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Organizational Behavior Terminology and Concepts

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The behavior of employees within any organization is paramount to the success or failure of that organization. The study of organizational behavior is a science with its own vocabulary and terminology. This essay will describe some of the more common key concepts and terminology and relate those to the modern United States Navy.

"An organization is, simply, a body of people organized for some specific purpose" (communication, 2005). Organizational behavior is taking a look at the way humans behave within a company (Schermerhorn, Hunt & Osborn, 2005, p. 17). The United States Navy, and perhaps all military branches, has, in some respects, a unique organizational behavior. The behavior of its employees is governed by a strict set of rules and regulations. One prime example of this is the Uniform Code of Military Justice. There is no other organization that can legally imprison an employee for not obeying his or her supervisor or for not being where he or she is supposed to be. A civilian organization will just fire that employee there are no legal ramifications.

Organizational culture is created by the individuality and sometimes the commonness of the employees within the organization. "Organizational culture is a pattern of knowledge, belief, and is the form, beliefs, norms, social patterns, the way things are done, the symbols and rituals" (Burton, Lauridsen, & Obel, 2004). Basically, Organizational culture is caused by organizational behavior. The culture within the United States Navy is one seeped in long standing traditions. Very few organizations have been in existence since the Revolutionary War. Once you are a member of this organization, you are inundated with constant reminders of traditional roles within the organization. In addition to the traditional aspects of its culture, the Navy has a segregated sub-culture. The enlisted members are not allowed to socialize with the officer members. This is to promote good order and discipline within the organization, and to prevent the appearance of favoritism.

The next term that is common in the study of organizational behavior is diversity. The Oxford English Dictionary defines diversity as, "The condition or quality of being diverse, different, or varied; difference, unlikeness" (Simpson, 2005). Diversity can be applied internally and externally to any organization. The organization can concentrate on diversity of its managers and employees or can focus more on the diversity of its suppliers and customers. The United States Navy places much more emphasis on ensuring internal diversity than it does on external diversity. It only has one customer, which is the United States population. Diversity within this organization is ensured utilizing a quota system. First and foremost, all able-bodied men and women are allowed to join without consideration for race, sex, religion or creed. Secondly, for promotion purposes, the United States Navy utilizes a quota system to ensure fairness to all candidates. This quota system is not utilized prior to the selection process but is applied afterwards to validate the results.

The behavior, culture and diversity within an organization occur as a direct result of both verbal and non-verbal communication within that organization. Communication is, "The imparting, conveying, or exchange of ideas, knowledge, information, etc. (whether by speech, writing, or signs)" (Simpson, 2005). Good communication is a vital key to the success of any organization. Communication is essential to the success of the United States Navy. Ideas, knowledge and information are shared both up and down the chain of command. Within the modern Navy, this exchanged is usually done via personal contact or electronic means.

A certain way of assessing how well an organization is doing is to study its effectiveness and efficiency. These two terms are similar and sometimes confused for each other. Within the study of organizational behavior, they each have specific definitions. "Efficiency is an output/input ratio applicable to all organizational functions; only the financial result counts. Effectiveness represents the means/objective ratio. It is the degree to which the objective is achieved that determines the degree of effectiveness" (International,



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