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Organizational Behavior Trends

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Organizational Behavior Trends

Organizational Behavior Trends

The Amercian economist Robert Reich once said "Your most precious possession is not your finanical assets. Your most precious possession is the people you have working there, and what they carry around in their heads, and their ability to work together." Organizational behavior has become an increasingly important topic over the last decade as businesses have come to recognize their most important resource is the employees who work for them. To truly understand organizational behavior, we must first understand trends in organizational behavior and how these trends have an impact on employees. Trends such as the influence of ethics on decision-making and the impact of technology on work-related stress are two such trends we must better understand if we are to fully understand organizational behavior. We will look at both of these trends in turn in order to gain a better understanding of organizational behavior and the impact on employees.

The first trend to evaluate is the influence of ethics on decision making. Ethics are the rules, principles, standards, or beliefs that commonly define right and wrong (Sims 1994). Ethics are involved in all facets of business from decision-making to budgeting, from personnel issues to leadership. Today's managers must be able to see the ethical issues in the choices they face, make decisions within an ethical framework, and build and maintain an ethical work environment. Managers must be particularly sensitive to ethical issues because of their key role as a bridge between upper management and operating employees. For most employees, their manager is the only contact the employees have with middle and top management. As such, employees interpret the company's ethical standards through the actions and words of their managers. For example, as a manager if I steal company supplies, manipulate department financial reports, or engage in other unethical practices I set a tone for my employees that is likely to undermine all the efforts by top management to create a corporate climate of high ethical standards. Therefore, managers must be even more ethical than their employees.

There are many stakeholders with interests in ethical decision making: the organization itself, corporate boards, middle and top management, managers, operating employees, customers and clients, suppliers, competitors, the industry at large, the community, and the nation. At one time or another, ethical decisions affect all constituencies, and ethical considerations may change based on the particular group of stakeholders affected. When an organization operates ethically, the people who manage that organization evaluate the organization's business practices in light of human values of morality.

The difficulty that many managers face is that ethical behavior often collides with the bottom line at least in the short-run. But things are changing. The word is getting out: Ethical behavior is good business and ethical behavior contributes to organization's success. A reputation for honesty and integrity attracts and holds customers and this reputation will ultimately show up in the bottom line. Organizations that have strong ethical values and consistently display them in all their activities derive other benefits: improved management control, increased productivity, avoidance of litigation, and an enhanced company image that attracts talent, improves morale, and earns the public's good will. For today's managers, leading effectively therefore also means leading ethically and morally. The responsibility of managers is to help guide the design, implementation, and monitoring of the organization's moral environment and strategies. As organizations put increased pressure on managers and employees to cut costs and increase productivity, ethical dilemmas are almost certain to increase. By what they say and do, managers contribute toward setting their organization's ethical standards.

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