversity also comes with issues like existence of minority groups, gender discrimination together with social and economic stresses in organizations.
However, diversity is not a detrimental factor and when used well, it may bring fortunes to organizations. The secret is for the involved organizations to become multicultural and abolish barriers that prevent individuals from full participation in organizations. This call for understanding and respecting other people’s opinions and values as organizations move towards shared gumption of organizational oneness characterized by common vision and identity. Diversity is important because it helps in establishing customer relationships. This is different from the traditional settings where men dominated workplace or people from one culture worked in a given locality. Diversity thus has changed this traditional view of organizational behavior management.
Managers can utilize diversity by creating an environment where everyone is valued and accepted. Moreover, managers should allow different groups to retain their identities and in the process, they will shape the company and introduce new strong points that could be missing hitherto (McCuddy, 2004, p.9). Gender issues fall under diversity and managers could still utilize this to acquire competitive advantage. Men and women fair well at different levels and understanding weaknesses and strengths of the two genders would prove advantageous for organizations. Instead of making an all-rounded individual, managers can capitalize on strengths and use them appropriately where relevant.
Ethics too play a crucial role in changing the perception of organizational behavior management. Ethics in this context, also referred as organizational conduct, defines how individuals do their work and fit into the culture of the organization at the same time (Sexton, 2007). There are established rules and regulations that govern individuals in work place. Workers have to adhere to these rules with both shared goals and unique personal attributes contributing to adherence of the same. A code of ethics in workplace delineates what is acceptable from what is not. It forms the basis of punishment or reward to employees. It becomes difficult to formulate a code of ethics giving attention to all opinions from different people. However, it is important to let people know that a code of ethics does not violate anyone’s ethical standards.
This is different from the early days where people viewed organization as self-sustaining unit working in concert with its individual self. People set these codes of ethics and with increasing awareness of personal rights and emergence of workers movements, the issue of ethics has revolutionarised the way people perceive organizational behavior management. Workers are getting more involved in setting these codes of ethics in workplace to have their interests represented.
Managers can use the ethics variable to create a competitive edge. By coming up with strategies to reward employees who commit themselves to ethical behaviors and punishing those who flout the codes of ethics to discourage irresponsibility in workplace. Involving workers in formulation of the code of ethics would also promote positive attitude and result to improved productivity.
Information technology is the last variable in this series. Information technology ostensibly has changed completely the perception of many regarding organizational behavior management. Personal computers have become a common place in many organizations. It plays different roles in organizations including substituting partially some repetitive jobs like bookkeeping, converting information to knowledge in the learning processes and improving strategic capability (Hunt, 2006, p. 224).
Like any other variable, information technology comes along with its merits and demerits as well. With the entry of information technology, many people have lost their jobs because this technology substituted them. For instance, emails replaced postal mailing practices in part and this means that the people who held these posts had to lose their jobs. Information technology paved way for programming, which made easy some procedures like data entry and storage. Outsourcing came in the wake of information technology and this reduced management levels drastically in organizations.
Information technology provides executives with options to trace and monitor the progress of workers regardless of space and time. An executive in sales department can monitor the sales of a junior worker at anytime courtesy of information technology. It is now easy to mobilize people in an organization via information technology. Disseminating information to different groups occurs within minutes and feedbacks are in real time. This is far from the conventional way of spreading information within an organization. Earlier techniques were time consuming and unreliable but information technology has overcome that.
Information technology forms the backbone of most businesses’ successful stories ever told. Managers have no option but to adopt and incorporate information technology in their management. This offers a sure competitive advantage because information technology touches all frontiers in business events. It cuts across marketing, management, finances and security among all other business practices. The future of organizational behavior management lies in the complete adoption and integration of information technology in organizations.
Globalization, ethics, diversity and information technology are the four variables that have changed the perception of organizational behavior management from conventional to a contemporary point of view. Though these factors pose some challenges in their implementation, they enhance this form of management. Managers can use the same variables to acquire a competitive edge in their business operations.
Hunt, J. (2006). Organizational Behavior. (p. 224). Web.
McCuddy, M. (2004). Core Concepts of Organizational Behavior. (p. 9-13). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Mor-Barak, M. (2006). Managing Diversity: Toward a Globally Inclusive Workplace. (p. 6). Web.
Sexton, T. (2007). Organizational Behavior and Ethics. Web.