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Organizational Behavior

Updated 2006-10-28 00:38


Terms, definitions, and concepts related to Organizational Behavior.

Section I: Networks

EmergenceA system's behavior evolves out of the interactions between nodes, sometimes exceeding the sum of the abilities of the nodes
NetworkNodes and deliverables organized with a goal of producing those results that the manager desires
SynchronyThe behavior of a system, like an equilibrium or harmony, Runners in a pack, rather than randomly distributed
Self-organizationThe way a system "snaps" into shape, apparently having a mind of its own
ExecutionA systematic process of rigorously discussing hows and whats, questioning, tenaciously following through, and ensuring accountability
Related to the company’s strategy, not just an individual’s goals
The gap nobody knowsThe gap between what a company’s leaders want to achieve and the ability of their organization to achieve it.
DeliverablesOutputs of one’s actions, inputs to another node in the network
Links and working linksLinks are deliverables between nodes
Working links require feedback from the customer about the value of the deliverable
Activities vs. ProductsActivity - action
Product - result of an action, sometimes a deliverable

Section II: Measures

3 kinds of measuresactivity, output, impact
Activity Measuremeasurement of internal process (capacity utilization, throughput, etc.)
Output Measuremeasurment of whether your customer received your output (validation) and whether it lived up to your customer's standards (satisfaction)
Impactaffects the performance of another node, requires data from customer, requires data from customer
Nominal MeasuresMeasures used for indentification purposes. For example: on/off
players on teams have numbers, but player #30 is not twice as good as #15
Ordinal MeasuresMeasures with an implied order of events. For example: rankings of preferences
Interval MeasuresMeasures in which the spacing between numbers means something. For Example:temperature scales (0 degrees means something)
ratios cannot be implied without a reference of "absolute zero"
Ratio MeasuresMeasures that reference zero ("none")numbers can be compared in terms of multiples of each other

Section III: Incentive strategy and performance management

Incentive strategyconcerns the way that organizations, operating within markets, tie rewards and punishments to individuals and team performance in order to motivate value-creating behavior.
management of incentives cannot be replaced with purely formulaic incentives that require no subjectivity
Objective performance measurement: Controllability Problemit is difficult to know whether an outcome was the result of controllables (effort, wise decisions) or from uncontrollables (luck, chance)
Objective performance measurement: Alignment ProblemWhen a job requires multiple tasks, it is typically the case that performance regarding some tasks is easy to measure (e.g., on-time deliveries) relative to other tasks (e.g., courteous deliveries). Individual performance (e.g., on-time deliveries) measures are incomplete and therefore not perfectly aligned with value creation.
Objective performance measurement: Interdependency ProblemValue is often created by teams of individuals. When a given outcome is the result of the joint performance of many, it is difficult to determine the individual contributions of any team member.
Difficulties of Subjective performance measurementharder-to-measure contributions to value creation are no less important than the "objectively measured" contributions; they are just more difficult to measure.
Requires substantial effort because it is so hard to do well. Even companies that believe they do it successfully find it to be difficult
The main problem of subjective performance evaluation is that most people dislike evaluating others, especially when performance is weak.
Folly of rewarding A while hoping for BAlso called "Kerr's Folly", this phenomenon promotes behavior different than what is desired. People react to what they are rewarded for, not what you want from them

Section IV: Noise, Feedback, and Performance

NoiseInterference with the signal, not productive, can be destructive
Output feedbackMultiple types of output feedback:Validation - Did you get it?
Satisfaction - Did you like it?
Impact - Did it work?
Performance appraisalAnnual summary of performance, tied to compensation, one-directional meeting
Performance managementIntegrates appraisal with two-way feedback, development, and goal-setting
More "constant updating" than "one-time review"