Challenges and Opportunities for Organizational Behavior

The world order is changing dramatically and is in the process of complete transformation. The impossible things of yesterdays have become possible today and impossible things of today will become possible tomorrow. That is why it is said that change is the only permanent aspect of nature. The concept of self-sufficient nations is losing importance and the concept of ‘Global Village’ is emerging. Management of organization is bound to cope up with the radical transformation by developing new techniques and practices in the global perspective after carefully analyzing the real challenges being faced by the professional managers.

Challenges and opportunities for organizational behavior can be better understood with the help of following points.
Challenges and Opportunities of Organizational Behavior

1. Globalization

Globalization is the process of economic integration at the international level. Multinational companies are helping this process with the whole world being converted into a single global market place. Individuals and organizations buy raw materials, technology, services and resources from the providers who offer high quality with low price. In this respect, the most critical component is human resource. It is extremely difficult to get the requisite competence because of the high competition to acquire that, which is in short supply.

While globalization has opened up global opportunities, it has also led to the failure of local business, different impact on cultural ethics, values and customers etc. It has positive (opportunities) impact as well as negative (threats) impact in an organizational behavior. Some of the challenges posed by globalization are:
  • Organizational change and restructuring
  • Adopting new technology
  • Downsizing and their impact on human behavior etc.

Similarly, some of the opportunities posed by globalization are:
  • Low cost advantages by completing in global market.
  • New career perspectives
  • Transform of skills and technology
  • New investment opportunities
  • Positive changes in attitudes of different people from different countries etc.

2. Changing Profiles of Employees and Customers

There has been a drastic change in the profile of people joining organizations (employees) and those benefiting from the services of organizations (customers). Both employees and customers are now better informed and better educated because of the available choices, which are increasing every day. Both are highly demanding and are beginning to almost dictate to organization.

The best and the brightest people (employees) look for organizations that will fasten their personal growth and help them to feel empowered so that they have a sense of ownership, both psychological as well as physical. Expectation and values are changing. Bright young individuals who join organizations want assignments that are challenging and that allow them to prove themselves. Therefore, the changing profiles of employees and customers have opened opportunities as well as provide threats to the organizational behavior.

3. Increasing Workforce Diversity

Diversity has emerged as an issue because of imbalanced representation of diverse groups in the workforce. Nepal has not only been a diverse society, it has also valued and celebrated diversity. The term “synergic pluralism” has been suggested to describe Nepalese culture, citing examples and legends of how diverse religious and ethnic groups coming from outside were made welcome and were encouraged to maintain their identities. There are several bases on diversity which are as follows:
  • Demographic: Age, gender, education etc.
  • Social: Religion, language, region, caste, tribes, physical and mental handicaps etc.
  • Ideological: Different ways of perceiving issues, own thoughts, ideas etc.
Such diversities are increasing in developing as well as developed countries. Increasing workforce diversity has opened new opportunities to the today’s business organizations and has provided threats to the organizations and its behavior.

4. Social Responsibility and Ethics

While corporate organizations are using all facilities available in the society for their growth, they need to reciprocate by doing something for the societies where they exist and benefit from. This need is reflected in the concept of corporate social responsibilities. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a company’s commitment to operating in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable manner, while recognizing the interest of its stakeholders, including employees, government, investors, customers, business partners, local communities and society.

Similarly, a commitment to ethical conduct lives at the heart of corporate social responsibility. To successfully adopt strong CSR practices, a company must define its ethical principles and reflect how they impact the company’s business practices. An important step in this process is reinforcing ethical conduct among employees through ethics training programs. Therefore, social responsibility and ethics have opened opportunities as well as challenges to the organizational behavior.

5. Quality and Employee’s Productivity

As a result of globalization and free-market economy, demand for better quality services and products is increasing both domestically and internationally. As a result of the global competitiveness industries have to adopt internationally recognized and proven quality management system in their operations in order to stay in the business. As customers have become highly quality conscious and have a wide array of choices for different products, goods that do not meet quality standards (rejected goods), they find a new “second market”. The concept of total quality management (TQM) is highly emphasized in today’s business organizations to improve quality as per customer’s expectations.
Total quality management (TQM) is defined as an organization’s total dedication to strive for quality and customer satisfaction, and benefits, growth of all members of the organizations and to make a better society by participation of all its members. In the other hands, productivity can be defined as producing maximum with minimum cost. Productivity is the ratio of total outputs divided by total inputs for a particular point of time. Similarly, employee’s productivity can be defined as getting best from employees irrespective of compensation and benefits paid to them. The challenge, therefore, is to evolve strategies so that employees give their 100 percent to the organization, feel that they are a part of it. And to help them grow as well as enhance the productivity of the organization.

As the essence, the matter of quality and employee’s productivity provides opportunity as well as challenges to the today’s organizations behavior.

6. Organizations Change and Development

Individuals develop with the change and development of their organization. The behavior of the individuals and groups is highly influenced by organizational change and development processes. An organization which keeps on running various organizational change programs and works for organizational development creates environment of positive vibrations. Organizational change and development factor creates opportunities to the organization as well as provides threats to the organization and its behavior.

7. Information Technology

The world has entered the information age surpassing the industrial age which has been made possible by the ever increasing developments in the field of information technology (IT). The way we access and assimilate information and the emergence of new methods of packaging information have given birth to a revolution more complex and powerful than the liberation of the printed word that started in the Middle Europe around the 15th century. The IT revolution is about real-time access and sharing of digital information, consisting of visual images, sound and virtual worlds, made possible by core information technologies like digital networks, information data banks and computer graphics.

It has a significant influence on work, the work environment and working relationships. Information technology results in better work, because it incorporates technical skills which encompass the ability to apply specialized knowledge. It has been studied that people get more satisfaction if they develop their technical skills. Interpersonal roles, information roles and managerial function are improved with technology. In other words, it is an application of knowledge to perform work. Information technology has the following characteristics:
  • It determines the level of skills required.
  • It improves efficiency and thus organization feels secure.
  • It determines the productivity of an organization.
  • It influences the social situation.
  • It influences organizational structure.
All these factors shape the behavior of people concerned. Therefore, it opens opportunities as well as threats to the organization and its behavior.

8. Corporate Re-organization

Because of changes in the economic, political and international environment, many corporations have resorted to reorganization to remain competitive in the market. Mergers and acquisitions in today’s business environment are not uncommon. Such events require reorganization having impact on the employees of concerned companies. The employees experience anxiety and uncertainty about their places in the new organization. The employees of both the ‘taking over’ as well as the ‘taken over’ companies will have anxious moments because of the following factors:
  • Fear of loss of jobs
  • Job changes, including new roles and assignments
  • Transfer to new geographic location
  • Changes in career possibilities
  • Changes in remuneration and benefits
  • Changes in organization power, status and prestige
  • Changes in group dynamics
  • Change in corporate culture

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Basic Assumptions of Organizational Behavior (OB)

Every field of social science has a philosophical foundation of basic concepts that guides its development. Organizational behavior is based on the basic concept of human relations which is a noteworthy social approach towards the establishment of inter-personal relationship between superiors and subordinates. Organizational behavior deals with a set of fundamental concepts revolving around the nature of the people and organization. These concepts of organizational behavior are as follows:
Basic Assumptions of OB

1. The Nature of People

With regard to people, there are four basic assumptions: individual differences, a whole person, caused behavior (motivation) and value of the person (human dignity).

a) Individual Differences
People have much in common but each person in the world is also individually different. The idea of individual differences comes originally from psychology. From the day of birth, each person is unique and individual experiences after birth make people even more different. So, management can get the subordinates motivated by treating them individually and differently. Only one measure of motivated all people working in an organization. Some are motivated by money, but some other by status and any other. Hence, overall motivation plan is needed to deal with subordinates individually. Therefore, individual differences mean that management can get the greatest motivation among employees by treating them differently.

b) A Whole Person
Some managers think that they have employed a person just for his labor, skills or brain. So, they are concerned with his labor of work only but he has to employ a whole person rather than certain separate characteristics. Managers have to do a lot with a person’s personality, personal life, knowledge, development and other things. Though a person’s different traits may be separately studied, but in final analysis, they are integral part of one system making up a whole person. Skill does not exist apart from background or knowledge. Home life is not totally separable from work life and emotional conditions are not totally separable from work life and emotional conditions are not separable from physical conditions.

c) Caused Behavior (Motivation)
We know that behavior has certain causes. These may related to a person’s needs, and/or the consequences that result from acts. In case of needs, all normal human behavior and his/her course of future actions, both are caused by a person’s need structure. This fact leaves management with two basic ways to motivate people. It can show them how certain actions will increase their need fulfillment, or it can threaten decreased need fulfillment unless they follow a required course of action. Clearly a path towards increased need fulfillment is the better approach. Motivation is essential for the operation of organization. No matter how much machinery and equipment an organization has, these things cannot be put to use until they are released and guided by people who have been motivated. The management can create a suitable environment in the organization, conductive to the fulfillment of individual needs within the overall structure.

d) Value of the Person (Human Dignity)
Value of the person is more an ethical philosophy than a scientific conclusion. It confirms that people are to be treated differently from other factors of production because they are of a higher order in the universe. It recognizes that people are of a higher order, they want to be treated with respect and dignity, and should be treated this way. Every job, however simple, entitles the people who do it to get respect and recognition of their unique aspirations and abilities. The concept of human dignity rejects the old idea of using employee as economic tool. Therefore, treatment of the working staffs as a respectable human being, appreciation of their skills and recognition of their personality are very important basis of human relations.

2. The Nature of the Organization

With regard to organizations, the key assumptions are that they are social systems and that they are formed on the basis of mutual interest.

a) Mutual Interest
Organization theory tells us about the mutuality of interest between individuals and organization. In the other words, mutual interest is represented by the statement “Organizations need people, and people also need organizations”. Organizations have a human purpose. They are formed and maintained on the basis of some mutuality of interest among their participants. People see organizations as a means to help them reach their goals while at the same time, organizations need people to help reach organizational objectives. If mutuality is lacking, it makes no sense to try to assemble a group and develop co-operation, because there is no common base on which to build. Mutual interest provides a super-ordinate goal that unites the variety of needs that people bring to organizations. The result is that people are encouraged to attack organizational problems rather than each other. So, the management should try to co-ordinate the common goals and to motivate individual in a nice manner because members will like to continue within the organization as long as they feel that their interest are being served by attaching to the organization.

b) Social Systems
Organizations are social systems, consequently activities therein are governed by social laws as well as psychological laws. In other words, each organization is a social group having small number of groups. As people have needs, these organizations also have their needs, status and role. In fact, two types of social systems exist side-by-side in organizations. One is the formal (official) social system, and the other is the informal social system. The existence of a social system implies that the organizational environment is one of dynamic change, rather than a static set of relations as pictured on an organization chart. All parts of the system are inter-dependent and subject to influence by any other part. Everything is related to everything else. The idea of a social system provides a framework for analyzing organizational behavior issues. It helps to make organizational behavior problems understandable and manageable.

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