Organizational Behavior 2

Updated 2006-10-28 00:38


More terms, definitions, and concepts related to Organizational Behavior.

Section V: Attribution

Self Serving biasPeople take credit for success and place blame on others for failure
Attributional Egotism
Internal attributionsPersonal ability: "I succeeded and will probably continue to succeed in the future because I am good at this task"
Typical effort: "I succeed because I always try very hard"
Effort on this task: "I succeeded because I tried very hard on this project"
Mood (flexible attribution, so it can be used to explain good or bad results): "I succeeded this time because I was in a particularly good mood and felt like doing it right"
External attributionsTask difficulty: "This job was just impossible"
Luck: "That’s the way the ball bounces. It’ll bounce my way next time"
Supervision: "I could have gotten it done if he had just let me do it my way"
Co-workers: "It would have been done if production had just gotten the materials out on time"
Competition: "My competitor is cutting prices to suicide levels"
Actor/Observer differences in attributionsEmployee and manager can view the same event quite differently

Section VI: Accounts

Question Answer
Excuse definedOne admits that the act in question is bad, wrong, or inappropriate but denies full responsibility
Four forms of Excuses<ol>Appeal to accidentsMitigate responsibility by pointing to the generally recognized hazards in the environment, the understandable inefficiency of the body, and the human incapacity to control all motor responses

Appeal to defeasibilityClaim that certain information was not available to him, which, if it had been would have altered his behavior
"I did not know that would happen if I did that"

Appeal to biological drivesFatalistic forces which in various cultures are deemed in greater or lesser degree to be controlling of some or all events

ScapegoatingQuestionable behavior is a response to the behavior or attitudes of another

Justification definedOne accepts responsibility for the act in question, but denies the pejorative quality associated with it
4 Techniques of Neutralization<ol>Denial of injuryAcknowledge what one did, but assert that it was permissible to do that act since no one was injured by it, or since no one about whom the community needed be concerned with was involved, or finally since the act resulted in consequences that were trifling
Persons (My friends or enemies)
Objects (Car "borrowing" is not theft)

Denial of the victimAct was permissible because the person deserved the injury
Proximate foes - Those who directly injured the actor
Incumbents - Homosexuals, whores, pimps
Groups with tribal stigmas - Racial and ethnic minorities
Distant foes - Politicians

Condemnation of the condemnersActor admits performing an untoward act but asserts its irrelevancy because others commit these and worse acts, and these others are either not caught, not punished, not condemned, unnoticed, or even praised

Appeal to loyaltiesActor asserts that his action was permissible or even right since it served the interests of another to whom he owes an unbreakable allegiance or affection

Sad TaleSelected arrangement of facts that highlight an extremely dismal past, and thus “explain” the individual’s present state

Section VII: Decision Making

Question Answer
InquiryOpen process designed to generate multiple alternatives, foster the exchange of ideas, and produce a well-tested solution
Collaboration to arrive at the best solution for the group
AdvocacyParticipants approach decision making as a contest, although they don’t necessarily compete openly or even consciously
Contest where people try to implement the solution that fits their personal needs
The Litmus test for decision making (5 things to consider)<ol>Multiple alternatives
Assumption testing
Well-defined criteria
Dissent and debate
Perceived fairness
Why Multiple alternatives?When groups consider many alternatives, they engage in more thoughtful analysis and usually avoid settling too quickly on the easy, obvious answer
Why Assumption testing?Facts come in two varieties: those that have been carefully tested and those that have been merely asserted or assumed; Effective decision-making groups do not confuse the two
Why Well-defined criteria?Without crisp, clear goals, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing apples with oranges
Why Dissent and debate?There are two ways to measure the health of a debate: the kinds of questions being asked and the level of listening
Why Perceived fairness?A real-time measure of perceived fairness is the level of participation that’s maintained after a key midpoint or milestone has been reached
The most crucial factor to making a decisionKeeping people involved in the process

Section VIII: Optimism and Planning

Question Answer
Planning fallacyManagers overestimate their abilities and control over variables, which leads them to failure because the reality is not as good as they had thought
Outside vs Inside ViewThe "outside view" refers to objective decision-making practices, using inquiry to test assumptions, not being overly optimistic, etc. The inside view limits the decision making parties to their own overly optimistic assumptions and typically results in unrealistic forecasting, etc.
Optimism: AnchoringThe initial plan will tend to accentuate the positive, anchoring skews subsequent analysis toward over-optimism
Optimism: competitor neglectIn making forecasts, executives tend to focus on their own company’s capabilities and plans and are prone to neglect the potential abilities and actions of rivals


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