Attributes influencing organizational behavior


Locus of Control:

A section of people believe that they are masters of their own fate and another section believe in what happens to them is due to luck or chance. The first type, who believe that they control their destinies, have been labeled internals, whereas the latter, who see their lives as being controlled by outside forces, have been called externals. A person’s perception of the source of his or her fate is termed locus of control.

The impact of locus of control on absence is an interesting one. Internals believe that health is substantially under their own control through proper habits, so they take more responsibility for their health and have better health habits. Consequently, their incidences of sickness and absenteeism are lower.

The personality characteristic of Machiavellianism (Mach) is named after Niccolo Machiavelli, who wrote in the sixteenth century on how to gain and use power. An individual high in Machiavellianism maintains emotional distance, and believes that ends can justify means.

A considerable amount of research has been directed towards relating high and low Mach personalities to certain behavioral outcomes. High Machs manipulate more, win more, are persuaded less, and persuade others more than do low Machs. These high Machs outcomes are moderated by situational factors. It has been found that high Machs flourish,

1. When they interact face to face with others rather than indirectly;

2. When the situation has a minimum number of rules an regulations, thus allowing latitude for improvisation; and

3. When emotional involvement with details irrelevant to winning distracts low Machs.

Should we conclude that high Machs make good employees? That answer depends on the type of job and whether you consider ethical implications in evaluating performance. In jobs that require bargaining skills (such as labor negotiation) or that offer substantial rewards for winning (as in commissioned sales), high Machs will be productive. But if ends can’t justify the means, if there are absolute standards of behavior, or if the three situational factors noted in the preceding paragraph are not in evidence, our ability to predict a high Mach’s performance will be severely curtailed.

Self-Esteem People differ in the degree to which they like or dislike themselves. This trait is called self-esteem. The research on self-esteem (SE) offers some interesting insights into organizational behavior. Self-esteem is directly related to expectations for success. High Self esteemed people believe that they possess the ability needed to succeed at work.

Individuals with high self-esteem will take more risks in job selection and are more likely to choose unconventional jobs than people with low self-esteem.

The most general finding on self-esteem is that low SE persons are more susceptible to external influence than high SEs. Low SEs are dependent on the receipt of positive evaluations from others. As a result, they are more likely to seek approval from others and more prone to conform to the beliefs and behaviors of those they respect In managerial positions, low SEs will tend to be concerned with pleasing others and, therefore, are less likely to take unpopular stands than high SEs.

Not surprisingly, self-esteem has also been found to be related to job satisfaction. A number of studies confirm that high SEs are more satisfied with their jobs than low SEs.

Sushmita is always in trouble at work. While she’s competent, hardworking, and productive, her performance reviews tend to rate her no better than average and she seems to have made a career of irritating bosses. Sushmita’s problem is that she’s politically inept. She’s unable to adjust her behavior to fit changing situations. As she puts it, “I’m true to myself. I don’t remake myself to please others.� We would be correct to describe Sushmita as a low self-monitor.

Self-monitoring refers to an individual’s ability to adjust his or her behavior to external, situational factors. Individuals high in self-monitoring show considerable adaptability in adjusting their behavior to external situational factors. They are highly sensitive to external cues and can behave differently in different situations. High self-monitors are capable of presenting striking contradictions between their public persona and their private self. Low self-monitors, like Joyce, can’t disguise themselves in that way. They tend to display their true dispositions and attitudes in every situation; hence, there is high behavioral consistency between who they are and what they do.

The evidence indicates that high self-monitors tend to pay closer attention to the behavior of others and are more capable of conforming than are low self-monitors. They also receive better performance ratings, are more likely to emerge as leaders, and show less commitment to their organizations. In addition, high self-monitoring managers tend to be more mobile in their careers, receive more promotions (both internal and cross organizational), and are more likely to occupy central positions in an organization. We might also hypothesize that high self-monitors will be more successful in managerial positions in which individuals are required to play multiple, and even contradicting, roles. The high self-monitor is capable of putting on different “faces� for different audiences.

Risk Taking
People differ in their willingness to take chances. This propensity to assume or avoid risk has been shown to have an impact on how long it takes managers to make a decision and how much information they require before making their choice. For instance, 79 managers worked on simulated personnel exercise that required them to make hiring decisions. High risk-taking managers made more rapid decisions and used less information in making their choices than did the low-risk taking managers. Interestingly, the decision accuracy was the same for both groups.

In general, managers in large organizations tend to be risk-averse, especially in contrast to growth-oriented entrepreneurs who actively manage small businesses. For the work population as a whole, there are also differences in risk propensity. As a result, it makes sense to recognize these differences and even to consider aligning risk-taking propensity with specific job demands. For instance, a high risk-taking propensity may lead to more effective performance for a stock trades in a brokerage firm because that type of job demands rapid decision making. On the other hand, a willingness to take risks might prove a major obstacle to an accountant who performs auditing activities. The latter job might be better filled by someone with a low risk-taking propensity.