Some useful material from OB

Goofing-Off in the Twenty first Century: Cyber-loafing

Although the Internet has created a valuable mechanism for speeding communication within and between organizations and for helping employees quickly access information, it has also created a potential source for reducing employee productivity through cyber loafing. Cyber loafing is the act of employees using their organization’s Internet access for personal purposes during work hours. When employees surf the Web or entertainment do online Stock trading, shop online, or engage in other non-job related internet activities while at work. They are cyber loafing.

Survey data indicate that 64 percent of US workers surf he Internet for personal interest during working hours. Moreover, estimates indicate that nearly one third of employees’ Internet use at work is recreational and that cyber loafing is costing US employers approximately $3 million a year for every 1,000 employees with internet access. In spite of recent efforts by management to monitor employee Internet access, cyber loafing remains a threat to employee productivity. Some forms of Internet abuse can be filed under harassment. NN, for example, quit her job after male coworkers repeatedly bombarded her e-mail inbox with pornographic images downloaded from the internet (she sued, and won)

Characteristics of the workplace can increase cyber loafing. For example, if the work itself isn’t interesting, if it creates stress, or if employees believe they aren’t being treated fairly, they will be more motivated to use cyber loafing as a means of distraction or to compensate for perceived mistreatment by the organization.

Group Cohesiveness Across:

A recent study attempted to determine whether motivating work groups by giving them more complex tasks and greater autonomy resulted in increased group cohesiveness. Researchers studied bank teams in the United States, an individualist culture, and in Hong Kong, a collectivist culture. Both teams were composed of individuals from respective countries. The results showed; regardless of what culture the teams were from, giving teams difficult tasks and more freedom to accomplish those tasks created a more tight-knit group. Consequently, team performance was enhanced.

However, the teams did differ in the extent to which increases in task complexity and autonomy resulted in greater group cohesiveness. Teams in individualist cultures responded more strongly than did teams in collectivist cultures became more united and committed and as a result received higher performance rating from their supervisor than teams from collectivist cultures. Why do these cultural differences exist? One explanation is that collectivist teams already have a strong predisposition to work together as a group so there’s less need for increased teamwork. What’s the lesson? Managers in individualist cultures may need to work harder to increase team cohesiveness. One way to do this is to give teams more challenging assignments and provide them with more freedom.

Are Two heads Better than One?

Two heads are not necessarily always better than one. In fact, the evidence generally confirms the superiority of individuals over groups when brainstorming. The best individual in a group also tend to do better than the average group member.

Research also indicates that groups are superior only when they meet certain criteria. These criteria included (1) Diversity among members. The benefits of ‘two heads’ require that they differ in relevant skills and abilities. (2) The group members must be able to communicate their ideas freely and openly. This requires an absence of hostility and intimidation; (3) The task being undertaken must be complex. Relative to individuals, groups do better on complex rather than simple tasks.

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