BOH4M – Grade 12 Business Leadership – Individual Behaviour & Performance


Chapter 15: Individual Behaviour & Performance


Understanding People At Work


  • One of the challenges of managerial leadership is to design the work experience whereby people can achieve both high performance and job satisfaction
  • When managers value people and create high-quality work environments that respect people’s needs and potential, everybody gains
  • Organizational Behaviour (OB) is the study of individuals and groups in organizations. One of the important issues OB addresses is the notion of person-job fit, finding a good match between individual interests and capabilities and job characteristics


Psychological contracts

  • A set of individual expectations held by the individual about what will be given and received in the employment relationship
  • Ideal work situation is one in which the psychological contract is considered fair; a balance exists between contributions made to the organization and inducement received in return
  • When the psychological contract is unbalanced or broken, morale problems easily develop


Work and the Quality of Life

  • What happens to people at work, how they are treated and what their work is like, influences their overall quality of life
  • Experiences at work spill over to affect non-work activities and lives, just as non-wok experiences often affect attitudes and performance at work
  • Poor management practices can diminish a person’s overall quality of life, not just the quality of work life; good management has the potential to enhance both
  • Today’s managers are expected to help create work environments within which people have positive experiences while performing at high levels of expectation








Personality Traits

  • Personality: Overall profile of characteristics that makes one person unique from every other
  • When establishing job assignments and building teams, managers must be able to understand and respond to the “Big Five” personality traits:
    1. Extroversion: degree to which someone is outgoing, social, assertive
    2. Agreeableness: degree to which someone is good-natured, co-operative, trusting
    3. Conscientiousness: degree to which someone is responsible, dependable, careful
    4. Emotional stability: degree to which someone is relaxed, secure, unworried
    5. Openness: degree to which someone is curious, open to new ideas, imaginative


      • Other personality dimensions that influence how people work and how well they work together in organizations include:
  • Locus of control: extent to which one believes that what is happens is in one’s control
  • Authoritarianism: degree to which a person tends to defer to authority
  • Problem-solving style: way in which a person gathers and evaluates information when making decisions
  • Machiavellianism: extent to which someone is emotionally detached and manipulative in using power
  • Self-monitoring: degree to which someone is able to adjust behaviour in response to external factors












Work Attitudes and Behaviour



  • Predisposition to act in a certain way toward people and things in one’s environment
  • To fully understand attitudes, both positive and negative, managers must recognize their three components:
  1. Cognitive component: reflects a belief or opinion
  2. Affective or emotional component: reflects a specific feeling
  3. Behavioural component: reflects an intention to behave consistently with the belief and feeling
  • Cognitive dissonance is discomfort felt when attitude and behaviour are inconsistent


Job Satisfaction

  • Degree to which an individual feels positively or negatively about their work
  • Common aspects of job satisfaction include pay, co-workers, supervision, work setting, advancement opportunities, and workload
  • Strong relationship between job satisfaction, absenteeism, and turnover
  • Closely related to job satisfaction is job involvement, the extent to which an individual is dedicated to a job, and organizational commitment, the loyalty of individual to the organization


Individual Performance

  • Job performance: The quantity and quality of tasks accomplished by an individual or group at work
  • Performance is a cornerstone of productivity
  • Effective managers design jobs that help people achieve both satisfaction and high performance
  • Individual performance equation: Performance begins with ability, requires support and involves effort   (Performance = Ability x Support x Effort)





Job Design Alternatives


  • Job: A collection of tasks performed in support of organizational objectives
  • Job design: Allocation of specific work tasks to individuals and groups
  • A good job design provides a good fit between worker and task
  • Range of job design alternatives – job simplification, job rotation and enlargement, and job enrichment


  • Job simplification:Involves standardizing work procedures and employing people in well-defined and highly specialized tasks
    • Simplified jobs are narrow in job scope: The number and variety of tasks
  • Most extreme form of simplification is automation: The total mechanization of a job
  • Because simplified jobs don’t require complex skills, workers should be easier and quicker to train, less difficult to supervise, easier to replace, and workers should become good at their work while performing the same tasks over and over again
  • Potential disadvantages include low satisfaction, increased tardiness and absenteeism, worker boredom, and high error rates


  • One way to move beyond simplification is to increase the job scope through:
  • Job rotation: Increases task variety by periodically shifting workers among jobs involving different task assignments
  • Job enlargement: Increases task variety by combining two or more tasks previously assigned to separate workers such as horizontal loading: pulling pre-work and/or later work stages into job


  • Job enrichment: Building more opportunities for satisfaction into a job by expanding its content
  • Increases job depth: Extent to which task planning and evaluation duties are performed by worker rather than supervisor
  • Frequently accomplished through vertical loading: Pulling down responsibilities from above, pushing down or automating routine tasks



Directions in Job Enrichment


  • Modern management theory adopts a contingency perspective (select direction that best fits situation) and recognizes that that job enrichment is not for everyone 


Core Characteristics Model (Hackman and Oldham)

  • Offers a way for managers to create jobs that best fit the needs of people and organizations by focusing on four distinct variables:


  1. Core job characteristics: Job high in the core characteristics is enriched; the lower job scores on core characteristics, the less enriched it is
  1. Skill variety Degree to which job requires different activities and skills
  2. Task identity – Degree to which job is an identifiable piece of work with a beginning, an end, and a visible outcome
  3. Task significance – Degree to which the job impacts others in the organization or external environment
  4. Autonomy – Degree to which the job gives the individual freedom and independence to carry it out
  5. Feedback – Degree to which the individual carrying out the job receives direct and clear information on their performance


  1. Critical psychological states of the individual that influence job satisfaction and performance:
  • Experienced meaningfulness of the work
  • Experienced responsibilities for work outcomes
  • Knowledge of actual results of work activities


  1. Job outcomes:
  • High internal work motivation
  • High growth satisfaction
  • High general job satisfaction
  • High work effectiveness




  1. Moderator variables:
  • Growth-need strength (GNS): The desire to achieve psychological growth in one’s work. People with high GNS will respond positively to enriched jobs; People with low GNS will respond negatively to enriched jobs
  • Knowledge and skills
  • Context satisfactions


  • Five ways of improving core job characteristics:
  1. Form natural units of work – Make sure tasks are logically related to one another and provide clear task identity
  2. Combine tasks – Expand job responsibilities by pulling a number of smaller tasks into one large job
  3. Establish client relationships – Put people in contact with others who use the results of their work
  4. Open feedback channels – Provide opportunities for people to receive performance feedback as they work
  5. Practice vertical loading – Give people more control over work by increasing planning and controlling previously done by supervisors


Technology and Job Enrichment

  • Job design should proceed with the goal of increasing productivity through integrated socio-technical systems: Job designs that use technology to best advantage while still treating people with respect, and allowing their human talents to be applied to the fullest potential
  • Robotics: Use of computer controlled machines to completely automate work tasks











Alternative Work Arrangements


  • Not only is the content of jobs changing, but the context is changing too
  • Emergence of a number of ways for people to schedule their work time
  • Especially important as employers deal with work-life balance issues affecting today’s highly diversified workforce
  • More flexible work arrangements can help employers attract and retain the best workers


Compressed Workweek

  • Any work schedule that allows a full-time job to be completed in less than the standard 5 days of 8-hour shifts (such as four 10-hour days)
  • Benefits – More leisure time, lower commuting costs, lower absenteeism, and potentially improved performance
  • Disadvantages – Increased fatigue, family adjustment problems, increased scheduling problems, and union objections.


Flexible working hours

  • Work schedule that gives employees some choice in the pattern of their daily work hours
  • Core time where all employees must be at work, and flextime that allows employees to schedule around personal responsibilities
  • Potential benefits of flexible working hours:
  • Give employees greater autonomy in work scheduling while ensuring maintenance of work responsibilities
  • Organizations can attract and retain employees who have special non-work responsibilities (parenting, eldercare obligations)
  • More positive attitudes toward the organization


Job sharing

  • One full-time job is split between two or more persons
  • Not to be confused with the concept of work sharing: An agreement between employees to cut back their work hours to avoid layoffs or termination




  • Work arrangement that allows a portion or all scheduled work hours to be completed outside of the office. Telecommuting practices include:
    • Work-at-home: A telecommuting option that is facilitated by information technology and computer links to clients or customers and a central office
    • Hotelling: Telecommuters come to the central office as required and use temporary office facilities
    • Virtual offices: Includes everything from an office at home to mobile workspace in cars
  • Potential advantages may include increased productivity, fewer distractions, being one’s own boss, having more personal time
  • Potential disadvantages may include working too much, having less personal time, difficulty in separating work and personal life, less time for family, feelings of isolation, loss of visibility for promotion


Part-time work

  • Work done on any schedule less than the standard 40-hour workweek and does not qualify employee as full-time
  • Many employers rely on contingency workers: Part-time workers or permatemps who supplement full-time workforce, often on a long-term basis
  • Because they can be easily hired, contracted with, and/or terminated in response to changing needs, many employers like the flexibility they offer in controlling labour costs and dealing with cyclical demand
  • This trend has become a controversial issue due to worker exploitation implications surrounding less pay and lack of important benefits