Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing." -- Warren Bennis, Ph.D. "On Becoming a Leader." Since organizational behavior is the "study and application of knowledge about how people, individuals, and groups act in organizations," then to build an argument for or against this as a vital ingredient in the workforce, we need to look at a few of the theories surrounding this study.
The first theory, Scientific Management, was created to organize workers, managers, and operations during the Industrial Revolution. This states that workers are basically machines and are easily replaced. Each task was broken down to its smallest unit, thereby making the worker doing that one thing repetitiously. Pay was tied to performance as an incentive to work harder and longer. Industrial engineers were used to establish conditions of the work environment, to increase overall production. After analyzing each job, they would then teach it to the worker. The core concepts of this theory are still used today. Also, this theory says that people can learn to supervise and become managers, rather than be born with that ability. The goal was to remove human variability.
Results of this theory were both negative and positive. Positive results included departments were created to include industrial engineering, personnel, and quality control; growth in the middle management, which included the separation of planning operations; the creation of rational rules and procedures, which resulted in the increase of efficiency; and formalized management. Productivity went up dramatically, work breaks were introduced to the work day, and the work day itself was shortened to increase productivity. This may be where the 8-hour work day came from.
Negative results included the fact that the human aspect was taken out of the work -- the workers were treated like machines. People are more than just machines, and this model suggested otherwise. There were also "industrial engineers" standing over the worker with a stop watch, measuring everything that was done. This became a hated aspect of the job, which lead to sabotage and group resistance, with an informal leader, protecting the other workers from the "formal" leaders.
This theory leads to the next theory, The Human Relations Movement, which stated that human beings were more than machines. This came about, because of the discrepancy between how an organization was supposed to work vs. how the workers actually behaved. Developments in psychology at the time had lead to the development of this theory. Humans needed breaks, needed rewards and punishments, as the need arose, and were motivated by many needs. Job roles are more complex than the job descriptions, with people acting in many other ways, besides what the descriptions cover. Leadership should be modified to include concepts of these human relation findings, and management requires effective social skills, besides the technical skills as previously thought in the Scientific Management theory suggested. The core concepts of this theory were built on the Scientific Management theory, building some of the core concepts that are still in use today.
This theory also suggested that work is as natural as play if the conditions are favorable. People, if properly motivated, can be self-directed and creative at work, which can spread the creativity throughout the organization. This leads to the theory that self-control is an absolute in achieving organizational goals. Motivation also occurs at the affiliation, esteem, and self-actualization levels, as well as the security and physiological levels.
The next, and last, theory that will be discussed here is the Weber's Model of Bureaucracy. This states that formal rules and behavior are bound by rules. Division of labor is based on the different specializations that people have, which leads to the rational allocation of tasks. Promotion is based on technical competence, and beginning employment is based on merit -- not status! Everyone is tested for their qualifications according to their specific level of competence.
This was supposed to result in the ideal bureaucratic organization. This ideal situation includes the factors that authority is rational and legal, and the authority should be based on position, not on the person in that position. Positions are organized in a hierarchy of authority. Authority stems from the office and this authority has limits, which are defined by the office.
But, of course, not everything is ideal. When these theories were tested, it was found that workers resisted formal changes in management, broke up loyalties, and helped each other with their work. Formal management theories became a hated factor of work, and informal leaders took over, to protect each other from the bureaucracy that tried to dictate what their jobs were.
These principles add value to the business, in that employees are more than just machines; when employees are satisfied with their jobs, they are more productive. Leadership should be modified to include these concepts of human relations. Management requires effective social skills in order to relate to their employees...technical skills are just a part of the equation. Communication should cover both the logical and economic aspects of the organization and the feelings of people. When feelings are hurt, there is less productivity, which means less money for the organization.
Behavior of one person can affect the entire organization, directly or indirectly, which then affects how the public views it. Managers need to realize this, in order to make the work place a pleasant place to work. Hard driving managers do not contribute to the satisfaction of employees, but rather to the high turnover rates of some companies. If a manager thinks that being hard on their employees is the way to manage the workforce, then they will lose their employees; which is why there are high turnover rates in some companies and low turnover rates in other companies. Most people want to be treated with respect and dignity, but when managers take this out of the workplace equation, something is missing.
Job enrichment is equal to job performance. If managers contribute to the high job enrichment, then employees will work harder to contribute to the higher job performance. The way that managers can contribute to the higher job enrichment is to give each employee tasks that will enable them to grow in the job and in life. The more appropriate tasks that an employee is assigned, the more the employee will be satisfied and will perform better.
But when a manager gives up the "soft skills" of human relations, communication, and respecting an employee, then the employees will rebel or give up on the job. When employees are given a list of what they are supposed to do, without a chance to prove themselves, they will get it done in the morning, and then slack off during the rest of the day. Managers who expect their employees to do only a certain amount of work, are creating an atmosphere of resentment.
Managers who are tough minded and rule with a tough hand will not make a productive atmosphere. People are more than just workers -- they have families, hobbies, social activities, and other interests. Some managers, however, want to think that work is the only thing a person has in life, and that the person should put their all into their work. Many people resent that philosophy and will either quit that job, or stay, but not be productive.
Employees want to be treated with dignity, respect, and importance. When employees are treated this way, production increases, which leads to the company's income increasing. Employees also want to set their own goals, not having goals superimposed on them. When the individual can set their own goals, within the scope of the company's goals, they work better, and can reach those goals more efficiently.
Managers can actually take this too far, in that nothing would get done and a level of mediocrity can settle in. A little friction can be good, so that employees will actually do the work. Friction, and a tough ruling hand, can also be good when violence happens at work.
From the organizational point-of-view, there are also negative behaviors that happen at work. These behaviors include aggression, hostility, sabotage, theft, and violence. This is counterproductive, and a manager needs to know when to be soft on people and when to use a hard ruling hand. These behaviors can hurt their employers with revenge on either real, or imagined injustices.
Behaviors often have a motive behind them, and a good manager will know how to discover them, before disciplining the employee. Sure, the employee committing these counterproductive behaviors needs to be disciplined regardless of the motives, but when a manager knows why the employee committed the act, they can use a specific discipline that will fit the act. For example, when an low paid employee steals money to help a sick child, then maybe a manager can suspend that employee for a specific amount of time, then give that employee a raise or help with the bills for that sick child.