Organisational Behaviour

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Assessment Brief

The summative assessment for this module is in two parts:

Part One : A brief explanation of Huczynski & Buchanan’s Field Map of Organisational Behaviour (2013).

Part Two : A management report based on a critical review of the following article relating to campus-style work environments and Generation C’s preference for play, fun and a relaxed work place.

Teamworking? Do make me Laugh!!!

American organisations such as Southwest Airlines, Ben & Jerry’s, Sun Microsystems, Facebook, eBay and Google invest a lot of time and resources in play and humour and in making their workplaces fun for their employees. Kingston a technology company lists having fun and working in the company of friends amongst its six values.

Today’s young workers (18 – 25 years) known as ‘Generation C’ (connected, communicating, clicking) want to play and have fun at work. Google, Microsoft, Innocent and other organisations have invested heavily in creating campus-style work environments which address employee demands for play, fun and a relaxed environment.

In addition, increasing numbers of people (especially in knowledge-intensive industries) are employed in jobs that require successful cooperation, collaboration and creativity. Such groups are a source of value to the company and are hard to duplicate. In order to motivate, resolve conflicts and inspire group members (and stop them from leaving the organisation) organisations have increasingly used play, fun and humour as management motivation tools.

Some business journals such as The Economist (2010) take a negative view of fun in organisations. It wrote the following:

“These days many companies are obsessed with fun. Software firms in Silicon Valley have installed rock-climbing walls in their reception areas and put inflatable animals in their offices … The cult of fun has spread like some disgusting haemorrhagic disease. Acclaris, an American IT company has a ‘Chief Fun Officer’, TD Bank (the American arm of Canada’s Toronto Dominion) has a ‘WOW Department’ that dispatches costume-clad teams to surprise and delight successful workers. Red Bull, a drinks firm, has installed a slide at its London office’. Managers hope that fun will make their workers more engaged and creative.”

Researchers disagree with the negative view of play and fun. Sorensen and Spoelstra (2011) consider ‘serious play’ as an engine of business with the view that work and play are indistinguishable in post-industrial organisations. They conclude that ‘it pays to play’. Other studies show that humour (defined as amusing communications that produce positive emotions and cognitions in the individual, group or organisation) creates a positive mental state that acts as a social lubricant. When humour is used in groups, their members experience positive emotions that make interactions between them more effective and efficient, leading the group to bond together faster. Humour is therefore an important contributor to group effectiveness because it positively influences group cohesiveness, communication and creativity; it reduces stress and fosters ‘esprit de corps’.

Likewise humour produces an increase in physical and psychological energy leading workers to expend more effort in challenging tasks and it ensures good communication by inducing positive feelings. It reduces listener resistance making the listener more receptive to the message that management sends. The more persuasive message also tends to be more interesting to its recipients requiring less need for repetition and explanation by management. Humour also reduces social distance between supervisors and subordinates. From a group’s point of view, joking and teasing serve as the foundation of group culture and are used to communicate group values, beliefs and expectations to its new members. It reaffirms the reason for the formation of a group, emphasises shared values, indicates appropriate behaviour and aids the development of group norms.

Thus while critics may laugh at what might seem to be the latest management fad, the research suggests that play, fun and humour appear to be effective in building high morale and cohesion, good communication patterns and strong bonds, especially amongst groups of young employees.

It maybe therefore management that has the last laugh!

Based on :

  • The Economist Newspaper Limited, London (18 September 2010)
  • Romero and Pescosolido 2008
  • Sorensen and Spoelstra 2011
  • www.kingston.com/ukroot/company/values.asp

Tasks

Part One

Reflection on Huczynski & Buchanan’s Field Map of Organisational Behaviour (2013) (20% of the total mark) 250 words. You are required to provide a brief explanation of this model and how it can be used by business professionals seeking to understand and/or interpret organisational behaviour.

Part Two

A critical review of campus style work environments, generation c’s preference for play, fun and a relaxed workplace and the impact of this on employee engagement and organisational performance. (70% of the total mark) 1250 words

Your answer should include the following:

  • A brief overview of the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) business environment of the 21st Century and how this has influenced many leading organisations to invest significant time and resource in creating campus-style work environments and in making their work places fun and engaging for their employees.
  • A critical review of the key benefits and limitations of this type of work environment for both employers and employees.
  • An evaluation of the extent to which a campus-style, fun and engaging environment is essential for enhancing employee engagement and organisational performance in the business environment in which you aspire to work.

Your answer should be fully justified with reference to appropriate organisational behaviour concepts, models and/or theories. These may include those relating to perception, motivation, organisational culture, communication, groups and teams, organisational structure and/or leadership.

 

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