Psychology Essay Sample on Organizational Psychology and Behavior at Work

Organizational Psychology and Behavior at Work

Introduction

Organizational psychology (such as organizational culture) determines the selection and socialization of employees within the organization, including which types of individuals (in terms of skills, experience and personality) are recruited into the organization (Treven et al 28). But the influence of organization culture is not automatic and goes further than that. Once an individual starts working for an organization, the organization will seek to mold them to ‘fit in’ and to contribute towards achieving its goals. Work experience (organizational psychology at work) can have more pervasive effects on the behaviors of employees both at work and in other areas of their personal lives. According to Taormina (89), over the long-term, work experience can change an individual’s personality, values, as well as cognitive functioning. These influences can come from the behaviors of the organization’s leaders and even peers, as well as through processes of employee training and development. Tsai (102) agrees that the job that an individual does can shape them by offering a sense of growth, commitment and satisfaction. Equally, these jobs can alienate them by creating chronic feelings of anxiety, which in-turn affects their physical and psychological health and wellbeing. This paper examines in what ways organizational culture can influence employee behavior at the workplace.

Discussion

Discussed below are the ways in which various organization aspects- as a consequence of organization psychology- may influence the behavior of employees at work. These aspects include the process of employee selection, employee socialization, employee development initiatives, leadership and job satisfaction, among others.

  1. Socialization

This refers to the way that members of a society (such as country, family and even organization) are taught by the influential members how to feel and behave (Taormina 87). Much theory and research initially focused on the development of children and adolescents. However, in recent times, research has shown that human beings are socialized and re-socialized all their lives. The same applies for new employees just entering new work settings.

When an individual starts working for an organization, they learn about the aspects of their new jobs, the workplace environment and how they are expected to work, including getting to meetings fifteen minutes earlier, dress code, styles of speeches, etc. These new employee learns to align his/her values of work with those he/she has found in the organization (Taormina; Tsai). For example, this is evident in armies, where new recruits are socialized and indoctrinated into the so-called ‘army way’, which goes beyond the rules and regulations to include values and behaviors matching the distinctive army cultures. Equally, commercial organizations expect their customer service employees to adopt the attitudes, values and behaviors that support a customer service strategy.

Generally, there are three dimensions to the socialization tactics used in an organization. Collective versus individual dimension has to do with the organizaion’s ehavior in employee recruitment and selection; that is, whether it recruits individually or in batches (that is, where all employees share learning experiences). Formal versus informal dimension concerns the degree to which the socialization process is formalized (as might be in set training programs) or is informally handled (as through learning- on-the-job or individual supervision by an immediate supervisor). Finally, divestiture versus investiture dimension is about the extent to which the process seeks to enhance the ‘self’ (like in some cases of professional development) or destroy the ‘self’ and replace them with collective aspects of the organization (the case in army training camps) (Taormina; Tsai).

The process of socialization has been found to have common stages in nearly all forms of societies. The same can also be said of the socialization of employees at the new workplace. First, there is the ‘reality shock’ stage when new employees are expected to confront and accept organizational reality. The organization can facilitates this process and make it smoother for the new employee by providing applicants with a realistic job preview (which describes fully both the positive and negative aspects of the job) at the recruitment and selection stage. Second, the employee achieves role clarity when he/she discovers what is expected of them in terms of job requirements and performance. Third, the employee is situated inside the organizational context (culture); that is, he/she settles in and gets used to the way things are done. Last but not least, the new employee detects the signposts of successful socialization: they feel aspects by their new colleagues; they grow confident in completing their tasks successfully; they understand both the formal and informal aspects of their job; and know the criteria by which job performance is assessed (Taormina 88).

Ultimately, all these become one in an individual and, consciously or subconsciously, they start to act like the old employees at the place; they have been molded into what the organization wants to be. In the long-term, these aspects may potentially shape an individual’s personality, work and life values and cognitive functioning.

  • Employee Training and Development

Essentially, training refers to a learning process that has been structured in a systematic fashion, and with the aim of raising the level an employee’s performance. For about the last three decades, organizational work environments have experienced marked changes (including new ways of working, devolution of responsibility, managerial level cutbacks and accountability to individual staff). These changes and more have prompted an urgent need for the development and maintenance of the skills of staff through continuous training. Moreover, expanded use of technology- particularly information technologies- has necessitated the need for continual training, so employees can upgrade their skills (Tsai; Taormina).

In relation to the topic of discussion here, psychologists have pointed out how organizations can influence individual behavior through training aimed at achieving a fit between an individual and the job (Taormina 96). In this regard, organizations may undertake an assessment of training needs to identify what needs to be changed, developed or improved in an employee (in terms of knowledge and skills). This involves observation, interview, groups discussions and work samples.

The nature of the employee training process and development process can have significant effect in how organizational psychology influences the behavior of an employee. The question is whether the organization insists on in-house training or outsources it to other institutions. In-house training processes mostly seek to mold employees with regard to internal organization aspects. On-the-job coaching by peers and/or immediate supervisor is an example of in-house employee training and development process.

The transfer of organizational psychology to an employee during training depends on three main factors: how similar the training is to work tasks; how it encourages employees to indulge their personal motivation to use newly acquired knowledge or skills; and the support of the organization in an employee’s transfer of training to the implementation of the new ideas (which may be manipulative or permitting the employee relative autonomy).

Ultimately, according to Tsai (102), training influences employee satisfaction, which in-turn determines employee psychological status (including anxiety and stress, among others), turnover rate and work productivity, etc.

  • Leadership Style

There are different types of leadership, which have an impact on organizational culture as well as the ability of that culture to influence employees (Karina et al 465). For example, in recent times, a lot of interest has surrounded the transformational leader. The transformational leader is said to be charismatic. In this respect, he/she has the ability to exercise intense and diffuse influence over other members of the organization, including their beliefs, work values and, ultimately, performance. This is because such leaders strongly believe in their own values, are dominant, are self-confident in their need to influence, and communicate their goals and visions for the organization clearly. This combination of traits makes it possible for the leader to stand out as the symbol of the organizational culture and inject that culture into each and every member of the organization because they look up to him/her and want to be the same (Tsui et al 119). According to some studies, such a leader inspires effort and job satisfaction, which have far-reaching impacts on the behavior of an employee at work (Karina; Tsui et al).

  • Job Satisfaction, Anxiety and Stress

Already noted above, socialization and training are the ways by which organizations look to influence the behaviors of employees at the workplace. Job satisfaction is a major factor in the examination of how an individual employee may respond to these processes, as well as the work experience. These processes influence how favorably or unfavorably one views the work process, and these views influence an individual’s work satisfaction, which reflects in thoughts and feelings (Tsai 101).

Organizational psychology (reflected in organizational design, work value, etc.) influences the very factors that contribute to job satisfaction. First, task identity is about the degree to which a job represents a whole piece of work. Second, task significance is about how important one’s tasks are for the general society and the organizational goals. Third, employee autonomy refers to the level of freedom an employee has to make decisions regarding their tasks, which impacts an employee’s self-realization (Morrison 175). Fourth, feedback is the information than an employee receives about their job performance. Positive feedback can raise an employee’s motivation and job satisfaction. Negative may have a negative impact on motivation and job satisfaction, especially depending on how it is relayed. Fifth, variety. This is about the diversity of an employee’s tasks, the extent to which his/her tasks are varied. Employees who perform a variety of tasks are likely to be more satisfied than one who performs one task over and over. The later may suffer from burnout. Even then, too much variety may have a negative impact (Taormina; Tsai).

Too much control by a supervisor, for example, may raise levels of anxiety in an employee because he/she is under pressure to impress. This may lead to stress, which can have other effects, such as absenteeism, lateness, etc (Morrison 179).

Conclusion

Indeed, organizational psychology has significant impact on the behaviors of employees. Organizational psychology is passed to employees through socialization, training and development processes. Leadership is a vital symbol of organizational culture and can, therefore, impact on employees’ behaviors. Ultimately, that influence can have positive or negative impact on job satisfaction, which is reflected in anxiety, stress, etc.

Works Cited

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Socialization, and Organizational Culture”. Leadership & Organizational Development Journal, 29.1 (2008): 85-102

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Organizational Behavior. Management, 13.2 (2008): 27-39

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