Discussion Question

Course: Psychology of Health

Word Count: 200

Use (1) reference and work cited

 

Discussion Question:
Do you believe employees can control substance abuse to adequately perform their job? Explain your answer.

***Class Chapters 7,8,&9 are Provided in Attachment (if needed)

  

le
a

r
n

in
g

o
u

t
c

o
m

e
s

Managing
Change and
Innovation

CHAPTER

how to
manage

resistance to

change.

techniques
for stimulating

innovation.

what
managers

need to know
about

employee

stress.

organizational
change and

compare and
contrast views
on the change

process.

Describe

Explain

Define

Discuss

7.2

7.3

7.1

7.4

p.

192

p.199

p.201

p.204

I

S
B

N

1-256-14379-0

Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Imagine lying as a patient in a hospital bed and being visited
by a 5-foot robot.1 You might attribute such a “vision” to too
many drugs or too little sleep. But in Methodist Hospital in
Houston, that 5-foot robot isn’t a vision. It’s real. The robot,
which looks like “an oversize carpet cleaner with a computer
monitor stuck on top,” visits patients, being guided remotely by
a patient’s doctor from a command center on another floor. With
this type of technology, especially in a critical care unit, a medical
team can do its rounds and “read” vital signs and “see” how
patients are doing without disturbing or distressing them.

Robots roaming hospital hallways aren’t the only technological advancements
transforming how medical centers and health care systems work. Radio-frequency ID tags keep
track of doctors, nurses, and pieces of equipment in real time, leading to faster emergency
response times. “Smart beds automatically transfer patients’ breathing and heart rates to their
charts,” quickly alerting nurses to potential or developing problems. And one of the biggest
technological changes is in medical records information keeping. Rather than having massive
numbers of paper-based files, health care organizations are moving toward completely digital
medical records. But the rate of change has been slow. Currently, only 1.5 percent of private
hospitals have a comprehensive electronic medical records system in all clinical units. Only
7.6 percent have a basic system in at least one unit. Yet, it’s a major change with significant
promise. “Putting patient records into digital form . . . can provide a wealth of information
about which treatments work and which don’t, and speed diagnosis and medical care.”

The investment that hospitals and other health care organizations are making in technology
has basically two goals: (1) to improve medical care and reduce error rates, and (2) to minimize
patient stress, which encourages healing. “Ironically, one of the most anticipated developments is
that technology will allow hospitals to keep people out of them.” The vice president of the inno-
vation and technology group at Kaiser Permanente’s Sidney R. Garfield Health Care Innovation
Center says, “By 2015, the home will be the hub of health care.” And such changes are already
taking place. In many rural areas of the United States where specialized medical care is scarce,
telemedicine is in place to cover the gaps. For instance, 31 hospitals in remote locations in
Michigan use robots, similar to the one described earlier, for diagnosis and follow-up. Robots are
even found in operating rooms—the “assembly line” of a health care system—just as they are in
other organization’s assembly lines, and for the same reasons: quality control and cost control.

In an industry where you’d expect up-to-date technology, the changes in the way health
care organizations do their work haven’t been occurring as rapidly as you might

think. However, technological changes will continue to transform the
industry and the organizations and the people who make it work.

191

Technology Transformers

IS
B

N
1

-2
56

-1
43

79
-0

Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

7.1

Define
organizational
change and

compare and
contrast views
on the change
process.
192

Structure
Authority relationships

Coordinating mechanisms
Job redesign

Spans of control

Technology
Work processes
Work methods

Equipment

People
Attitudes

Expectations
Perceptions

Behavior

EXHIBIT 7-1 Categories of Organizational Change

Change is a constant for organizations and thus for managers. Large companies, small

businesses, entrepreneurial start-ups, universities, hospitals, and even the military are changing

the way they do things. Although change has always been a part of the manager’s job, it’s

become even more so in recent years. And because change can’t be eliminated, managers

must learn how to manage it successfully. In this chapter, we’re going to look at organizational

change efforts, the ways that managers can deal with the stress that exists in organizations,

and how managers can stimulate innovation in their organizations.

What Is Change and How Do Managers
Deal with It?
If it weren’t for change, a manager’s job would be relatively easy. Planning
would be easier because tomorrow would be no different from today. The
issue of organizational design would be solved because the environment

would be free from uncertainty and there would be no need to adapt. Simi-
larly, decision making would be dramatically simplified because the outcome

of each alternative could be predicted with near pinpoint accuracy. It would
also simplify the manager’s job if competitors never introduced new products or

services, if customers didn’t make new demands, if government regulations were never
modified, if technology never advanced, or if employees’ needs always remained the same.
But that’s not the way it is.

Change is an organizational reality. Most managers, at one point or another, will have
to change some things in their workplace. We classify these changes as organizational
change, which is any alteration of an organization’s people, structure or technology.
(See Exhibit 7-1.) Let’s look more closely at each of these three areas.

Changing structure includes any alteration in authority relationships, coordination
mechanisms, degree of centralization, job design, or similar organization structure
variables. For instance, in previous chapters, we’ve mentioned that work process engineering,
restructuring, and empowering result in decentralization, wider spans of control, reduced
work specialization, and work teams. These structural components give employees the
authority and means to implement process improvements. For instance, the creation of work
teams that cut across departmental lines allows those people who understand a problem best
to solve that problem. In addition, cross-functional work teams encourage cooperative
problem solving rather than “us versus them” situations. All of these may involve some type
of structural change.

Changing technology encompasses modifications in the way work is done or the
methods and equipment used. One organizational area, in particular, where managers deal
with changing technology is continuous improvement initiatives, which are directed at
developing flexible processes to support better-quality operations. Employees committed

IS
B

N
1-256-14379-0

Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

CHAPTER 7 | MANAGING CHANGE AND INNOVATION 193

to continuous improvements are constantly looking for things to fix. Thus, work processes
must be adaptable to continual change and fine-tuning. Such adaptability requires an
extensive commitment to educating and training workers. Employees need skills training
in problem solving, decision making, negotiation, statistical analysis, and team-building,
and they must be able to analyze and act on data. For example, Herman Miller, Inc., used
both technology and employee training to achieve its market-leading position in the
office furniture industry.2

Changes in people refer to changes in employee attitudes, expectations, perceptions,
or behaviors. The human dimension of change requires a workforce that’s committed to
quality and continuous improvement. Again, proper employee education and training are
needed, as is a performance evaluation and reward system that supports and encourages
those improvements. For example, successful programs put quality goals into bonus plans
for executives and incentives for employees.

Why Do Organizations Need to Change?
In Chapter 2 we pointed out that both external and internal forces constrain managers. These
same forces also bring about the need for change. Let’s briefly review these factors.

WHAT EXTERNAL FORCES CREATE A NEED TO CHANGE? The external forces that create
the need for organizational change come from various sources. In recent years, the
marketplace has affected firms such as AT&T and Lowe’s because of new competition.
AT&T, for example, faces competition from local cable companies and from free Internet
services such as Skype. Lowe’s, too, must now contend with a host of aggressive competi-
tors such as Home Depot and Menard’s. Government laws and regulations are also an impe-
tus for change. For example, when the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law,
thousands of businesses were required to widen doorways, reconfigure restrooms, and add
ramps. Even today, organizations continue to deal with the requirements of improving
accessibility for the disabled.

Technology also creates the need for organizational change. Our chapter opening case
perfectly illustrates how changing technology can impact organizations. The Internet has
changed the way we get information, how products are sold, and how we get our work done.
Technological advancements have created significant economies of scale for many
organizations. For instance, technology allows Scottrade to offer its clients the opportunity
to make online trades without a broker. The assembly line in many industries has also
undergone dramatic change as employers replace human labor with technologically advanced
mechanical robots. Also, the fluctuation in labor markets forces managers to initiate changes.
For example, the shortage of registered nurses in the United States has led many hospital
administrators to redesign nursing jobs and to alter their rewards and benefits packages for
nurses, as well as join forces with local universities to address the nursing shortage.

As the news headlines remind us, economic changes affect almost all organizations.
For instance, prior to the mortgage market meltdown, low interest rates led to significant
growth in the housing market. This growth meant more jobs, more employees hired, and
significant increases in sales in other businesses that supported the building industry.
However, as the economy soured, it had the opposite effect on the housing industry and other
industries as credit markets dried up and businesses found it difficult to get the capital they
needed to operate. And although it’s been almost a decade since 9/11, the airline industry is
still dealing with the organizational changes forced on them by increased security measures
and other environmental factors such as high fuel costs.

organizational change
Any alteration of an organization’s people,
structure, or technology.

IS
B

N
1-

25
6-

14
37

9-
0

Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

194 PART THREE | ORGANIZING

Developing Your Skill
About the Skill
Managers play an important role in organizational change.
That is, they often serve as a catalyst for the change—a
change agent. However, managers may find that change
is resisted by employees. After all, change represents ambi-
guity and uncertainty, or it threatens the status quo. How
can this resistance to change be effectively managed?
Here are some suggestions.5

Steps in Practicing the Skill
1 Assess the climate for change. One major factor in

why some changes succeed while others fail is the
readiness for change. Assessing the climate for change

involves asking several questions. The more affirmative
answers you get, the more likely it is that change efforts
will succeed. Here are some guiding questions:

a. Is the sponsor of the change high enough in the
organization to have power to effectively deal
with resistance?

b. Is senior management supportive of the change
and committed to it?

c. Do senior managers convey the need for change,
and is this feeling shared by others in the organi-
zation?

d. Do managers have a clear vision of how the
future will look after the change?

WHAT INTERNAL FORCES CREATE A NEED TO CHANGE? Internal forces can also create
the need for organizational change. These internal forces tend to originate primarily from
the internal operations of the organization or from the impact of external changes. (It’s also
important to recognize that these changes are a normal part of the organizational life cycle.)3

When managers redefine or modify an organization’s strategy, that action often intro-
duces a host of changes. For example, when Nokia brings in new equipment, that’s an
internal force for change. Because of this action, employees may face job redesign,
undergo training to operate the new equipment, or be required to establish new interaction
patterns within their work groups. Another internal force for change is that the composition
of an organization’s workforce changes in terms of age, education, gender, nationality, and
so forth. A stable organization in which managers have been in their positions for years
might need to restructure jobs in order to retain more ambitious employees by affording
them some upward mobility. The compensation and benefits systems might also need to
be reworked to reflect the needs of a diverse workforce and market forces in which certain
skills are in short supply. Employee attitudes, such as increased job dissatisfaction, may
lead to increased absenteeism, resignations, and even strikes. Such events will, in turn,
often lead to changes in organizational policies and practices.

Who Initiates Organizational Change?
Organizational changes need a catalyst. People who act as catalysts and assume the respon-
sibility for managing the change process are called change agents.4

Any manager can be a change agent. When we talk about organizational change, we
assume that it’s initiated and carried out by a manager within the organization. However,
the change agent could be a nonmanager—for example, an internal staff specialist or an
outside consultant whose expertise is in change implementation. For major systemwide
changes, an organization will often hire outside consultants to provide advice and
assistance. Because these consultants come from the outside, they offer an objective
perspective that insiders usually lack. However, the problem is that outside consultants may
not understand the organization’s history, culture, operating procedures, and personnel.
They’re also prone to initiating more drastic changes than insiders—which can be either a
benefit or a disadvantage—because they don’t have to live with the repercussions after the
change is implemented. In contrast, internal managers who act as change agents may be
more thoughtful (and possibly more cautious) because they must live with the conse-
quences of their actions (see “Developing Your Change Management Skill”).

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

“white-water rapids” metaphor of change
A description of organizational change that
likens that change to a small raft navigating a
raging river.

“calm waters” metaphor of change
A description of organizational change that
likens that change to a large ship making a
predictable trip across a calm sea and
experiencing an occasional storm.

change agents
People who act as change catalysts and
assume the responsibility for managing the
change process.

CHAPTER 7 | MANAGING CHANGE AND INNOVATION 195

e. Are objective measures in place to evaluate the
change effort and have reward systems been
explicitly designed to reinforce them?

f. Is the specific change effort consistent with other
changes going on in the organization?

g. Are managers willing to sacrifice their personal
self-interests for the good of the organization as
a whole?

h. Do managers pride themselves on closely moni-
toring changes and actions by competitors?

i. Are managers and employees rewarded for
taking risks, being innovative, and looking for new
and better solutions?

j. Is the organizational structure flexible?
k. Does communication flow both down and up in

the organization?
l. Has the organization successfully implemented

changes in the past?
m. Are employees satisfied with and do they trust

management?
n. Is a high degree of interaction and cooperation

typical between organizational work units?
o. Are decisions made quickly and do they take into

account a wide variety of suggestions?
2 Choose an appropriate approach for managing

the resistance to change. In this chapter, six strategies
are suggested for dealing with resistance to change—
education and communication, participation, facilita-
tion and support, negotiation, manipulation and
co-optation, and coercion. Review Exhibit 7–3 (p. 200)
for the advantages and disadvantages and when it is
best to use them.

3 During the time the change is being implemented
and after the change is completed, communicate
with employees regarding what support you may
be able to provide. Your employees need to know
that you are there to support them during change

efforts. Be prepared to offer the assistance that may
be necessary to help them enact the change.

Practicing the Skill
Read through the following scenario. Write down some
notes about how you would handle the situation described.
Be sure to refer to the three suggestions for managing resist-
ance to change.

You’re the nursing supervisor at a community hospital
employing both emergency room and floor nurses.
Each of these teams of nurses tends to work almost
exclusively with others doing the same job. In your
professional reading, you’ve come across the con-
cept of cross-training nursing teams and giving them
more varied responsibilities, which in turn has been
shown to improve patient care while lowering costs.
You call the two team leaders, Sue and Scott, into
your office to discuss your plan to have the nursing
teams move to this approach. To your surprise,
they’re both opposed to the idea. Sue says she and
the other emergency room nurses feel they’re
needed in the ER, where they fill the most vital role in
the hospital. They work special hours when needed,
do whatever tasks are required, and often work in
difficult and stressful circumstances. They think the
floor nurses have relatively easy jobs for the pay they
receive. Scott, leader of the floor nurses team, tells
you that his group believes the ER nurses lack the
special training and extra experience that the floor
nurses bring to the hospital. The floor nurses claim
they have the heaviest responsibilities and do the
most exacting work. Because they have ongoing
contact with the patients and their families, they
believe they shouldn’t be pulled away from vital
floor duties to help ER nurses complete their tasks.
Now . . . what would you do?

How Does Organizational Change Happen?
We often use two metaphors to clarify the change process.6 The “calm waters” metaphor envisions
the organization as a large ship crossing a calm sea. The ship’s captain and crew know exactly
where they’re going because they’ve made the trip many times before. Change surfaces as the
occasional storm, a brief distraction in an otherwise calm and predictable trip. In the “white-water
rapids” metaphor, the organization is seen as a small raft navigating a raging river with uninter-
rupted white-water rapids. Aboard the raft are half a dozen people who have never worked together

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

196 PART THREE | ORGANIZING

before, who are totally unfamiliar with the river, who are unsure of their eventual destination,
and who, as if things weren’t bad enough, are traveling at night. In the white-water rapids
metaphor, change is a natural state and managing change is a continual process.

These two metaphors present distinctly different approaches to understanding and
responding to change. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

WHAT IS THE “CALM WATERS” METAPHOR? Until recently, the “calm waters” metaphor
dominated the thinking of practicing managers and academics. The prevailing model for
handling change in such circumstances is best illustrated in Kurt Lewin’s three-step
description of the change process.7 (See Exhibit 7-2.)

According to Lewin, successful change requires unfreezing the status quo, changing to
a new state, and freezing the new change to make it permanent. The status quo can be
considered an equilibrium state. Unfreezing is necessary to move from this equilibrium. It
can be achieved in one of three ways:

� The driving forces, which direct behavior away from the status quo, can be increased.
� The restraining forces, which hinder movement from the existing equilibrium, can be

decreased.
� The two approaches can be combined.

Once the situation has been unfrozen, the change itself can be implemented. However,
the mere introduction of change doesn’t ensure that it will take hold. The new situation,
therefore, needs to be frozen so that it can be sustained over time. Unless this last step is
done, it’s likely that the change will be short-lived and employees will revert to the previ-
ous equilibrium state. The objective of freezing the entire equilibrium state, then, is to
stabilize the new situation by balancing the driving and restraining forces.

Note how Lewin’s three-step process treats change as a break in the organization’s
equilibrium state.8 The status quo has been disturbed, and change is necessary to establish
a new equilibrium state. This view might have been appropriate to the relatively calm
environment that most organizations faced in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s, but the
calm waters metaphor is increasingly obsolete as a description of the kinds of “seas” that
current managers have to navigate. (See the “From the Past to the Present” box for more
information on Lewin and his organizational research.)

WHAT IS THE “WHITE-WATER RAPIDS” METAPHOR? Susan Whiting is chairman of
Nielsen Media Research, the company best known for its television ratings, which are
frequently used to determine how much advertisers pay for TV commercials. The media
research business isn’t what it used to be, however, as the Internet, video on demand, cell
phones, iPods, digital video recorders, and other changing technologies have made data

Unfreezing

Changing

Refreezing

EXHIBIT 7-2 The Three-Step Change Process

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

CHAPTER 7 | MANAGING CHANGE AND INNOVATION 197

From the Past to the Present• •
“There is nothing so practical as a good theory.”
“If you want truly to understand something, try to
change it.”

These two quotes by Kurt Lewin provide unique insights into who
he was and how he approached studying management.9

Lewin, who’s often called the father of modern social psychol-
ogy (a discipline that uses scientific methods to “understand and
explain how the thought, feeling, and behavior of individuals are
influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of other
human beings”), made his name in management circles
through his studies of group dynamics. His approach was based
on the belief that “group behavior is an intricate set of symbolic
interactions and forces that not only affect group structure but
also modify individual behavior.”

One of his research studies that looked at modifying
family food habits during World War II provided new and
important insights into introducing change. He found that

“changes were more easily induced through group decision
making than through lectures and individual appeals.” So
what did this mean? His findings suggested that changes
would be more readily accepted when people felt they had
an opportunity to be involved in the change rather than when
they were simply asked or told to change. That’s an important
lesson for any manager, even today, to learn and apply.

Finally, another of Lewin’s major contributions was the
idea of force field analysis, a framework for looking at the
factors (forces) that influenced a situation. Those forces could
either be driving movement toward a goal or blocking move-
ment toward a goal. When you view this idea in terms of
managing change, you can see how this process also could
contribute to understanding the dynamics of what makes
change work and how managers can overcome resistance
to change; that is, increase the driving forces, decrease the
blocking forces, or both.

collection much more challenging. Whiting says, “If you look at a typical week I have, it’s
a combination of trying to lead a company in change in an industry in change.”10 That’s a
pretty accurate description of what change is like in our second change metaphor—white-
water rapids. It’s also consistent with a world that’s increasingly dominated by information,
ideas, and knowledge.11

To get a feeling of what managing change might be like in a white-water rapids
environment, consider attending a college that had the following rules: Courses vary in
length. When you sign up, you don’t know how long a course will run. It might go for
2 weeks or 30 weeks. Furthermore, the instructor can end a course at any time with no
prior warning. If that isn’t challenging enough, the length of the class changes each time
it meets: Sometimes the class lasts 20 minutes; other times it runs for 3 hours. And the
time of the next class meeting is set by the instructor during this class. There’s one more
thing. All exams are unannounced, so you have to be ready for a test at any time. To succeed
in this type of environment, you’d have to respond quickly to changing conditions.
Students who were overly structured or uncomfortable with change wouldn’t succeed.

DOES EVERY MANAGER FACE A WORLD OF CONSTANT AND CHAOTIC CHANGE? No, not
every manager faces such a world. However, the number who don’t is dwindling. The stability
and predictability of the calm waters metaphor don’t exist. Disruptions in the status quo are not
occasional and temporary, and they are not followed by a return to calm waters. Many managers
never get out of the rapids. Like Susan Whiting, described previously, they face constant forces
in the environment (external and internal) that bring about the need for organizational change.

HOW DO ORGANIZATIONS IMPLEMENT PLANNED CHANGES? We know that most changes
employees experience in an organization don’t happen by chance. Often managers make a
concerted effort to alter some aspect of the organization. Whatever happens—in terms of
structure or technology—ultimately affects organizational members. Efforts to assist organi-
zational members with a planned change are referred to as organization development (OD).

organization development (OD)
Efforts that assist organizational members with a
planned change by focusing on their attitudes
and values.I

S
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

198 PART THREE | ORGANIZING

Members of the Florida State University
football team participate in team-
building exercises before the beginning
of their season. To foster teamwork, the
players participate in several different
games before competing in a paint ball
competition. While strength and
conditioning exercises are important
aspects of players’ physical training,
team-building exercises are important for
increasing players’ trust and openness
toward one another and for developing
skills that contribute to positive
interpersonal relationships.

In facilitating long-term, organization-wide changes, OD focuses on constructively
changing the attitudes and values of organization members so that they can more readily
adapt to and be more effective in achieving the new directions of the organization.12 When
OD efforts are planned, organization leaders are, in essence, attempting to change the
organization’s culture.13 However, a fundamental issue of OD is its reliance on employee
participation to foster an environment in which open communication and trust exist.14 Persons
involved in OD efforts acknowledge that change can create stress for employees. Therefore,
OD attempts to involve organizational members in changes that will affect their jobs and
seeks their input about how the change is affecting them ( just as Lewin suggested).

Any organizational activity that assists with implementing planned change can be
viewed as an OD technique. However, the more popular OD efforts in organizations rely
heavily on group interactions and cooperation and include survey feedback, process
consultation, team-building, and intergroup development.

Survey feedback efforts are designed to assess employee attitudes about and percep-
tions of the change they are encountering. Employees are generally asked to respond to a
set of specific questions regarding how they view such organizational aspects as decision
making, leadership, communication effectiveness, and satisfaction with their jobs,
coworkers, and management.15 The data a change agent obtains are used to clarify prob-
lems that employees may be facing. As a result of this information, the change agent takes
some action to remedy the problems.

In process consultation, outside consultants help managers to perceive, understand,
and act on process elements with which they must deal.16 These elements might include,
for example, workflow, informal relationships among unit members, and formal commu-
nications channels. Consultants give managers insight into what is going on. It’s important
to recognize that consultants are not there to solve these problems. Rather, they act as
coaches to help managers diagnose the interpersonal processes that need improvement. If
managers, with the consultants’ help, cannot solve the problem, the consultants will often
help managers find experts who can.

Organizations are made up of individuals working together to achieve some goals.
Because organizational members must frequently interact with peers, a primary function of
OD is to help them become a team. Team-building is generally an activity that helps work
groups set goals, develop positive interpersonal relationships, and clarify the roles and
responsibilities of each team member. It’s not always necessary to address each area because
the group may be in agreement and understand what’s expected of it. The primary focus of
team-building is to increase members’ trust and openness toward one another.17

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Explain
how to

manage
resistance to

change.
7.2

CHAPTER 7 | MANAGING CHANGE AND INNOVATION 199

Whereas team-building focuses on helping a work group become more cohesive,
intergroup development attempts to achieve the same results among different work groups.
That is, intergroup development attempts to change attitudes, stereotypes, and perceptions
that one group may have toward another group. In doing so, better coordination among the
various groups can be achieved.

How Do Managers Manage Resistance
to Change?
Managers should be motivated to initiate change because they’re concerned
with improving their organization’s effectiveness. But change isn’t easy in
any organization. It can be disruptive and scary. Organizations, and people
within them, can build up inertia that causes them to resist any change, even
if the change might be beneficial. In this section, we review why people in
organizations resist change and what can be done to lessen that resistance.

Why Do People Resist Organizational Change?
It’s often said that most people hate any change that doesn’t jingle in their pockets. This
resistance to change is well documented.18 Why do people resist organizational change?
The main reasons include uncertainty, habit, concern over personal loss, and the belief that
the change is not in the organization’s best interest.19

Change replaces the known with uncertainty. No matter how much you may dislike
attending college (or certain classes), at least you know what’s expected of you. When you
leave college for the world of full-time employment, you’ll trade the known for the
unknown. Employees in organizations are faced with similar uncertainty. For example, when
quality control methods based on statistical models are introduced into manufacturing plants,
many quality control inspectors have to learn the new methods. Some may fear that they’ll
be unable to do so and may develop a negative attitude toward the change or behave poorly
if required to use them.

Another cause of resistance is that we do things out of habit. Every day when you go
to school or work you probably go the same way, if you’re like most people. We’re creatures
of habit. Life is complex enough—we don’t want to have to consider the full range of
options for the hundreds of decisions we make every day. To cope with this complexity, we
rely on habits or programmed responses. But when confronted with change, our tendency
to respond in our accustomed ways becomes a source of resistance.

The third cause of resistance is the fear of losing something already possessed. Change
threatens the investment you’ve already made in the status quo. The more that people
have invested in the current system, the more they resist change. Why? They fear losing
status, money, authority, friendships, personal convenience, or other economic benefits that
they value. This helps explain why older workers tend to resist change more than younger
workers since they generally have more invested in the current system and more to lose by
changing.

A final cause of resistance is a person’s belief that the change is incompatible with
the goals and interests of the organization. For instance, an employee who believes that a

team-building
Using activities to help work groups set goals,
develop positive interpersonal relationships, and
clarify the roles and responsibilities of each
team member.

process consultation
Using outside consultants to assess
organizational processes such as workflow,
informal intra-unit relationships, and formal
communication channels.

survey feedback
A method of assessing employees’ attitudes
toward and perceptions of a change.

intergroup development
Activities that attempt to make several work
groups more cohesive.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

200 PART THREE | ORGANIZING

proposed new job procedure will reduce product quality can be expected to resist the
change. This type of resistance can actually be beneficial to the organization if expressed
in a positive way.

What Are Some Techniques for Reducing Resistance
to Organizational Change?
When managers see resistance to change as dysfunctional, what can they do? Several strate-
gies have been suggested in dealing with resistance to change. These approaches include
education and communication, participation, facilitation and support, negotiation, manipu-
lation and co-optation, and coercion. These tactics are summarized here and described in
Exhibit 7-3. Managers should view these techniques as tools and use the most appropriate
one depending on the type and source of the resistance.

Education and communication can help reduce resistance to change by helping
employees see the logic of the change effort. This technique, of course, assumes that much
of the resistance lies in misinformation or poor communication.

Participation involves bringing those individuals directly affected by the proposed
change into the decision-making process. Their participation allows these individuals to
express their feelings, increase the quality of the process, and increase employee commit-
ment to the final decision.

Facilitation and support involve helping employees deal with the fear and anxiety
associated with the change effort. This help may include employee counseling, therapy, new
skills training, or a short paid leave of absence.

Negotiation involves exchanging something of value for an agreement to lessen the
resistance to the change effort. This resistance technique may be quite useful when the
resistance comes from a powerful source.

Manipulation and co-optation refers to covert attempts to influence others about the
change. It may involve twisting or distorting facts to make the change appear more attractive.

Finally, coercion can be used to deal with resistance to change. Coercion involves the
use of direct threats or force against the resisters.

TECHNIQUE WHEN USED ADVANTAGE DISADVANTAGE

Education and When resistance is due Clear up misunderstandings May not work when mutual
communication to misinformation trust and credibility

are lacking

Participation When resisters have the Increase involvement Time-consuming; has
expertise to make a and acceptance potential for a poor
contribution solution

Facilitation and When resisters are fearful Can facilitate needed Expensive; no guarantee
support and anxiety ridden adjustments of success

Negotiation When resistance Can “buy” commitment Potentially high cost;
comes from a powerful opens doors for others
group to apply pressure too

Manipulation and When a powerful group’s Inexpensive, easy way Can backfire, causing
co-optation endorsement is needed to gain support change agent to lose

credibility

Coercion When a powerful group’s Inexpensive, easy way May be illegal; may
endorsement is needed to gain support undermine change

agent’s credibility

EXHIBIT 7-3 Techniques for Reducing Resistance to Change

percent of U.S. workers
blame a heavy workload
for forcing them to cancel

vacation plans.

percent of U.S. companies
and 66 percent of compa-
nies in the rest of the

world are planning to increase their
investment in innovation this year.

percent of companies use
customer satisfaction to
measure the success of

their innovations.

percent of working par-
ents say that their family
life is more challenging to

manage than their career.

percent of executives said
their companies were suc-
cessful in implementing a

major change effort.

percent of women think
women are better at mul-
titasking than men.

percent of men agreed that
women are better at multi-
tasking than men.

51

44

54

68

33

75
33

20

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

7.3

Describe
what

managers
need to know

about
employee

stress.

CHAPTER 7 | MANAGING CHANGE AND INNOVATION 201

SYMPTOMS
OF

STRESS

Physical

Behavioral

Psychological

Job-related dissatisfaction,
tension, anxiety, irritability,

boredom, and
procrastination.

Changes in productivity, absenteeism, job
turnover, changes in eating habits, increased

smoking or consumption of alcohol, rapid
speech, fidgeting, and sleep disorders.

Changes in metabolism,
increased heart and

breathing rates, raised
blood pressure, headaches,

and potential of heart
attacks.

EXHIBIT 7-4 Symptoms of Stress

What Reaction Do Employees Have
to Organizational Change?
For many employees, change creates stress. A dynamic and uncertain
environment characterized by restructurings, downsizings, empowerment,
and personal-life matters has caused large numbers of employees to feel
overworked and “stressed out.” In this section, we’ll review specifically
what is meant by the term stress, what the symptoms of stress are, what
causes stress, and what managers can do to reduce anxiety.

What Is Stress?
Stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressure placed on them from
extraordinary demands, constraints, or opportunities.21 Stress isn’t always bad. Although
it’s often discussed in a negative context, stress can be positive, especially when it offers a
potential gain. For instance, functional stress allows an athlete, stage performer, or employee
to perform at his or her highest level at crucial times.

However, stress is more often associated with constraints and demands. A constraint
prevents you from doing what you desire; demands refer to the loss of something desired. When
you take a test at school or have your annual performance review at work, you feel stress
because you confront opportunity, constraints, and demands. A good performance review may
lead to a promotion, greater responsibilities, and a higher salary. But a poor review may keep
you from getting a promotion. An extremely poor review might lead to your being fired.

One other thing to understand about stress is that just because the conditions are right for
stress to surface doesn’t always mean it will. Two conditions are necessary for potential stress
to become actual stress.22 First, there must be uncertainty over the outcome, and second, the
outcome must be important.

What Are the Symptoms of Stress?
We see stress in a number of ways. For instance, an employee who is experiencing high
stress may become depressed, accident prone, or argumentative; may have difficulty
making routine decisions; may be easily distracted, and so on. As Exhibit 7-4 shows, stress

stress
The adverse reaction people have to excessive
pressure placed on them from extraordinary
demands, constraints, or opportunities.I

S
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

202 PART THREE | ORGANIZING

symptoms can be grouped under three general categories: physical, psychological, and
behavioral. All of these can significantly affect an employee’s work.

Too much stress can also have tragic consequences. In Japan, there’s a stress pheno-
menon called karoshi (pronounced kah-roe-she), which is translated literally as “death
from overwork.” During the late 1980s, “several high-ranking Japanese executives still in
their prime years suddenly died without any previous sign of illness.”23 As public concern
increased, even the Japanese Ministry of Labour got involved, and it now publishes
statistics on the number of karoshi deaths. As Japanese multinational companies expand
operations to China, Korea, and Taiwan, it’s feared that the karoshi culture may follow.

What Causes Stress?
Stress can be caused by personal factors and by job-related factors called stressors. Clearly,
change of any kind—personal or job-related—has the potential to cause stress as it can
involve demands, constraints, or opportunities. Organizations have no shortage of factors
that can cause stress. Pressures to avoid errors or complete tasks in a limited time period,
changes in the way reports are filed, a demanding supervisor, and unpleasant coworkers are
a few examples. Let’s look at five categories of organizational stressors: task, role, and
interpersonal demands; organization structure; and organizational leadership.

Task demands are factors related to an employee’s job. They include the design of a
person’s job (autonomy, task variety, degree of automation), working conditions, and the
physical work layout. Work quotas can put pressure on employees when their “outcomes”
are perceived as excessive.24 The more interdependence between an employee’s tasks and the
tasks of others, the more potential stress there is. Autonomy, on the other hand, tends to
lessen stress. Jobs in which temperatures, noise, or other working conditions are dangerous
or undesirable can increase anxiety. So, too, can working in an overcrowded room or in a
visible location where interruptions are constant.

Role demands relate to pressures placed on an employee as a function of the particular
role he or she plays in the organization. Role conflicts create expectations that may be hard
to reconcile or satisfy. Role overload is experienced when the employee is expected to do
more than time permits. Role ambiguity is created when role expectations are not clearly
understood and the employee is not sure what he or she is to do.

Interpersonal demands are pressures created by other employees. Lack of social support
from colleagues and poor interpersonal relationships can cause considerable stress, espe-
cially among employees with a high social need.

Organization structure can increase stress. Excessive rules and an employee’s lack of
opportunity to participate in decisions that affect him or her are examples of structural vari-
ables that might be potential sources of stress.

Organizational leadership represents the supervisory style of the organization’s
managers. Some managers create a culture characterized by tension, fear, and anxiety.
They establish unrealistic pressures to perform in the short run, impose excessively tight

controls, and routinely fire employees who don’t meas-
ure up. This style of leadership flows down through
the organization and affects all employees.

Personal factors that can create stress include family
issues, personal economic problems, and inherent per-
sonality characteristics. Because employees bring their
personal problems to work with them, a full understand-
ing of employee stress requires a manager to be under-
standing of these personal factors.25 Evidence also
indicates that employees’ personalities have an effect on
how susceptible they are to stress. The most commonly
used labels for these personality traits are Type A and
Type B.

Type A personality is characterized by chronic feel-
ings of a sense of time urgency, an excessive competitive
drive, and difficulty accepting and enjoying leisure time.

Wang Zhiqian stands before the Airbus
A320 aircraft she will fly as the first female
pilot for Sichuan Airlines, a regional
Chinese carrier. As a commercial airline
pilot, Zhiqian has a career that ranks high
on the list of the most stressful jobs. Task
demands make commercial pilots’ jobs
very stressful because pilots are
responsible for the lives of their
passengers and crews every time they
fly. In the event of an emergency, pilots
must handle unexpected and rapidly
changing situations from poor weather
conditions to equipment malfunctions.

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

The opposite of Type A is Type B personality. Type Bs never
suffer from time urgency or impatience. Until quite recently, it
was believed that Type As were more likely to experience stress
on and off the job. A closer analysis of the evidence, however,
has produced new conclusions. Studies show that only the
hostility and anger associated with Type A behavior are actu-
ally associated with the negative effects of stress. And Type Bs
are just as susceptible to the same anxiety-producing elements.
For managers, what is important is to recognize that Type A
employees are more likely to show symptoms of stress, even if
organizational and personal stressors are low.

How Can Stress Be Reduced?
As mentioned earlier, not all stress is dysfunctional. Since stress
can never be totally eliminated from a person’s life, managers want
to reduce the stress that leads to dysfunctional work behavior.
How? Through controlling certain organizational factors to reduce
job-related stress, and to a more limited extent, offering help for
personal stress.

Things that managers can do in terms of job-related factors
begin with employee selection. Managers need to make sure that
an employee’s abilities match the job requirements. When
employees are in over their heads, their stress levels typically will
be high. A realistic job preview during the selection process can
minimize stress by reducing ambiguity over job expectations.
Improved organizational communications will keep ambiguity-
induced stress to a minimum. Similarly, a performance planning
program such as MBO will clarify job responsibilities, provide
clear performance goals, and reduce ambiguity through feedback.
Job redesign is also a way to reduce stress. If stress can be traced
to boredom or to work overload, jobs should be redesigned to increase challenge or to reduce
the workload. Redesigns that increase opportunities for employees to participate in decisions
and to gain social support also have been found to lessen stress.27 For instance, at U.K. phar-
maceutical maker GlaxoSmithKline, a team-resilience program in which employees can shift
assignments depending on people’s workload and deadlines has helped reduce work-related
stress by 60 percent.28

No matter what you do to eliminate organizational stressors, some employees will still
be “stressed out.” And stress from an employee’s personal life raises two problems. First, it’s
difficult for the manager to control directly. Second, there are ethical considerations. Specif-
ically, does the manager have the right to intrude—even in the most subtle ways—in an
employee’s personal life? If a manager believes it’s ethical and the employee is receptive,
there are a few approaches the manager can consider.

To help deal with these issues, many companies offer employee assistance and wellness
programs.29 These employer-sponsored programs are designed to assist employees in areas
where they might be having difficulties such as financial planning, legal matters, health,
fitness, or stress.30

CHAPTER 7 | MANAGING CHANGE AND INNOVATION 203

Right orWrong?

One in five companies offers some form of stress management program.26

Although such programs are available, many employees may choose not
to participate.They may be reluctant to ask for help, especially if a major
source of that stress is job insecurity. After all, there’s still a stigma asso-
ciated with stress.Employees don’t want to be perceived as being unable
to handle the demands of their job. Although they may need stress
management now more than ever, few employees want to admit that
they’re stressed.What can be done about this paradox? Do organizations
even have an ethical responsibility to help employees deal with stress?

role ambiguity
When role expectations are not clearly
understood.

stressors
Factors that cause stress.

role overload
Having more work to accomplish than time
permits.

role conflicts
Work expectations that are hard to satisfy.

Type B personality
People who are relaxed and easygoing and
accept change easily.

karoshi
A Japanese term that refers to a sudden death
caused by overworking.

Type A personality
People who have a chronic sense of urgency
and an excessive competitive drive.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Discuss
techniques

for stimulating
innovation.

7.4

204 PART THREE | ORGANIZING

Contemporary employee assistance programs (EAPs) are extensions of programs
that began in U.S. companies in the 1940s.31 Companies such as DuPont, Standard Oil,
and Kodak recognized that a number of their employees were experiencing problems
with alcohol. Formal programs were implemented on the company’s site to educate these
workers about the dangers of alcohol and to help them overcome their addiction. The
rationale for these programs, which still holds today, is getting a productive employee
back on the job as quickly as possible. An organization also can benefit in terms of a
return on investment. It’s estimated that U.S. companies spend almost $1 billion each year
on EAP programs. Studies suggest that most of these companies save up to $5 to $16 for
every EAP dollar spent.32 That’s a significant return on investment!

In addition to EAP, many organizations are implementing wellness programs. A wellness
program is designed to keep employees healthy.33 These programs vary and may focus on
such things as smoking cessation, weight control, stress management, physical fitness,
nutrition education, high-blood-pressure control, violence protection, work team problem
intervention, and so on.34 Wellness programs are designed to help cut employer health costs
and to lower absenteeism and turnover by preventing health-related problems.35

How Can Managers Encourage Innovation
in an Organization?
“The way you will thrive in this environment is by innovating—innovating
in technologies, innovating in strategies, innovating in business models.”36

That’s the message IBM’s CEO Sam Palmisano delivered to an audience
of executives at an innovation-themed leadership conference. And how true

it is! Success in business today demands innovation. Such is the rallying
cry of today’s managers! In the dynamic, chaotic world of global competition,

organizations must create new products and services and adopt state-of-the-art
technology if they’re going to compete successfully.37

What companies come to mind when you think of successful innovators? Maybe Sony
Corporation, with its MiniDisks, PlayStations, AIBO robot pets, Cyber-shot digital
cameras, and MiniDV Handycam camcorders. Maybe Toyota with its continual advance-
ments in product and manufacturing process designs. What’s the secret to the success of
these innovator champions? What can other managers do to make their organizations more
innovative? In the following pages, we’ll try to answer those questions as we discuss the
factors behind innovation.

How Are Creativity and Innovation Related?
Creativity refers to the ability to combine ideas in a unique way or to make unusual
associations between ideas.38 A creative organization develops unique ways of working or
novel solutions to problems. For instance, at Mattel, company officials introduced “Project
Platypus,” a special group that brings people from all disciplines—engineering, marketing,
design, and sales—and tries to get them to “think outside the box” in order to “understand
the sociology and psychology behind children’s play patterns.” To help make this kind of
thinking happen, team members embarked on such activities as imagination exercises,
group crying, and stuffed-bunny throwing. What does throwing stuffed bunnies have to do
with creativity? It’s part of a juggling lesson where team members tried to learn to juggle
two balls and a stuffed bunny. Most people can easily learn to juggle two balls but can’t let
go of that third object. Creativity, like juggling, is learning to let go—that is, to “throw the
bunny.”39 But creativity by itself isn’t enough. The outcomes of the creative process need
to be turned into useful products or work methods, which is defined as innovation. Thus,
the innovative organization is characterized by its ability to channel creativity into useful
outcomes. When managers talk about changing an organization to make it more creative,
they usually mean they want to stimulate and nurture innovation.

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

CHAPTER 7 | MANAGING CHANGE AND INNOVATION 205

What’s Involved in Innovation?
Some people believe that creativity is inborn; others believe that with training, anyone can
be creative. The latter group views creativity as a fourfold process consisting of perception,
incubation, inspiration, and innovation.40

Perception involves the way you see things. Being creative means seeing things from
a unique perspective. One person may see solutions to a problem that others cannot or will
not see at all. The movement from perception to reality, however, doesn’t occur instanta-
neously. Instead, ideas go though a process of incubation. Sometimes employees need to sit
on their ideas, which doesn’t mean sitting and doing nothing. Rather, during this incubation
period, employees should collect massive amounts of data that are stored, retrieved, studied,
reshaped, and finally molded into something new. During this period, it’s common for years
to pass. Think for a moment about a time you struggled for an answer on a test. Although
you tried hard to jog your memory, nothing worked. Then suddenly, like a flash of light, the
answer popped into your head. You found it! Inspiration in the creative process is similar.
Inspiration is the moment when all your efforts successfully come together.

Although inspiration leads to euphoria, the creative work isn’t complete. It requires an
innovative effort. Innovation involves taking that inspiration and turning it into a useful
product, service, or way of doing things. Thomas Edison is often credited with saying that
“Creativity is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” That 99 percent, or the
innovation, involves testing, evaluating, and retesting what the inspiration found. It’s
usually at this stage that an individual involves others more in what he or she has been
working on. Such involvement is critical because even the greatest invention may be
delayed, or lost, if an individual cannot effectively deal with others in communicating and
achieving what the creative idea is supposed to do.

How Can a Manager Foster Innovation?
The systems model (inputs � transformation process � outputs) can help us understand
how organizations become more innovative.41 If an organization wants innovative products
and work methods (outputs), it has to take its inputs and transform them into those outputs.
Those inputs include creative people and groups within the organization. But as we said
earlier, having creative people isn’t enough. The transformation process requires having the
right environment to turn those inputs into innovative products or work methods. This “right”
environment—that is, an environment that stimulates innovation—includes three variables:
the organization’s structure, culture, and human resource practices. (See Exhibit 7-5.)

HOW DO STRUCTURAL VARIABLES AFFECT INNOVATION? Research into the effect of
structural variables on innovation shows five things.42 First, an organic-type structure
positively influences innovation. Because this structure is low in formalization, centraliza-
tion, and work specialization, it facilitates the flexibility and sharing of ideas that are
critical to innovation. Second, the availability of plentiful resources provides a key building
block for innovation. With an abundance of resources, managers can afford to purchase
innovations, can afford the cost of instituting innovations, and can absorb failures. Third,
frequent communication between organizational units helps break down barriers to innova-
tion.43 Cross-functional teams, task forces, and other such organizational designs facilitate
interaction across departmental lines and are widely used in innovative organizations.
Fourth, innovative organizations try to minimize extreme time pressures on creative activities

creativity
The ability to combine ideas in a unique way or
to make unusual associations between ideas.

wellness programs
Programs offered by organizations to help
employees prevent health problems.

employee assistance programs (EAPs)
Programs offered by organizations to help
employees overcome personal and health-
related problems.

innovation
The process of taking a creative idea and
turning it into a useful product, service, or
method of operation.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

206 PART THREE | ORGANIZING

despite the demands of white-water rapids environments. Although time pressures may
spur people to work harder and may make them feel more creative, studies show that it
actually causes them to be less creative.44 Finally, studies have shown that an employee’s
creative performance was enhanced when an organization’s structure explicitly supported
creativity. Beneficial kinds of support included things like encouragement, open commu-
nication, readiness to listen, and useful feedback.45

HOW DOES AN ORGANIZATION’S CULTURE AFFECT INNOVATION? Innovative organiza-
tions tend to have similar cultures.46 They encourage experimentation; reward both
successes and failures; and celebrate mistakes. An innovative organization is likely to have
the following characteristics.

� Accept ambiguity. Too much emphasis on objectivity and specificity constrains
creativity.

� Tolerate the impractical. Individuals who offer impractical, even foolish, answers to
what-if questions are not stifled. What at first seems impractical might lead to innova-
tive solutions.

� Keep external controls minimal. Rules, regulations, policies, and similar organizational
controls are kept to a minimum.

� Tolerate risk. Employees are encouraged to experiment without fear of consequences
should they fail. Mistakes are treated as learning opportunities.

� Tolerate conflict. Diversity of opinions is encouraged. Harmony and agreement
between individuals or units are not assumed to be evidence of high performance.

� Focus on ends rather than means. Goals are made clear, and individuals are encouraged
to consider alternative routes toward meeting the goals. Focusing on ends suggests that
there might be several right answers to any given problem.

STIMULATE
INNOVATION

Structural Variables

• Organic Structures
• Abundant Resources
• High Interunit
Communication
• Minimal Time Pressure
• Work and Nonwork Support Human Resource Variables

• High Commitment to
Training and Development
• High Job Security
• Creative People

Cultural Variables

• Acceptance of Ambiguity
• Tolerance of the Impractical
• Low External Controls
• Tolerance of Risks
• Tolerance of Conflict
• Focus on Ends
• Open-System Focus
• Positive Feedback

EXHIBIT 7-5 Innovation Variables

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

CHAPTER 7 | MANAGING CHANGE AND INNOVATION 207

idea champions
Individuals who actively and enthusiastically
support new ideas, build support for, overcome
resistance to, and ensure that innovations are
implemented.

Innovation is paramount at Facebook,
and the company’s culture stimulates the
process of taking a creative idea and
turning it into useful products and
services. Like other innovative
organizations, Facebook encourages
experimentation and tolerance of
conflict and risk and keeps rules and
regulations at a minimum. The company
insists that employees act like pioneers,
asking questions no one has asked
before and identifying new opportunities.
At Facebook, part of the innovative
process involves cutting loose and having
fun, such as the employee shown here
taking a brief break from work to play.

� Use an open-system focus. Managers closely monitor the environment and respond to
changes as they occur. For example, at Starbucks, product development depends on
“inspiration field trips to view customers and trends.” Michelle Gass, now the
company’s executive vice president of marketing, “took her team to Paris, Düsseldorf,
and London to visit local Starbucks and other restaurants to get a better sense of local
cultures, behaviors, and fashions.” She says, “You come back just full of different ideas
and different ways to think about things than you would had you read about it in a
magazine or e-mail.”47

� Provide positive feedback. Managers provide positive feedback, encouragement, and
support so employees feel that their creative ideas receive attention. For instance, at
Research In Motion, Mike Lazaridis, president and co-CEO says, “I think we have a
culture of innovation here, and [engineers] have absolute access to me. I live a life that
tries to promote innovation.”48

WHAT HUMAN RESOURCE VARIABLES AFFECT INNOVATION? In this category, we find
that innovative organizations actively promote the training and development of their
members so their knowledge remains current; offer their employees high job security to
reduce the fear of getting fired for making mistakes; and encourage individuals to
become idea champions, actively and enthusiastically supporting new ideas, building
support, overcoming resistance, and ensuring that innovations are implemented.
Research finds that idea champions have common personality characteristics: extremely
high self-confidence, persistence, energy, and a tendency toward risk taking. They also
display characteristics associated with dynamic leadership. They inspire and energize
others with their vision of the potential of an innovation and through their strong personal
conviction in their mission. They’re also good at gaining the commitment of others to
support their mission. In addition, idea champions have jobs that provide considerable
decision-making discretion. This autonomy helps them introduce and implement innova-
tions in organizations.49

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Understanding the Chapter

1. Why is managing change an integral part of every
manager’s job?

2. Describe Lewin’s three-step change process. How is it
different from the change process needed in the white-
water rapids metaphor of change?

3. How are opportunities, constraints, and demands
related to stress? Give an example of each.

4. Organizations typically have limits to how much
change they can absorb. As a manager, what signs
would you look for that might suggest your organiza-
tion has exceeded its capacity to change?

5. Why is organization development planned change?
Explain how planned change is important for organi-
zations in today’s dynamic environment.

6. How do creativity and innovation differ? Give an
example of each.

7. Research information on how to be a more creative
person. Write down suggestions in a bulleted list format
and be prepared to present your information in class.

8. How does an innovative culture make an organization
more effective? Do you think an innovative culture
could ever make an organization less effective? Why
or why not?

9. When you find yourself experiencing dysfunctional
stress, write down what’s causing the stress, what
stress symptoms you’re exhibiting, and how you’re
dealing with the stress. Keep this information in a
journal and evaluate how well your stress reducers are
working and how you could handle stress better. Your
goal is to get to a point where you recognize that
you’re stressed and can take positive actions to deal
with the stress.

ApplicationsReview and

Chapter Summary

The symptoms of stress can be physical, psychologi-
cal, or behavioral. Stress can be caused by personal
factors and by job-related factors. To help employees
deal with stress, managers can address job-related
factors by making sure an employee’s abilities match
the job requirements, improve organizational communi-
cations, use a performance planning program, or
redesign jobs. Addressing personal stress factors is
trickier, but managers could offer employee counseling,
time management programs, and wellness programs.

7.4 Discuss techniques for stimulating innovation.
Creativity is the ability to combine ideas in a unique
way or to make unusual associations between ideas.
Innovation is turning the outcomes of the creative
process into useful products or work methods. An
innovative environment encompasses structural,
cultural, and human resource variables.

Important structural variables include an organic-
type structure, abundant resources, frequent communi-
cation between organizational units, minimal time
pressure, and support. Important cultural variables
include accept ambiguity, tolerate the impractical,
keep external controls minimal, tolerate risk, tolerate
conflict, focus on ends not means, use an open-system
focus, and provide positive feedback. Important
human resource variables include high commitment to
training and development, high job security, and
encouraging individuals to be idea champions.

7.1 Define organizational change and compare and
contrast views on the change process. Organizational
change is any alteration of an organization’s people,
structure, or technology. The “calm waters” metaphor of
change suggests that change is an occasional disruption in
the normal flow of events and can be planned and
managed as it happens using Lewin’s three-step change
process (unfreezing, changing, and freezing). The “white-
water rapids” view of change suggests that change is
ongoing, and managing it is a continual process.

7.2 Explain how to manage resistance to change. People
resist change because of uncertainty, habit, concern about
personal loss, and the belief that a change is not in the
organization’s best interests. Techniques for managing
resistance to change include education and communica-
tion (educating employees about and communicating to
them the need for the change), participation (allowing
employees to participate in the change process), facilita-
tion and support (giving employees the support they need
to implement the change), negotiation (exchanging
something of value to reduce resistance), manipulation
and co-optation (using negative actions to influence),
selecting people who are open to and accept change,
and coercion (using direct threats or force).

7.3 Describe what managers need to know about
employee stress. Stress is the adverse reaction
people have to excessive pressure placed on them from
extraordinary demands, constraints, or opportunities.

To check your understanding of learning outcomes 7.1 – 7.4 , go to

mymanagementlab.com and try the chapter questions.

208 PART THREE | ORGANIZING
IS

B
N

1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

CHAPTER 7 | MANAGING CHANGE AND INNOVATION 209

Understanding Yourself

Am I Burned Out?
Burnout is when you’ve reached an overwhelming level of chronic and long-term stress.
It can lead to exhaustion and diminished interest in activities, both work and personal. This
instrument was designed to provide insights into whether you’re suffering from burnout.

INSTRUMENT Respond to each of the 21 items using the following scale:

1 = Never

2 = Once in a while

3 = Rarely

4 = Sometimes

5 = Often

6 = Usually

7 = Always

How often do you have any of the following experiences?
1. Being tired 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

2. Feeling depressed 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

3. Having a good day 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

4. Being physically exhausted 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

5. Being emotionally exhausted 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

6. Being happy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

7. Being “wiped out” 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

8. “Can’t take it anymore” 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

9. Being unhappy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

10. Feeling run-down 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

11. Feeling trapped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

12. Feeling worthless 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

13. Being weary 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

14. Being troubled 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

15. Feeling disillusioned and resentful 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

16. Being weak and susceptible to illness 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

17. Feeling hopeless 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

18. Feeling rejected 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

19. Feeling optimistic 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

20. Feeling energetic 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

21. Feeling anxious 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

SCORING KEY To calculate your burnout score, add up your score for items 3, 6, 19,
and 20. Then subtract that total from 32. To this number, add your direct scores for the
remaining 17 items. Finally, divide this combined number by 21.

ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION Your burnout score will be somewhere between 1 and
7. The higher your number, the closer you are to burnout. The authors claim that scores
below 3 indicate few signs of burnout. Scores between 3 and 4 suggest the need to examine
your work life and reevaluate priorities with the intent of making changes. If your score is
higher than 4, you are experiencing a number of signs associated with burnout. You need
to take some action to address your problems. Scores above 5 indicate an acute state,
requiring immediate professional attention.

Source: A. Pines and E. Aronson, “Why Managers Burn Out,” Sales & Marketing Management (February 1989), p. 38.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

210 PART THREE | ORGANIZING

FYIA (For Your Immediate Action)

Performance Pros

To: Tina Sanchez, HR Director
From: Aaron Scott, President

Subject: Employee Stress Management Program

Well, Tina, we’ve made it through the initial phases of our restructuring efforts. The

changes haven’t been easy on any of us. But we’ve still got a long way to go, and

that’s where I need your assistance. To help minimize the pressures on our

software developers and sales staff, I think we need to develop an employee stress

management program that we could implement immediately. Our finances are such

that we don’t have a lot of excess funds available to spend on fitness equipment,

so you’re going to have to work within that constraint. Could you put together a

brief (no more than one page) outline of what you think this program should

include? Also, note the benefits you think each of your suggestions would provide.

I’d like some time to review your suggestions over the weekend, so please get me

your report as soon as possible.

This fictionalized company and message were created for educational purposes only. It is not meant to reflect
positively or negatively on management practices by any company that may share this name.

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

CASE APPLICATION

Eighteen thousand expired cans of sardines. A complete McDonald’sMcHappy Land play set. Fifty garden gnomes. That’s just a sam-pling of some of the weird stuff that 1-800-GOT-JUNK? customers
have asked the uniformed people in the freshly scrubbed blue trucks to
haul away. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Brian Scudamore,
company founder and CEO says, “With a vision of creating the ‘FedEx’
of junk removal, I dropped out of university with just one year left to
become a full-time JUNKMAN! Yes, my father, a liver transplant sur-
geon, was not impressed to say the least.” By the end of 2008, however,
the company had over 340 franchises in the United States, Canada, and
Australia, and system-wide revenues of over $125 million.

Scudamore’s company has been described as a “curious hybrid”
that blends the old and new economies. Although its product—hauling
trash—has been done for hundreds of years, it relies heavily on sophis-
ticated information technology and has the kind of organizational
culture that most people associate with high-tech start-ups.

Information systems and technology have been important to the
company’s growth. Scudamore says, “It has allowed us to expand all over North America. Our system has made the
process easier.” The company’s call center does all the booking and dispatching for franchise partners. They also use
the proprietary intranet to access schedules, customer information, real-time reports, and so forth. Needless to say,
the company’s franchise partners tend to be pretty tech-savvy.

In addition, the company’s culture is a unique blend of fun and seriousness. There’s a quote posted in the head
office that says “It’s all about people.” And those four simple words sum up Scudamore’s philosophy: Find the
right people and treat them right. Since 2004, the company has been ranked by BC Business magazine as one of
the best companies to work for in British Columbia. Grizzly, Scudamore’s dog, comes to the office every day and
helps employees relieve stress by playing catch anytime, anywhere. Each morning at exactly 10:55, all employees
at headquarters meet for a five-minute huddle, where they share good news, announcements, metrics, and prob-
lems they’re encountering. Visitors to the office are also expected to join in. The open-concept floor plan encour-
ages communication among all levels of staff—from top to bottom, and embodies the importance of the team
environment.

Discussion Questions

1. Do you think 1-800-GOT-JUNK? faces more of a calm waters or white-water rapids environment? Explain.

2. What external and internal forces might create the need for the company to change? Be specific in describing these.

3. Using Exhibit 7-5, how could Brian Scudamore stimulate and nurture innovation at headquarters and with
company franchisees?

4. What could other organizations learn about managing change, stress, and innovation from 1-800-GOT-JUNK?

Sources: B. Scudamore, “All You Need Is Tough Love,” Profit, December 2008/January 2009, p. 19; “Best Places to Work,” BC Business, December
2008, p. 85; P. Severinson, “Interview with Launi Skinner,” BC Business, September 2008, pp. 155–156; J. Straczewski, “Turning Up the Heat: Seeking
a Solution to the Energy Price Squeeze,” Franchising World, September 2008, pp. 40–43; S. Kilcarr, “Small Players, Big Ideas,” Waste Age, September
2008, pp. 44–50; “Honor Roll,” Entrepreneur, July 2008, p. 100; J. Johnson, “1-800-Got Growth,” Waste News, June 9, 2008, p. 3; B. Scudamore,
“Changing of the Guard,” Profit, June 2008, p. 22; J. Hainsworth, The Associated Press, “Canadian Company Finds Treasure in People’s Trash,”
Springfield, Missouri News-Leader, April 24, 2006, p. 5B; and G. Stoller, “Rubbish Boy Turned Junk into His Career,” USA Today, June 13, 2005, p. 7B.

211

TREASURE FROM TRASH

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

le
a

r
n

in
g

o
u

t
c

o
m

e
s

Foundations
of Individual
Behavior

CHAPTER

PART 4 Leading

8.1

Identify
the focus

and goals of
organizational
behavior (OB).

Explain
the role that

attitudes play
in job

performance.

8.2

Describe
perception

and the
factors that
influence it.

8.4

Discuss
learning
theories
and their

relevance in
shaping

behavior.

8.5

8.3

Describe
different

personality
theories.

8.6

Discuss
contemporary

issues in OB.

p.

214

p.22

0

p.233

p.216

p.226

p.229

IS
B

N
1-256-14379-0

Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Like many revolts, it began with something simple.1 At Microsoft, it was the vanishing
towels. For employees who biked to work through the often-drizzly weather in Seattle, the
provided towels had become an entitlement. However, one day when employees came to
work, the towels were gone . . . pulled without notice from the locker rooms in the com-
pany’s underground garage. The company’s human resources manager thought removing
the towels, which had been done as a cost-saving measure, “wouldn’t even be a blip.” But
it was. Irate employees waged war on company message boards and blogs. One post fumed,
“It is a dark and dreary day at One Microsoft Way. Do yourself a favor and stay away.” The
intensity of the comments shocked senior executives. The towel fiasco, in conjunction with
a languishing stock price and a little bit of “Google envy,” suggested a serious morale prob-
lem and a need to bring in a new face to HR. Lisa Brummel (see photo below), a successful
Microsoft product development manager with no HR experience, was tapped to become the
new HR chief. Her mandate: Improve the mood around here. And Lisa, who had always
been a strong people leader, stepped up to do just that.

In addition to reinstating the towels (a no-brainer), Lisa looked for other ways that the com-
pany could reshape HR at Microsoft. And in doing so, she brought a unique and insightful
understanding of human behavior. One thing she did was to introduce innovative office designs
that allowed employees to reconfigure their workspaces for the task they were working on. The
customized workspaces included options such as sliding doors, movable walls, and features that
made the space seem more like an urban loft than an office. When beginning a workspace
redesign, “employees are first divided into four worker types: providers (the godfathers of work
groups), travelers (the types who work anywhere but work), concentrators (head-down, always-
at-work types), and orchestrators (the company’s natural diplomats).” Based on their “type,”
employees then pick the kind of workspace that works best for them. By allowing their creative,
quirky, and talented people freedom to design their workspaces, the company was able to give
them some control over their chaotic and often hectic environment.

With Lisa at the helm of HR, the company has made progress in its people policies. Yet, some-
times a decision coming out of One Microsoft Way (company headquarters) still makes you
scratch your head and wonder why. The most recent was when 25 recently laid-off employees were
asked to return an overpayment of severance pay. The amount, a small sum, amounted to about
$5,000 per employee. But by asking for this money back, this billion-dollar organization didn’t
send a very good message, especially when trying to improve morale and keep employees
excited and engaged with their work. Once again, Lisa stepped up. She made the calls
to the employees involved and said
that the company hadn’t handled
the situation in a “thoughtful
manner” and the money was
theirs to keep. Like any
successful manager, Lisa
recognizes the importance
of people skills.

Towels, Severance, and Morale…Oh My

213

IS
B

N
1-

25
6-

14
37

9-
0

Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

8.1
Identify
the focus
and goals of
organizational
behavior (OB).
214

Lisa Brummel had a bit of a people challenge! Like her, most managers want employees with

the right attitudes and personality. They want people who show up and work hard, get along

with coworkers and customers, have good attitudes, and exhibit good work behaviors in other

ways. But as you’re probably already aware, people don’t always behave like that “ideal”

employee. They post critical comments in blogs. They complain over missing towels. People

differ in their behaviors and even the same person can behave one way one day and a com-

pletely different way another day. For instance, haven’t you seen family members, friends, or

coworkers behave in ways that prompted you to wonder: Why did they do that? In this chap-

ter, we look at four psychological aspects—attitudes, personality, perception, and learning—

and demonstrate how these things can help managers understand the behavior of those

people with whom they have to work. We conclude the chapter by looking at contemporary

behavioral issues facing managers.

What Are the Focus and Goals
of Organizational Behavior?
The material in this and the next four chapters draws heavily on the field
of study that’s known as organizational behavior (OB). Although it’s con-
cerned with the subject of behavior—that is, the actions of people—
organizational behavior is the study of the actions of people at work.

One of the challenges in understanding organizational behavior is
that it addresses issues that aren’t obvious. Like an iceberg, OB has a small

visible dimension and a much larger hidden portion. (See Exhibit 8-1.) What
we see when we look at an organization is its visible aspects: strategies, goals, policies
and procedures, structure, technology, formal authority relationships, and chain of com-
mand. But under the surface are other elements that managers need to understand—
elements that also influence how employees behave at work. As we’ll show, OB provides
managers with considerable insights into these important, but hidden, aspects of the
organization.

Visible Aspects
Strategies
Objectives

Policies and procedures
Structure

Technology
Formal authority

Chains of command

Hidden Aspects
Attitudes

Perceptions
Group norms

Informal interactions
Interpersonal and

intergroup conflicts

Organization as IcebergEXHIBIT 8-1

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 8 | F O U N D AT I O N S O F I N D I V I D U A L B E H AV I O R 2

15

What Is the Focus of OB?
Organizational behavior focuses on three major areas. First, OB looks at individual behavior.
Based predominantly on contributions from psychologists, this area includes such topics as
attitudes, personality, perception, learning, and motivation. Second, OB is concerned with
group behavior, which includes norms, roles, team building, leadership, and conflict. Our
knowledge about groups comes basically from the work of sociologists and social psychol-
ogists. Finally, OB also looks at organizational aspects including structure, culture, and
human resource policies and practices. We’ve addressed organizational aspects in previous
chapters. In this chapter, we’ll look at individual behavior and in the following chapter, at
group behavior.

What Are the Goals of Organizational Behavior?
The goals of OB are to explain, predict, and influence behavior. Managers need to be able
to explain why employees engage in some behaviors rather than others, predict how employ-
ees will respond to various actions and decisions, and influence how employees behave.

What employee behaviors are we specifically concerned with explaining, predicting,
and influencing? Six important ones have been identified: employee productivity, absen-
teeism, turnover, organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), job satisfaction, and workplace
misbehavior. Employee productivity is a performance measure of both work efficiency and
effectiveness. Managers want to know what factors will influence the efficiency and effec-
tiveness of employees. Absenteeism is the failure to show up for work. It’s difficult for work
to get done if employees don’t show up. Studies have shown that unscheduled absences cost
companies around $660 per employee per year.2 Although absenteeism can’t be totally
eliminated, excessive levels have a direct and immediate impact on the organization’s func-
tioning. Turnover is the voluntary and involuntary permanent withdrawal from an organiza-
tion. It can be a problem because of increased recruiting, selection, and training costs and
work disruptions. Just like absenteeism, managers can never eliminate turnover, but it is
something they want to minimize, especially among
high-performing employees. Organizational citizenship
behavior is discretionary behavior that’s not part of an
employee’s formal job requirements, but which promotes
the effective functioning of the organization.3 Examples
of good OCB include helping others on one’s work team,
volunteering for extended job activities, avoiding unnec-
essary conflicts, and making constructive statements
about one’s work group and the organization. Organiza-
tions need individuals who will do more than their usual
job duties, and the evidence indicates that organizations
that have such employees outperform those that don’t.4

However, there are drawbacks to OCB as employees may
experience work overload, stress, and work/life conflicts.5

Job satisfaction refers to an employee’s general attitude
toward his or her job. Although job satisfaction is an atti-
tude rather than a behavior, it’s an outcome that concerns
many managers because satisfied employees are more

organizational behavior
The study of the actions of people at work.

behavior
The actions of people.

employee productivity
A performance measure of both work
efficiency and effectiveness.

turnover
Voluntary and involuntary permanent
withdrawal from an organization.

absenteeism
The failure to show up for work.

organizational citizenship behavior
Discretionary behavior that’s not part of an
employee’s formal job requirements, but which
promotes the effective functioning of the
organization.

job satisfaction
An employee’s general attitude toward his or
her job.

Mitsue Endo’s job at Japan’s Keihin
Express Railway is helping lost customers
find their way and resolving ticket
problems at a Tokyo station used by
250,000 riders each day. Before
beginning work, she uses a “smile”
machine, a laptop computer with
a digital camera mounted on top
that instantly gives her a smile score.
Although the smile test is optional and
smiling is not part of Endo’s formal job
description, she uses it to improve her
interactions with rushed and often
agitated passengers. Endo believes
that presenting a happy face is a
constructive behavior that creates
a more relaxed environment for
customers and sheds a positive light
on her company’s goal of improving
customer service.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Explain
the role that
attitudes play
in job

performance.

8.2

216 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

likely to show up for work, have higher levels of performance, and stay with an organization.
Workplace misbehavior is any intentional employee behavior that is potentially harmful to
the organization or individuals within the organization. Workplace misbehavior shows up in
organizations in four ways: deviance, aggression, antisocial behavior, and violence.6 Such
behaviors can range from playing loud music just to irritate coworkers to verbal aggression
to sabotaging work, all of which can create havoc in any organization. In the following pages,
we’ll address how an understanding of four psychological factors—employee attitudes, per-
sonality, perception, and learning—can help us predict and explain these employee behaviors.

What Role Do Attitudes Play in Job
Performance?
Attitudes are evaluative statements, either favorable or unfavorable, con-
cerning objects, people, or events. They reflect how an individual feels
about something. When a person says, “I like my job,” he or she is express-

ing an attitude about work.

What Are the Three Components of an Attitude?
To better understand attitude, we need to look at its three components: cognition, affect,
and behavior.7 The cognitive component of an attitude is made up of the beliefs, opinions,
knowledge, and information held by a person. For example, shortly after the September 11,
2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Congress spent weeks debating
whether airport baggage screeners should be federal employees. Some claimed the current
private airport screeners were adequately doing their jobs, even though evidence presented
during the debate showed that knives, pepper spray, and a loaded gun were missed by air-
port screeners.8 The belief held by some congressional leaders that private screeners were
effective is an example of cognition. The affective component is the emotional or feeling
part of an attitude. This component would be reflected in the statement, “I don’t like Erica
because she smokes.” Cognition and affect can lead to behavioral outcomes. The behavioral
component of an attitude refers to an intention to behave in a certain way toward someone
or something. So, to continue our example, I might choose to avoid Erica because of my feel-
ings about her. Looking at attitudes as being made up of three components—cognition,
affect, and behavior—helps to illustrate the complexity of attitudes. For the sake of clarity,
keep in mind that the term usually refers only to the affective component.

What Attitudes Might Employees Hold?
Naturally, managers are not interested in every attitude an employee might hold. Rather,
they’re specifically interested in job-related attitudes, and the three most important and most
studied are job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment.9 Job satisfac-
tion is an employee’s general attitude toward his or her job. When people speak of employee
attitudes, more often than not they mean job satisfaction. Job involvement is the degree to
which an employee identifies with his or her job, actively participates in it, and considers
his or her job performance important for self-worth. Finally, organizational commitment
represents an employee’s orientation toward the organization in terms of his or her loyalty
to, identification with, and involvement in the organization.

A new concept associated with job attitudes that’s generating widespread interest is
employee engagement, which is when employees are connected to, satisfied with, and
enthusiastic about their jobs.10 Highly engaged employees are passionate about and deeply
connected to their work. Disengaged employees have essentially “checked out” and don’t
care. They show up for work, but have no energy or passion for it. Exhibit 8-2 lists the key
engagement factors found in a global study of over 12,000 employees.

There are benefits to having highly engaged employees. First, highly engaged employ-
ees are two-and-a-half times more likely to be top performers than their less-engaged

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 8 | F O U N D AT I O N S O F I N D I V I D U A L B E H AV I O R 217

Globally, respect ranks as the no. 1 factor contributing to employee engagement.

GLOBAL CHINA FRANCE GERMANY INDIA JAPAN U.K. U.S.

Respect 125 121 133 129 104 90 144 122

Type of Work 112 75 138 113 116 107 122 112

Work/Life Balance 112 98 133 106 97 119 119 111

Provide Good Service to Customers 108 108 110 108 103 79 122 107

Base Pay 108 113 110 105 103 140 117 114

People You Work With 107 96 105 131 98 107 120 104

Benefits 94 127 81 110 94 75 76 112

Long-Term Career Potential 92 91 89 77 108 94 88 92

Learning and Development 91 83 67 80 98 86 85 82

Flexible Working 87 85 77 92 80 88 83 88

Promotion Opportunities 85 92 79 83 113 92 68 80

Variable Pay/Bonus 80 111 77 65 86 123 56 75

EXHIBIT 8-2 Key Employee Engagement Factors

coworkers. In addition, companies with highly engaged employees have higher retention
rates, which help keep recruiting and training costs low. And both of these outcomes—
higher performance and lower costs—contribute to superior financial performance.11

Do an Individual’s Attitude and Behavior Need
to Be Consistent?
Did you ever notice how people change what they say so that it doesn’t contradict what they
do? Perhaps a friend of yours had consistently argued that American-manufactured cars
were poorly built and that he’d never own anything but a foreign import. Then his parents
gave him a late model American-made car, and suddenly they weren’t so bad. Or, when
going through sorority rush, a new freshman believes that sororities are good and that
pledging a sorority is important. If she’s not accepted by a sorority, however, she may say,
“I recognized that sorority life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, anyway.”

Research generally concludes that people seek consistency among their attitudes and
between their attitudes and their behavior.12 Individuals try to reconcile differing attitudes
and align their attitudes and behavior so that they appear rational and consistent. They do
so by altering either the attitudes or the behavior or by developing a rationalization for the
discrepancy.

cognitive component
The part of an attitude made up of the beliefs,
opinions, knowledge, and information held by a
person.

attitudes
Evaluative statements, either favorable or
unfavorable, concerning objects, people, or
events.

workplace misbehavior
Any intentional employee behavior that is
potentially harmful to the organization or
individuals within the organization.

employee engagement
When employees are connected to, satisfied
with, and enthusiastic about their jobs.

organizational commitment
An employee’s orientation toward the
organization in terms of his or her loyalty to,
identification with, and involvement in the
organization.

job involvement
The degree to which an employee identifies
with his or her job, actively participates in it,
and considers his or her job performance
important for self-worth.

behavioral component
The part of an attitude that refers to an
intention to behave in a certain way toward
someone or something.

affective component
The part of an attitude that’s the emotional or
feeling part.

Note: Scores near 100 are middle importance, scores below 100 are less important, scores above 100 are more important.
Source: Mercer; IndustryWeek, April 2008, p. 24.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Cognitive dissonance refers to an
inconsistency between attitudes and
behaviors. For example, most people
may believe that they are safe drivers,
yet many may create potentially
unsafe road conditions by driving and
texting at the same time. To reduce the
dissonance, these drivers may either stop
their habit of driving and texting, or they
may rationalize that driving and texting
doesn’t really pose any threat to others’
safety, that they are in control of the
situation, or that everyone else is doing
the same thing.

218 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

What Is Cognitive Dissonance Theory?
Can we assume from this consistency principle that an individual’s behavior can always be
predicted if we know his or her attitude on a subject? The answer isn’t a simple “yes” or “no.”
Why? Cognitive dissonance theory.

Cognitive dissonance theory, proposed by Leon Festinger in the 1950s, sought to explain
the relationship between attitudes and behavior.13 Cognitive dissonance is any incompati-
bility or inconsistency between attitudes or between behavior and attitudes. The theory
argued that inconsistency is uncomfortable and that individuals will try to reduce the dis-
comfort and thus, the dissonance.

Of course, no one can avoid dissonance. You know you should floss your teeth every
day, but you don’t do it. There’s an inconsistency between attitude and behavior. How do peo-
ple cope with cognitive dissonance? The theory proposed that how hard we’ll try to reduce
dissonance is determined by three things: (1) the importance of the factors creating the dis-
sonance, (2) the degree of influence the individual believes he or she has over those factors,
and (3) the rewards that may be involved in dissonance.

If the factors creating the dissonance are relatively unimportant, the pressure to correct
the inconsistency will be low. However, if those factors are important, individuals may
change their behavior, conclude that the dissonant behavior isn’t so important, change their
attitude, or identify compatible factors that outweigh the dissonant ones.

How much influence individuals believe they have over the factors also affects their
reaction to the dissonance. If they perceive the dissonance is something about which
they have no choice, they won’t be receptive to attitude change or feel a need to do so.
If, for example, the dissonance-producing behavior was required as a result of a man-
ager’s order, the pressure to reduce dissonance would be less than if the behavior had
been performed voluntarily. Although dissonance exists, it can be rationalized and jus-
tif ied by the need to follow the manager’s orders—that is, the person had no choice or
control.

Finally, rewards also influence the degree to which individuals are motivated to reduce
dissonance. Coupling high dissonance with high rewards tends to reduce the discomfort by
motivating the individual to believe that there is consistency.

Let’s look at an example. If the factors creating dissonance are relatively unimportant,
the pressure to correct any imbalance would be low. However, say that a corporate man-
ager, Tracey Ford, believes strongly that no company should lay off employees. Unfortu-
nately, Tracey is placed in the position of having to make decisions that would trade off
her company’s strategic direction against her convictions on layoffs. She knows that,
because of restructuring in the company, some jobs may no longer be needed, and the lay-
offs are in the best economic interest of her firm. What will she do? Undoubtedly, Tracey

is experiencing a high degree of cognitive dissonance.
Because of the importance of the issues in this exam-
ple, we cannot expect her to ignore the inconsistency.
To deal with her dilemma, she can follow several steps.
She can change her behavior (lay off employees). Or
she can reduce dissonance by concluding that the dis-
sonant behavior is not so important after all (“I’ve got
to make a living, and in my role as a decision maker, I
often have to place the good of my company above that
of individual organizational members”). A third alter-
native would be for Tracey to change her attitude
(“There is nothing wrong in laying off employees”).
Still another choice would be to seek out more conso-
nant elements to outweigh the dissonant ones (“The
long-term benefits to the surviving employees from our
restructuring more than offset the costs associated with
the retrenchment effort”).

The degree of influence that individuals such as
Tracey Ford believe they have over the elements also will

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 8 | F O U N D AT I O N S O F I N D I V I D U A L B E H AV I O R 219

have an impact on how they react to the dissonance. If they perceive the dissonance to be
uncontrollable—something about which they have no choice—they are less likely to feel a
need for an attitude change. If, for example, the dissonance-producing behavior were
required by the boss’s directive, the pressure to reduce dissonance would be less than if the
behavior were performed voluntarily. Dissonance would exist, but it could be rationalized
and justified. This is why it’s so critical in today’s organizations for leaders to establish the
ethical culture. Without their influence and support, reducing dissonance toward ethical
behaviors is lessened.14 Rewards also influence the degree to which individuals are motivated
to reduce dissonance. High dissonance, when accompanied by high rewards, tends to reduce
the tension inherent in the dissonance. The reward reduces dissonance by adding to the con-
sistency side of the individual’s balance sheet.

These moderating factors suggest that although individuals experience dissonance, they
will not necessarily move directly toward consistency, that is, toward reducing the disso-
nance. If the issues underlying the dissonance are of minimal importance, if an individual
perceives that the dissonance is externally imposed and is substantially uncontrollable, or
if rewards are significant enough to offset the dissonance, the individual will not be under
great tension to reduce the dissonance.16

How Can an Understanding of Attitudes Help
Managers Be More Effective?
Managers should be interested in their employees’ attitudes because they influence
behavior. Satisfied and committed employees, for instance, have lower rates of turnover
and absenteeism. If managers want to keep resignations and absences down—especially
among their more productive employees—they’ll want to do things that generate posi-
tive job attitudes.

Whether satisf ied workers are productive workers is a debate that’s been going on
for almost 80 years. After the Hawthorne Studies, managers believed that happy work-
ers were productive workers. Since it’s not been easy to determine whether job satisfac-
tion “caused” job productivity or vice versa, some management researchers felt that
belief was generally wrong. However, we can say with some certainty that the correla-
tion between satisfaction and productivity is fairly strong.17 Satisf ied employees do per-
form better on the job. So managers should focus on those factors that have been shown
to be conducive to high levels of employee job satisfaction: making work challenging
and interesting, providing equitable rewards, and creating supportive working condi-
tions and supportive colleagues.18 These factors are likely to help employees be more
productive.

Managers should also survey employees about their attitudes. As one study put it,
“A sound measurement of overall job attitude is one of the most useful pieces of informa-
tion an organization can have about its employees.”19

Finally, managers should know that employees will try to reduce dissonance. If
employees are required to do things that appear inconsistent to them or that are at odds
with their attitudes, managers should remember that pressure to reduce the dissonance
is not as strong when the employee perceives that the dissonance is externally imposed
and uncontrollable. It’s also decreased if rewards are significant enough to offset the dis-
sonance. So the manager might point to external forces such as competitors, customers,
or other factors when explaining the need to perform some work that the individual may
have some dissonance about. Or the manager can provide rewards that an individual
desires.

percent of companies con-
duct employee surveys.

percent of companies that
do conduct employee sur-
veys fail to implement any

changes the survey suggests might be
necessary.

percent of baby boomers
report little or no interac-
tion with their Gen Y work

colleagues.

percent of managers and
employees say they have
decreased their work efforts

in response to rudeness at work.

percent have decreased their
time at work in response to
rudeness at work.

percent of workers polled
say they’re satisfied with
their job and the work

they do.

percent of Fortune 100
companies use the MBTI®

instrument in hiring and
promoting.

cognitive dissonance
Any incompatibility or inconsistency between
attitudes or between behavior and attitudes.

44
46

51

48

47
90

89
percent of employees say
they feel disconnected
from their employers.40

15
IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

8.3
Describe
different
personality
theories.

220 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

What Do Managers Need to Know
About Personality?
“Let’s face it, dating is a drag. There was a time when we thought the com-
puter was going to make it all better . . . But most of us learned the hard
way that finding someone who shares our love of film noir and obscure
garage bands does not a perfect match make.”20 Using in-depth personality

assessment and profiling, Chemistry.com is trying to do something about
making the whole dating process better.
Personality. We all have one. Some of us are quiet and passive; others are loud

and aggressive. When we describe people using terms such as quiet, passive, loud, aggres-
sive, ambitious, extroverted, loyal, tense, or sociable, we’re describing their personalities. An
individual’s personality is a unique combination of emotional, thought, and behavioral pat-
terns that affect how a person reacts to situations and interacts with others. Personality is
most often described in terms of measurable traits that a person exhibits. We’re interested
in looking at personality because just like attitudes, it too affects how and why people behave
the way they do.

Can Personality Predict Behavior?
Literally dozens of traits are attributed to an individual’s behavior. So too are personality
types as they show how people interact with one another and how they solve problems.
Through the years, researchers attempted to focus specifically on which personality types
and personality traits would identify information about the individual. Two of these efforts
have been widely recognized—the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® and the Big Five model of
personality.

WHAT IS THE MYERS-BRIGGS TYPE INDICATOR? One of the more widely used methods
of identifying personalities is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®). The MBTI® assess-
ment uses four dichotomies of personality to identify 16 different personality types based
on the responses to an approximately 100-item questionnaire. More than 2 million individ-
uals take the MBTI® assessment each year in the United States alone. It’s used in such
companies as Apple, Honda, AT&T, Exxon, 3M, as well as many hospitals, educational
institutions, and the U.S. Armed Forces.

The 16 personality types are based on the four dichotomies shown in Exhibit 8-3. That
is, the MBTI® assessment dichotomies include Extraversion versus Introversion (EI), Sens-
ing versus Intuition (SN), Thinking versus Feeling (TF), and Judging versus Perceiving (JP).
The EI scale describes an individual’s orientation toward the external world of the environ-
ment (E) or the inner world of ideas and experiences (I). The Sensing–Intuition scale indi-
cates an individual’s preference for gathering data while focusing on a standard routine
based on factual data (S) to focusing on the big picture and making connections among the
facts (N). Thinking–Feeling reflects one’s preference for making decisions in a logical and
analytical manner (T) or on the basis of values and beliefs and the effects the decision will
have on others (F). The Judging–Perceiving scale reflects an attitude toward how one deals
with the external world—either in a planned and orderly way (J) or preferring to remain
flexible and spontaneous (P).21

How could the MBTI® assessment help managers? Proponents of the instrument believe
that it’s important to know these personality types because they influence the way people
interact and solve problems.22 For example, if your boss is an Intuition type and you’re a
Sensing type, you’ll deal with information in different ways. An Intuition preference indi-
cates your boss is one who prefers gut reactions, whereas you, as a Sensing type, prefer to
deal with the facts. To work well with your boss, you have to present more than just facts
about a situation—you’ll also have to discuss your gut feeling about the situation. The
MBTI® assessment has also been found to be useful in focusing on growth orientations for
entrepreneurial types as well as profiles supporting emotional intelligence (something we’ll
look at shortly).23

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 8 | F O U N D AT I O N S O F I N D I V I D U A L B E H AV I O R 221

SENSING TYPES S

THINKING T FEELING F

INTUITIVE TYPES N

FEELING F THINKING T

IN
T

R
O

V
E

R
T

S

I

J
U

D
G

IN
G

J

P
E

R
C

E
IV

IN
G

P

E
X

T
R

O
V

E
R

T
S

E

P
E
R
C
E
IV
IN
G

P
J
U
D
G
IN
G

J

ISTJ Quiet, serious,
dependable, practical,
matter-of-fact. Value
traditions and loyalty.

ISFJ Quiet, friendly,
responsible, thorough,
considerate. Strive to
create order and
harmony.

INFJ Seek meaning and
connection in ideas.
Committed to firm
values. Organized and
decisive in implementing
vision.

INTJ Have original
minds and great drive for
their ideas. Skeptical and
independent. Have high
standards of competence
for self and others.

ISTP Tolerant and
flexible. Interested in
cause and effect. Value
efficiency.

ISFP Quiet, friendly,
sensitive. Like own
space. Dislike
disagreements and
conflicts.

INFP Idealistic, loyal to
their values. Seek to
understand people and
help them fulfill their
potential.

INTP Seek logical
explanations. Theoretical
and abstract over social
interactions. Skeptical,
sometimes critical.
Analytical.

ESTP Flexible and
tolerant. Focus on here
and now. Enjoy material
comforts. Learn best by
doing.

ESFP Outgoing, friendly.
Enjoy working with
others. Spontaneous.
Learn best by trying a
new skill with other
people.

ENFP Enthusiastic,
imaginative. Want a lot
of affirmation. Rely on
verbal fluency and
ability to improvise.

ENTP Quick, ingenious,
stimulating. Adept at
generating conceptual
possibilities and analyzing
them strategically. Bored
by routine.

ESTJ Practical, realistic,
matter-of-fact, decisive.
Focus on getting
efficient results.
Forceful in
implementing plans.

ESFJ Warmhearted,
cooperative. Want to be
appreciated for who
they are and for what
they contribute.

ENFJ Warm, responsive,
responsible. Attuned to
needs of others.
Sociable, facilitate
others, provide
inspirational leadership.

ENTJ Frank, decisive,
assume leadership.
Enjoy long-term
planning and goal
setting. Forceful in
presenting ideas.

EXHIBIT 8-3 Examples of MBTI® Types

Source: Further information is available at www.cpp.com where you will find the full range of Introduction to Type® titles along with other products that allow you
to expand your knowledge and applications of your MBTI® type. Modified and reproduced by special permission of the Publisher, CPP, Inc., Mountain View, CA
94043, from Introduction to Type®, Sixth Edition by Isabel Briggs Myers. Copyright 1998 by Peter B. Myers and Katharine D. Myers. All rights reserved. Further
reproduction is prohibited without the Publisher’s written consent.

WHAT IS THE BIG FIVE MODEL OF PERSONALITY? Another way of viewing personality is
through a five-factor model of personality—more typically called the Big Five model.24

The Big Five factors are:

1. Extraversion A personality dimension that describes the degree to which someone is
sociable, talkative, and assertive.

2. Agreeableness A personality dimension that describes the degree to which someone
is good-natured, cooperative, and trusting.

3. Conscientiousness A personality dimension that describes the degree to which
someone is responsible, dependable, persistent, and achievement oriented.

4. Emotional stability A personality dimension that describes the degree to which
someone is calm, enthusiastic, and secure (positive) or tense, nervous, depressed, and
insecure (negative).

5. Openness to experience A personality dimension that describes the degree to which
someone is imaginative, artistically sensitive, and intellectual.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®)
A personality assessment that uses four
dichotomies of personality to identify different
personality types.

personality
A unique combination of emotional, thought,
and behavioral patterns that affect how a
person reacts to situations and interacts with
others.

Big Five model
A personality trait model that examines five
traits: extraversion, agreeableness,
conscientiousness, emotional stability, and
openness to experience.IS

B
N

1-
25

6-
14

37
9-

0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

222 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

The Big Five model provides more than just a personality framework. Research has shown
that important relationships exist between these personality dimensions and job performance.25

For example, one study reviewed five categories of occupations: professionals (e.g., engineers,
architects, attorneys), police, managers, sales, and semiskilled and skilled employees.26 Job per-
formance was defined in terms of employee performance ratings, training competency, and
personnel data such as salary level. The results of the study showed that conscientiousness
predicted job performance for all five occupational groups.27 Predictions for the other person-
ality dimensions depended on the situation and the occupational group. For example, extra-
version predicted performance in managerial and sales positions, in which high social
interaction is necessary.28 Openness to experience was found to be important in predicting
training competency. Ironically, emotional security was not positively related to job perform-
ance. Although it would seem logical that calm and secure workers would be better perform-
ers, that wasn’t the case. Perhaps it’s a function of the likelihood that emotionally stable workers
often keep their jobs and emotionally unstable people may not. Given that all those participat-
ing in the study were employed, the variance on that dimension was probably small.

WHAT IS EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE? People who understand their own emotions and are
good at reading others’ emotions may be more effective in their jobs. That, in essence, is
the theme of the underlying research on emotional intelligence.29

Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to an assortment of noncognitive skills, capabilities,
and competencies that influences a person’s ability to cope with environmental demands
and pressures.30 It’s composed of five dimensions:

� Self-awareness. Being aware of what you’re feeling.
� Self-management. The ability to manage your own emotions and impulses.
� Self-motivation. The ability to persist in the face of setbacks and failures.
� Empathy. The ability to sense how others are feeling.
� Social skills. The ability to handle the emotions of others.

Several studies suggest that EI may play an important role
in job performance.31 For instance, one study looked at the
characteristics of Bell Lab engineers who were rated as stars by
their peers. The scientists concluded that these stars were
better at relating to others. That is, it was EI, not academic IQ,
that characterized high performers. A second study of Air
Force recruiters generated similar f indings: Top-performing
recruiters exhibited high levels of EI. Using these findings, the
Air Force revamped its selection criteria. A follow-up investi-
gation found that future hires who had high EI scores were 2.6
times more successful than those with low scores. Organiza-
tions such as American Express have found that implementing
emotional intelligence programs has helped increase its effec-
tiveness; other organizations also found similar results that
emotional intelligence contributes to team effectiveness.33 For
instance, at Cooperative Printing in Minneapolis, a study of its
45 employees concluded that EI skills were twice as important
in “contributing to excellence as intellect and expertise
alone.”34 A poll of human resources managers asked this ques-
tion: How important is it for your workers to demonstrate EI to
move up the corporate ladder? Forty percent of the managers
replied “very important.” Another 16 percent said moderately
important. Other studies also indicated that emotional intelli-
gence can be beneficial to quality improvements in contempo-
rary organizations.35

The implications from the initial EI evidence is that employ-
ers should consider emotional intelligence as a criterion in their
selection process—especially for those jobs that demand a high
degree of social interaction.36

Right orWrong?

It‘s been called the “desperation hustle.”32 Employees who are “anxious

about layoffs want to look irreplaceable.” So they clean up their act.Those

who might not have paid much attention to their manner of dress now do.

Those who were mouthy and argumentative are now quiet and compli-

ant. Those who used to “watch the clock” are now the last to leave. The

fear is there and it’s noticeable.“Managing that fear can be challenging.”

What ethical issues might arise for both employees and for managers?

How could managers approach these circumstances ethically?

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 8 | F O U N D AT I O N S O F I N D I V I D U A L B E H AV I O R 223

Can Personality Traits Predict Practical Work-Related
Behaviors?
Five specific personality traits have proven most powerful in explaining individual behavior
in organizations. These are locus of control, Machiavellianism, self-esteem, self-monitoring,
and risk propensity.

Who controls an individual’s behavior? Some people believe that they control their own
fate. Others see themselves as pawns of fate, believing that what happens to them in their
lives is due to luck or chance. The locus of control in the first case is internal. In the sec-
ond case, it’s external; these people believe that their lives are controlled by outside forces.37

A manager might also expect to find that externals blame a poor performance evaluation on
their boss’s prejudice, their coworkers, or other events outside their control, whereas “inter-
nals” explain the same evaluation in terms of their own actions.

The second characteristic is called Machiavellianism (“Mach”) after Niccolo Machi-
avelli, who provided instruction in the sixteenth century on how to gain and manipulate power.
An individual who is high in Machiavellianism is pragmatic, maintains emotional distance,
believes that ends can justify means,38 and is found to have beliefs that are less ethical.39 The
philosophy “if it works, use it” is consistent with a high Mach perspective. Do high Machs
make good employees? That answer depends on the type of job and whether you consider eth-
ical implications in evaluating performance. In jobs that require bargaining skills (a labor
negotiator) or that have substantial rewards for winning (a commissioned salesperson), high
Machs are productive. In jobs in which ends do not justify the means or that lack absolute
standards of performance, it’s difficult to predict the performance of high Machs.

People differ in the degree to which they like or dislike themselves. This trait is called self-
esteem (SE).40 The research on SE offers some interesting insights into organizational behav-
ior. For example, SE is directly related to expectations for success. High SEs believe that they
possess the ability to succeed at work. Individuals with high SE will take more risks in job selec-
tion and are more likely to choose unconventional jobs than are people with low SE.41 The most
common finding on self-esteem is that low SEs are more susceptible to external influence than
are high SEs. Low SEs are dependent on positive evaluations from others. As a result, they’re
more likely to seek approval from others and more prone to conform to the beliefs and behav-
iors of those they respect than are high SEs. In managerial positions, low SEs will tend to be con-
cerned with pleasing others and, therefore, will be less likely to take unpopular stands than will
high SEs. Not surprisingly, self-esteem has also been found to be related to job satisfaction.
A number of studies confirm that high SEs are more satisfied with their jobs than are low SEs.

Another personality trait researchers have identified is called self-monitoring.42 Individ-
uals high in self-monitoring can show considerable adaptability in adjusting their behavior
to external, situational factors.43 They’re highly sensitive to external cues and can behave
differently in different situations. High self-monitors are capable of presenting striking con-
tradictions between their public persona and their private selves. Low self-monitors can’t
alter their behavior. They tend to display their true dispositions and attitudes in every situ-
ation; hence, they exhibit high behavioral consistency between who they are and what they
do. Evidence suggests that high self-monitors tend to pay closer attention to the behavior of
others and are more capable of conforming than are low self-monitors.44 We might also
hypothesize that high self-monitors will be more successful in managerial positions that
require individuals to play multiple, and even contradicting, roles.

The final personality trait influencing worker behavior reflects the willingness to take
chances—the propensity for risk taking. A preference to assume or avoid risk has been
shown to have an impact on how long it takes individuals to make a decision and how much

emotional intelligence (EI)
The ability to notice and to manage emotional
cues and information.

locus of control
The degree to which people believe they
control their own fate.

self-esteem (SE)
An individual’s degree of like or dislike for
himself or herself.

Machiavellianism (“Mach”)
A measure of the degree to which people are
pragmatic, maintain emotional distance, and
believe that ends justify means.

self-monitoring
A personality trait that measures the ability to
adjust behavior to external situational factors.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

TYPE CHARACTERISTICS PERSONALITY SAMPLE OCCUPATIONS

Realistic Prefers physical activities Shy, genuine, persistent, stable, Mechanic, drill-press operator, assembly-line
that require skill, strength, and conforming, practical worker, farmer
coordination

Investigative Prefers activities Analytical, original, curious, Biologist, economist, mathematician, reporter
involving thinking, organizing, independent
and understanding

Social Prefers activities that involve Sociable, friendly, cooperative, Social worker, teacher, counselor, clinical
helping and developing others understanding psychologist

Conventional Prefers rule-regulated, Conforming, efficient, practical, Accountant, corporate manager, bank
orderly, and unambiguous activities unimaginative, inflexible teller, file clerk

Enterprising Prefers verbal activities Self-confident, ambitious, energetic, Lawyer, real estate agent, public
where there are opportunities to domineering relations specialist, small business manager
influence others and attain power

Artistic Prefers ambiguous and Imaginative, disorderly, idealistic, Painter, musician, writer, interior
unsystematic activities that allow emotional, impractical decorator
creative expression

Source: Reproduced by special permission of the publisher, Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc., Making Vocational Choices, 3rd ed., copyright 1973, 1985,
1992, 1997 by Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc. All rights reserved.

EXHIBIT 8-4 Holland’s Personality-Job Fit

224 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

information they require before making their choice. For instance, in one classic study,
79 managers worked on a simulated human resource management exercise that required
them to make hiring decisions.45 High risk-taking managers made more rapid decisions and
used less information in making their choices than did the low risk-taking managers. Inter-
estingly, the decision accuracy was the same for both groups.

Although it’s generally correct to conclude that managers in organizations are risk averse,
especially in large companies and government bureaus,46 individual differences are still found
on this dimension.47 As a result, it makes sense to recognize these differences and even to
consider aligning risk-taking propensity with specific job demands. For instance, a high risk-
taking propensity may lead to effective performance for a stock trader in a brokerage firm since
this type of job demands rapid decision making. The same holds true for the entrepreneur.48 On
the other hand, this personality characteristic might prove a major obstacle to accountants perform-
ing auditing activities, which might be better done by someone with a low risk-taking propensity.

How Do We Match Personalities and Jobs?
Obviously, individual personalities differ. So, too, do jobs. How do we match the two? The
best-documented personality-job fit theory was developed by psychologist John Holland.49

His theory states that an employee’s satisfaction with his or her job, as well as his or her like-
lihood of leaving that job, depends on the degree to which the individual’s personality matches
the job environment. Holland identified six basic personality types as shown in Exhibit 8-4.

Holland’s theory proposes that satisfaction is highest and turnover lowest when per-
sonality and occupation are compatible.50 Social individuals should be in “people” type
jobs, and so forth. The key points of this theory are that (1) there do appear to be intrinsic
differences in personality among individuals; (2) there are different types of jobs; and
(3) people in job environments compatible with their personality types should be more sat-
isfied and less likely to resign voluntarily than should people in incongruent jobs.

Do Personality Attributes Differ Across Cultures?
Do personality frameworks, like the Big Five model, transfer across cultures? Are dimen-
sions like locus of control relevant in all cultures? Let’s try to answer these questions.

The five personality factors studied in the Big Five model appear in almost all cross-cultural
studies.51 This includes a wide variety of diverse cultures such as China, Israel, Germany, Japan,

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 8 | F O U N D AT I O N S O F I N D I V I D U A L B E H AV I O R 225

Spain, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, and the United States. Differences are found in the emphasis
on dimensions. Chinese, for example, use the category of conscientiousness more often and use
the category of agreeableness less often than do Americans. But there is a surprisingly high
amount of agreement, especially among individuals from developed countries. As a case in point,
a comprehensive review of studies covering people from the European Community found that
conscientiousness was a valid predictor of performance across jobs and occupational groups.52

This is exactly what U.S. studies have found.
We know that there are certainly no common personality types for a given country. You can,

for instance, find high risk takers and low risk takers in almost any culture. Yet a country’s
culture influences the dominant personality characteristics of its people. We can see this effect
of national culture by looking at one of the personality traits we just discussed: locus of control.

National cultures differ in terms of the degree to which people believe they control
their environment. For instance, North Americans believe that they can dominate their
environment; other societies, such as those in Middle Eastern countries, believe that life is
essentially predetermined. Notice how closely this distinction parallels the concept of inter-
nal and external locus of control. On the basis of this particular cultural characteristic, we
should expect a larger proportion of internals in the U.S. and Canadian workforces than in
the workforces of Saudi Arabia or Iran.

As we have seen throughout this section, personality traits influence employees’
behavior. For global managers, understanding how personality traits differ takes on added
significance when looking at it from the perspective of national culture.

How Can an Understanding of Personality Help
Managers Be More Effective?
Over 62 percent of companies are using personality tests when recruiting and hiring.53 And
that’s where the major value in understanding personality differences probably lies. Managers
are likely to have higher-performing and more-satisfied employees if consideration is given
to matching personalities with jobs. In addition, compatibility leads to other benefits. By
recognizing that people approach problem solving, decision making, and job interactions dif-
ferently, a manager can better understand why, for instance, an employee is uncomfortable
with making quick decisions or why an employee insists on gathering as much information as
possible before addressing a problem. Or, for instance, managers can expect that individuals
with an external locus of control may be less satisfied with their jobs than those with an inter-
nal locus and also that they may be less willing to accept responsibility for their actions.

Matching personality types to
compatible jobs leads to more satisfied
employees. According to Holland’s
personality job-fit theory, people with
a “social” preference like activities
that involve helping and developing
others. Teachers and aides at the early
childhood learning center shown here
understand the physical and emotional
needs of their energetic three-year-old
students. They enjoy leading the
youngsters in recreational activities
that develop the kids’ physical skills
and in exploratory and educational
procedures that stimulate and develop
their mental abilities.IS

B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Describe
perception
and the
factors that
influence it.
8.4

Old woman or young woman? Two faces or an urn? A knight on a horse?

EXHIBIT 8-5 Perceptual Challenges—What Do You See?

226 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

What Is Perception and What Influences It?
Perception is a process by which we give meaning to our environment by
organizing and interpreting sensory impressions. Research on perception
consistently demonstrates that individuals may look at the same thing yet
perceive it differently. One manager, for instance, can interpret the fact
that her assistant regularly takes several days to make important decisions

as evidence that the assistant is slow, disorganized, and afraid to make
decisions. Another manager with the same assistant might interpret the same

tendency as evidence that the assistant is thoughtful, thorough, and deliberate.
The f irst manager would probably evaluate her assistant negatively; the second

manager would probably evaluate the person positively. The point is that none of us sees
reality. We interpret what we see and call it reality. And, of course, as the example shows,
we behave according to our perceptions.

What Influences Perception?
How do we explain the fact that Cathy, a marketing supervisor for a large commercial petro-
leum products organization, age 52, noticed Bill’s nose ring during his employment interview,
and Sean, a human resources recruiter, age 23, didn’t? A number of factors operate to shape
and sometimes distort perception. These factors can reside in the perceiver, in the object or tar-
get being perceived, or in the context of the situation in which the perception is made.

When an individual looks at a target and attempts to interpret what he or she sees, that
individual’s personal characteristics will heavily influence the interpretation. These personal
characteristics include attitudes, personality, motives, interests, past experiences, and expec-
tations. The characteristics of the target being observed can also affect what is perceived. Loud
people are more likely than quiet people to be noticed in a group. So, too, are extremely attrac-
tive or unattractive individuals. Because targets are not looked at in isolation, the relationship
of a target to its background also influences perception (see Exhibit 8-5 for an example), as
does our tendency to group close things and similar things together.

The context in which we see objects or events is also important. The time at which an
object or event is seen can influence attention, as can location, lighting, temperature, and any
number of other situational factors.

How Do Managers Judge Employees?
Much of the research on perception is directed at inanimate objects. Managers, though,
are more concerned with human beings. Our perceptions of people differ from our per-
ceptions of such inanimate objects as computers, robots, or buildings because we make
inferences about the actions of people that we don’t, of course, make about inanimate
objects. When we observe people, we attempt to develop explanations of why they behave

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 8 | F O U N D AT I O N S O F I N D I V I D U A L B E H AV I O R 227

in certain ways. Our perception and judgment of a person’s actions, therefore, will be sig-
nificantly influenced by the assumptions we make about the person’s internal state. Many
of these assumptions have led researchers to develop attribution theory.

WHAT IS ATTRIBUTION THEORY? Attribution theory has been proposed to explain how we
judge people differently depending on what meaning we attribute to a given behavior.54

Basically, the theory suggests that when we observe an individual’s behavior, we attempt to
determine whether it was internally or externally caused. Internally caused behavior is believed
to be under the control of the individual. Externally caused behavior results from outside causes;
that is, the person is seen as having been forced into the behavior by the situation. That deter-
mination, however, depends on three factors: distinctiveness, consensus, and consistency.

Distinctiveness refers to whether an individual displays a behavior in many situations
or whether it is particular to one situation. Is the employee who arrived late to work today
also the person coworkers see as a goof-off? What we want to know is whether this behav-
ior is unusual. If it is, the observer is likely to give the behavior an external attribution. If
this action is not unique, it will probably be judged as internal.

If everyone who is faced with a similar situation responds in the same way, we can say the
behavior shows consensus. Our tardy employee’s behavior would meet this criterion if all
employees who took the same route to work today were also late. If consensus is high, you
would be expected to give an external attribution to the employee’s tardiness, whereas if other
employees who took the same route made it to work on time, you would conclude the reason
to be internal.

Finally, a manager looks for consistency in an employee’s actions. Does the individual
engage in the behaviors regularly and consistently? Does the employee respond the same
way over time? Coming in 10 minutes late for work is not perceived in the same way if, for
one employee, it represents an unusual case (she hasn’t been late for several months), but
for another it is part of a routine pattern (he is late two or three times a week). The more con-
sistent the behavior, the more the observer is inclined to attribute it to internal causes.

Exhibit 8-6 summarizes the key elements in attribution theory. It would tell us, for
instance, that if an employee, Mr. Flynn, generally performs at about the same level on other
related tasks as he does on his current task (low distinctiveness), if other employees fre-
quently perform differently—better or worse—than Mr. Flynn does on that current task (low
consensus), and if Mr. Flynn’s performance on this current task is consistent over time (high
consistency), his manager or anyone else who is judging Mr. Flynn’s work is likely to hold
him primarily responsible for his task performance (internal attribution).

CAN ATTRIBUTIONS BE DISTORTED? One of the more interesting findings drawn from
attribution theory is that errors or biases distort attributions. For instance, substantial evi-
dence supports the hypothesis that when we make judgments about the behavior of other
people, we have a tendency to underestimate the influence of external factors and overesti-
mate the influence of internal or personal factors.55 This fundamental attribution error can
explain why a sales manager may be prone to attribute the poor performance of her sales
agents to laziness rather than to the innovative product line introduced by a competitor.
Individuals also tend to attribute their own successes to internal factors such as ability or
effort while putting the blame for failure on external factors such as luck. This self-serving
bias suggests that feedback provided to employees in performance reviews will be pre-
dictably distorted by them, whether it is positive or negative.

perception
A process by which we give meaning to our
environment by organizing and interpreting
sensory impressions.

attribution theory
A theory used to explain how we judge people
differently, based on what meaning we
attribute to a given behavior.

self-serving bias
The tendency for individuals to attribute their
successes to internal factors while putting the
blame for failures on external factors.

fundamental attribution error
The tendency to underestimate the influence of
external factors and overestimate the influence
of internal factors when making judgments
about the behavior of others.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

228 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

MANAGING DIVERSITY | All About Shortcuts

Perceiving and interpreting people’s behavior is a lot of
work, so we use shortcuts to make the task more manage-
able.56 Perceptual shortcuts can be valuable as they let us
make accurate perceptions quickly and provide valid data
for making predictions. However, they aren’t perfect. They
can and do get us into trouble. (See Exhibit 8-7 for a
summary description of the perceptual shortcuts.)

Individuals can’t assimilate all they observe, so
they’re selective in their perception. They absorb bits and
pieces. These bits and pieces are not chosen randomly;
rather, they’re selectively chosen depending on the inter-
ests, background, experience, and attitudes of the
observer. Selective perception allows us to “speed
read” others but not without the risk of drawing an inac-
curate picture.

It’s easy to judge others if we assume that they’re similar
to us. In assumed similarity, or the “like me” effect, the
observer’s perception of others is influenced more by the
observer’s own characteristics than by those of the person
observed. For example, if you want challenges and respon-
sibility in your job, you’ll assume that others want the same.
People who assume that others are like them can, of
course, be right, but not always.

When we judge someone on the basis of our percep-
tion of a group he or she is part of, we’re using the shortcut
called stereotyping. For instance, “Married people are
more stable employees than single persons” or “Older
employees are absent more often from work” are examples
of stereotyping. To the degree that a stereotype is based
on fact, it may produce accurate judgments. However,
many stereotypes aren’t factual and distort our judgment.

When we form a general impression about a person on
the basis of a single characteristic, such as intelligence,
sociability, or appearance, we’re being influenced by the
halo effect. This effect frequently occurs when students eval-
uate their classroom instructor. Students may isolate a single
trait such as enthusiasm and allow their entire evaluation to
be slanted by the perception of this one trait. An instructor
may be quiet, assured, knowledgeable, and highly qualified,
but if his classroom teaching style lacks enthusiasm, he might
be rated lower on a number of other characteristics.

When dealing with a diverse workforce, managers
(and others) first have to be aware of when they’re using
a perceptual shortcut. And secondly, they have to ensure
that the shortcut isn’t distorting what they’re perceiving
and thus believing about an individual or a situation.

Individual
behavior

Distinctiveness

Consensus

Consistency

External

Internal

External
Internal
Internal
External

Observation Interpretation
Attribution
of Cause

High

Low

High
Low
High
Low

EXHIBIT 8-6 Attribution Theory

All of us, managers included, use a number of shortcuts to judge others. These short-
cuts can be particularly critical with diverse workforces. See the “Managing Diversity” box
for more information.

How Can an Understanding of Perception Help
Managers Be More Effective?
Managers need to recognize that their employees react to perceptions, not to reality. So whether
a manager’s appraisal of an employee’s performance is actually objective and unbiased or
whether the organization’s wage levels are among the highest in the community is less relevant

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 8 | F O U N D AT I O N S O F I N D I V I D U A L B E H AV I O R 229

SHORTCUT WHAT IT IS DISTORTION

Selectivity People assimilate certain bits and pieces “Speed reading” others may result in an
of what they observe depending on their inaccurate picture of them
interests, background, experience, and attitudes

Assumed similarity People assume that others are like them May fail to take into account individual differences,
resulting in incorrect similarities

Stereotyping People judge others on the basis of their May result in distorted judgments because
perception of a group to which the others belong many stereotypes have no factual foundation

Halo effect People form an impression of others on the Fails to take into account the total picture
basis of a single trait of what an individual has done

EXHIBIT 8-7 Perceptual Shortcuts

operant conditioning
A theory of learning that says behavior is a
function of its consequences.

learning
A relatively permanent change in behavior that
occurs as a result of experience.

Discuss
learning
theories
and their
relevance in
shaping
behavior.
8.5

than what employees perceive them to be. If individuals perceive appraisals to be biased or
wage levels as low, they’ll behave as if those conditions actually exist. Employees organize and
interpret what they see, so there is always the potential for perceptual distortion. The message
is clear: Pay close attention to how employees perceive both their jobs and management actions.
Remember, the valuable employee who quits because of an inaccurate perception is just as
great a loss to an organization as the valuable employee who quits for a valid reason.

How Do Learning Theories Explain
Behavior?
The last individual behavior concept we’re going to look at is learning. It’s
included for the obvious reason that almost all behavior is learned. If we
want to explain, predict, and influence behavior, we need to understand
how people learn.

The psychologists’ definition of learning is considerably broader than
the average person’s view that “it’s what we do in school.” Learning occurs all
the time as we continuously learn from our experiences. A workable definition of
learning is any relatively permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of experience.
Two learning theories help us understand how and why individual behavior occurs.

What Is Operant Conditioning?
Operant conditioning argues that behavior is a function of its consequences. People learn
to behave to get something they want or to avoid something they don’t want. Operant behav-
ior is voluntary or learned behavior, not reflexive or unlearned behavior. The tendency to
repeat learned behavior is influenced by reinforcement or lack of reinforcement that hap-
pens as a result of the behavior. Reinforcement strengthens a behavior and increases the
likelihood that it will be repeated. Lack of reinforcement weakens a behavior and lessens the
likelihood that it will be repeated.

selective perception
The tendency for people to only absorb parts of
what they observe, allowing them to “speed
read” others.

assumed similarity
An observer’s perception of others is influenced
more by the observer’s own characteristics
than by those of the person observed.

stereotyping
When we judge someone on the basis of our
perception of a group he or she is part of.

halo effect
When we form a general impression of a person
on the basis of a single characteristic.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

230 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

From the Past to the Present• •
Why does hearing Christmas carols evoke pleasant memories
of childhood?57 Classical conditioning theory would say it’s
because the songs are associated with a festive holiday spirit
and make us remember all the fun and excitement. Classical
conditioning can also explain why a scheduled visit by the
“top brass” brings flurried activities of cleaning, straightening,
and rearranging at a local outlet of a major retail company.
However, classical conditioning is a passive theory. Something
happens, and we react in a specific way. As such, it can
explain simple reflexive behavior. But most behavior by people
at work is voluntary rather than reflexive; that is, employees
choose to arrive at work on time, ask their boss for help with
some problem, or “goof off” when no one is watching. A bet-
ter explanation for behavior is operant conditioning.

Operant conditioning says that people behave the way
they do so they can get something they want or avoid some-
thing they don’t want. It’s voluntary or learned behavior, not
reflexive or unlearned behavior. And Harvard psychologist

B. F. Skinner first identified the process of operant condition-
ing. He argued that creating pleasing consequences to follow
specific forms of behavior would increase the frequency of
that behavior. Skinner demonstrated that people will most
likely engage in desired behaviors if they’re positively rein-
forced for doing so; that rewards are most effective if they
immediately follow the desired response (behavior); and that
behavior that is not rewarded or is punished is less likely to be
repeated. For example, a professor places a mark by a stu-
dent’s name each time the student makes a contribution to
class discussions. Operant conditioning would argue that this
practice is motivating because it conditions a student to
expect a reward (earning class credit) each time she demon-
strates a specific behavior (speaking up in class). Operant
conditioning can be seen in work settings as well. And smart
managers quickly recognize that they can use operant con-
ditioning to shape employees’ behaviors to get work done in
the most effective and efficient manner possible.

B. F. Skinner’s research widely expanded our knowledge of operant conditioning.58

Behavior is assumed to be determined from without—that is, learned—rather than from
within—reflexive or unlearned. Skinner argued that people will most likely engage in
desired behaviors if they are positively reinforced for doing so, and rewards are most effec-
tive if they immediately follow the desired response. In addition, behavior that isn’t rewarded
or is punished, is less likely to be repeated. (For more information about Skinner’s contri-
butions, see the “From the Past to the Present” box.)

You see examples of operant conditioning everywhere. Any situation in which it’s either
explicitly stated or implicitly suggested that reinforcement (rewards) is contingent on some
action on your part is an example of operant conditioning. Your instructor says that if you
want a high grade in this course, you must perform well on tests by giving correct answers.
A salesperson working on commission knows that earning a sizable income is contingent
upon generating high sales in his or her territory. Of course, the linkage between behavior
and reinforcement can also work to teach the individual to behave in ways that work against
the best interests of the organization. Assume that your boss tells you that if you’ll work
overtime during the next three-week busy season, you’ll be compensated for it at the next
performance appraisal. Then, when performance appraisal time comes, you are given no
positive reinforcements (such as being praised for pitching in and helping out when needed).
What will you do the next time your boss asks you to work overtime? You’ll probably refuse.
Your behavior can be explained by operant conditioning: If a behavior isn’t positively rein-
forced, the probability that the behavior will be repeated declines.

What Is Social Learning Theory?
Some 60 percent of the Radio City Rockettes have danced in prior seasons. The veterans help
newcomers with “Rockette style”—where to place their hands, how to hold their hands,
how to keep up stamina, and so forth.59

As the Rockettes are well aware, individuals can also learn by observing what happens
to other people and just by being told about something as well as by direct experiences.
Much of what we have learned comes from watching others (models)—parents, teachers,
peers, television and movie actors, managers, and so forth. This view that we can learn both
through observation and direct experience is called social learning theory.60

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 8 | F O U N D AT I O N S O F I N D I V I D U A L B E H AV I O R 231

The influence of others is central to the social learning viewpoint. The amount of influ-
ence that these models have on an individual is determined by four processes:

1. Attentional processes. People learn
from a model when they recognize and
pay attention to its critical features.
We’re most influenced by models
who are attractive, repeatedly
available, thought to be impor-
tant, or seen as similar to us.

2. Retention processes. A model’s
influence will depend on how well
the individual remembers the model’s
action, even after the model is no
longer readily available.

3. Motor reproduction
processes. After a person
has seen a new behavior by
observing the model, the
watching must become
doing. This process then
demonstrates that the indi-
vidual can actually do the
modeled activities.

4. Reinforcement processes. Individuals will be motivated to exhibit the modeled behavior
if positive incentives or rewards are provided. Behaviors that are reinforced will be
given more attention, learned better, and performed more often.

How Can Managers Shape Behavior?
Managers should be concerned with how they can teach employees to behave in ways that
most benefit the organization.61 Thus, managers will often attempt to mold individuals by
guiding their learning in graduated steps. This process is called shaping behavior (see the
“Developing Your Shaping Behavior Skill” box).

Consider the situation in which an employee’s behavior is significantly different from
that desired by management. If management reinforced the individual only when he or she
showed desirable responses, little reinforcement might happen at all.

We shape behavior by systematically reinforcing each successive step that moves the indi-
vidual closer to the desired response. If an employee who has continually been 30 minutes late
for work arrives only 20 minutes late, we can reinforce this improvement. Reinforcement
would increase as responses more closely approximate the desired behavior.

Four ways can be used to shape behavior: positive reinforcement, negative reinforce-
ment, punishment, or extinction. When a response is followed with something pleasant,
such as when a manager praises an employee for a job well done, it’s called positive rein-
forcement. Rewarding a response with the termination or withdrawal of something pleasant
is called negative reinforcement. Managers who habitually criticize their employees for tak-
ing extended coffee breaks are using negative reinforcement. The only way these employ-
ees can stop the criticism is to shorten their breaks. Punishment penalizes undesirable
behavior. Suspending an employee for two days without pay for showing up drunk is an
example of punishment. Eliminating any reinforcement that is maintaining a behavior is
called extinction. When a behavior isn’t reinforced, it gradually disappears. Managers who
wish to discourage employees from continually asking distracting or irrelevant questions in

social learning theory
A theory of learning that says people can learn
through observation and direct experience.

shaping behavior
The process of guiding learning in graduated
steps, using reinforcement or lack of
reinforcement.

We see the application of social learning
theory at the major league baseball
teams’ spring training sessions. In this
photo, three talented younger pitchers
early in their major league careers
carefully watch the moves and
techniques of veteran pitcher Randy
Johnson as he throws from the mound
during the San Francisco Giants’ spring
training in Scottsdale, Arizona. Watching
the work of experienced and successful
players like Johnson and then practicing
the skills they observed helps younger
players learn how to fine-tune their
techniques.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

232 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

Developing Your Skill
About the Skill
In today’s dynamic work environments, learning is contin-
ual. But this learning shouldn’t be done in isolation or without
any guidance. Most employees need to be shown what’s
expected of them on the job. As a manager, you must
teach your employees the behaviors that are most critical
to their, and the organization’s, success.

Steps in Practicing the Skill
1 Identify the critical behaviors that have a significant

impact on an employee’s performance. Not every-
thing employees do on the job is equally important in
terms of performance outcomes. A few critical behav-
iors may, in fact, account for the majority of one’s results.
These high impact behaviors need to be identified.

2 Establish a baseline of performance. A baseline is
obtained by determining the number of times the
identified behaviors occur under the employee’s pres-
ent job conditions.

3 Analyze the contributing factors to performance
and their consequences. A number of factors, such
as the norms of a group, may be contributing to the
baseline performance. Identify these factors and their
effect on performance.

4 Develop a shaping strategy. The change that may
occur will entail changing some element of perform-
ance—structure, processes, technology, groups, or the
task. The purpose of the strategy is to strengthen the
desirable behaviors and weaken the undesirable ones.

5 Apply the appropriate strategy. Once the strategy
has been developed, it needs to be implemented. In
this step, an intervention occurs.

6 Measure the change that has occurred. An interven-
tion should produce the desired results in performance
behaviors. Evaluate the number of times the identified
behaviors now occur. Compare these with the base-
line evaluation in step 2.

7 Reinforce desired behaviors. If an intervention has
been successful and the new behaviors are produc-
ing the desired results, maintain these behaviors
through reinforcement mechanisms.

Practicing the Skill
a. Imagine that your assistant is ideal in all respects but

one—he or she is hopeless at taking phone messages
for you when you’re not in the office. You’re often in
training sessions and the calls are sales leads you
want to follow up, so you have identified taking
accurate messages as a high impact behavior for
your assistant.

b. Focus on steps 3 and 4, and devise a way to shape
your assistant’s behavior. Identify some factors that
might contribute to his or her failure to take mes-
sages—these could range from a heavy workload to a
poor understanding of the task’s importance (you can
rule out insubordination). Then develop a shaping
strategy by determining what you can change—the
available technology, the task itself, the structure of
the job, or some other element of performance.

c. Now plan your intervention and take a brief meeting
with your assistant in which you explain the change
you expect. Recruit a friend to help you role-play your
intervention. Do you think you would succeed in a real
situation?

meetings can eliminate that behavior by ignoring those employees when they raise their
hands to speak. Soon, the behavior will be diminished.

Both positive and negative reinforcement result in learning. They strengthen a desired
response and increase the probability of repetition. Both punishment and extinction also result
in learning; however, they weaken behavior and tend to decrease its subsequent frequency.

How Can an Understanding of Learning Help
Managers Be More Effective?
Employees are going to learn on the job. The only issue is whether managers are going to
manage their learning through the rewards they allocate and the examples they set, or allow
it to occur haphazardly. If marginal employees are rewarded with pay raises and promo-
tions, they will have little reason to change their behavior. In fact, productive employees, who
see marginal performance rewarded, might change their behavior. If managers want behav-
ior A, but reward behavior B, they shouldn’t be surprised to find employees’ learning to
engage in behavior B. Similarly, managers should expect that employees will look to them
as models. Managers who are consistently late to work, or take two hours for lunch, or help
themselves to company office supplies for personal use should expect employees to read the
message they are sending and model their behavior accordingly.

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Discuss

8.6
contemporary

issues
in OB.

C H A P T E R 8 | F O U N D AT I O N S O F I N D I V I D U A L B E H AV I O R 233

Immediate Responsibility
They want to make an important impact on Day 1.

Goal Oriented
They want small goals with tight deadlines so they
can build up ownership of tasks.

High Expectations of Self
They aim to work faster and better than other workers.

Gen Y Workers

High Expectations of Employers
They want fair and direct managers who are highly
engaged in their professional development.

Ongoing Learning
They seek out creative challenges and view colleagues
as vast resources from whom to gain knowledge.

EXHIBIT 8-8 Gen Y Workers

Source: Bruce Tulgan of Rainmaker Thinking. Used with permission.

What Contemporary OB Issues Face
Managers?
By this point, you’re probably well aware of why managers need to understand
how and why employees behave the way they do. We conclude this chapter by
looking at two OB issues having a major influence on managers’ jobs today.

How Do Generational Differences Affect the
Workplace?
They’re young, smart, brash. They wear flip-flops to the office or listen to iPods at their
desk. They want to work, but don’t want work to be their life. This is Generation Y, some
70 million of them, many who are embarking on their careers, taking their place in an
increasingly multigenerational workplace.62

JUST WHO IS GEN Y? There’s no consensus about the exact time span that Gen Y comprises,
but most definitions include those individuals born from about 1982 to 1997. One thing is for
sure—they’re bringing new attitudes with them to the workplace. Gen Yers have grown up with
an amazing array of experiences and opportunities. And they want their work life to provide
that as well, as shown in Exhibit 8-8. For instance, Stella Kenyi, who is passionately interested
in international development, was sent by her employer, the National Rural Electric
Cooperative Association, to Yai, Sudan, to survey energy use.63 At Best Buy’s corporate offices,
Beth Trippie, a senior scheduling specialist, feels that as long as the results are there, why
should it matter how it gets done. She says, “I’m constantly playing video games, on a call,
doing work, and the thing is, all of it gets done, and it gets done well.”64 And Katie Patterson,
an assistant account executive in Atlanta says, “We are willing and not afraid to challenge the
status quo. An environment where creativity and independent thinking are looked upon as a
positive is appealing to people my age. We’re very independent and tech savvy.”65

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

234 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

DEALING WITH THE MANAGERIAL CHALLENGES. Managing Gen Y workers presents
some unique challenges. Conflicts and resentment can arise over issues such as appear-
ance, technology, and management style.

How flexible must an organization be in terms of “appropriate” office attire? It may
depend on the type of work being done and the size of the organization. There are many
organizations where jeans, T-shirts, and flip-flops are acceptable. However, in other settings,
employees are expected to dress more conventionally. But even in those more conservative
organizations, one possible solution to accommodate the more casual attire preferred by
Gen Y is to be more flexible in what’s acceptable. For instance, the guideline might be that
when the person is not interacting with someone outside the organization, more casual wear
(with some restrictions) can be worn.

What about technology? This is a generation that has lived much of their lives with ATMs,
DVDs, cell phones, e-mail, texting, laptops, and the Internet. When they don’t have informa-
tion they need, they just simply enter a few keystrokes to get it. Having grown up with technol-
ogy, Gen Yers tend to be totally comfortable with it. They’re quite content to meet virtually to
solve problems, while bewildered baby boomers expect important problems to be solved with
an in-person meeting. Baby boomers complain about Gen Yers’ inability to focus on one task,
while Gen Yers see nothing wrong with multitasking. Again, flexibility from both is the key.

Finally, what about managing Gen Yers? Like the old car advertisement that used to
say, “this isn’t your father’s car,” we can say that “this isn’t your father’s or mother’s way of
managing.” Gen Y employees want bosses who are open minded; experts in their field, even
if they aren’t tech-savvy; organized; teachers, trainers, and mentors; not authoritarian or
paternalistic; respectful of their generation; understanding of their need for work/life
balance; providing constant feedback; communicating in vivid and compelling ways; and
providing stimulating and novel learning experiences.66

Gen Y employees have a lot to offer organizations in terms of their knowledge, passion,
and abilities. Managers, however, have to recognize and understand the behaviors of this
group in order to create an environment in which work can be accomplished efficiently,
effectively, and without disruptive conflict.

How Do Managers Deal with Negative Behavior
in the Workplace?
Jerry notices the oil is low in his forklift but continues to drive it until it overheats and can’t be
used. After enduring 11 months of repeated insults and mistreatment from her supervisor, Maria
quits her job. An office clerk slams her keyboard and then shouts profanities whenever her com-
puter freezes up. Rudeness, hostility, aggression, and other forms of workplace negativity have
become all too common in today’s organizations. In a survey of U.S. employees, 10 percent said

It’s not surprising that eBay’s young
employees rank the company as one
of the best places to work for millennials.
eBay’s culture of fun, casual dress, and
flexible work schedules that provide
for a work/life balance appeal to
Generation Y employees like those shown
here at eBay’s office in Milan, Italy. The
company’s young workers say that their
managers give them job responsibility
quickly, generous recognition for their
achievements, and learning opportunities
that advance their professional career
development.

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 8 | F O U N D AT I O N S O F I N D I V I D U A L B E H AV I O R 235

they witnessed rudeness daily within their workplaces and 20 percent said that they personally
were direct targets of incivility at work at least once a week. In a survey of Canadian workers,
25 percent reported seeing incivility daily and 50 percent said they were the direct targets at
least once per week.67 And it’s been estimated that negativity costs the U.S. economy some $300
billion a year.68 What can managers do to manage negative behavior in the workplace?

The main thing is to recognize that it’s there. Pretending that negative behavior doesn’t
exist or ignoring such misbehaviors will only confuse employees about what is expected and
acceptable behavior. Although there’s some debate among researchers about the preventive
or responsive actions to negative behaviors, in reality, both are needed.69 Preventing negative
behaviors by carefully screening potential employees for certain personality traits and
responding immediately and decisively to unacceptable negative behaviors can go a long way
toward managing negative workplace behaviors. But it’s also important to pay attention to
employee attitudes since negativity will show up there as well. As we said earlier, when
employees are dissatisfied with their jobs, they will respond somehow.

ApplicationsReview and

Chapter Summary
8.1 Identify the focus and goals of organizational

behavior (OB). OB focuses on three areas: individual
behavior, group behavior, and organizational aspects.
The goals of OB are to explain, predict, and influence
employee behavior. Six important employee behaviors
are as follows: Employee productivity is a perform-
ance measure of both efficiency and effectiveness.
Absenteeism is the failure to report to work. Turnover
is the voluntary and involuntary permanent with-
drawal from an organization. Organizational citizen-
ship behavior (OCB) is discretionary behavior that’s
not part of an employee’s formal job requirements but
which promotes the effective functioning of an organi-
zation. Job satisfaction is an individual’s general atti-
tude toward his or her job. Workplace misbehavior is
any intentional employee behavior that’s potentially
harmful to the organization or individuals within the
organization.

8.2 Explain the role that attitudes play in job perform-
ance. Attitudes are evaluative statements concerning
people, objects, or events. The cognitive component of
an attitude refers to the beliefs, opinions, knowledge,
or information held by a person. The affective compo-
nent is the emotional or feeling part of an attitude. The
behavioral component refers to an intention to behave
in a certain way toward someone or something.

There are four job-related attitudes: job satis-
faction, job involvement, organizational commit-
ment, and employee engagement. Job satisfaction
refers to a person’s general attitude toward his or her
job. Job involvement is the degree to which an
employee identifies with his or her job, actively

participates in it, and considers his or her job per-
formance to be important to his or her self-worth.
Organizational commitment is the degree to which
an employee identifies with a particular organization
and its goals and wishes to maintain membership in
that organization. Employee engagement is when
employees are connected to, satisfied with, and
enthused about their jobs.

According to cognitive dissonance theory,
individuals try to reconcile attitude and behavior
inconsistencies by altering their attitudes, altering
their behavior, or rationalizing the inconsistency.

8.3 Describe different personality theories. The MBTI®

measures four dichotomies: social interaction, prefer-
ence for gathering data, preference for decision making,
and style of making decisions. The Big Five model
consists of five personality traits: extraversion, agree-
ableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and
openness to experience. Another way to view personal-
ity is through the five personality traits that help explain
individual behavior in organizations: locus of control,
Machiavellianism, self-esteem, self-monitoring, and
risk-taking.

Finally, how a person responds emotionally and
how they deal with their emotions is a function of per-
sonality. A person who is emotionally intelligent has
the ability to notice and to manage emotional cues and
information.

8.4 Describe perception and the factors that influ-
ence it. Perception is how we give meaning to our
environment by organizing and interpreting sensory
impressions.IS

B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

236 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

learning theory says that individuals learn by observ-
ing what happens to other people and by directly
experiencing something.

Managers can shape behavior by using positive
reinforcement (reinforcing a desired behavior by
giving something pleasant), negative reinforcement
(reinforcing a desired response by withdrawing
something unpleasant), punishment (eliminating unde-
sirable behavior by applying penalties), or extinction
(not reinforcing a behavior to eliminate it).

8.6 Discuss contemporary issues in OB. The challenge
of managing Gen Y workers is that they bring new
attitudes to the workplace. The main challenges are
over issues such as appearance, technology, and
management style.

Workplace misbehavior can be dealt with by
recognizing that it’s there; carefully screening poten-
tial employees for possible negative tendencies; and
most importantly, by paying attention to employee
attitudes through surveys about job satisfaction and
dissatisfaction.

To check your understanding of learning outcomes 8.1 – 8.6 , go to

mymanagementlab.com and try the chapter questions.

Understanding the Chapter

1. How is an organization like an iceberg? Use the ice-
berg metaphor to describe the field of organizational
behavior.

2. Does the importance of knowledge of OB differ based
on a manager’s level in the organization? If so, how? If
not, why not? Be specific.

3. Clarify how individuals reconcile inconsistencies
between attitudes and behaviors.

4. Describe what is meant by the term emotional
intelligence. Provide an example of how it’s used in
contemporary organizations.

5. “Instead of worrying about job satisfaction, companies
should be trying to create environments where perform-
ance is enabled.” What do you think this statement

means? Explain. What’s your reaction to this statement?
Do you agree? Disagree? Why?

6. How might a manager use personality traits to
improve employee selection in his department?
Emotional intelligence? Discuss.

7. Describe the implications of social learning theory for
managing people at work.

8. A Gallup Organization survey shows that most work-
ers rate having a caring boss even higher than they
value money or fringe benefits. How should managers
interpret this information? What are the implications?

9. Write down three attitudes you have. Identify the
cognitive, affective, and behavioral components of
those attitudes.

Attribution theory helps explain how we judge
people differently. It depends on three factors. Distinc-
tiveness is whether an individual displays different
behaviors in different situations (that is, is the behav-
ior unusual). Consensus is whether others facing a
similar situation respond in the same way. Consistency
is when a person engages in behaviors regularly and
consistently. Whether these three factors are high or
low helps managers determine whether employee
behavior is attributed to external or internal causes.

The fundamental attribution error is the tendency
to underestimate the influence of external factors and
overestimate the influence of internal factors. The
self-serving bias is the tendency to attribute our own
successes to internal factors and to put the blame for
personal failure on external factors. Shortcuts used in
judging others are selective perception, assumed simi-
larity, stereotyping, and the halo effect.

8.5 Discuss learning theories and their relevance in
shaping behavior. Operant conditioning argues that
behavior is a function of its consequences. Social

Understanding Yourself

What’s My Basic Personality?
The five-factor model of personality—often referred to as the Big Five—has an
impressive body of research suggesting that five basic personality dimensions underlie
human behavior. This self-assessment exercise will give you an indication of what
your personality is like according to the Big Five model.

INSTRUMENT Listed on the next page is a set of 15 adjective pairs. For each, select the
number along the scale (you must choose a whole number) that most closely describes
you or your preferences.

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 8 | F O U N D AT I O N S O F I N D I V I D U A L B E H AV I O R 237

Sources: Based on O. P. John, “The ‘Big Five’ Factor Taxonomy: Dimensions of Personality in the Natural Language
and in Questionnaires,” in L.A. Pervin (ed.), Handbook of Personality Theory and Research (New York: Guilford Press,
1990), pp. 66–100; and D. L. Formy-Duval, J. E. Williams, D. J. Patterson, and E. E. Fogle, “A ‘Big Five’ Scoring
System for the Item Pool of the Adjective Check List,” Journal of Personality Assessment 65, (1995), pp. 59–76.

1. Quiet 1 2 3 4 5 Talkative

2. Tolerant 1 2 3 4 5 Critical

3. Disorganized 1 2 3 4 5 Organized

4. Tense 1 2 3 4 5 Calm

5. Imaginative 1 2 3 4 5 Conventional

6. Reserved 1 2 3 4 5 Outgoing

7. Uncooperative 1 2 3 4 5 Cooperative

8. Unreliable 1 2 3 4 5 Dependable

9. Insecure 1 2 3 4 5 Secure

10. New 1 2 3 4 5 Familiar

11. Sociable 1 2 3 4 5 Loner

12. Suspicious 1 2 3 4 5 Trusting

13. Undirected 1 2 3 4 5 Goal-oriented

14. Enthusiastic 1 2 3 4 5 Depressed

15. Change 1 2 3 4 5 Status-quo

SCORING KEY To calculate your personality score, add up your points as follows
(reverse scoring those items marked with an asterisk):

Items 1, 6, and 11*: This is your extraversion score.

Items 2*, 7, and 12: This is your agreeableness score.

Items 3, 8, and 13: This is your conscientiousness score.

Items 4, 9, and 14*: This is your emotional stability score.

Items 5*, 10*, and 15*: This is your openness-to-experience score.

ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION

Extraversion—high scores indicate you’re an extravert; low scores indicate
you’re an introvert.

Agreeableness—high scores indicate you value harmony; low scores indicate
you prefer having your say or way on issues.

Conscientiousness—high scores indicate that you pursue fewer goals in a
purposeful way; lower scores indicate that you’re more easily distracted, pursue
many goals, and are more hedonistic.

Emotional stability—high scores indicate positive emotional stability; low
scores indicate negative emotional stability.

Openness to experience—high scores indicate you have a wide range of inter-
ests and a fascination with novelty and innovation; low scores indicate you’re
more conventional and find comfort in the familiar.

What defines a high or low score? No definite cutoffs are available. However, reasonable
cutoffs for each dimension would be 12–15 points = high; 7–11 = moderate; and 3–6 = low.

What are the implications of some of your scores? Studies on the Big Five model
suggest that individuals who are dependable, reliable, thorough, organized, able to plan,
and persistent (that is, high on conscientiousness) tend to have higher job performance,
no matter the occupation. High scores on extraversion indicate you may be suited to a
managerial or sales position. Also, high scores on openness-to-experience are a good
predictor of your ability to achieve significant benefits from training efforts.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

238 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

FYIA (For Your Immediate Action)

Wood Designs Plus

To: Ted Sigler, Director of HR
From: Michelle DePriest, President

Re: Hiring

Ted, as we discussed last Friday, our manufacturing operations have grown to the point

where we need to add a couple of people to our executive team; specifically, a corporate

controller and a national sales director. The controller will be responsible for establishing

operational and financial standards (in other words, a lot of number-crunching using financial

and manufacturing statistics) for our various work units. The national sales director will be

responsible for working closely with our sales staff to further develop long-lasting and

mutually beneficial relationships with our customers.

I recall something from a management class I took in college that certain personality

types fit best with certain types of jobs. Could you do some research on this topic for me?

Write up a short report (no more than a page) describing the personality type that might be an

appropriate match for each of these new positions. Get this to me by the end of the week.

This fictionalized company and message were created for educational purposes only. It is not meant to reflect positively
or negatively on management practices by any company that may share this name.

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

CASE APPLICATION

A29-year-old and a 68-year-old. Howmuch could they possibly have in com-mon? And what could they learn from
each other? At Randstad USA’s Manhattan
office, such employee pairings are common.
One such pair of colleagues sits inches apart
facing each other. “They hear every call the
other makes. They read every e-mail the other
sends or receives. Sometimes they finish each
other’s sentences.”

Randstad Holding NV, a Dutch company, has used this pairing idea since its founding over 40 years ago. The
founder’s motto was “Nobody should be alone.” The original intent was to boost productivity by having sales
agents share one job and trade off job responsibilities. Today, these partners in the home office have an arrange-
ment where one is in the office one week while the other one is out making sales calls, then the next week, they
switch. The company brought its partner arrangement to the United States in the late 1990s. But when it began
recruiting new employees, the vast majority of whom were in their twenties, it realized the challenges and the
potential of pairing different generations together. “Knowing that these Gen Yers need lots of attention in the work-
place, Randstad executives figured that if they shared a job with someone whose own success depended on theirs,
they were certain to get all the nurturing they required.”

Randstad doesn’t just simply pair up people and hope it works. There’s more to it than that! The company
looks for people who will work well with others by conducting extensive interviews and requiring job applicants
to shadow a sales agent for half a day. “One question Randstad asks is: What’s your most memorable moment
while being on a team? If they respond: When I scored the winning touchdown, that’s a deal killer. Everything about
our organization is based on the team and group.” When a new hire is paired with an experienced agent, both indi-
viduals have some adjusting. One of the most interesting elements of Randstad’s program is that neither person is
“the boss.” And both are expected to teach the other.

Discussion Questions

1. What topics of individual behavior do you see in this case? Explain.

2. What do you think about this pairing-up idea? Would you be comfortable with such an arrangement? Why or
why not?

3. What personality traits would be most needed for this type of work arrangement? Why?

4. What types of issues might a Gen Y employee and an older, more-experienced employee face? How could
two people in such a close-knit work arrangement deal with those issues? That is, how could both make the
adjustment easier?

5. Design an employee attitude survey for Randstad’s employees.

Sources: G. Mijuk, “Tough Times for Temp Agencies Likely to Prompt Consolidation,” Wall Street Journal, March 17, 2009, p. B7; M. Laff, “Gen
Y Proves Loyalty in Economic Downturn,” T&D, December 2008, p. 18; and S. Berfield, “Bridging the Generation Gap,” BusinessWeek, September 17,
2007, pp. 60–61.

239

ODD COUPLES

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

le
a

r
n

in
g

o
u

t
c

o
m

e
s

Understanding
Groups and
Managing Work
Teams

CHAPTER

9.1

Describe

the major

concepts of
group

behavior.

9.2

Discuss
contemporary

issues in
managing

teams.

9.

4

9.3

Discuss
how groups

are turned

into
effective
teams.

Define
a group and
describe the

stages of
group

development.

p.

242

p.256

p.248

p.244

IS
B

N
1-256-14379-

0

Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Imagine working for an organization that employs more than 2,700
individuals with each one having the identical focus.1 Imagine, too,

that company managers in this organization want you to work hard and
be the best at what you do. If you’re employed by

Ferrari S.p.A., such realities aren’t hard to imagine.
When most people hear the name Ferrari, they

think of expensive, super-fast sports cars. That repu-
tation for speed is why Ferraris continue to be well-

known and respected in racing groups around the world.
The Italian company was founded by Enzo Ferrari in

1928, and even in its early days, racing was an important
part of the Ferrari legend. Today, Luca Cordero (photo on

right), president and managing director of the company,
believes that his employees truly make a difference in pro-

ducing one of the world’s greatest sports cars. He recognizes
that to be the best, he needs employees who understand how

to work together and how to achieve common goals. At Ferrari, employee teams combine their ef-
forts to produce an outstanding automobile, with quality befitting its iconic reputation. You won’t find

traditional assembly lines in the Ferrari factory, nor will you find production quotas. With prices for a
Ferrari starting at $140,000, auto assembly time isn’t measured in seconds. Rather, team tasks often last

more than 90 minutes for each portion of a car. Then the team proudly passes its finished work to the next
team so its work can begin. Average time to manufacture one car: three days. The company produces around

6,000 Ferraris in any one year, although the company hopes to boost that number to 10,000 cars by 2010.
To achieve that goal, the company is expanding current capacity although its singular focus on quality and

teamwork won’t change.
Employees at Ferrari truly enjoy being part of a team. They say that working toward a common goal is one

of the most satisfying elements in their jobs. They also appreciate what the company does for them. They enjoy
a state-of-the-art f itness center, annual physicals at the company’s on-site clinic, an employee cafeteria, and

home-based training for employees to learn English. They feel as if Cordero and his team treat them as associates,
not just as cogs in the Ferrari wheel. As one employee stated, “For many of us working for Ferrari is like working

in the Vatican.” Recently, the company won an award for Best Place to Work in Europe. The prize resulted from the
company’s “Formula-1-inspired workplace initiative called Formula Uomo,” which took the principles of Ferrari’s success

in Formula 1 racing and applied them to the workplace. The main thrust was recognizing its people as the “fulcrum of
the company’s work system.”

Is the team concept at Ferrari working? By all accounts, yes. The company has achieved over $2.3 billion in sales. And more
importantly, the car still retains its appeal as one of the best and most desired in the world. Although profits have been nominal dur-

ing the global economic downturn, there are always going to be customers who want to own the car with the rearing-horse logo.

Up to Speed

241

IS
B

N
1-

25
6-

14

37

9-
0

Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

9.1

Define
a group and
describe the
stages of
group
development.
242

• Command groups—Groups that are determined by the organization chart and
composed of individuals who report directly to a given manager.

• Task groups—Groups composed of individuals brought together to complete a
specific job task; their existence is often temporary because when the task is
completed, the group disbands.

• Cross-functional teams—Groups that bring together the knowledge and skil

ls

of individuals from various work areas or groups whose members have been trained
to do each other’s jobs.

• Self-managed teams—Groups that are essentially independent and that, in
addition to their own tasks, take on traditional managerial responsibilities, such as
hiring, planning and scheduling, and evaluating performance.

EXHIBIT 9-1 Examples of Formal

Work Groups

Like company executives at Ferrari, managers today believe that the use of teams allows

their organizations to increase sales or produce better products faster and at lower costs.

Although the effort to create teams isn’t always successful, well-planned teams can reinvig-

orate productivity and better position an organization to deal with a rapidly changing

environment.

You’ve probably had a lot of experience working in groups—class project teams, maybe

an athletic team, a fund-raising committee, or even a sales team at work. Work teams are one

of the realities—and challenges—of managing in today’s dynamic global environment. Many

organizations have made the move to restructure work around teams rather than individuals.

Why? What do these teams look like? And how can managers build effective teams? These are

some of the questions we’ll be answering in this chapter. Before we can understand teams,

however, we first need to understand some basics about groups and group behavior.

What Is a Group and What Stages of
Development Do Groups Go Through?
Each person in the group had his or her assigned role: The Spotter, The Back
Spotter, The Gorilla, and the Big Player. For over 10 years, this group—
former MIT students who were members of a secret Black Jack Club—used

their extraordinary mathematical abilities, expert training, teamwork, and
interpersonal skills to take millions of dollars from some of the major casinos

in the United States.2 Although most groups aren’t formed for such dishonest
purposes, the success of this group at its task was impressive. Managers would like

their work groups to be successful at their tasks also. The first step is understanding what a
group is and how groups develop.

What Is a Group?
A group is defined as two or more interacting and interdependent individuals who come
together to achieve specific goals. Formal groups are work groups that are defined by the
organization’s structure and have designated work assignments and specific tasks directed
at accomplishing organizational goals. Exhibit 9-1 provides some examples. Informal groups
are social groups. These groups occur naturally in the workplace and tend to form around
friendships and common interests. For example, five employees from different departments
who regularly eat lunch together are an informal group.

IS
B

N

1-256-14379-0

Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 9 | U N D E R S TA N D I N G G R O U P S A N D M A N A G I N G W O R K T E A M S 243

Stage I
Forming

Stage II
Storming

Stage IV
Performing

Stage III
Norming

Stage V
Adjourning

EXHIBIT 9-2 Stages of Group Development

What Are the Stages of Group Development?
Research shows that groups develop through five stages.3 As shown in Exhibit 9-2, these five
stages are: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning.

The forming stage has two phases. The first occurs as people join the group. In a
formal group, people join because of some work assignment. Once they’ve joined, the second
phase begins: defining the group’s purpose, structure,
and leadership. This phase involves a great deal of uncer-
tainty as members “test the waters” to determine what
types of behavior are acceptable. This stage is complete
when members begin to think of themselves as part of
a group.

The storming stage is appropriately named because
of the intragroup conflict. There’s conflict over who will
control the group and what the group needs to be doing.
When this stage is complete, there will be a relatively
clear hierarchy of leadership and agreement on the
group’s direction.

The norming stage is one in which close relation-
ships develop and the group becomes cohesive. There’s
now a strong sense of group identity and camaraderie.
This stage is complete when the group structure solidifies
and the group has assimilated a common set of expecta-
tions (or norms) regarding member behavior.

group
Two or more interacting and interdependent
individuals who come together to achieve
specific goals.

storming stage
The second stage of group development,
which is characterized by intragroup conflict.

forming stage
The first stage of group development in which
people join the group and then define the
group’s purpose, structure, and leadership.

Sibyl Goldman, a Yahoo! entertainment
group vice president, leads an “omg”
Web site meeting at Yahoo!’s offices in
Santa Monica, California. This meeting is
an example of the performing stage of
group development. With an established
strong sense of group identity and
camaraderie, the group focuses on its
task of presenting celebrity news stories
in a light and positive way along with
galleries of photos and exclusive videos.
For permanent work groups such as the
“omg” staff, performing is the last stage
in the group development process.

norming stage
The third stage of group development, which is
characterized by close relationships and
cohesiveness.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-

14
37

9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Describe
the major

concepts of
group
behavior.
9.2

244 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

The fourth stage is performing. The group structure is in place and accepted by group
members. Their energies have moved from getting to know and understand each other to
working on the group’s task. This is the last stage of development for permanent work
groups. However, for temporary groups—project teams, task forces, or similar groups that
have a limited task to do—the final stage is adjourning. In this stage, the group prepares to
disband. Attention is focused on wrapping up activities instead of task performance. Group
members react in different ways. Some are upbeat, thrilled about the group’s accomplish-
ments. Others may be sad over the loss of camaraderie and friendships.

Many of you have probably experienced these stages as you’ve worked on a group
project for a class. Group members are selected or assigned and then meet for the first
time. There’s a “feeling out” period to assess what the group is going to do and how it’s
going to be done. This is usually followed by a battle for control: Who’s going to be in
charge? Once this issue is resolved and a “hierarchy” agreed on, the group identifies spe-
cific work that needs to be done, who’s going to do each part, and dates by which the as-
signed work needs to be completed. General expectations are established. These decisions
form the foundation for what you hope will be a coordinated group effort culminating in
a project that’s been done well. Once the project is complete and turned in, the group
breaks up. Of course, some groups don’t get much beyond the forming or storming stages.
These groups may have serious interpersonal conflicts, turn in disappointing work, and
get lower grades.

Does a group become more effective as it progresses through the first four stages?
Some researchers say yes, but it’s not that simple.5 That assumption may be generally true,
but what makes a group effective is a complex issue. Under some conditions, high levels
of conflict are conducive to high levels of group performance. There might be situations
in which groups in the storming stage outperform those in the norming or performing
stages. Also, groups don’t always proceed sequentially from one stage to the next. Some-
times, groups are storming and performing at the same time. Groups even occasionally
regress to previous stages. Therefore, don’t assume that all groups precisely follow this
process or that performing is always the most preferable stage. Think of this model as a gen-
eral framework that underscores the fact that groups are dynamic entities and managers
need to know the stage a group is in so they can understand the problems and issues that
are most likely to surface.

What Are the Major Concepts of Group
Behavior?
The basic foundation for understanding group behavior includes roles, norms and
conformity, status systems, group size, and group cohesiveness. Let’s take a closer
look at each of those aspects.

What Are Roles?
We introduced the concept of roles in Chapter 1 when we discussed what managers do. Of

course, managers aren’t the only individuals in an organization who have roles. The concept of
roles applies to all employees in organizations and to their lives outside the organization as well.

A role refers to behavior patterns expected of someone who occupies a given position
in a social unit. Individuals play multiple roles, adjusting their roles to the group to which
they belong at the time. In an organization, employees attempt to determine what behaviors
are expected of them. They read their job descriptions, get suggestions from their bosses,
and watch what their coworkers do. An individual who’s confronted by divergent role expec-
tations experiences role conflict. Employees in organizations often face such role conflicts.
The credit manager expects her credit analysts to process a minimum of 30 applications a
week, but the work group pressures members to restrict output to 20 applications a week so
that everyone has work to do and no one gets laid off. A newly hired college instructor’s col-
leagues want him to give out only a few high grades in order to maintain the department’s
reputation for high standards, whereas students want him to give out lots of high grades to

percent of workers said
their teams were not
given enough resources.

percent of Fortune 1000
companies used team- or
group-based pay to some

degree in 2005.

percent of respondents
identified teams as a key
ingredient to organiza-

tional success.

percent of females wanted
more face-to-face group
meetings.

percent of males wanted
more face-to-face group
meetings.

to 12: the average num-
ber of production workers
per team.

percent of senior execu-
tives said that meeting
deadlines was the most

important characteristic of a good
team player.

percent of workers feel
more productive in a small
group.

85

33
27
10
40

37

83

69

4
IS
B

N
1-256-14379-0

Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 9 | U N D E R S TA N D I N G G R O U P S A N D M A N A G I N G W O R K T E A M S 245

enhance their grade point averages. To the degree that the
instructor sincerely seeks to satisfy the expectations of both his
colleagues and his students, he faces role conflict.

How Do Norms and Conformity Affect
Group Behavior?
All groups have established norms, acceptable standards that
are shared by the group’s members. Norms dictate output lev-
els, absenteeism rates, promptness or tardiness, the amount of
socializing allowed on the job, and so on. Norms, for example,
dictate the dress code of customer service representatives at a
credit card processing company. Most workers who have little
direct customer contact come to work dressed casually. How-
ever, on occasion, a newly hired employee will come to work
dressed in a suit. Those who do are teased and pressured until
their dress conforms to the group’s standard.

Although each group has its own unique set of norms, com-
mon classes of norms appear in most organizations. These norms
focus on effort and performance, dress, and loyalty. Probably the
most widespread norms are related to levels of effort and per-
formance. Work groups typically provide their members with
explicit cues on how hard to work, what level of output to have,
when to look busy, when it’s acceptable to goof off, and the like.
These norms are extremely powerful in affecting an individual
employee’s performance. They’re so powerful that performance
predictions based solely on an employee’s ability and level of
personal motivation often prove wrong.

Some organizations have formal dress codes—even describ-
ing what’s considered acceptable for corporate casual dress. How-
ever, even in the absence of codes, norms frequently develop to
dictate the kind of clothing that should be worn to work. College
seniors, when interviewing for their first postgraduate job, pick
up this norm quickly. Every spring, on college campuses around
the country, students interviewing for jobs can be spotted; they’re
the ones walking around in the dark gray or blue pinstriped suits.
They’re enacting the dress norms they’ve learned are expected in
professional positions. Of course, acceptable dress in one organiza-
tion will be different from another’s norms.

Few managers appreciate employees who ridicule the organization. Similarly, profes-
sional employees and those in the executive ranks recognize that most employers view
persons who actively look for another job unfavorably. People who are unhappy know that
they should keep their job searches secret. These examples demonstrate that loyalty norms
are widespread in organizations. This concern for demonstrating loyalty, by the way, often
explains why ambitious aspirants to top management positions willingly take work home
at night, come in on weekends, and accept transfers to cities in which they would otherwise
prefer not to live. Because individuals desire acceptance by the groups to which they
belong, they’re susceptible to conformity pressures. The impact of group pressures for

Right orWrong?

You’ve been hired as a summer intern in the events planning department
of a public relations firm in Dallas.After working there about a month, you
conclude that the attitude in the office is “anything goes.” Employees know
that supervisors won’t discipline them for ignoring company rules. For
example, employees turn in expense reports, but the process is a joke.
Nobody submits receipts to verify reimbursement and nothing is ever said.
In fact, when you tried to turn in your receipts with your expense report, you
were told, “Nobody else turns in receipts and you don’t really need to
either.” Although the employee handbook says that receipts are required
for reimbursement, you know that no expense check has ever been denied
because of failure to turn in a receipt. Also, your coworkers use company
phones for personal long-distance calls even though that’s also prohibited
by the employee handbook. And one of the permanent employees told
you to “help yourself” to any paper, pens, or pencils you might need here
or at home.What are the norms of this group? Suppose that you were the
supervisor in this area. How would you go about changing the norms?

adjourning stage
The final stage of group development for
temporary groups, during which groups prepare
to disband.

role
Behavior patterns expected of someone who
occupies a given position in a social unit.

norms
Standards or expectations that are accepted
and shared by a group’s members.

performing stage
The fourth stage of group development, when
the group is fully functional and works on the
group task.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

246 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

conformity on an individual member’s judgment and attitudes was demonstrated in the
classic studies by Solomon Asch.7 Asch’s results suggest that group norms press us toward
conformity. We desire to be one of the group and to avoid being visibly different. We can
generalize this finding to say that when an individual’s opinion of objective data differs sig-
nificantly from that of others in the group, he or she feels extensive pressure to align his
or her opinion to conform with those of the others (see our previous discussion on group-
think, p. 72). The “From the Past to the Present” box has additional background informa-
tion on Asch’s contributions to group theory.

What Is Status and Why Is It Important?
Status is a prestige grading, position, or rank within a group. As far back as scientists have
been able to trace human groupings, they’ve found status hierarchies: tribal chiefs and their
followers, nobles and peasants, the haves and the have-nots. Status systems are important
factors in understanding behavior. Status is a significant motivator that has behavioral con-
sequences when individuals see a disparity between what they perceive their status to be and
what others perceive it to be.

From the Past to the Present• •
Does the desire to be accepted as a part of a group leave
one susceptible to conforming to the group’s norms? Will the
group exert pressure that’s strong enough to change a mem-
ber’s attitude and behavior? According to the research by
Solomon Asch, the answer appears to be yes.6

Asch’s study involved groups of seven or eight people who
sat in a classroom and were asked to compare two cards held
by an investigator. One card had one line; the other had three
lines of varying length. As shown in Exhibit 9-3, one of the lines
on the three-line card was identical to the line on the one-line
card. The difference in line length was quite obvious; under
ordinary conditions, subjects made errors of less than 1 percent.
The object was to announce aloud which of the three lines
matched the single line. But what happens if all the members
of the group begin to give incorrect answers? Will the pressure
to conform cause the unsuspecting subject (USS) to alter his
or her answers to align with those of the others? That’s what
Asch wanted to know. He arranged the group so that the USS
was unaware that the experiment was fixed. The seating was
prearranged so that the USS was the last to announce his or
her decision.

The experiment began with two sets of matching exer-
cises. All the subjects gave the right answers. On the third set,
however, the first subject gave an obviously wrong answer—for
example, saying “C” in Exhibit 9-3. The next subject gave the
same wrong answer, and so did the others, until it was the
unsuspecting subject’s turn. He knew that “B” was the same
as “X” but everyone else said “C.” The decision confronting
the USS was this: Do you publicly state a perception that differs
from the preannounced position of the others? Or do you give
an answer that you strongly believe to be incorrect in order to
have your response agree with the other group members?
Asch’s subjects conformed in about 35 percent of many
experiments and many trials. That is, the subjects gave answers
that they knew were wrong but were consistent with the replies
of other group members.

For managers, the Asch study provides considerable in-
sight into group behaviors. The tendency, as Asch showed, is
for individual members to go along with the pack. To diminish
the negative aspects of conformity, managers should create
a climate of openness in which employees are free to discuss
problems without fear of retaliation.

X A B C

EXHIBIT 9-3 Examples of Cards Used in Asch’s Study

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 9 | U N D E R S TA N D I N G G R O U P S A N D M A N A G I N G W O R K T E A M S 247

Status may be informally conferred by characteristics such as education, age, skill,
or experience. However, anything can have status value if others in the group admire it.
Of course, just because status is informal doesn’t mean that it’s unimportant or that
there’s disagreement on who has it or who doesn’t. Members of groups have no problem
placing people into status categories, and they usually agree about who’s high, low, and
in the middle.

It’s important for employees to believe that the organization’s formal status system is
congruent. That is, there should be equity between the perceived ranking of an individual
and the status symbols he or she is given by the organization. For instance, incongruence
may occur when a supervisor earns less than his or her employees or when a desirable
office is occupied by a lower-ranking individual. Employees may view such cases as a dis-
ruption to the general pattern of order and consistency in the organization.

Does Group Size Affect Group Behavior?
The size of a group affects that group’s behavior. However, that effect depends on what
criteria you’re looking at.8

The evidence indicates, for instance, that small groups complete tasks faster than larger
ones. However, if a group is engaged in problem solving, large groups consistently get
better marks than their smaller counterparts. Translating these results into specific numbers
is a bit trickier, but we can offer some parameters. Large groups—with a dozen or more
members—are good for gaining diverse input. Thus, if the goal of the group is to find facts,
larger groups should be more effective. On the other hand, smaller groups are better at doing
something productive with those facts. Groups of approximately five to seven members
tend to act more effectively.

One of the more disturbing findings is that, as groups get incrementally larger, the con-
tribution of individual members often tends to lessen. That is, although the total productivity
of a group of four is generally greater than that
of a group of three, the individual produc-
tivity of each group member declines as
the group expands. Thus, a group of four
will tend to produce at a level of less
than four times the average individual
performance. The best explanation for
this reduction of effort is that disper-
sion of responsibility encourages indi-
viduals to slack off; a behavior referred
to as social loafing.9 When the results of
the group can’t be attributed to any single
person, the relationship between an
individual’s input and the group’s output
is clouded. In such situations, individuals
may be tempted to become “free riders”
and coast on the group’s efforts. In other
words, efficiency is reduced when indi-
viduals think that their contributions
cannot be measured. The obvious con-
clusion from this finding is that man-
agers who use work groups should also
provide a means by which individual
efforts can be identified.

status
A prestige grading, position, or rank within a
group.

social loafing
The tendency for individuals to expend less
effort when working collectively than when
working individually.

Group cohesiveness, the degree to
which group members are attracted to
each other and share goals, was high for
the cast and crew of Wushu: The Young
Generation. Everyone involved in the film,
from the executive producer and kung
fu star Jackie Chan to the young actors,
was focused on the goal of introducing
an authentic representation of wushu, a
martial arts form that combines exercise,
the performing arts, and competitive
sports. Authenticity included filming the
movie in a real martial arts school in
China today and presenting the skills of
the young actors, all of whom are martial
arts students who perform the action
scenes themselves. Shown here at a press
conference for the film are Chan with the
film’s production team members and the
young actors and actresses.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

9.3

Discuss
how groups
are turned

into
effective
teams.

248 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

Are Cohesive Groups More Effective?
Intuitively, it makes sense that groups that experience a lot of internal disagreement and
lack of cooperation are less effective than are groups in which individuals generally agree,
cooperate, and like each other. Research has looked at group cohesiveness, the degree to
which members are attracted to one another and share the group’s goals. The more that
members are attracted to one another and the more that a group’s goals align with each in-
dividual’s goals, the greater the group’s cohesiveness.

Previous research has generally shown that highly cohesive groups are more effec-
tive than are those with less cohesiveness, but the relationship between cohesiveness and
effectiveness is more complex.10 A key moderating variable is the degree to which the
group’s attitude aligns with its formal goals or those of the larger organization.11

The more cohesive a group is, the more its members will follow its goals. If these goals
are favorable (for instance, high output, quality work, cooperation with individuals out-
side the group), a cohesive group is more productive than a less cohesive group. But if
cohesiveness is high and attitudes are unfavorable, productivity decreases. If cohesive-
ness is low and goals are supported, productivity increases, but not as much as when
both cohesiveness and support are high. When cohesiveness is low and goals are not
supported, cohesiveness has no significant effect on productivity. These conclusions are
summarized in Exhibit 9-4.

How Are Groups Turned into Effective Teams?
When companies like W. L. Gore, Volvo, and Kraft Foods introduced
teams into their production processes, it made news because no one else
was doing it. Today, it’s just the opposite—the organization that doesn’t
use teams would be newsworthy. It’s estimated that some 80 percent of
Fortune 500 companies have at least half of their employees on teams.

And over 70 percent of U.S. manufacturers use work teams.12 Teams are
likely to continue to be popular. Why? Research suggests that teams typi-

cally outperform individuals when the tasks being done require multiple
skills, judgment, and experience.13 Organizations are using team-based structures

because they’ve found that teams are more flexible and responsive to changing events
than are traditional departments or other permanent work groups. Teams have the abil-
ity to quickly assemble, deploy, refocus, and disband. In this section, we’ll discuss what
a work team is, the different types of teams that organizations might use, and how to
develop and manage work teams.

Cohesiveness

High

Low
A

lig
n

m
e

n
t

o
f

G
ro

u
p

a
n

d
O

rg
a

n
iz

a
ti

o
n

a
l G

o
a

ls

Strong increase
in productivity

Moderate increase
in productivity

No significant effect
on productivity

Decrease in
productivity

High Low

EXHIBIT 9-4 Group Cohesiveness and Productivity

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 9 | U N D E R S TA N D I N G G R O U P S A N D M A N A G I N G W O R K T E A M S 249

Aren’t Work Groups and Work Teams the Same?
At this point, you may be asking yourself: Aren’t teams and groups the same thing? No. In
this section, we clarify the difference between a work group and a work team.14

Most of you are probably familiar with teams especially if you’ve watched or participated
in organized sports events. Work teams do differ from work groups and have their own unique
traits (see Exhibit 9-5). Work groups interact primarily to share information and to make deci-
sions to help each member do his or her job more efficiently and effectively. There’s no need
or opportunity for work groups to engage in collective work that requires joint effort. On the
other hand, work teams are groups whose members work intensely on a specific, common goal
using their positive synergy, individual and mutual accountability, and complementary skills.

These descriptions should help clarify why so many organizations have restructured
work processes around teams. Managers are looking for that positive synergy that will
help the organization improve its performance.15 The extensive use of teams creates the
potential for an organization to generate greater outputs with no increase in (or even fewer)
inputs. For example, until the economic downturn hit, investment teams at Wachovia’s
Asset Management Division (which is now a part of Wells Fargo & Company) were able
to significantly improve investment performance. As a result, these teams helped the bank
improve its Morningstar financial rating.16

Recognize, however, that such increases are simply “potential.” Nothing inherently magi-
cal in the creation of work teams guarantees that this positive synergy and its accompanying pro-
ductivity will occur. Accordingly, merely calling a group a team doesn’t automatically increase
its performance.17 As we show later in this chapter, successful or high-performing work teams
have certain common characteristics. If managers hope to gain increases in organizational per-
formance, it will need to ensure that its teams possess those characteristics.

What Are the Different Types of Work Teams?
Teams can do a variety of things. They can design products, provide services, negotiate deals,
coordinate projects, offer advice, and make decisions.18 For instance, at Rockwell
Automation’s facility in North Carolina, teams are used in work process optimization projects.
At Arkansas-based Acxiom Corporation, a team of human resource professionals planned and
implemented a cultural change. And every summer weekend at any NASCAR race, you can
see work teams in action during drivers’ pit stops.19 The four most common types of work

Work Teams

Collective
performance

Complementary

Individual

and mutual

Positive

Goal

Skills

Accountability

Synergy

Work Groups

Share

information

Random and varied

Individual

Neutral
(sometimes negative)

EXHIBIT 9-5 Groups Versus Teams

group cohesiveness
The degree to which group members are
attracted to one another and share the group’s
goals.

work teams
Groups whose members work intensely on
specific, common goals using their positive
synergy, individual and mutual accountability,
and complementary skills.IS

B
N

1-
25

6-
14

37
9-

0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

250 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

teams are problem-solving teams, self-managed work teams,
cross-functional teams, and virtual teams.

When work teams first became popular, most were
problem-solving teams, which are teams from the same
department or functional area involved in efforts to
improve work activities or to solve specific problems.
Members share ideas or offer suggestions on how work
processes and methods can be improved. However, these
teams are rarely given the authority to implement any of
their suggested actions.

Although problem-solving teams were helpful, they
didn’t go far enough in getting employees involved in
work-related decisions and processes. This led to another
type of team, a self-managed work team, which is a for-
mal group of employees who operate without a manager
and are responsible for a complete work process or seg-
ment. A self-managed team is responsible for getting the
work done and for managing themselves. This usually

includes planning and scheduling of work, assigning tasks to members, collective control
over the pace of work, making operating decisions, and taking action on problems. For
instance, teams at Corning have no shift supervisors and work closely with other manufac-
turing divisions to solve production-line problems and coordinate deadlines and deliveries.
The teams have the authority to make and implement decisions, finish projects, and address
problems.20 Other organizations such as Xerox, Boeing, PepsiCo, and Hewlett-Packard
also use self-managed teams. It’s estimated that about 30 percent of U.S. employers now
use this form of team; and among large firms, the number is probably closer to 50 percent.21

Most organizations that use self-managed teams find them to be effective.22

The third type of team is the cross-functional team, which we introduced in Chapter 5
and defined as a work team composed of individuals from various specialties. Many organiza-
tions use cross-functional teams. For example, ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steel company,
uses cross-functional teams of scientists, plant managers, and salespeople to review and mon-
itor product innovations.23 The concept of cross-functional teams is even being applied in health
care. For instance, at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, intensive care unit (ICU) teams
composed of a doctor trained in intensive care medicine, a pharmacist, a social worker, a
nutritionist, the chief ICU nurse, a respiratory therapist, and a chaplain meet daily with every
patient’s bedside nurse to discuss and debate the best course of treatment. The hospital credits
this team care approach with reducing errors, shortening the amount of time patients spent in
ICU, and improving communication between families and the medical staff.24

One of the most popular types of work
teams is the problem-solving team. The
employees shown here are members of
a Customer Support Team at AhnLab,
Inc., a leading Web security firm in Seoul,
South Korea, that develops security
solutions for information networks and
provides security consulting services.
Members of the team use their positive
synergy in working on the common goal
of solving customer problems such as
cyber attacks that slow Web sites.

IT AND TEAMS

W
ork teams need information to do

their work. With work teams often

being not just steps away, but con-

tinents away from each other, it’s important to

have a way for team members to communi-

cate and collaborate. That’s where IT comes

in. Technology has enabled greater online

communication and collaboration within

teams of all types.25

The idea of technologically aided collab-

oration actually originated with online search

engines. The Internet itself was initially

intended as a way for groups of scientists

and researchers to share information. Then,

as more and more information was put “on

the Web,” users relied on a variety of search

engines to help them find that information.

Now, we see many examples of collaborative

technologies such as wiki pages, blogs, and

even multiplayer virtual reality games.

Today, online collaborative tools have

given work teams more efficient and effective

ways to get work done. For instance, engineers

at Toyota use collaborative communication

tools to share process improvements and

innovations. They have developed a “widely

disseminated, collectively owned pool of com-

mon knowledge, which drives innovation at a

speed few other corporate systems can

match.” And there’s no disputing the suc-

cesses Toyota has achieved. Managers every-

where should look to the power of IT to help

work teams improve the way work gets done.

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 9 | U N D E R S TA N D I N G G R O U P S A N D M A N A G I N G W O R K T E A M S 251

The final type of team is the virtual team, which is a team that uses technology to link
physically dispersed members in order to achieve a common goal. For instance, a virtual team
at Boeing-Rocketdyne played a pivotal role in developing a radically new product.26 Another
company, Decision Lens, uses a virtual team environment to generate and evaluate creative
ideas.27 In a virtual team, members collaborate online with tools such as wide-area networks,
videoconferencing, fax, e-mail, or Web sites where the team can hold online conferences.28

Virtual teams can do all the things that other teams can—share information, make decisions,
and complete tasks; however, they lack the normal give-and-take of face-to-face discussions.
That’s why virtual teams tend to be more task-oriented—especially if the team members have
never personally met.

What Makes a Team Effective?
Much research has been done on what it is that makes a team effective.29 Out of these efforts, we
now have a fairly focused model identifying those characteristics.30 Exhibit 9-6 summarizes what
we currently know about what makes a team effective. As we look at this model, keep in mind
two things. First, teams differ in form and structure. This model attempts to generalize across all

virtual team
A type of work team that uses technology to
link physically dispersed members in order to
achieve a common goal.

cross-functional team
Teams made up of individuals from various
departments and that cross traditional
departmental lines.

self-managed work team
A type of work team that operates without a
manager and is responsible for a complete
work process or segment.

problem-solving teams
A team from the same department or functional
area that’s involved in efforts to improve work
activities or to solve specific problems.

Team Effectiveness

Work design
• Autonomy
• Skill variety
• Task identity
• Task significance

Composition
• Abilities of members
• Personality
• Allocating roles
• Diversity
• Size of teams
• Member flexibility
• Member preferences

Context
• Adequate resources
• Leadership and structure
• Climate of trust
• Performance evaluation
and reward systems

Process
• Common purpose
• Specific goals
• Team efficacy
• Conflict levels
• Social loafing

EXHIBIT 9-6 Team Effectiveness Model

Source: S. P. Robbins and T. A. Judge, Organizational Behavior, 13th ed. (Upper Saddle River,
NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009), p. 328.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

252 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

teams, so you should only use it as a guide.31 Secondly, the model assumes that managers have
already determined that teamwork is preferable to individual work. Creating “effective” teams
in situations in which individuals can do the job better would be wasted effort.

One thing we need to clarify first before looking at the model is what we mean by team
effectiveness. Typically, it includes objective measures of a team’s productivity, managers’
ratings of the team’s performance, and aggregate measures of member satisfaction. As you
can see from the model, there are four key components of effective teams including the con-
text, the team’s composition, work design, and process variables.

WHAT FACTORS IN THE CONTEXT APPEAR TO MAKE A TEAM EFFECTIVE? Four contextual
factors appear to be most significantly related to team performance. These include adequate
resources, leadership and structure, a climate of trust, and performance evaluation and
reward systems.

As part of the larger organization system, a team relies on resources outside the
group to sustain it. If it doesn’t have adequate resources, the team’s ability to perform
its job effectively is reduced. This factor appears to be so important to team performance
that one research study concluded that “perhaps one of the most important characteris-
tics of an effective work group is the support the group receives from the organization.”32

Resources can include timely information, proper equipment, encouragement, adequate
staffing, and administrative assistance.

If a team can’t agree on who is to do what or ensure that all members contribute equally
in sharing the work load, it won’t function properly. Agreeing on the specifics of work and how
all the team members’ individual skills fit together requires team leadership and structure.
This can come from the organization or from the team itself. Even in self-managed teams, a
manager’s job is to be more of a coach by supporting the team’s efforts and managing outside
(rather than inside) the team. See the “Developing Your Coaching Skill” box for more infor-
mation on coaching skills.

Members of effective teams trust each other. And they also trust their leaders.33 Why
is trust important? It facilitates cooperation, reduces the need to monitor each other’s
behavior, and bonds members around the belief that others on the team won’t take advan-
tage of them. Trusting the team leader is also important because it means the team is will-
ing to accept and commit to the leader’s goals and decisions.

The final contextual factor of an effective team is a performance evaluation and
reward system. Team members have to be accountable both individually and jointly. So, in
addition to evaluating and rewarding employees for their individual contributions, managers
should consider group-based appraisals, profit-sharing, and other approaches that reinforce
team effort and commitment.

WHAT TEAM COMPOSITION FACTORS LEAD TO EFFECTIVENESS? Several team composi-
tion factors are important to a team’s effectiveness. These include team member abilities, per-
sonality, role allocation, diversity, size of teams, member flexibility, and member preferences.

Part of a team’s performance depends on its members’ knowledge, skills, and abilities.34

Research has shown that to perform effectively, a team needs three different types of skills.
First, it needs people with technical expertise. Next, it needs members with problem-solving
and decision-making skills. Finally, a team needs people with interpersonal skills. A team
can’t achieve its performance potential if it doesn’t have or can’t develop all these skills. And
the right mix of these skills is also critical. Too much of one at the expense of another will
lead to lower team performance. However, a team doesn’t necessarily need all these skills
immediately. It’s not uncommon for team members to take responsibility for learning the
skills in which the group is deficient. That way a team can achieve its full potential.

As we saw in the last chapter, personality significantly influences individual behavior. It’s
also true for team behavior. Research has shown that three of the Big Five dimensions are rel-
evant to team effectiveness.35 For instance, high levels of both conscientiousness and openness-
to-experience tend to lead to higher team performance. Agreeableness also appears to matter.
And teams that had one or more highly disagreeable members performed poorly. Maybe you’ve
had that not-so-good experience in group projects that you’ve been part of!

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 9 | U N D E R S TA N D I N G G R O U P S A N D M A N A G I N G W O R K T E A M S 253

Nine potential team roles have been identified. (See Exhibit 9-7.) High-performing
work teams have people to fill all these roles and have selected people to fulfill these roles
based on their skills and preferences.36 On many teams, individuals may play multiple
roles. It’s important for managers to understand the individual strengths a person will bring
to a team and select team members with those strengths in mind to ensure that these roles
are filled.

Team diversity is another factor that can influence team effectiveness. Although many of
us hold the optimistic view that diversity is desirable, research seems to show the opposite. One
review found that “Studies on diversity in teams from the last 50 years have shown that surface-
level social-category differences such as race/ethnicity, gender, and age tend to . . . have
negative effects” on the performance of teams.37 However, there is some evidence showing that
the disruptive effects of diversity decline over time, although little evidence exists that diverse
teams perform better eventually. The “Managing Diversity” box describes some of the chal-
lenges managers face in managing diverse teams.

What size should a work team be in order to be effective? At Amazon.com, work teams
have considerable autonomy to innovate and to investigate ideas. And Jeff Bezos, founder and

Developing Your Skill
About the Skill
Effective managers are increasingly being described as
coaches rather than bosses. Just like coaches, they’re
expected to provide instruction, guidance, advice, and
encouragement to help team members improve their
job performance.

Steps in Practicing the Skill
1 Analyze ways to improve the team’s performance

and capabilities. A coach looks for opportunities for
team members to expand their capabilities and improve
performance. How? You can use the following behav-
iors. Observe your team members’ behaviors on a day-
to-day basis. Ask questions of them: Why do you do a task
this way? Can it be improved? What other approaches
might be used? Show genuine interest in team members
as individuals, not merely as employees. Respect them
individually. Listen to each employee.

2 Create a supportive climate. It’s the coach’s respon-
sibility to reduce barriers to development and to facili-
tate a climate that encourages personal performance
improvement. How? You can use the following behav-
iors. Create a climate that contributes to a free and
open exchange of ideas. Offer help and assistance.
Give guidance and advice when asked. Encourage
your team. Be positive and upbeat. Don’t use threats.
Ask, “What did we learn from this that can help us in
the future?” Reduce obstacles. Assure team members
that you value their contribution to the team’s goals.
Take personal responsibility for the outcome, but don’t
rob team members of their full responsibility. Validate
team members’ efforts when they succeed. Point to

what was missing when they fail. Never blame team
members for poor results.

3 Influence team members to change their behavior.
The ultimate test of coaching effectiveness is whether
an employee’s performance improves. You must en-
courage ongoing growth and development. How can
you do this? Try the following behaviors. Recognize and
reward small improvements and treat coaching as a
way of helping employees to continually work toward
improvement. Use a collaborative style by allowing
team members to participate in identifying and choos-
ing among improvement ideas. Break difficult tasks
down into simpler ones. Model the qualities that you
expect from your team. If you want openness, dedica-
tion, commitment, and responsibility from your team
members, demonstrate these qualities yourself.

Practicing the Skill
Collaborative efforts are more successful when every mem-
ber of the group or team contributes a specific role or task
toward the completion of the goal. To improve your skill at
nurturing team effort, choose two of the following activities
and break each one into at least six to eight separate tasks
or steps. Be sure to indicate which steps are sequential, and
which can be done simultaneously with others. What do you
think is the ideal team size for each activity you choose?
a. Making an omelet
b. Washing the car
c. Creating a computerized mailing list
d. Designing an advertising poster
e. Planning a ski trip
f. Restocking a supermarket’s produce department

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

254 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

CEO, uses a “two-pizza” philosophy; that is, a team should be small enough that it can be fed
with two pizzas. This “two-pizza” philosophy usually limits groups to five to seven people,
depending, of course, on team member appetites!38 Generally speaking, the most effective
teams have five to nine members. And experts suggest using the smallest number of people
who can do the task.

Explorer-
Promoter

Creator-
Innovator

Team

Reporter-
Adviser

Linker

Upholder-
Maintainer

Controller-
Inspector

Concluder-
Producer

Thruster-
Organizer

Assessor-
Developer

Coordinates and
integrates

Offers insightful
analysis of

options

Encourages the
search for more

information

Provides structureFights external
battles

Provides
direction and

follow-through

Examines
details and

enforces rules

Champions ideas after
they have been

initiated

Initiates
creative ideas

EXHIBIT 9-7 Team Member Roles

MANAGING DIVERSITY | The Challenge of Managing Diverse Work Teams

Managing teams composed of people who are similar isn’t
always easy. But add in diverse members and it can be even
more challenging! However, the benefits from the diverse
perspectives, skills, and abilities are worth it.39 Four interper-
sonal factors are important for meeting the challenge of
coordinating a diverse work team: understanding, empathy,
tolerance, and communication.

You know that people aren’t the same, yet they need to
be treated fairly and equitably. And differences (cultural,
physical, or other) can cause people to behave in different
ways. You need to understand and accept these differ-
ences and encourage each team member to do the same.

Empathy is closely related to understanding. As a team
leader, you should try to understand others’ perspectives.
Put yourself in their place and encourage team members
to empathize as well. For instance, suppose an Asian
woman joins a team of Caucasian and Hispanic men.
They can make her feel more welcome and comfortable
by identifying with how she might feel. Is she excited or
disappointed about her new work assignment? What were

her previous work experiences? How can they help her
feel more comfortable? By empathizing with her, existing
team members can work together better as an effective
group.

Tolerance is another important interpersonal considera-
tion. Just because you understand that people are different
and you empathize with them doesn’t mean that it’s any
easier to accept different perspectives or behaviors. But it’s
important to be tolerant and open-minded about different
values, attitudes, and behaviors.

Finally, open and two-way communication is important
to managing a diverse team. Diversity problems may inten-
sify if people are afraid or unwilling to openly discuss issues
that concern them. If a person wants to know whether a
certain behavior is offensive to someone else, it’s best to ask.
Likewise, a person who is offended by another’s behavior
should explain his or her concerns and ask that person to
stop. Such communication exchanges can be positive when
they’re handled in a nonthreatening, low-key, and friendly
manner.

Source: Based on C. Margerison and D. McCann, Team Management: Practical New Approaches (London: Mercury
Books, 1990).

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 9 | U N D E R S TA N D I N G G R O U P S A N D M A N A G I N G W O R K T E A M S 255

Team member preferences need to be considered. Why? Some people just prefer not to
work on teams. Given the option, many employees will opt not to be part of a team. When
people who would prefer to work alone are forced on a team, it creates a direct threat to the
team’s morale and to individual member satisfaction.40

HOW DOES WORK DESIGN AFFECT TEAM EFFECTIVENESS? Effective teams need to
work together and take collective responsibility for completing tasks. An effective team
must be more than a “team in name only.”41 Important work design elements include
autonomy, using a variety of skills, being able to complete a whole and identifiable task
or product, and working on a task or project that has a significant impact on others.
Research indicates that these characteristics enhance team member motivation and
increase team effectiveness.42

WHAT TEAM PROCESSES ARE RELATED TO TEAM EFFECTIVENESS? Five team process vari-
ables have been shown to be related to team effectiveness. These include a common pur-
pose, specific team goals, team efficacy, managed conflict, and minimal social loafing.

An effective team has a common plan and purpose. This common purpose provides
direction, momentum, and commitment for team members.43 Members of successful
teams put a lot of time and effort into discussing, shaping, and agreeing on a purpose that
belongs to them both individually and as a team.

Teams also need specific goals. Such goals facilitate clear communication and help
teams maintain their focus on getting results.

Team efficacy describes when teams believe in themselves and believe they can
succeed.44 Effective teams have confidence in themselves and in their members.

Effective teams need some conflict. Conflict on a team isn’t necessarily bad and
can actually improve team effectiveness.45 But, it has to be the right kind of conflict.
Relationship conflicts—those based on interpersonal incompatibilities, tension, and
autonomy toward others—are almost always dysfunctional. However, task conflicts—
those based on disagreements about task content—can be benef icial because they may
stimulate discussion, promote critical assessment of problems and options, and can
lead to better team decisions.

Finally, effective teams work to minimize the tendency for social loafing, which we
discussed earlier in this chapter. Successful teams make members individually and jointly
accountable for the team’s purpose, goals, and approach.46

Effective teams have a common plan
and purpose that provide direction,
momentum, and commitment for team
members. The goal of “The Elvis Hit
Making Team” was to bring back Elvis
Presley’s famous Memphis rock sound.
Dedicated to accomplish this goal,
musicians, such as the members of the
New York String Section shown here,
vocal groups, bands, and composers
who created the original Memphis sound
reunited in a historical music project that
took place in recording studios
throughout America during a ten-year
period. The team members effectively
worked together to accomplish their
goal of bringing back the Memphis
sound by releasing a CD titled “The End:
A New Beginning.”

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Discuss
contemporary
issues in
managing
teams.

9.4

256 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

How Can a Manager Shape Team Behavior?
There are several things managers can do to shape a team’s behavior including proper selection,
employee training, and rewarding the appropriate team behaviors. Let’s look at each.

WHAT ROLE DOES SELECTION PLAY? Some individuals already possess the interpersonal
skills to be effective team players. When hiring team members, managers should check
whether applicants have the technical skills required to successfully perform the job and
whether they can fulfill team roles.

Some applicants may have been socialized around individual contributions and, conse-
quently, lack team skills, which could also be true for some current employees being moved into
teams due to organizational restructuring. When faced with this, a manager can do several
things. First, and most obvious, if team skills are woefully lacking, don’t hire the person. If suc-
cessful performance is going to require interaction, not hiring the individual is appropriate. On
the other hand, an applicant who has some basic skills can be hired on a probationary basis and
required to undergo training to shape him or her into a team player. If the skills aren’t learned
or practiced, then the individual may have to be let go.

CAN INDIVIDUALS BE TRAINED TO BE TEAM PLAYERS? Performing well in a team
involves a set of behaviors.47 As we discussed in the preceding chapter, new behaviors can
be learned. Even people who feel strongly about the importance of individual accomplish-
ment can be trained to become team players. Training specialists can conduct exercises so
employees can experience what teamwork is all about. The workshops can cover such
topics as team problem solving, communications, negotiations, conflict resolution, and
coaching skills. It’s not unusual, too, for these individuals to be exposed to the stages of
team development that we discussed earlier.48 At Verizon Communications, for example,
trainers focus on how a team goes through various stages before it gels. And employees are
reminded of the importance of patience, because teams take longer to do some things—
such as make decisions—than do employees acting alone.49

WHAT ROLE DO REWARDS PLAY IN SHAPING TEAM PLAYERS? An organization’s reward
system needs to encourage cooperative efforts rather than competitive ones. For instance,
Lockheed Martin’s aeronautics division organized its 20,000-plus employees into teams.
Rewards are structured to return a percentage increase in the bottom line to the team members
on the basis of achievements of the team’s performance goals.

Promotions, pay raises, and other forms of recognition should be given to employees
who are effective collaborative team members. Taking this approach doesn’t mean that
individual contribution is ignored, but rather that it’s balanced with selfless contributions to
the team. Examples of behaviors that should be rewarded include training new colleagues,
sharing information with teammates, helping resolve team conflicts, and mastering new
skills in which the team is deficient.50 Finally, managers can’t forget the inherent rewards
that employees can receive from teamwork. Work teams provide camaraderie. It’s exciting
and satisfying to be an integral part of a successful team. The opportunity to engage in
personal development and to help teammates grow can be a satisfying and rewarding
experience for employees.51

What Current Issues Do Managers Face
in Managing Teams?
Few trends have influenced how work gets done in organizations as much
as the use of work teams. The shift from working alone to working on
teams requires employees to cooperate with others, share information, con-

front differences, and sublimate personal interests for the greater good of
the team. Managers can build effective teams by understanding what influ-

ences performance and satisfaction. However, managers also face some

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 9 | U N D E R S TA N D I N G G R O U P S A N D M A N A G I N G W O R K T E A M S 257

current challenges in managing teams, including those associated with managing global
teams and with understanding when teams aren’t the answer.

What’s Involved with Managing Global Teams?
Two characteristics of today’s organizations are obvious: they’re global and work is increas-
ingly done by teams. This means that any manager is likely to have to manage a global team.
What do we know about managing global teams? We know there are both drawbacks and
benefits in using global teams (see Exhibit 9-8). What are some of the challenges associ-
ated with managing global teams?

HOW DO TEAM COMPOSITION FACTORS AFFECT MANAGING A GLOBAL TEAM? In
global organizations, understanding the relationship between team effectiveness and team
composition is more challenging because of the unique cultural characteristics represented
by members of a global team. In addition to recognizing team members’ abilities, skills,
knowledge, and personality, managers need to be familiar with and clearly understand the
cultural characteristics of the groups and the group members they manage.52 For instance,
is the global team from a culture in which uncertainty avoidance is high? If so, members
will not be comfortable dealing with unpredictable and ambiguous tasks. Also, as man-
agers work with global teams, they need to be aware of the potential for stereotyping,
which can lead to problems.

HOW DOES TEAM STRUCTURE AFFECT MANAGING A GLOBAL TEAM? Some of the
structural areas where we see differences in managing global teams include conformity,
status, social loafing, and cohesiveness.

Are conformity f indings generalizable across cultures? Research suggests that
Asch’s findings are culture-bound.53 For instance, as might be expected, conformity to
social norms tends to be higher in collectivistic cultures than in individualistic cultures.
Despite this, however, groupthink tends to be less of a problem in global teams because
members are less likely to feel pressured to conform to the ideas, conclusions, and
decisions of the group.54

Also, the importance of status varies between cultures. The French, for example, are
extremely status conscious. Also, countries differ on the criteria that confer status. For
instance, in Latin America and Asia, status tends to come from family position and for-
mal roles held in organizations. In contrast, while status is important in countries like the
United States and Australia, it tends to be less “in your face.” And it tends to be given
based on accomplishments rather than on titles and family history. Managers must under-
stand who and what holds status when interacting with people from a culture different
from their own. An American manager who doesn’t understand that office size isn’t a
measure of a Japanese executive’s position or who fails to grasp the importance the British

EXHIBIT 9-8

DRAWBACKS BENEFITS

• Disliking team members • Greater diversity of ideas

• Mistrusting team members • Limited groupthink

• Stereotyping • Increased attention on understanding others’

• Communication problems ideas, perspectives, etc.

• Stress and tension

Source: Based on N. Adler, International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior, 4th ed. (Cincinnati, OH:
Southwestern Cengage Publishing, 2002), pp 141–47.

Global Teams

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

258 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

place on family genealogy and social class is likely to unintentionally offend others and
lessen his or her interpersonal effectiveness.

Social loafing has a Western bias. It’s consistent with individualistic cultures, like the
United States and Canada, which are dominated by self-interest. It’s not consistent with col-
lectivistic societies, in which individuals are motivated by group goals. For instance, in
studies comparing employees from the United States with employees from the People’s
Republic of China and Israel (both collectivistic societies), the Chinese and Israelis showed
no propensity to engage in social loafing. In fact, they actually performed better in a group
than when working alone.55

Cohesiveness is another group structural element where managers may face special chal-
lenges. In a cohesive group, members are unified and “act as one.” There’s a great deal of
camaraderie and group identity is high. In global teams, however, cohesiveness is often more
difficult to achieve because of higher levels of “mistrust, miscommunication, and stress.”56

HOW DO TEAM PROCESSES AFFECT MANAGING A GLOBAL TEAM? The processes that
global teams use to do their work can be particularly challenging for managers. For one thing,
communication issues often arise because not all team members may be fluent in the team’s
working language. This can lead to inaccuracies, misunderstandings, and inefficiencies.57

However, research has also shown that a multicultural global team is better able to capitalize
on the diversity of ideas represented if a wide range of information is used.58

Managing conflict in global teams isn’t easy, especially when those teams are virtual
teams. Conflict can interfere with how information is used by the team. However, research
shows that in collectivistic cultures, a collaborative conflict management style can be most
effective.59

When Are Teams Not the Answer?
Teamwork takes more time and often more resources than does individual work.60 Teams require
managers to communicate more, manage conflicts, and run meetings. So, the benefits of using
teams need to exceed the costs. And that’s not always the case!61 In the rush to use teams, some
managers have introduced them into situations in which it would have been better to have
individuals do the work. So before rushing into implementing teams, just because everyone’s
talking about their popularity, you should carefully evaluate whether the work requires or will
benefit from a collective effort.

According to Hofstede’s cross-cultural
characteristics, India ranks high in power
distance and low in uncertainty
avoidance. Thus, managers of this
Microsoft team in India might expect that
team members would be more accepting
of a manager’s authority but also have
high tolerance for unstructured, unclear,
and unpredictable situations. It’s important
for team managers to know and
understand the cultural characteristics of
team members in order to help that team
be most effective.

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 9 | U N D E R S TA N D I N G G R O U P S A N D M A N A G I N G W O R K T E A M S 259

How do you know whether work is better done individually or by a group? Three “tests”
have been suggested.62 First, can the work be done better by more than one person? Task
complexity would be a good indicator of a need for different perspectives. Simple tasks that
don’t require diverse input are probably better done by individuals. Second, does the work
create a common purpose or set of goals for the people in the group that’s more than the sum
of individual goals? For instance, many car dealerships use teams to link customer-service
personnel, mechanics, parts specialists, and sales representatives. Such teams can better
meet the goal of outstanding customer satisfaction. The final test to assess whether teams
or individuals are better suited for doing work is to look at the interdependence of the indi-
viduals. Using teams makes sense when there’s interdependence between tasks; that is, when
the success of everyone depends on the success of each person and the success of each per-
son depends on the others. For example, soccer is an obvious team sport. Success requires
a lot of coordination between interdependent players. On the other hand, swim teams aren’t
really teams, except on relays. They’re groups of individuals, performing individually, whose
total performance is merely the sum of their individual performances.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

ApplicationsReview and

Chapter Summary

To check your understanding of learning outcomes 9.1 – 9.4 , go to

mymanagementlab.com and try the chapter questions.

Understanding the Chapter

1. Think of a group to which you belong (or have
belonged). Trace its development through the stages of
group development as shown in Exhibit 9-2. How
closely did its development parallel the group devel-
opment model? How might the group development
model be used to improve this group’s effectiveness?

2. Contrast (a) self-managed and cross-functional teams
and (b) virtual and face-to-face teams.

3. How do you explain the popularity of work teams in
countries such as the United States and Canada, whose
national cultures place a high value on individualism?

4. “All work teams are work groups, but not all work
groups are work teams.” Do you agree or disagree
with this statement? Discuss.

5. Would you prefer to work alone or as part of a team?
Why? Support your response with data from the self-

9.1 Define a group and describe the stages of group
development. A group is two or more interacting and
interdependent individuals who come together to
achieve specific goals. Formal groups are work groups
that are defined by the organization’s structure and
have designated work assignments and specific tasks
directed at accomplishing organizational goals. Infor-
mal groups are social groups.

The forming stage consists of two phases:
joining the group and defining the group’s purpose,
structure, and leadership. The storming stage is one
of intragroup conflict over who will control the
group and what the group will be doing. The norm-
ing stage is when close relationships and cohesive-
ness develop as norms are determined. The
performing stage is when group members began to
work on the group’s task. The adjourning stage is
when the group prepares to disband.

9.2 Describe the major concepts of group behavior.
A role refers to a set of behavior patterns expected of
someone occupying a given position in a social unit.
At any given time, employees adjust their role behav-
iors to the group of which they are a part. Norms are
standards shared by group members. They informally
convey to employees which behaviors are acceptable
and which are unacceptable. Status is another factor to
know since status can be a significant motivator and it
needs to be congruent. Also, group size affects group
behavior in a number of ways. Smaller groups are
generally faster at completing tasks than are larger ones.
However, larger groups are frequently better at fact
finding because of their diversified input. As a result,
larger groups are generally better at problem solving.
Finally, group cohesiveness is important because of its
impact on a group’s effectiveness at achieving its goals.

9.3 Discuss how groups are turned into effective teams.
Effective teams have common characteristics. They
have adequate resources, effective leadership, a
climate of trust, and a performance evaluation and
reward system that reflects team contributions. These
teams have individuals with technical expertise as well
as problem-solving, decision-making, and interper-
sonal skills and the right traits, especially conscien-
tiousness and openness to new experiences. Effective
teams also tend to be small, preferably of diverse
backgrounds. They have members who fill role
demands and who prefer to be part of a team. And
the work that members do provides freedom and
autonomy, the opportunity to use different skills and
talents, the ability to complete a whole and identifi-
able task or product, and work that has a substantial
impact on others. Finally, effective teams have mem-
bers who believe in the team’s capabilities and are
committed to a common plan and purpose, specific
team goals, a manageable level of conflict, and a mini-
mal degree of social loafing.

9.4 Discuss contemporary issues in managing teams.
The challenges of managing global teams can be
seen in the team composition factors, especially the
diverse cultural characteristics; in team structure,
especially conformity, status, social loafing, and
cohesiveness; and in team processes, especially with
communication and managing conflict; and the man-
ager’s role in making it all work.

Managers also need to know when teams are not
the answer. They can do this by assessing whether the
work can be done better by more than one person; by
whether the work creates a common purpose or set of
goals for the members of the team; and by the amount
of interdependence among team members.

260 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G
IS

B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

C H A P T E R 9 | U N D E R S TA N D I N G G R O U P S A N D M A N A G I N G W O R K T E A M S 261

Understanding Yourself

What’s My Attitude Toward Working in Groups?
One thing is for certain about organizations these days: more and more work is being
performed by teams. So, it’s quite likely that you’ll be part of a team at some point if you’ve
not already been so.

Teams comprised of members who enjoy being part of a group can be quite effective.
However, research has indicated that as little as one person with a negative attitude toward
working in groups can hurt team performance. Why? Team members with negative attitudes
can increase interpersonal conflict among group members, harming cohesiveness and team
processes. Team morale and satisfaction are lowered, and performance ultimately declines.

INSTRUMENT Using the scale below, indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with
each of the following statements about your feelings toward working in groups or teams.

1 = Strongly disagree

2 = Disagree

3 = Neutral

4 = Agree

5 = Strongly agree

1. I don’t miss group meetings or team practices. 1 2 3 4 5

2. I enjoy being part of a group. 1 2 3 4 5

3. I support my teammates or fellow group members. 1 2 3 4 5

4. I feel I must respect the decisions made by my group. 1 2 3 4 5

5. I am not good at working with a group. 1 2 3 4 5

6. I prefer to do everything alone. 1 2 3 4 5

7. I work best when I am alone. 1 2 3 4 5

8. I keep to myself. 1 2 3 4 5

9. I don’t think it’s important to socialize with others. 1 2 3 4 5

Source: L. R. Goldberg, J. A. Johnson, H. W. Eber, R. Hogan, M. C. Ashton, C. R. Cloninger, and H. G. Gough,
“The International Personality Item Pool and the Future of Public-Domain Personality Measures,” Journal of
Research in Personality (40) (2006), 84–96.

assessment exercise included in the “Understanding
Yourself ” section.

6. “To have a successful team, first find a great leader.”
What do you think of this statement? Do you agree?
Why or why not?

7. What traits do you think good team players have? Do
some research to answer this question and write a short
report detailing your findings using a bulleted list format.

8. Do some research on diverse teams and write a short
report contrasting the pros and cons of diverse teams.

SCORING KEY To score the measure, first reverse-code items 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 so that 1 = 5,
2 = 4, 3 = 3, 4 = 2, and 5 = 1. Then, compute the sum of the nine items. Scores will range
from 9 to 45.

ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION This measure assesses your attitude toward working
in groups. Scores at or above 36 indicate that you enjoy working in groups and that you
are a “team player.” Scores at or below 18 indicate the opposite—that you prefer to work
alone and do not enjoy being part of a team. Scores between 18 and 36 indicate no partic-
ularly strong feelings either way.

If you scored low on this measure and find yourself on a team at some point, try to
see the benefits of teamwork. Not only is work shared among individuals, but teams also
can facilitate feelings of inclusion and camaraderie among team members. Remember to
be patient, however. Although teams often outperform individuals working by themselves
(especially on complex tasks that require multiple skills and experience), they tend to take
longer to reach decisions.

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

262 PA R T F O U R | L E A D I N G

FYIA (For Your Immediate Action)

Colorado State High School Sports Association

To: Eric Gershman, Manager, Program Infractions Investigations
From: Audrey Costa, Director of Association Services

Subject: Conflicts on Investigation Teams

Eric, we’ve got a potentially big problem on our hands. I’ve been receiving complaints

that the members of the five-person investigation teams we’re sending out to high

schools to investigate allegations of rules infractions are having conflicts. Because

these team members have to work closely together in interviewing people, interpreting

the rules, and writing up reports, I’m worried that this conflict may be hurting the quality

of the team’s investigation process. We’ve got to address this problem immediately in

order to protect our reputation for being fair and reasonable in our rules enforcement.

Please send me a bulleted list (no longer than a page) describing how you’re going to

address this problem and get it to me as soon as possible. Once I’ve had a chance to

look it over, we’ll get together to discuss it.

This fictionalized company and message were created for educational purposes only. It is not meant to reflect
positively or negatively on management practices by any company that may share this name.

IS
B
N
1-256-14379-0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

CASE APPLICATION

How do you combine two packaged-food companies, both withvery well-known household brand names, and make it work?That’s the challenge managers at General Mills faced when it
acquired Pillsbury. The company’s chief learning officer, Kevin Wilde
(standing at left in the photo), said, “Let’s get the best out of both
of our marketing organizations. And let’s not stop there.” So they
decided to identify, share, and integrate the best practices from both
companies. And employee teams played a major role in how the
company proceeded.

An intensive training program called “Brand Champions” was cre-
ated and launched. The program was designed not just for marketing
specialists, but for all employees from different functional areas who
worked on particular brands. These cross-functional teams attended the
in-house training together as a unified group. According to one of the
program developers (Beth Gunderson, seated in the photo), specific
benefits of including these teams soon became evident. “A person from
human resources, for instance, would ask a provocative question pre-
cisely because she wasn’t a marketer. And you’d see the look on the marketers’ faces: Whoa, I never thought of
that.” It helped employees understand and appreciate different perspectives.

Another benefit of including people from different functions was improved communication throughout the
company. People were no longer griping about what other functional areas were doing. Employees began to under-
stand how the other functional areas worked and how each area’s contribution was important to the overall success
of the company.

The training program has been so successful that now General Mills’ production plants have asked for a mini-
version of the course. “They want to understand the language marketers speak and why things are done as they are.”
Oh . . . and one other example of how successful the program has been. Betty Crocker is well-known for pack-
aged cake mixes, but less so for cookie mixes. Inspired by input from the group, the cookie-mix team decided to
go after scratch bakers. (These are people who bake from scratch rather than from a boxed mix. As one person said,
they were “taking on grandma.”) The cookie mixes were reformulated and now the brand owns 90 percent of the
dry cookie mix category.

Discussion Questions

1. What benefits did the cross-functional teams bring to General Mills?

2. What challenges would there be in creating an effective cross-functional team? How could managers deal
with these challenges?

3. Explain how roles, norms, status, group size, and cohesiveness might affect these teams.

4. Explain how each of the characteristics of effective teams (see Exhibit 9-6) would be important for an effec-
tive cross-functional team.

Sources: Based on L. Gratton and T. J. Erickson, “8 Ways to Build Collaborative Teams,” Harvard Business Review (November 2007), pp. 100–109;
and J. Gordon, “Building Brand Champions,” Training (January/February 2007), pp. 14–17.

263

MIXING IT UP

IS
B
N
1-
25
6-
14
37
9-
0
Fundamentals of Management: Essential Concepts and Applications, Seventh Edition, by Stephen P. Robbins, David A. DeCenzo, and Mary Coulter.
Published by Prentice Hall. Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc.

Still stressed with your coursework?
Get quality coursework help from an expert!