Organizational Behavior

  1. Donna Cowan oversees Human Resources Development at the Thoroughly Modern Manufacturing Company (TMM). TMM makes “low tech” office products such as file cabinets, computer tables and bulletin boards. The company’s CEO recently asked Donna to identify key manufacturing jobs and re-design them in ways that will make them more intrinsically motivating to employees. The CEO’s goal is to improve employee job satisfaction and performance, and reduce absenteeism and turnover.

How should Donna proceed? In answering this question, draw extensively on Hackman and Oldham’s Job Characteristics Model. Specifically, describe to Donna the core job characteristics (CJCs) the model identifies that might need attention. When these characteristics are present in a job, tell her what positive consequences are predicted to follow, and why. Also inform her about the individual difference and situational factors that are likely to determine whether a job high in the CJCs will have the predicted positive effects on employee attitudes and behavior. What are some of the job re-design strategies that Donna can apply to implement the CJCs at TMM? Choose any hypothetical job you wish that might exist at TMM as an example to illustrate your thinking.

  1. Don Barr is a new manager at U. M. Lowell, Inc. He has been giving a great deal of thought recently to the issue of employee motivation. He has eight employees reporting directly to him, and would like to make his unit the most effective in the company.

What would you tell Don about how to motivate these employees to behave in organizationally desirable ways? Specifically, tell him how human needs operate, and how needs relate to the design of an effective reward system. In developing your answer, draw heavily on the frameworks presented by Maslow and Alderfer and McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y. What are the key characteristics of these theories? How are they different? Which of these approaches do you consider to be most relevant to Don’s situation, and why?

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  1. Referring to Don Barr’s situation in the previous question.

Go beyond a discussion of needs,  and tell Don what else he should do to assure that his employees’ behavior will be directed toward organizational goal achievement rather than something else. Also, tell him what he should do to increase the likelihood that this desirable employee behavior will be sustained over time. In developing your answer, draw extensively on Expectancy and Equity theories of motivation. Finally, provide an overview of the hungry caterpillar model of self- esteem. What insights from this model might be useful to Don in his efforts to motivate and develop his employees?

  1. Jennifer Dunn is CEO of Chasma, Inc., a provider of wireless Internet-related services. Her firm has been very successful over the past several years as wireless technology has continued to develop. In recent months, however, she has noticed that the job attitudes of many of her employees have become negative. Jennifer is not sure what to do about this problem, but she has a feeling that if she doesn’t fix it, bad things are likely to happen.

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What should Jennifer know about job attitudes that would help her to deal with this situation? Specifically, let her know what aspects, or facets, of a job her employees might be satisfied with, and why the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance is a complex one. Educate Jennifer about Herzberg’s Motivator-Hygiene approach to job satisfaction and the Discrepancy approach to satisfaction, and show her how the approach you think is most useful can be used to improve the job satisfaction and performance of organizational members.

  1. Bill Zimmer was recently appointed manager of a new project team consisting of professionals from different functional areas of the company. Some of the members have worked with each other before, but several others have not.

Help Bill become an effective manager and build a cohesive team. Enlighten him about the self-oriented member concerns and behaviors that might get in the way of team development. Tell him what specific task- and relationship-oriented leadership roles he is likely to need if this team is to become effective, and why. Talk to Bill about the potential positive and negative consequences of team heterogeneity (assuming team members have diverse characteristics and backgrounds). Tell him what informal group norms are, how their emergence could affect the behavior and performance of team members both positively and negatively, and how to avoid the danger of “groupthink.” What insights are provided by Jerry Harvey’s ill-fated trip to Abilene?


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