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Factors Which Influence Individual Behaviour In The Workplace Business Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Business
Wordcount: 3566 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Organisational behaviour focuses on the understanding of human behaviour – both as individuals and as groups, structures and cultures within organisations, and managing those variables in the most effective manner. In today’s dynamic business environment, it is essential that the business organisations apply this science in a way that ensures their best interest, as it will be impossible to compete in the globalised business environment without predicting and managing the behaviour of the workforce adequately. In the case study considered here, the varied and multicultural nature of the staff of TESCO PLC make it all the more necessary that the proper management styles and motivational theories are utilised to create a most effective and efficient organisational culture.

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Compare and contrast three different organisational structures and cultures

An organizational structure defines how jobs and tasks are divided, grouped, and coordinated within an organization. (Robbins & Judge – 2008, p.565) This can be done using different bases. The structure used by each organisation depends on its size, objective capabilities etc. (Brooks, 2003) In a functional structure, the arrangements are done by the functions performed by each section. This has each department focusing on their own area of expertise, and leads to specialisation. There is a key person accountable for the section, which increases accountability and the clarity of their functionality. The downside is that the section may become resistant to change, and it may be difficult to assimilate each section to achieve the best performance overall. In a product/activity based structuring, the key focus is the activity or product undertaken. Unlike the functional structure, here people of different disciplines work in one segment with a common goal, and there is competition between the divisions. But similarly to the functional, this too may lead to closed communication and lack of goal congruence. Structuring done according to the geographic location leads to better fulfillment of customer need through enhanced communication. Unlike the previous structures, this is more about the needs of the area rather than functionality or product. But similarly to the other structures, this too may cause detachment between the groups in the long run.

Organisational culture is based on the shared perceptions and values held by its members. According to Kinicki & Kreitner (2006, p.41), culture is the set of shared, taken for granted assumptions of a group that determines how it perceives, thinks and reacts. As these change from organisation to organisation, there are different cultures. One example is the power culture, where the power is concentrated at the top of the hierarchy, and only a few individuals are authorized to take decisions. Those in turn delegate the responsibilities to their subordinates. Employees’ opinions are not valued in this type of culture. On the other hand, a task culture focuses on the task, and every member in a team is expected to contribute equally. This allows opinions and ideas to be put forth unlike power culture. Another type of culture is the person culture, where individuals decide in their best interests and not those of the organisation. While this shares a similarity in focus on one’s own power like the power culture, this is not very effective for the organisation, as it leads to self-interest above everything else. The focus on the contribution is not so emphasized in a person culture, unlike in a task culture.

Influence of the relationship between an organisation’s structure and culture on the performance of TESCO’s activities at this Irish site

According to T. Bush (2003 – p.166), the structure of an organisation could be considered the way its culture is physically manifested. It is the core principles and perceptions which set the structure it would follow in its operations. In the given scenario, this relationship is the key component which will determine the future of TESCO’s activities at the Irish site. This particular supermarket in the chain has a unique setup of workforce, with members from different cultural and racial backgrounds. The store manager has been sent there from London, and he is new to this setting. In order to have the dissimilar staff members from different backgrounds working together for a common goal of driving the success of the supermarket, a strong culture which creates common values and bonds is needed, and the structure of operations needs to reflect that culture and its values. If the work structure is not strongly related to the established culture of the organisation, it will lead to friction and loss of efficiency among the workers. This culture should also take into account the unique features of the Irish market it operates in, and the structure should be adjusted to accommodate the best possible assimilation to it.

Factors which influence individual behaviour in the workplace

Organisations are formed by individuals, who have organized in some form to achieve a common objective. Their behaviour can be affected by both innate and environmental factors. (Brooks – 2003, p.14) In the case of Irish TESCO, many of these factors come into play influence the behaviour of the individual workers. One of these is personality, which will invariably be different from person to person. The personalities will differ according to their backgrounds, temperaments and skills. Another is the racial backgrounds of different people, which will play a part in determining their values and way of thinking. As there are individuals of different racial backgrounds within this supermarket, this will be highly visible.

The status the workers hold within the organisation will also influence their behaviour. For example, the behavioural traits of the manager who coordinates and leads the team will be different to those of the people who work under him, due to the differences in their skill level, status and power. The culture of the geographical area/national culture will determine the behaviours too. The store manager from London comes from a different culture and background than his Irish workers, who would probably have their views and actions shaped by the culture they inhabit in.


Different Leadership styles

Leadership can be defined as the process in which an individual provides direction, guides and influences others through a shared vision, to work towards common goals. According to Daft (2008 – p.5), leadership involves influencing others to gather around a common vision to make a change for a better future. There are various styles employed by leaders in this. One such way is the authoritarian style, where a leader will tell his followers what to do. Here, the decisions are made by the leader and the followed by others. There is no consultation with the followers on what must be done. The democratic style is another type of leadership, where the decisions are made by the leader, similar to the authoritarian model, yet the input of other members of the group is taken into consideration in the process. This style relies on consultation, although the final decision is taken by the leader. According to Bass (2008 – p.142) the style of laissez-faire leadership is where the leader attempts to avoid influencing his subordinates and are inactive. While this shares with the democratic style the lack of force seen in the authoritarian model, it is much more ineffective compared to the above two models.

How organisational theory underpins the practice of management for the Irish TESCO

Organisational theory is the discipline that studies the structure and design of the organisations. It analyses the actual structure of organisations and offers suggestions on how their effectiveness could be improved. (Robbins, 2009 – p.6) The requirements for the newly appointed manager of the Irish TESCO to apply different management styles and motivational theories are reflective of the contingency theory of managing inevitable conflict. In order to manage the workforce effectively and gain better results, participatory decision making styles and teamwork are adopted. This approach diverges somewhat from the classical bureaucratic theories such as Fayol and Weber, and the scientific theory of Taylor, where a more fixed approach is considered. (Dinitzen, 2010 – p.12, 13) TESCO has recognized that their organisation requires a more dynamic theory, and has taken to practice motivational theories and is trying to settle into an adequate and efficient management style through experimentation, which the new manager is required to apply. In the varied and complex environment possessed by the Irish TESCO, it is the best that strong bonds are built between the people, and the management has realized that the workers are a great asset in achieving the organisational goals.

Different approaches to management

Koontz, & Wiehrich (2008, p.17) offer different management approaches. One of these is the Decision theory approach, where the focus is on the processes and persons making decisions. Decision making is used as the basis for all activities within, and can help managers to carry out their roles efficiently, and improves communications. On the downside, the focus is too narrow, and does not consider the many different aspects of management. Another is the Systems approach, which views the organisation as a group of interrelated parts with a single purpose of remaining in equilibrium. (Kriel Et al. 2007) While this approach is most useful in assimilating different parts of an organisation and integrating them to the external environment, this is not a novel concept, and cannot be applied universally to each and every situation.

Sociotechnical Systems approach believes that technical system or an organisation has great influence on the social system, and focuses on production and operations. The upside of this is that enough attention is given to the technical interactions as well as the people in managing, But the flip side is that it focuses mainly on the lower level operational work of the organisation while disregarding the higher levels. Contingency approach tries to absorb all the management theories and come up with a unified plan, where managers realise that one fixed approach cannot be used for every situation. It has the advantage of taking into consideration every limitation of the organisation and the human resource capabilities in evaluating potential solutions. (Montana & Charnov, 2008) The disadvantage of this is that it is most often highly complex, and is difficult to evaluate.


Impact of different leadership styles on employee motivation

Leadership style plays a great role in the motivation of the employees of an organization. Lussier & Achua (2010, p.69) state that the success of individual careers and organizations is based on how effectively the leaders behave. The style of the manager leading them would create a positive or a negative impact on the employees according to the situation. For example, if the new manager attempted to take an authoritarian approach from the beginning, the workers may not foster a good relationship with him and may form a ‘him and us’ mentality, where the view the manager as their opposition, and therefore lose their motivation in performing. If he took an extremely lenient or a laissez-faire approach, the employees may come to view him as uninterested, and feel that the work is not important and start slacking off. If the leadership approach is based on a participative/consultative style where the input of the employees is encouraged and valued, they may start being more motivated to perform well and meet targets, as they perceive the work as ‘ours’. Porter, Angle & Allen (p.271) state that a decrease in transformational leadership leads to a decrease in employee motivation. The new manager has been sent to the Irish site due to his good performance, possibly to change things for better. Therefore the employees may be expecting a transformational leadership from him.

In fact, specific scenarios could have their performance and effectiveness affected by the leadership styles. In a case where budgets and targets are set from the top management and imposed on the supermarket workers in an authoritarian manner, they may become disheartened and disinterested in the work. But if they were encouraged to come up with their own suggestions to improve profits and measure own performance, they would be more encouraged. Similarly, in a situation where a new staff roster has to be adopted, a democratic style of listening to employees’ concerns will make the decision more accepted while keeping the motivation levels high. If an authoritarian style is used, the employees may rebel against it. An unconcerned laissez-faire style may have the employees deciding the things for themselves in a way that is not necessarily good for the organisation. Proper application of an effective leadership style will increase employee confidence and enthusiasm, bringing about a positive change at TESCOS Ireland.

Identification and application of different motivational theories within the workplace

Organisations today are constantly trying to find better ways to motivate their employees to increase productivity and results. There are different motivational theories in attaining this end. According to Mullins (2007), motivation is an individual phenomenon, multifaceted and intentional. There are many theories that are used to explain this. One such is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which is based on the humanistic approach that people tend to fulfill different needs at different levels, which is arranged as a pyramid shaped model. The bottom where the bottom has physiological (deficiency needs) and the top has growth needs such as satisfaction. (DuBrin, 2009, p.375) By applying this to the TESCO situation, the management could first try to satisfy all employee needs on good workplace conditions and safety, and then move up on hierarchy by meeting the social needs of interaction and team building, together with applying a strong culture. Finally, the self-actualisation needs of growth and development of employees could be looked into, to increase their motivation further.

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Another theory is Herzberg’s theory, of hygiene and motivational factors. This says motivation is two dimensional, where each dimension comprises of distinct factors (Thompson, 1996). Hygiene factors such as safety and adequate remuneration avoid unpleasantness, while motivator factors such as recognition and responsibility satisfy the need for growth. By first creating a good work environment for the supermarket, and providing teamwork and suitable culture and policies, the hygiene can be maintained, and by providing recognition and career advancement etc, the staff can be motivated.

A third theory of motivation is McClelland’s achievement motivation theory, which says that achievement is critical to growth and success. Intrinsic drive and external pressure to succeed motivate employees. This trait could be exploited to increase motivation and at the TESCO by providing s feedback system, linking remuneration to performance, increasing responsibility levels, etc.

Usefulness of a motivation theory for managers at TESCO

A motivation theory could be used to gain better performance at the Irish TESCO. One of the duties of the newly appointed manager is to use different theories for this. He could try using Herzberg’s two factor theory to ensure that his employee’s needs are being met adequately. This would increase the productivity of the supermarket due to increasing employee satisfaction. Another thing that could be done for easier problem solving is to consider the motivational needs in the pyramidal form, to see which should come first. The remuneration could be tied to performance, and extra work and new ideas could be given special recognition in line with the achievement motivation theory. The manager’s benefits could in turn be tied to the overall performance to ensure that he will be enthusiastic in making a positive change at the supermarket. A motivational theory would be highly valuable in transforming the attitudes and behaviours of the staff of the Irish TESCO, and bring in even better performance from them to increase profits and customer loyalty.


Nature of groups and group behaviours within organisations

Work is a group-based activity and if the organisation is to function effectively it requires good teamwork. Groups exert influence over its membership, and managers must utilize this in order to achieve a high standard of work and increase effectiveness. (Mullins, 2007) The members of a group have a common goal, and are interdependent on each other. The human relations approach to management considers this social construct as an important factor. Group pressure and acceptance may be even stronger incentives than salary. (Fox, 2006) Organisations are pluralistic in nature, and there may be different interest groups who will not necessarily share the managements view on matters. The two major functions of groups are Task (collecting information, making decisions etc) and Maintenance (standard setting, clarifying, cooperating etc.)

Factors that may promote, inhibit, limit or undermine the development of effective teamwork

French & Bell (2006, p.27) say that the interest in teamwork has increased in the recent past, and there is added pressure to develop self-managed and directed teams to improve quality, flexibility and employee morale. Many factors such as physical, social and psychological make people different from one another, and this may cause difficulties in teambuilding effectively. Similar interests and backgrounds among the team members would cause the cohesiveness of the group to increase, and increase the chances of success within the group. Similarity in background would pave way for more empathy and understanding among the team-members. The stability and permanency of the team too, plays some role in this. A more permanent team would be more likely to get on well with each other. Similar skill levels and training are also positive contributors in helping the teams to get along.

In the TESCO example, there is also much diversity among the workers. This may conversely lead to a limitation of effective teamwork, due to differences in opinion and perception. Halverson & Tirmizi (2008) state that cultural differences may not necessarily mean that the teamwork will be ineffective. But special consideration must be taken in this situation, as social and cultural diversity may mean that a lack of understanding and value congruence may occur between the team members. Differences in age may also inhibit effective teamwork, as people of different ages have different approaches to work.

Impact of Technology on team functioning within an organisation such as TESCOS, Ireland

With the advancement of technology, a great deal of the administration process may be accomplished via remote means or automated systems, (Storey, 2007) thereby giving the teams more autonomy to function on their own and make their own decisions, simultaneously letting the higher management keep in touch. TESCO could use this to give more independence to their workers, thereby increasing their commitment to the team and the organisation, while also motivating them to perform better. Information technology advances can also be used by the TESCO manager to foster better communications among his workforce, thereby enabling his diverse members to become closer as a team. Another positive benefit is that IS and IT could be used to manage the operations of the supermarket more effectively, through the work teams.

Technological advances may also hinder human interaction, and create distance between the team members. (Drancefield, 2004)The employees of the supermarket could find it dissatisfying to replace human contact with technological connections, and it may also create the fear that they may be made redundant due to the advancing technology, leading to loss of motivation through job dissatisfaction.


Organisational behaviour is a multifaceted discipline which is very important in managing a business effectively in today’s dynamic global environment. Motivational theories, leadership styles, and factors affecting individual behaviour must be carefully studied and applied to find an equilibrium that fits well to an individual organisation. Technology, groups, and teamwork also play and important part in this context. It is the role of the management to create a work culture and structure that allows the employees to contribute their best for the organisation, while allowing them to achieve personal growth and satisfaction at the same time.


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