Thursday, January 31, 2013


Organizational behavior is the study and application of the knowledge about how groups and individuals in their firms or organizations.  Organizational behavior which is commonly referred to as OB helps in the understanding of how the relationship between different people in an organization can be interpreted. The interpretation is usually undertaken in terms of the whole organization, the groups that the people belong to or the very individuals who are found in the organizations. OB has one main goal of ensuring that effective and better relationships can be built between people who are involved in interactions. The efficiency is achieved through helping the people to be able to achieve their objectives; be them organizational, social or human. The entire individual in a firm or an organization always hold some sort of belief, aspirations, personal characteristics, attitudes and values. Due to the interaction between the people in the organization, there will be an interaction in the personal characteristics that they bring to the firm thus bringing about the creation of an organizational setting or context. This context can be understood through the use of OB especially when the organization, the people who make the organization and resources are looked into. The organizational behavior is made up of four main elements: the structures, technology, people and the environment. The people refer to the internal and the social system of the organization. Technology allows the talks and work in the firm to be carried out.  The environment is the system that surrounds the organization. Finally, the structure denotes the relationship forms that exist in the organization (Bobbins, 1997).  The essay will explore organizational behavior problems and how concepts or theory of organizational behavior can be used in enhancing clear understanding of the problems in the organization.
Organizational problem
            Due to the realization that higher work productivity can be achieved if the employees of the firm are highly motivated, thus there has been a movement by a number of firms towards using a number of strategies that will ensure that the employees of the firm are highly motivated. The motivation problems that are faced in the firm include a number of issues that stretch from a variety of areas. The first motivation problem that is faced in the firm is the setting of the standards for the work that the employees should be able to undertake. The firm has unclear and unrealistic standards on the employees. The diversity between the employees in the firm is also not treasured as there is a general lack of understanding, trust and respect amongst the members of the group. The other problem that is related to the motivation in the firm is the lack of involvement of the employees and the team members in the decision making; especially in regards to the decisions regarding the issues that will directly affect the employees in their day to day activities. There is also a problem in the allocation of the work that the employees were expected to undertake. The work division in the firm is not undertaken in term of the preferences and the capabilities and the ability of the employees who are involved in the operations. The communication in the firm is also not inclusive and does not take into consideration about the employees needs; the employees of the firm are not contacted in regular basis. Finally, there are also poor remuneration and reward system in the firm. The rewards and remuneration problems and the issues related to the involvement of the employees in the decision making will be explored in detail in the essay together with all the other contributors to the problem of lack of motivation in the firm.
Expectancy theory
            Expectancy theory is can be used to explain the reasoning behind the varied alternatives that people take in their work lives. The theory was introduced in Yale School of Management by Vroom victor in 1964 where the focus of the theory as on the outcomes. It represented a movement of the needs of the workers as was previously used by Herzberg and Maslow (Robinson, 1992). According to the theory, the motivation that exists is a direct outcome of the belief that high performance will lead to a reward; that their efforts will lead to a high performance and the motivational levels are also related to how much the people want the reward. The three main constructs of the theory will be discussed in detail. The expectancy refers to the faith that the employees will have and thus they will lead to better effort. Instrumentality lies in the belief that the people have that they will be able to perform well. Valence on the other and is associated with the outcome that the employees of the firm work towards achieving. The expectancy theory has three broad themes based on the three components of valence, expectancy and instrumentality.  The first is the relationship between the performance and the efforts especially recognizing the likelihood that the efforts that a person engages in will be used as the basis of their appraisal. There is also the relationship between rewards and the personal goals of the individuals especially the appeal or the attractiveness of the reward to the people whom it is directed at. Finally, there is the reward and performance relationship which deals with the inclination that the employees have that when they perform they will be given rewards by the organization.
Analysis of the motivation problems using expectancy theory
            First, it can be said that the lack of motivation in the firm can be tied to the esteem issues. According to Robinson (1992), the people who belong to an organization always require to be in some control off the activities that they undertake. This is a problem at the firm as the decisions regarding how the employees carry out the work do not lie with them but is always undertake by the employees of the firm. When the employee does not have control over the activities that they undertake, are not involved in the selection of the tasks that they are supposed to undertake and are also not involved in the making of decision and thus do not consider themselves as valuable members of the organization wwh2ich they belong to. The level of confidence of the employees who have to be made for choices will be low even if the situations and valances were high.
Secondly, there is the issue that relates to the expectation that the employees or the members of the organization have when they are joining the organization. This may range from monetary and material to social expectations. The expectations are usually two ways; for instance, the firm has expectation regarding the employees who will come into the firm and the employees also have expectations that wills be needed to be undertaken in the firm. There has to be a cordial relationship between the firm and the employees of the firm so that a win – win situation can be established (Robinson, 1992). The expectation may not be written down in the contracts and are contained in what is referred to as psychological contracts. Thus the problem arises when the win- win situation can not be achieved in the firm as the communication in the firm is not effective. The decision making is not inclusive in the firm and thus the employees of the firm are not involved in the day to day running of the activities that greatly affect them. This has led to the problem of motivation in the firm.
Thirdly, there is the issue of goal setting which greatly contributes to the performance of the employees and thus also contribute to the motivational levels. When the employees are given an opportunity to be able to undertake the activity of setting the goals for themselves, they will have a higher level of motivation. The decision must be able to lie with the employees (Miner, 2005). When the employees are involved in the goal setting, they will have a more clear understanding of the expectation of the organization and thus they will exude higher levels of confidence in undertaking the jobs that they are required to be able to do. The absence of shared goal setting in the firm, characterized by centralized decision, leads to a scenario where the employees are not able to focus on common goals, they will have a lower level of concern towards raising the quality and the performance that is expected of them and also capturing of the vision of the employees towards carrying out the duties in an efficient manner (Robinson, 1992). The little involvement of the employees leads to a scenario where they have a little understanding of what is expected of them, when the expectations are to be met and how they [the expectations] are to be met. The employees will not have the motivation to be able to achieve the goals within the timeframe that the work is expected to be completed.
Moreover, there is also the consideration of the concept of effort that covers a range of issues; the use of energy and or mental strength to be able to undertake an activity that is required for the success of the organization. At the firm, the efforts of the employees are inhibited in a number of ways (Isaac, Zerbe & Pitt, 2001). The allocation of the duties is arbitrary and does not take into consideration the capabilities and the skills that the people have. There is also a lack of common objective that binds the employees and the firm to be able to be involved in a number of activities (Mathibe, 2011). Due to the lack of drivers of effort in the firm, the levels of motivation at the firm are at rock bottom. The firm cannot be able to achieve its objectives if the situation remains the same over the years.
In addition to the above, there is also the issue of the performance. The performance that is desired in an organization can be achieved in a number of ways. They include the use of positive reinforcement, rewards and feedback. When the above is absent in an organization, the performance levels in the organization will be low. The firm has a noted lack of the above and thus the low performance that is being recorded in the organization is a direct result of the inability of the firm to be able to motivate their employees (Isaac, Zerbe & Pitt, 2001).
Finally, there is the issue of equity especially fairness and justice in the organization. There is a high desire by the people to be able to get similar quality of rewards and outcomes for similar effort that they put into the jobs. In most cases, the firm does not consider the levels of effort of the employees; mostly by-passing their expectations with regard to the levels of performance that the firm has (Gerhart, Minkoff & Olsen, 1995). Although the firm has been on the path of profitability in the last couple of years, the employees are not rewarded in accordance with the increase in the effort that the people have to put into the organization (Mathibe, 2011). The employees have a feeling that they are not rewarded adequately for the contributive input that they have in the organization.
Recommendation on how the motivation problems can be dealt with
            Using the theory of expectancy, there are a number of recommendations that can be put forward to the organization. The adoption of the recommendations will help the organization to realize higher levels of employee motivation; while at their jobs. First, equity principles must be seen to be in operation in the firm; this lies in the fact that there should be equilibrium between the input and efforts of the employees and the output that they get in terms of the rewards and accolades that the employees get (Mathibe, 2011). Equity will be ensured through the use of giving performance bonuses and rewards to the employees. The employees will ten have higher level of motivation as the incongruence and imbalance in the output-input balance will be done away with.
            Secondly, there should be consultation with regards to all the operations that takes place in the firm. The employees of the firm must be able to understand the working of the organization especially in regards to how the work is being carried out in the firm. The communication channels should be free and flexible thus allowing the free flow of information between the people who greatly need the information in the firm (Miner, 2005). The setting of the work standards for the employees should be able to involve the employees of the firm in the design of the work so that their skills and capabilities are taken into great consideration.
Thirdly, the environment in the firm should be that which promotes diversity of the people. In many instances, the inability of the people to embrace their individual differences for instance in terms of the skill levels, gender, race and sexual orientation may lead to lack of respect, low understanding and little trust in the organization (Gerhart, Minkoff & Olsen, 1995). Diversity should be enhanced and embraced through respect for each other, involvement of the employees of the firm without looking at the differences that they have and the protection of the personal liberties of the people though enhancing respect for each other (Miner, 2005).
Finally, the organization can engage in the unlocking of the potential of the employees. The employees who are right for the given jobs will be hired. The employees are then trained and imparted with a variety of skills that are required for the completion of their tasks. This can be undertaken through the use of job rotation. The diverse skills that are developed in the firm ill be able to become highly flexible, mobile and interchangeable in the work that is being undertaken in the firm (Miner, 2005). When the employees are highly skilled in a wide number of areas, they will not feel threatened when people with similar skills join the firm thus a high level of motivation amongst the employees of the firm.
            The expectancy theory can be used to understand the various motivational problems that affect the organization. The consideration is always on what the organization is expected to do to the employees. It does not end there, as the employees are also expected to carry out some activities for the firm. When there is a balance between the two expectations, the employees of the firm will b highly motivated.  In the cases where the balance exists, the employees of the firm always strive to achieve certain goals and levels of performance while the firm also ensures that the rewards that the employees get are in tandem. The other considerations include the shared decision making and the use of the principle of equity in the firm.

Bobbins, S. (1997), Organizational Behavior, Hoboken, NJ: Prentice Hall
Gerhart, B., Minkoff, H. B., & Olsen, R. N. (1995), 'Employee compensation: Theory, practice, and evidence', In G. R. P. Ferris, S. D. Rosen, & D. T. Barnum (Eds.), Handbook of Human Resources Management, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell
Isaac, R., Zerbe, W., & Pitt, D. (2001) 'Leadership and motivation: The effective application of expectancy theory', Journal of Managerial Issues, 13(2), 212-226
Mathibe, I. (2011), 'Expectancy Theory and its implications for employee motivation', Academic Leadership, 9(2)
Miner, J. B. (2005), Organizational behavior I: Essential theories of motivation and leadership, Armonk, NY:  M.E. Sharpe.
Robinson, J. (1992), Managing after the superlatives, Kent: Tudor