Moreover, Bartlett (cited in Churchwell, 2003) underlined that, in the past, managing diversity was rather synonymous with giving equal opportunities to people of different gender or race. Nowadays, he emphasized that diversity meant "legitimizing diverse views in an organization, including those based in cultural differences."
In addition to his remark, one could say that managing diversity under contemporary circumstances doesn't exclusively consist of providing equal treatment to different people. It also implies possessing the necessary know how for properly handling the respective discrepancies in order to obtain competitive results. For instance, researches have emphasized that teams encompassing members who have different cultural backgrounds are more creative. Therefore, if a manager knows how to stimulate synergy among team members, than there is a higher chance for innovations to arouse and this can only be beneficial to the respective organization.
The new variables/challenges that managers encounter are also influencing the ratio between intuition and systemic approach. Organizational Behavior puts a high stress on a rational measurement of human behavior and attitudes. However, intuition should also be allowed to play an important part in the game, if we take into account the highly dynamic and uncertain environment with which organizations are confronted. Thus, if in earlier times, the share assigned to unstructured decisions was quite insignificant, nowadays it has increased to a high extent. When having to take such decisions, managers often use intuition because of the uncertainty and, implicitly, the impossibility to predict (http://mis2.uis.edu/fall99/mis513/cware/week10/w10L01.htm).
Therefore, the relevance of Organizational Behavior has become questionable and has been put through severe criticism, during the last years. For instance, some researches argued that Organizational Behavior studies were not connected with real life problems as they were carried out in laboratories that didn't succeed in identically replicating the outside world. Therefore, the conclusions drawn were considered to lack external validity (Thomas, Tymon, 1982).
On the other hand, critics argued that Organizational...
Thus, in many cases, meaning and symbolism were overlooked (Thomas, Tymon, 1982).
Additionally, there were voices who highlighted the huge gap between theory and practice as practitioners, unlike theoreticians, didn't control key variables. Therefore, "abstract variables must be translated into things that the practitioner -- can take hold of and change... -- " (Summer and O'Connell, cited in Thomas & Tymon, 1982).
Another accusation brought to Organizational Behavior referred to the fact that many conclusions were common sense inferences that most non-psychologists could draw. This is why some voices argue that hypotheses are not tested for finding out the objective truth, but for demonstrating the subjective truth that researchers have in mind (Thomas, Tymon, 1982).
Last but not least, it seems to be a time gap between theoreticians and practitioners. Thus, if the former are long-term oriented, the latter focus on short-term decisions and problem solving. Therefore, by the time researchers finish their studies, mangers might not need the conclusions anymore or the environment might undergo significant changes (Thomas, Tymon, 1982).
To conclude with, one could state that the systematic study of Organizational Behavior is salutary because it pays a considerable attention to human factors and tries to measure their behaviors and attitudes, but its relevance is questionable given the cleavage that still exists between theory and practice.
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Hofstede, G. (2003). Cultural Dimensions. On the Internet at http://www.geert-hofstede.comRetrieved March 8, 2008.
Thomas, K., Tymon, W. (1982). Necessary Properties of Relevant Research: Lessons from Recent Criticisms of the Organizational Sciences. The Academy of Management Review, 7 (3), 345-352.
Diversity: an overview (2007). On the Internet at http://www.cipd.co.uk/subjects/dvsequl/general/divover.htm?IsSrchRes=1Retrieved March 8, 2008.
Management Information Systems (1999). On the Internet at http://mis2.uis.edu/fall99/mis513/cware/week10/w10L01.htm. Retrieved March 8, 2008.
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Organizational Studies (2007). On the Internet at http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Organizational+studiesRetrieved March 8, 2008.
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