Organisational behaviour

Organisational behaviour is the systematic study of the manners in which individuals conduct themselves in an organisation. These individuals, comprising of mere production workers, managers, chief executives and directors all have to compromise individual goals to the collective goals of the organisation for which they work.

Nevertheless, as we shall see, those in the lower hierarchy levels of the organisation are often regarded as pursuing the individual goals of earning a decent salary and progressing through the organisational hierarchy; this was first contemplated by Taylor in 1911. However, such traditional theories of organisational theories have been criticised as less applicable to postmodern organisations of today, where the academic writers Hosie and Smith (2009) provide a detailed account of the increasingly divergent gap between the logic of these theories and their applicability in practise.

Indeed, as further discussed in this report, we will apply these ‘traditional’ theories to four different situations and evaluate not only their applicability but also their conflicts with one another and other possible explanations for the behaviours displayed in each situation. Scientific Management’ is a theorem of effective management which analyses and amalgamates a firm’s workflow, with the prime objective of advancing and enhancing labour productivity (Taylor, 1911).

The system would be beneficial to the Paper Plane Corporation in study one in ensuring the highest of productivity on the production line where efficiency is vital to success in the contract for the RAF. We believe monetary remuneration, a key element of Taylors’ ‘Scientific Management’ (piece -rate system), would not be beneficial either to the firms’ success nor the individuals’ satisfaction; reasoning to why will become clear later on in discussion, as will our means of enforcing each of the aspects mentioned above.

Taylor could see that work was more beneficial when broken down into its essential parts, with the management, planning and decision -making functions taking place at managerial levels, a theory we incorporated and enforced in our production plans. However he also saw workers as ‘ill- educated and incapable of making important decisions’; an opinion our team strongly disagrees with; we see the employees of our firm to be valuable assets taking a ‘Theory Y’ (McGregor,1960) approach to management, aiming to delegate maximum amount of responsibility possible (benefits discussed later).

We identify that management is unable to control all aspects of the organization due to numerous layers of information in everyday decisions, therefore insist that employee initiative is vital. Additionally, we feel employees are motivated if they participate in decision making and for that reason start caring about the businesses’ productivity and working harder.

We felt it was the best approach to develop our own methods and approach to production, and therefore gain high efficiencies; for example other firms decide quantity is the most important factor, not taking into account the detriment it may have on their staff and whether they actually had the capacity to produce such high quantities. We felt quality was a more important factor, theorising that it would lead to future valuable contracts with the RAF and give us the opportunity to specialise before taking on a quantity too large for capacity.

Growing slowly yet proficiently would allow us to satisfy our client, and not lay too much stress on our workforce; if the workforce feels stressed and out of their depth production efficiencies are likely to be hindered. This forms the basis of Friedman’s (1998) analysis of the benefits to managers of reducing work-related stress, which in turns wastes less time and so increasing productivity. Arguably nevertheless, the stress felt by employees working the production line may not be as much as employees in high-demand low-control jobs.

The employees at the Paper Plane Corporation, working on Taylor’s principles of ‘Scientific Management,’ will have high demanding roles as they aim to produce as many planes as possible and have high control as a supervisor keeps production intact within a strict timeframe. The high control over their activities, to a certain extent removes any lack of guidance which is a factor to work-related stress; however this also has the adverse effect on workers’ motivation (see later for details of motivation according to Herzberg and Maslow), hence the focus on quality rather than quantity.

Adopting a ‘Scientific Management’ approach is common and logical in our modern world (Conti and Wamer, 1993), although it carries a risk that staff will find the work menial, tedious and repetitive; combating such negative feelings amongst the workforce, devising a system of job rotation to increase job satisfaction, would be most effective. However we recognised that to utilise the full potential of the system, we should plan our methods and ensure that we take into account individuals’ interests, ability and nature i. e. attributes, when placing them.

It was discussed that we could incorporate an ‘Evaluative Points System’, (Hay 1951) assessing individual practicality for a position. We propose that this system is most suitable to lower and middle hierarchical levels as it is a good way of ‘breaking in’ staff to more responsible tasks and perhaps an opportunity to see their ability to cope with the types of tasks that may be expected of them in the future, as they progress. This approach is far more beneficial to the firm and the worker, as it assists their career and personal development.

The limitation of this however is that the system becomes quite competitive and creates unnecessary tension between colleagues, meaning management must ensure it is as balanced and fair as possible. It must also be recognised that individuals are different from one another; the most efficient way of working for one may be different from another’s. In this system we must be able to ensure consistency and uniformity, which is crucial to the production of quality planes.

A floor of ‘Scientific Management’ is that it can encourage too much specialisation resulting in an employees’ adaptability being hindered, hence our solution of job rotation. By giving personnel the opportunity to rotate their job function it consequently allows them to develop themselves both within the profession and personally which, according to Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ (1943), would advance their development of self- esteem and self-actualisation (see later).

Additionally ‘Scientific Management’ gives the firm opportunity to create economies of scale, stressing efficiency and the need to reduce waste i. e. lean production, which of course encourages the firm to be more socially responsible. Experts believe if you quarter a manufacturer’s lead time, productivity will be doubled and costs reduced by 20% (The Manufacturing Institute) this would lead to strong competitive advantage. For an effective lean manufacturing process the following must be present.