Organizational Behavior Mid-Term Exam

The following sample Business paper is 1015 words long, in APA format, and written at the undergraduate level. It has been downloaded 126 times and is available for you to use, free of charge.

Question 1:

Why Do You Agree or Disagree That Diversity Is a Strategic Advantage?

Diversity is indeed a strategic advantage for organizations due to the fact that an appropriate mixture of differing viewpoints that arise naturally from a wide array of cultural backgrounds creates an environment in which ideas and processes seldom grow stale and are instead continually stimulated by the dynamic potential of inter-group interactions. By bringing people from a potentially wide array of viewpoints into contact with one another, organizations create environments with the necessary friction to spark plans into action. Of course, it could be argued that too much friction, just like too little friction, prevents effective movement forward, but the truth is that those already entrenched in the company are likely to be quite monolithic in attitude, thanks to the discriminatory hiring and promotion practices of previous generations, and thus the pendulum has quite a ways to swing in the direction of diversity before there could ever be “too much” diversity. However, also of relevance is the view of the organization as a whole, a single united entity.

Organizations also benefit from managing diversity in a second way, which is that in the holistic view of organizational behavior studies, it can be seen that eclecticism is coming to be seen as a positive attribute rather than a detriment. For example, Ashkanasy, Härtel, and Daus (2002) state, “[W]e trace the history of diversity research, [and] explore the definitions and paradigms used in treatments of diversity . . . We conclude that organizational behavior . . . is evolving to embrace a more eclectic and holistic view” (p. 307). The fact that their vast literature review turned up continuing trends of organizations that seek to embrace diversity is indeed quite interesting, for it shows that the theoretical advantages implied by diversity are also being tested empirically, by means of real-world organizations. Overall, diversity is obviously beneficial to organizations.

Question 2:

Why Do You Agree or Disagree That Money Is the Primary Motivator of Today’s Workforce?

Whereas money might be a motivator for today’s workforce, it would be rather a stretch to state that money is the single primary intrinsic motivator for workers today. The evidence for such a strong stance is simply too scant. It is also worthy to note that even in the literature that does examine money as a motivating factor, the term “money” is rarely used; rather, “compensation” is the word applied to this same concept. However, compensation also extends to such relatively non-monetary perquisites such as healthcare and retirement benefits. Such definitions are used in Barford and Hester (2011), who examine the differences between Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y, finally concluding of the final of these three that, “Generation Y does assign different levels of importance . . . to the five motivational factors examined in this study: responsibilities, compensation, work environment, advancement potential, and free time. Advancement potential and free time were rated the highest factors . . . ” (p. 316). Indeed, the fact that advancement potential and free time were rated so much higher for Generation Y than for Generation X or Baby Boomers would seem to indicate that for the generation currently entering or recently having entered the workforce, financial rewards are relatively less important. In any discussion of the changing workforce, as influenced by the surges and tides of people of certain ages due to the demographics caused by statistical generational clumping, it only makes sense to weight the most current working generation the most heavily, as those are the workers who have the potential to continue to be employed by an organization the longest by definition. Generation Y cannot be considered exclusively, and yet when other generations are taken into account, it seems to be the case that money is even less of a motivating factor. Taken as a group, workers are not significantly motivated by money.

Question 3:

Why Do You Agree or Disagree That a Leader Significantly Impacts Employee Productivity and Performance?

A leader does indeed significantly impact employee productivity and performance if that leader employs sound organizational behavior theories to real-world techniques and strategies. Tohidi (2011) analyzes multiple factors involved in employee productivity and performance and includes leadership among these factors: “This paper provide a survey of research on teamwork productivity and effectiveness based on rewards, leadership, training, goals, wage, size, motivation, measurement and information technology” (p. 1137). Though this research was inconclusive on the role of leadership in employee productivity and performance, perhaps due to the fact that the study was a multivariate one and thus statistically mildly dubious, it is nevertheless interesting to note that leadership is there considered as important as much more mundane and seemingly direct influences upon performance such as wage or the level of information technology available. This shows that though the role of leadership can be challenged as being primary to workers’ productivity, it nevertheless is a real factor with genuine influence. However, leadership can only have such an impact if leaders are well informed.

Leaders, if they want to make a significant difference to employee productivity and performance, must ensure that their organization is structured in the ways suggested by a thorough study of organizational behavior. The teamwork units, for example, must be chosen so that work will be done most efficiently, meaning that the size of the unit must be appropriate and that skill-matching must be applied to the given task at hand. If leaders can do this, then they indeed will improve employee productivity and performance.

References

Ashkanasy, N. M., Härtel, C. E., & Daus, C. S. (2002). Diversity and emotion: The new frontiers in organizational behavior research. Journal of Management, 28(3), 307-338.

Barford, I. N., & Hester, P. T. (2011). Analysis of Generation Y workforce motivation using multiattribute utility theory. Ft. Belvoir, VA: Defense Acquisition Univ.

Tohidi, H. (2011). Teamwork productivity and effectiveness in an organization based on rewards, leadership, training, goals, wage, size, motivation, measurement and information technology. Procedia Computer Science, 3, 1137-1146.