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Organizational Behavior Terminology and Concepts

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Organizational Behavior Terminology and Concepts

April 2, 2005

Organizational behavior encompasses a wide range of topics, such as human behavior, change, leadership, and teams. Organizational Behavior is the study and application of knowledge about how people, individuals, and groups act in organizations. It interprets people-organization relationships in terms of the whole person, group, organization, and social system. Its purpose is to build better relationships by achieving individual, organizational, and social objectives.

An organization's base rests on management's philosophy, values, vision and goals. This in turn drives the organizational culture which is composed of the formal, informal and the social environment.

According to Donald R. Clark there are four major Models of Organizational Behavior (1998) that organizations operate out of:

* Autocratic - The basis here is power with a managerial orientation of authority. The employees are oriented towards obedience and dependence on the boss. The employee need that is met is subsistence and the performance result is minimal.

* Custodial - The basis of this model is economic resources with a managerial orientation of money. The employees are oriented towards security and benefits and dependence on the organization. The employee need that is met is security. The performance result is passive cooperation.

* Supportive - The basis here is leadership with a managerial orientation of support. The employees are oriented towards job performance and participation. The employee need that is met s status and recognition.

* Collegial - The basis is partnership with a managerial orientation of teamwork. The employees are oriented towards responsible behavior and self-discipline. The employee need that is met is self-actualization.

Although there are four models listed, I do not believe that any organization operates exclusively within one. My company, Caesars Entertainment, Inc. operates predominantly in the Supportive model. My position is run mainly on job performance and quality of work produced. My department also uses Collegial and Custodial (we are a gaming company after all).

The culture of an organization is the personality of the organization. Culture is comprised of the assumptions, values, and norms of organization members and their behaviors. Corporate culture, such as Caesars Entertainment can be viewed as a system. Input may include feedback from society, professionals, laws, values on competition or service, etc. The process is based on our assumptions, values and norms like our values on money, time, facilities, space and people. Outputs of our culture can be organizational behaviors, technologies, strategies, image, products, services and appearance.

There are different types of cultures just as there are different personalities. Researcher Jeffrey Sonnenfeld identified the following four types of cultures within most organizations (2004):

* Academy Culture - Employees are highly skilled and tend to stay in the organization, while working their way up the ranks. The organization provides a stable environment in which employees can develop and exercise their skills. Examples might be universities, hospitals, and large corporations (like Caesars Entertainment).

* Baseball Team Culture - Employees are "free agents" who have highly prized skills. They are in high demand and can rather easily get jobs elsewhere. This type of culture exists in fast-paced, high-risk organizations, such as investment banking, advertising, etc.

* Club Culture - The most important requirement for employees in this culture is to fit into the group. Usually employees start at the bottom and stay with the organization. The organization promotes from within and highly values seniority. Examples are the military, some law firms, etc.

* Fortress Culture - Employees don't know if they'll be laid off or not. These organizations often undergo massive reorganization. There are many opportunities for those with timely, specialized skills. Examples are savings and loans, large car companies, etc.

The culture at Caesars Entertainment is a mix between Academy, Baseball Team and Club cultures. Depending on the title and position of the individual, a Vice President, for example, may have those special, prized skills that are in demand and they may easily obtain a job elsewhere. There are also those that are highly skilled, such as executive accountants that like to stay with the company, working their way up the ranks with a stable environment for them to better their skills. The club culture aspect at Caesars would fit best with the employees that are situated at each different casino property and work from the bottom up, possibly from one job to another, but staying within the organization.

Diversity in the workplace appears to be improving in American corporations today. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), minorities and women now comprise two-thirds of all new labor force entrants (Prasad. 2004). Historically, companies advocated diversity because it was "the right thing to do". Quite simply, diversity is beginning to make good business sense. As the U.S. becomes more of a global marketplace, businesses must adapt in order to succeed. As early as twenty years ago, many minority employees had to downplay their cultural backgrounds on the job. But now, for perhaps the first time in American history, employers are classifying difference as an advantage. For employees, this is the time to maximize the benefits of cultural identity. No matter what the industry, chances are that a company's client base is diverse, maybe even international in scope. Fluency, or even proficiency, in different languages is a highly desirable. While foreign-language skills are in demand, fluency in English



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