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Organizational Theory and Behavior

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1. Why do you think the subject of OB might be criticized as being "only common sense," when one would rarely hear such a criticism of a course in physics or statistics?

2. Don't teams create conflict? Isn't conflict bad? Why, then, would management support the concept of teams?

3. What can you do to improve the likelihood that your communiqués will be received and understood as you intend?

4. As a new employee in an organization, why might you want to acquire a mentor? What traits would you look for in your mentor? Why might women and minorities have more difficulty in finding a mentor than white males?

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Interesting questions! Let's take a closer at the business literature from various sources, which you can draw on for your final response. I also include the links and references, if you want to do some further research.

1. Why do you think the subject of OB might be criticized as being "only common sense," when one would rarely hear such a criticism of a course in physics or statistics?

Although organizational behavior might be criticized as being "only common sense," understanding organizational behavior has indeed never been more important. The dramatic changes taking place lend support to this claim. For instance, the average employee is getting older, more and more women and different ethnic groups are part of the workplace now than ever, more employees have some type of reported disability, corporations downsizing and the heavy use of temporary workers are severing the bonds of loyalty that historically tied the employees to the employers, and global competition is requiring employees to become more flexible and to cope with more rapid change. In short, there are a lot of changes and challenges and opportunities for managers to use organizational concepts to increase efficiency and effectiveness in management (http://books.google.com/books?id=ytgXqXB8AnwC&pg=PA35&lpg=PA35&dq=ob+might+be+criticized+as+being+%22only+common+sense%22&source=web&ots=qn_Tx-Td_F&sig=2YPCceASCankOH-6CTcOyMKZrH4#PPA15,M1).

There are several reasons, however, why OB might be criticized as being "only common sense." By definition, OB is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups and structure have on behavior within organizations, for the purpose of applying such knowledge toward improving an organization's effectiveness. It is considered "only common sense" because OB is linked to the "soft" sciences (e.g., psychology, sociology, etc.) which are considered subjective (as opposed to objective). The 'soft' science is often considered less of a science than the so-called 'hard' sciences, like physics or statistics, which are considered objective and thus more reliable because it is quantifiable. As the argument goes, the 'hard' sciences are therefore more reliable, and not criticized as being "only common sense."

However, this criticism is not true. Rather, OB looks at consistencies e.g. what is common about behavior, and helps predictability? Therefore, OB is more than common sense. It is a systematic study, based on scientific evidence (see http://www.busi.mun.ca/jaya/2301/OB1F03.ppt).

Can you think of other things to add from your course material?

2. Don't teams create conflict? Isn't conflict bad? Why, ...

Solution Summary

By addressing the questions, this solution discusses aspects of organizational theory and behavior.

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