A series of web-based assignments for each chapter of the book. These can be used to help develop your research skills and apply the knowledge you have learned. Click on the links below to jump to each chapter.
Part 1: Work and organizational behaviourPart 2: Individuals and workPart 3: Groups and social interactionPart 4: Organizational change, processes and performance
Additional online web-based assignment
This exercise can be used to support Chapter 9, alongside the section on group structure on page 249. It is also relevant to the section on personality testing in Chapter 4, beginning on page 121, and the OB in focus box on page 115. Click on the link below to jump to the additional assignment.
Chapter 1: Capitalism and organizational behaviour
To help you develop your understanding of the subject, we have developed an activity that requires you to maintain a learning journal or log. A learning journal is a simple and straightforward way to help you integrate content, process, personal thoughts and personal work experience of organizational behaviour. Learning logs operate from the stance that people learn from reflection and through writing.
We suggest you make an entry in your log after each completed week of class time. Properly understood and used learning journals assist the learning process by becoming a vehicle for understanding the complex nature of human behaviour in the workplace. Visit the website http://olc.spsd.sk.ca/DE/PD/instr/strats/logs for information on the value of learning journals.
Learning journals are concise, objective, factual and impersonal in tone. The following questions could be used to guide you in making thoughtful entries in your learning journal about organizational behaviour:
- What did I learn in class this week?
- What did I find interesting?
- How well does the material connect with my work experience?
- How well does the organizational behaviour material connect with my other management courses?
- What questions do I have for the instructor about what I learned?
You can also use your completed learning journal to help evaluate your studies of organizational behaviour.
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Chapter 2: The social nature of work
Central to the advance of organizational behaviour as a field of critical inquiry is an openness to expanding our understanding of both work and the ‘workplace’. We believe it is important to understand that work expands beyond the boundaries of ‘paid work’, and importantly, the place where work is performed extends beyond the formal organization. The notion of work–life pattern has increasing relevance to workers, particularly to women, in the early twenty-first century.
On an individual basis, or working in a small group, visit the following websites and write a brief report of the research and practical issues associated with (a) home-working, and (b) work–life balance:
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Chapter 3: Studying work and organizations
How are we to make sense of the competing assortment of theoretical approaches to organizational behaviour? We address this question here with reference to the classical accounts of sociology and contemporary approaches to studying formal organizations. Our collective experience in teaching and researching aspects of organizational behaviour has made it clear that the contemporary student of organizational behaviour cannot understand the discipline without an appreciation of the works of Marx, Weber and Durkheim. In their own way, each addressed the following two fundamental questions:
- What is the source of societal and organizational conflict?
- What is the relationship between consciousness (the ‘self’ or ‘inside’) and society or social structure (the ‘outside’)?
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Chapter 4: Personality and identity
Form a group of three to five people, and visit the websites of any of the following organizations:
What personality attributes are these organizations seeking when they recruit new employees?
Go to www.queendom.com/tests.html and www.psychometricadvantage.co.uk (search for psychometrics) and examine the psychometric tests. Some of these you may take yourself without applying for a job. How accurate, in your view, is your personality profile as revealed by any of the psychometric tests? Do your close friends agree with the assessment? Which kind of psychometric tests do you suppose would be more effective in revealing the more important aspects of your personality? Why? How much weight should organizations give to psychometric test results in employment selection? Explain your reasoning. Write a report detailing your findings.
Click here to jump to an additional web-based assignment for Chapter 4 on personality testing.
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Chapter 5: Perception and emotion
What attracts you to some organizations and not others? Get a copy of the recruitment pages of a national newspaper or a professional publication, such as People Management or The Economist. From the advertisements, identify a selection of the recruiting organizations that differ from each other and provide details of their websites. Browse each of the sites, particularly looking at the pages aimed at potential job applicants. It would be ideal if you could do this with a colleague or friend so you can have a discussion about it.
Consider these questions:
- What are your perceptions of each organization as a potential employer? Are they your kind of place?
- Try to identify what perceptual cues from the advertisement and websites captured your attention, and the prior knowledge and expectations that led you to your conclusions.
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Chapter 6: Learning and innovation
There are competing views on the purpose of work-related learning. One school of thought believes that creativity and innovation are more likely to be fostered in organizations where learning is valued and of high quality. In this sense, workplace learning has an instrumental purpose: to ‘unfreeze’ employee work attitudes and practices to bring about change. Learning can also enhance an organization’s performance and increase a nation’s productivity. (See OB in Focus on ‘The Learning Age’, page 164)
Specifically, this assignment requires you to critically evaluate these assumptions. First, go to the following websites for more information on life-long learning:
- What are the company’s objectives with regard to work-related learning?
- How does the company’s learning strategy relate, if at all, to its business strategy?
- Is there any evidence that work-related learning benefits both individual employees and the company?
- What role should work-related learning play in the workplace?
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Chapter 7: Motivation at work
Form a study group of three to five people, and go to the website of any of the following organizations, or a similar one that interests members of the group:
When there, go to the ‘Company overview’ and the human resource management section of the site, and look at the language, assumptions and espoused values. Evaluate the organization’s dominant culture in the light of our discussion in this chapter. Write a report that draws out the common features.
Alternatively, go to the websites of a number of universities, and compare and contrast your own university with others in the UK or abroad. As a guide to your search, ask the following questions:
- What artefacts are displayed that expresses the institution’s culture? (Hint: do departments display the publications of the teaching faculty?)
- In the advertising material, does the institution emphasize teaching excellence, research or both?
- What are the President’s espoused values?
- What rituals and ceremonies dramatize the institution’s culture?
- What practices shape the university’s culture? (Hint: ask your lecturer what is the most important criterion for promotion – excellence in teaching or the number of articles/books published.)
- Do the visible artefacts and processes provide a guideline for behaviour at the university? If so, why?
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Chapter 8: Gender, race, disability and class
This chapter covered many areas of inequity in organizations, but it certainly did not cover them all. Issues of ageism (discrimination based on age) and discrimination based on sexual orientation are two of the key ones that were not explored. The latter forms the basis of this case study. With over 75,000 employees worldwide and 16 billion in revenue, one of the leading corporations in the area of support for employees who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) is Raytheon.
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Chapter 9: Work groups and teams
Work groups and teams is one of the most important topics of organizational behaviour, and given that many students have experienced group working and will be called upon to work in groups in organizations, it is important to reflect on how groups influence human behaviour.
For this assignment, we would like you to gain more information on work teams by visiting www.workteams.org and www.berr.gov.uk. In addition, you are asked to explore examples of team working in European and North American companies by visiting the following websites:
What main principles can be identified as ‘good’ job design when applied to work teams? Looking at the companies that have introduced teams, what behaviours or ‘norms’ are expected of employees? How does the team-based model impact on other aspects of management such as human resource management? Discuss your findings with other students on your course.
Click here to jump to an additional web-based assignment for Chapter 9 on group structure.
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Chapter 10: Organizational design
This chapter discusses the different types of organizational design, and the interconnectedness between structure and restructuring, and organizational behaviour. Organizations can adopt a large number of structures to match their strategy, size, technology and profit-making imperative. Restructuring affects job design and individual workers’ perception of the employer and work motivation.
This web-based assignment requires you to explore the web to find a site that displays an organizational chart, or that discusses a method of managing its structure. For example, enter the website of Dell Computers (www.dell.com), Canadian TV and media company Globalmedia (www.globalmedia.ca) or car manufacturer Saturn (www.saturn.com) for an example of a ‘flatter’ organizational structure.
Consider these questions:
- What kind of organizational structure does the company have (for example, in terms of decision making, is it centralized or decentralized)?
- In what ways is the organizational structure appropriate for the company?
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Chapter 11: Technology in work organizations
There are few words that appear as often as the word ‘technology’ on the Internet today. In many ways computers, the Internet and technology are thought of as synonymous with one another. However, one of the goals of this chapter is build a more ‘social’ analysis of technology, and to encourage you to think carefully about what technology really means. Building a basic historical awareness of different sorts of tools, devices, machines and so on can be helpful in this respect.
Visit http://inventors.about.com/od/astartinventions/a/FamousInvention.htm, which does not present a definitive historical account of the origins of different technologies (in the broader sense), but is worth exploring to begin to gain a sense of how technology developed. Based on this, you can then build a deeper and more critical appreciation for how and why specific forms of technology emerged, and in turn, why they affect organizations in the way that they do.
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Chapter 12: Organizational culture
This chapter discusses the significance of culture in work organizations and the interconnectedness between national culture, and organizational culture and behaviour in organizations and businesses. The mainstream or managerialist perspective tends to focus on changing organizational culture to match business strategy and improve efficiency and profitability. This perspective focuses on achieving an organizational culture in which all members subscribe to one set of values and beliefs, normally decided by senior management. Critical perspectives tend to focus on how multiple viewpoints, values and beliefs are controlled or ignored by senior managers.
This web-based assignment requires you to explore the Internet to find a website that provides insight into different cultures in organizations. For example, visit the websites of:
2. What would critical theorists make of the cultures at these companies (or any others you have found)?
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Chapter 13: Leadership and change
You can evaluate the extent to which leadership research has influenced management education and training by visiting the following websites:
Select a particular professional group, such as engineers. What leadership competencies do individuals need to display to be effective in the profession? Do ‘leadership competencies’ appear to have a gender bias? If so, why? Report your findings to your seminar group.
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Chapter 14: Communications
We have explained that the nature of the communication process established in the organization reflects the management style, degree of employee participation, culture and efficiency of the workplace. Communication is essential for effective decision making. Ineffective communication is linked to a ‘command and control’ vision of management.
This web-based assignment requires you to investigate the extent of communication processes in workplaces in Britain. Visit the website for the Findings from the 2004 Workplace Survey –
www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/employment/research%2Devaluation/wers%2D2004 – and review the survey findings. What arrangements for direct communications with employees are most popular in (a) the private sector, and (b) the public sector? Based on your understanding of this chapter, what ‘downward’ communications arrangements do you believe are most effective? Explain your answer.
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Chapter 15: Decision making and ethics
Decision making has been acknowledged as the fundamental element in the manager’s job. Yet it is a complex phenomenon because it involves not only technical considerations, but also power struggles. It remains associated to a ‘command and control’ vision of management, as well as to a vision of managers as omnipresent and omnipotent. Decision making can be improved by using group processes that help to minimize the biases and errors.
This web-based assignment requires you to investigate the extent of decentralized decision-making processes. We would like you visit the websites for the findings from the 2004 Workplace Survey:
What type of manager–employee decision-making processes are you likely to find in the workplace? What issues are discussed at these decentralized committees? What appears to be excluded from discussion? Do committees make ‘good’ decisions? Explain your answer.
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Chapter 16: Power, politics and conflict
The discussion in this chapter provided the basis for a comparison of different theories of power. Take some time to obtain (either online or in your library) and read the discussion of power in the special 2002 issue of Journal of Organizational Behavior Management. Further background reading on the concept of power can be found at:
After reviewing the material, do as we began to do in the last section of this chapter: test the assumptions of the conceptualizations of power in this issue against the broader social theories of power we outlined in the first half of the chapter.
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Chapter 17: Human resource management
This chapter has discussed the importance of SHRM and the links between SHRM and organizational performance.
This web-based assignment requires you to explore the research findings from the 2004 Workplace Employment Relations Survey. Visit:
http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/employment/research%2Devaluation/wers%2D2004, and use its information to consider these questions:
- In UK workplaces, who is ‘strategic’ about employment relations?
- In recent years, have workplaces become more strategic in their people management? Try to explain the findings.
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Additional web-based assignment: Belbin’s team roles
This exercise can be used to support Chapter 9, alongside the section on group structure on page 249. It is also relevant to the section on personality testing in Chapter 4, beginning on page 121 and the OB in focus box on psychometric testing on page 115.
Meredith Belbin carried out research into managerial behaviour, from which he identified a range of different team ‘roles’. Go to www.belbin.com and answer the following questions:
- What are Belbin’s team roles?
- How might an understanding of team roles help or hinder team performance?
- Referring to Chapter 4 of Work and OB, what could the limitations of the psychometric research testing be, and do you think these are addressed in the Belbin research?
- Which of Belbin’s team roles do you think applies most to you? Discuss with your friends – which role is most common amongst you? Would you make a good team according to Belbin’s research?
- Though Belbin's work affirms the importance of leadership, team learning, open communication and support for members in effective teams, his typology of team roles has attracted much criticism. See for example, D. Hosking and I. Morely: A Social Psychology of Organizing: People, Processes and Contexts (Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991). What are the limitations of Belbin's team role theory?
Belbin, M: Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail, 2nd edition (Butterworth Heinemann, 2004)
D. Hosking and I. Morely: A Social Psychology of Organizing: People, Processes and Contexts (Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991)
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Unit 3 Organisations and Behaviour Assignment Solution - ASDA
BTEC Higher National Diploma in Business
Unit Number and Title
Unit 3 Organisations and Behaviour - Understanding the Workplace
Organizations can be said to be a system or combination of systems which is dependent on the structure of the organization, the people working inside the organization and their behavior, the technology that is being used inside an organization structure, etc. Since, the behavior of the people working inside the organization is highly unpredictable, it makes it difficult to manage the day to day working of an organization. Thus, it makes it important to understand the various theories and approaches that are followed by various type of organization, to get a fair idea about the behavior of various organizations. This report is a case study of company ASDA. The report will look into how the organization is structured and what type of culture prevails in ASDA. Then it will focus on the various leadership style that are available and what type of leadership style is being followed in ASDA and why. This report, will further drill on the various organization and motivational theories and which theories are adopted inside ASDA. In the last section, the discussion will be related to the importance of group, the advantage and disadvantages of working in a team and the impact of technology on ASDA.
LO 1- Understand the relationship between organizational structure and culture
P 1.1 Compare and contrast the organization structure and culture of ASDA PLC to that of British Airlines
An organizational structure can be termed as arrangement of different groups of people according to their level of authority based on the roles and authorities of different people. An organizational structure decides how information should flow across the organizations and is dependent on the strategy and goal of an organization. Based on the span of control here are two types of organizational structure: Hierarchical and Flat organization structure. A hierarchical organization structure is the one which has many layers of management. In hierarchical type of organization structure the lower group of people does not play much role in management related activities, their tasks are assigned by their managers and they are expected to complete those tasks and report it to their managers. The main decision making tasks are handled by the people who are at the top of the hierarchy (Katz, 1978). ASDA follows hierarchical type also known as Tall organization structure as it has more layers of management and the employees provides the information to other employees who report finally report it to their boss and the chain continues till the information is shared with the top hierarchy. This kind of approach is followed in most of the companies where the population is more. On the contrary, a flat organization is one which has lesser number of management layer, hence employees in a flat organization are involved in decision making activities. There is nothing like top or bottom level and each employee is allowed to give suggestions and feedbacks which are taken into account before taking any decision. British airlines follow flat organizational structure. Another difference between ASDA and British airline organizational structure is that ASDA follows functional division where the division of group is based on the function that is performed by the employees. The people involved in account related activities are grouped in accounts group; similarly other groups are formed like human resource, marketing, etc. While, British airlines follow divisional organization behaviour and structure, where group is made based on the product. All employees involved in making a particular type of product are grouped as one. This type of structure helps British airlines in quick decision making and active supervision by the managers as their common objective is customer care.
Organizational culture is means how employees inside the organization behave. The culture of any organization shows the values, beliefs, goals, visions and habits that prevail inside the organization. The organization culture of any organization can be classified based on the double S cube. The double S stands for sociability and solidarity. There are four type of organization structure: Network culture, mercenary culture, fragmented culture and communal culture. A company like ASDA whose main objective is to serve their client to the best of their ability, respect each other within the organization, integrity and excellence, clearly shows that ASDA follows communal culture inside their organization, which is high in solidarity and sociability. On the other hand, British Airlines till recent times were focused more on delivering high customer satisfaction, but there has been drastic change in their organizational structure which resulted in communal culture in British Airlines.
P1.2- Explain how the relationship between ASDA’s structure and culture impacts on its performance
The performance of any organization is dependent on the how the organization is structured. It has been observed by many researchers that it essential to form a well structure within an organization for smooth functioning of it. An unstructured organization will only lead to confusion and chaos across the organization. Moreover, behavior of employee also plays an important role. The satisfaction level of any employee plays an important role in improving the performance of the organization. Thus it can be seen that both organization structure and its’ culture are essential to improve company’s performance.
Any organization which is well organized and works on the same principle and values creates confidence and provides great level of security and satisfaction among its organization. Any organization which is confused and unorganized will increase uncertainty and will develop insecurity in the minds of its employees. All this plays a big role in improving the performance of the company. Moreover, customers are also driven by how well a company is organized. Customers like to look at the background of any company before assigning them their work. Thus, to improve customer satisfaction, both structure and culture of any organization plays a vital role. However, both culture and structure should not be very complex as it can adversely affect the performance by slowing down the processes that are followed inside the organization (Wilkins, 1983).
As discussed above, ASDA follows hierarchical and functional type of organizational structure. Thus, it becomes important for it to have a communal culture because functional type of structure is characterized by lack of communication between different groups, each group works separately. Similarly, in case of hierarchical structure, the lower group of people feels dissatisfied because they do not play any active role in taking decision. However, the common goal of the company and communal culture helps the company to minimize these disadvantages, so that company can aim for better results. Thus, the culture and structure of ASDA compliments each other and effectively improves company’s performance.
P1.3- Discuss the factors which influence the behavior of ASDA’s employees at work giving relevant examples
In this section, the focus will be on various factors that affect an individual behavior while working inside an organization. Some of the factors are discusses below:
- Communication: The most important factor which influences human behavior is communication. An effective communication between a manager and its team member can lead to the individual gaining interest in the work. It is essential to share your views, ideas, and problems to be more expressive and creative in your work. This can be made possible with the help of effective communication. ASDA has been working in improving the communication so that no employee is left alone. Their policy “Your Voice” that was adopted in 2013 had a survey among all stores to know how the people feel and what do they expect and think about the company. This kind of small initiatives shows how communication has been used effectively by ASDA in influencing the behavior of its workforce.
- Culture: As discussed above, any organization should have a common objective. The rules and regulations should not differ from person to person. If such thing happens, it will create insecurity in the minds of employees. As discussed, ASDA follows communal culture, which means Sociability and Solidarity. Sociability means that employees should share cordial relationship with each other at work, while solidarity means that organization should have a common goal. Thus, ASDA has been pro-active in maintaining both solidarity and sociability as part of their culture, to improve individual behavior at work.
- Leadership: An effective leader is the one who not only can get the work done from the team, but also get involved with the team. A leader should know each member of his or her team not only professionally but also personally so that he can understand the problems of each individual and actively participate in solving them to bring out the best from each individual of his team. In ASDA, according to an audit, some of the positives were that employees felt they were treated alike by their managers, equal opportunities were given to each one of them and there was feeling of respect for each other. This has been made possible because of effective leadership.
Thus, it can be seen that ASDA understand the importance of individual behavior at work in order to attain better performance, at tries hard to provide better environment to all its employees so that they feel part of the organization and should not feel left alone. These increase the interest towards work and results in better efficiency from each individual.
LO2- Understand different approaches to management and leadership
P2.1- Compare the effectiveness of the leadership styles used by the CEO in ASDA to that used by British airways CEO
In this section, the discussion will be on different types of leadership styles that are available and then the focus will be on the effectiveness of leadership style in ASDA compared to that of British Airlines.
Leadership can be considered as a quality through which the attitude and behavior of others can be influenced. Based on various types of theories, leadership style has been classified into various types. According to Michigan and Ohio theory, leadership was classified into task oriented, relationship oriented and participative leadership style.
A task oriented leadership style is one where leaders are more focused on doing and getting the task done rather than having an effective relationship with his or her team. The leader provides its team with the necessary resources required to complete the task. British Airways use to follow task Oriented leadership style under the leadership of Willie Walsh.
Relationship-oriented leadership style is one where leaders also focus on maintaining good relationship with its employees, along with getting the work done(Graen, 1995). As discussed above, ASDA follows relationship-oriented leadership style, where it effective measures were taken by the leaders to maintain healthy relations with their subordinate members.
Participative leadership style: The main feature of this type of leadership style is it involves the whole team while taking decision and the decision is taken after complete discussion, suggestions and feedback from the whole team.
According to another theory, leadership style can be classified into transactional and transformational leadership style. These are:
A transactional leadership style is one in which the leaders used to motivate their subordinated by giving them rewards and used to punish the employees who fails to deliver quality product on time. Willie Walsh believed that Salary of an employee is sufficient to get the work done, hence British airlines used to follow transactional leadership style.
Transformational leadership: In this leadership style, as seen in ASDA, the morale and motivation of an employee was not just defined by rewards and punishments. Transformational leadership doesn’t believe in give and take business but focused on bringing the change through leadership. A leader should set an example through his belief in the work, his ability and skill. The employees will follow him eventually (Podsakoff, 1990).
P2.2– Identify any organizational theories practiced at ASDA PLC and explain how organizational theory underpins the practice of management
An organization theories are models that explains how an organization is working and how is it related to external environments. It is essential to understand the organizational theory of an organization for better management. Management related activities require theory, which can be used by managers to refer while performing these activities.
It was in 2000, when ASDA for merged with Wal-Mart, that leads to confusion in the minds of many employees working in ASDA. Since, the merger resulted in new rules and regulations, the employees of ASDA were not comfortable and felt insecure. At this point of time, the higher management took the initiative of explaining the new business strategies to its workers which help them build trust and made the employees felt more secure. Though, the two organization had similar kind of structure, still the organizational theory acted as the base for the management team to take crucial decisions in favour of the employees and the company as a whole.
P2.3– Evaluate the different approaches to management used by ASDA to that used by British Airways
The difference between the approach in the management of the two companies ASDA and British Airways comes from the difference in the organizational structure. As discussed above, ASDA follows functional organizational structure while British Airways follows divisional organizational structure. Thus, in case of ASDA, the management focuses on how to maintain effective relationship with their employees and make them understand their goals and objectives so that they can perform to the best of their ability to have competitive advantage over other companies in UK. The management also focused more on maintaining good relationship with their employees during the merger process with Wal-Mart.
On the other hand, British Airways, being a divisional type of organizational structure, focuses more on training its employees so that the employees are aware of the complete process rather than just knowing what is expected from them. In case of ASDA, management expect that each employee should be best in whatever work he is doing, while in case of British Airways, which focus more on customer service, management tries to incorporate different skills to all its employees so that each one is aware of the complete process and it’s functioning.
Dionne, S. D., Yammarino, F. J., Atwater, L. E., & Spangler, W. D. 2004. Transformational leadership and team performance. Journal of organizational change management, 17(2), 177-193.
Graen, G. B., & Uhl-Bien, M. 1995. Relationship-based approach to leadership: Development of leader-member exchange (LMX) theory of leadership over 25 years: Applying a multi-level multi-domain perspective. The leadership quarterly, 6(2), 219-247.
Hall, D. T., & Nougaim, K. E. 1968. An examination of Maslow's need hierarchy in an organizational setting. Organizational behavior and human performance, 3(1), 12-35.
Katz, D., & Kahn, R. L. 1978. The social psychology of organizations.
Kumar, S., & Zahn, C. 2003. Mobile communications: evolution and impact on business operations. Technovation, 23(6), 515-520.
Maidani, E. A. 1991. Comparative study of Herzberg's Two-Factor Theory of job satisfaction among public and private sectors. Public Personnel Management.
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