Organisational Behaviour

Introduction to Key Learning and Developmental Challenges

Today, most of the new firms and organisations are looking beyond traditional norms and are offering spaces for employees to adapt more quickly, learn more rapidly and embrace dynamic career choices (Shah, 2019). With organizations becoming more and more modern every day, it has become essential for organizational practices and theories to also adapt with these changes. There are various learnings and challenges that need to be understood from modern organizations and solutions need to be found for the same. Here, it is important to remember that the employees can make or break an organization and thus, it is essential to satisfy their needs (DialogTech, 2014). An organization must ensure that the employees are working to their full capabilities and are provided with a stable work environment in order to maximize productivity.

Role of Learning in An Organization’s Life

Learning is an integral part of an organization. According to Roder (2019), organizational learning is the process of transferring knowledge within an organization. The development in an organization is dynamic in nature and thus it is essential to learn and adapt with the changing environment and behavior. Behavior of individuals can vary on a personal and a group level and it is important to understand and learn from such variations.

It is a known fact that individual behavior is different at a workplace as compared to that in a personal environment. When in a workplace, people are more formal and presentable and show the utilization of their leadership skills, decision making skills, time management skills and team management skills. These skills undergo development over a period of time as employees are exposed to new situations, deadlines and other such circumstances. It is also possible to influence employees’ behavior in order to maximize the level of productivity in the organization. Researchers and practitioners are looking for ways to enhance the behavior of employees at work in order to increase their efficiency (Mustaq, Abid, Sarwar & Ahmed, 2017, pp. 783). It has been found that employees thrive more when the organization supports them. This behavior, known as the exchange theory, highlights the belief of employees that their hard work is returned by rewards and recognitions ( Mustaq et. al, 2017, pp. 795). Along with that, there are several other recognized factors that help influence the employees’ behavior in an organization like reinforcement, operant conditioning etc.

The concept of stakeholder analysis is also very important in role of learning in an organization. A stake holder is essentially an individual or a group of investors that are involved in the growth, progress and success of an organization (Benn et. al, 2016). The stake holders of an organization play an integral part in deciding the behavior and functions at a particular organization. However, stakeholder conflicts can arise when the ideas of a group of stakeholders clashes with that of another group within the same organization. Such conflicts can also arise in between the stakeholders and the employees of an organization. According to Beringer et. al. (2013, pp. 830), the behavior of the internal stakeholders can massively impact the behavior and success of the organization. In situations like these, it is essential to understand the importance of team work and conflict management and understand that the needs of the organization should be placed above personal needs. Studies conducted by Bundy et. al. (2017, pp. 501) state that cooperative behavior in between an organization and its stakeholders is highly maximized when both the entities share common goals and values. It is thus, essential to deeply understand the behavior of the stakeholders and accordingly shape the behavior of an organization (Bundy et. al., 2017, pp. 501).

Learning and adapting is also very important in terms of diversity and discrimination in an organization. Organizations must ensure that the importance of diversity and the ill effects of discrimination are understood by all the employees. The concept of stereotyping can be very harmful for an organization and thus organizations must strive to achieve a state where there exist no stereotypes and biases amongst the employees. Discrimination can exist in an organization on the basis of gender, age, race, culture, religion and other such factors. Studies have shown that discrimination at a workplace is associated with depressive symptoms and mental health risks (Kim et. al., 2020, pp. e0234415). Such discriminations can also affect the work environment at an organization, thus having an impact on the productivity and motivation of the employees. It is important for an organization to learn the ill effects of discrimination within a work place and at the same time understand the importance of diversity. A study by Bukhari and Sharma (2014, pp. 551) has shown that gender diversity in an organization can help ensure success, fresh ideas, strong growth and an ability to hire qualified workers. The notion of diversity dictates that individuals should be hired and promoted irrespective of their gender, ethnicity or other such factors. This not only promotes a healthier work environment but also provides a wider base of knowledge, different perspectives, the inclusion of more languages and other such perks.

The Effect of New Technologies

There are various learnings and challenges that are posed by the foundation of “new technologies” in a work environment. According to Ivanova, Pulyaeva, Vlasnko, Gibadullin and Sadriddinov (2019, pp. 1), digitalization of organizations poses not only issues and risks but also managerial challenges. Studies have shown that the implementation of technology has led to loss of work and dismissal of workers (Ivanova et. al., 2019 pp. 1). Along with that technology also poses threats like loss of data, threat to security, heavy expenditure, frauds and other social problems. However, the presence of new technologies has also made the work load much less and the data procession techniques much faster. Many processes have become more efficient with the implementation of technology (like calculations, finding patterns, maintaining data entries etc.). Technology has also enabled the processes of learning and developing to be faster and efficient. The presence of tutorials, master-classes, online seminars and workshops has made learning much simpler than it used to be. With the perks and challenges, it is important to find a middle ground where technology is implemented in an organization in such a way that productivity is maximized in the organization without lifting too much work from the hands of the employees.

Approaches to Implement Learning

Learning the right behavior can be an integral part of an organization. It may involve the development of leadership skills, time management skills or simply understanding the beliefs, values and culture of an organization. There exist various approaches to implementing learning in an organization, from the use of unconscious learning to trial and error learning and learning by association. The concepts of operant conditioning (or positive and negative reinforcement) are used widely in an organization to achieve desired behavior. It has been proven by studies that learning organizational behavior can have a direct and indirect impact on the innovation of the employees (Yu Kyoyung et. al., 2014, pp. 75).

The process of positive reinforcement consists of introducing a desired response after a desired behavior in order to facilitate and promote that behavior. On the other hand, punishments are introduced after an undesired behavior in order to discourage the occurrence of such behaviors. Positive reinforcements are presented in organizations in the form of extra pay, working perks, recognitions and rewards etc. Such reinforcements can be implemented in an organization starting from a small scale (like an announcement of the achievement) and slowly move up to better rewards (like extra pay). On the other hand, punishments are implemented for the employees in the form of pay cuts and other punishments in order to reduce undesired behavior in an organization. As organizations are becoming more and more modern, various “creative” methods of punishment have been established in order to discourage undesired behavior (Goonrey, 2017).

Apart from this, the concepts of training, assessment and curriculum are also present in organizations to support learning. Training is provided in organizations to new and existing employees in order to dictate the terms of acceptable and unacceptable behavior at a workplace. Training is provided to employees in order to set standards for behavior in an organization and ensure that these standards are rigidly followed. Apart from that, appraisals or assessments are provided to the employees on a regular basis. Their performance is assessed and accordingly feedbacks are provided in order to highlight where the employee needs improvement and where the employee’s work is above satisfactory (Mayhew, 2020). This helps the employees understand the correct direction in which effort needs to be put and the behavioral changes that are required from their end.

Role of Leadership

The job of a leader within an organization is to establish a healthy environment within the organization, develop and execute strategies and look after the overall functioning of a particular group of employees (Gandz, 2015). Apart from these, the role of a leader also includes motivating the employees and helping them work to the best of their capabilities, along with ensuring that they are satisfied with the outcomes of their hard work.

Employee motivation is an important factor in the functioning of an organization. The leader has to ensure that he/she understands the needs and requirements of every employee and is able to motivate them to the best to their capabilities. There are various theories of motivation that a leader can learn and implement in order to ensure that the employees are properly motivated. One of these is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that classifies the needs of an individual in a hierarchy starting with physiological needs and moving up to self-actualization needs. According to this theory, the needs of an individual need to be fulfilled one tier at a time, moving from the lower tier to the higher tiers in a chronological order. Another theory is Alderfer’s ERG theory that states that every individual has three basic needs: existence, relatedness and growth that need to be fulfilled in a chronological order. Herzberg’s two factor theory is another theory to study the needs of an individual by studying the job satisfaction and dissatisfaction levels of an individual. Yet another theory is McClelland’s “acquire needs” theory that explains that motivation is made up of three requirements: need for achievement, need for power and need for affiliation. Depending on which of the stated needs is higher in a particular individual, the focus of the individual varies from one thing to another.

These various theories can help a manager understand the various needs and motivations of a particular employee and thus motivate them accordingly in order to achieve both their goals. It is the leader’s job to understand the right factors that motivates his/her team and implement them in a way as to maximize the productivity of every individual in that team. Thus the role of the leader is very important as the decision maker of a particular organization.

Conclusion on Key Learning and Developmental Challenges

There are various challenges and learnings that are faced by modern organizations; from finding the correct approach for motivation to defining the role of a leader in an organization and implementing new technologies in a productive manner. However, with the amount of theories, concepts and information available to all of us it is easier to study a particular problem faced by an organization and finding a solution accordingly. Thousands of different solutions are present for the same problems; individuals just need to find the solution that matches best with the organization. After implementation of a particular solution, analysis is key to understanding how effective the methods and changes are, and decisions should be made on the basis of such analysis.

References for Key Learning and Developmental Challenges

Benn, S., O'Leary, B., & Abratt, R. (2016). Defining and identifying stakeholders: Views from management and stakeholders. South African journal of business management, 47(2), 1-11. https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/218603/1/sajbm-v47i2-0055.pdf

Beringer, C., Jonas, D., & Kock, A. (2013). Behavior of internal stakeholders in project portfolio management and its impact on success. International Journal of Project Management, 31(6), 830–846. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijproman.2012.11.006

Bukhari, S., & Sharma, B. (2014). Workplace Gender Diversity & Inclusive Growth in Public & Private Organizations. Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, 49(3), 551-563. www.jstor.org/stable/24546997

Bundy, J., Vogel, R. M., & Zachary, M. A. (2017). Organization-stakeholder fit: A dynamic theory of cooperation, compromise, and conflict between an organization and its stakeholders. Strategic Management Journal, 39(2), 476–501. https://doi.org/10.1002/smj.2736

DialogTech. (2014). How Your Employees Can Make or Break Your Business. https://www.dialogtech.com/employees-can-make-break-business/

Gandz, J. (2015). THE LEADERSHIP ROLE •. Ivey Business Journal. https://iveybusinessjournal.com/publication/the-leadership-role/

Goonrey, A. (2017, September 28). How to implement “creative” punishments. HRM Online. https://www.hrmonline.com.au/section/legal/implement-creative-punishments/

Ivanova, I. A., Pulyaeva, V. N., Vlasenko, L. V., Gibadullin, A. A., & Sadriddinov, M. I. (2019). Digitalization of organizations: current issues, managerial challenges and socio-economic risks. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 1399, 33–38. https://doi.org/10.1088/1742-6596/1399/3/033038

Kim, G., Kim, J., Lee, S.-K., Sim, J., Kim, Y., Yun, B.-Y., & Yoon, J.-H. (2020). Multidimensional gender discrimination in workplace and depressive symptoms. PLOS ONE, 15(7), e0234415. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0234415

Mayhew, R. (2020). Performance Appraisal Systems in Organizations. Small Business. https://smallbusiness.chron.com/performance-appraisal-systems-organizations-1919.html

Mushtaq, M., Abid, G., Sarwar, K., & Ahmed, S. (2017). Forging Ahead: How to Thrive at the Modern Workplace. School of Business Administration, National College of Business Administration and Economics, 10(4), 783–818. https://doi.org/10.22059/IJMS.2017.235409.672704

Park, Y. K., Song, J. H., Yoon, S. W., & Kim, J. (2014). Learning organization and innovative behavior. European Journal of Training and Development, 38(1/2), 75–94. https://doi.org/10.1108/ejtd-04-2013-0040

Roder, N. (2019). What is Organizational Learning (And Why is it Important?). Workest. https://www.zenefits.com/workest/what-is-organizational-learning/

Shah, H. (2019). Modern Organizations: The Way Forward. Entrepreneur. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/333886

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