According to Schermerhorn, Hunt and Osborn, organizational behavior, is the study of human behavior in an organization. It is a multidisciplinary field devoted to understanding individual and group behavior, interpersonal processes and organizational dynamics
(2005, p. 3). Schermerhorn et al. continue to proclaim that organizational behavior is about everyday people who work and pursue careers in demanding settings. Organizational behavior is about common themes that describe the modern workplace such as ethical behavior, globalization, and technology, diversity, performance and work-life balance (2005, p. 3).
Organizations today are challenged by the modern business environment. Many trends significantly persuade an organization’s behavioral blueprint and values. Employees are recognized as a company’s most important resource; therefore organizational behavior has increasingly become a more important topic. To be able to understand organizational behavior it is essential to identify and acknowledge trends in OB and how these trends influence workers.
How ethics influence decision-making and the impact of technology on work-related stress are trends in OB that are present within an organization. What does it mean to be ethical and how has work-related stress been impacted by technology? Exploring the worth and impact of these two trends will illustrate how greatly they can have an effect on organizational behavior.
Ethics in Decision-Making
Applying principles or standards to moral dilemmas and asking what is right or wrong, good or bad in business transactions are a basic business ethic. Individuals within an organization are expected to act in union with high moral principles (Schermerhorn et al., 2005, p. 33). Ethical practice depends not just on awareness but on consequences and the use of personal and social values (Brownell, 2003).
According to Loviscky, Trevino, and Jacobs, recent allegations of unethical decision-making by leaders in prominent business organizations have jeopardized the world’s confidence in American business and have rekindled interest in the moral judgment of leaders in the workplace. ‘‘Moral judgment is a psychological construct that characterizes the process by which people determine that one course of action in a particular situation is morally right and another course of action is wrong’’ (2007). To have an organization founded on ethical beliefs, a company must employ a workforce that is aware of the consequences of the decisions that are made and look to hire those individuals who are concerned with the effects on each person connected with the organization including clientele, and employees. An individual should first be able to recognize the ethical issue; evaluate the issue based on personal ethics, and resolve to comply with this ethical judgment and finally carry out an ethical action (Fang, 2006).
Schermerhorn et al. believe that if integrity is held by leaders from top to bottom in an organization, followers will learn to trust and commit to act in ways that are in accordance with the leader’s expectations and the corporate mission statement (2005, p. 38). The practice of supplying ethical guidelines or codes of conduct for employees to use when challenged with a situation that is not covered by standard policies and procedures is a positive move for the entire company (DeJanasz, Dowd, and Schneider, 2001, p. 372).
Technology and Work-Related Stress
Stress, according to Schermerhorn et al. is anxiety from extraordinary demands, constraints, or opportunities (2005, p. 371).
DeJanasz, et al. state that the effects of organizational stress include job dissatisfaction, absenteeism, employee turnover, accidents, low morale, poor interpersonal relations, low productivity, and poor customer service (2001, p. 66). Air traffic controllers, dentists, and coal miners are examples of highly stressful jobs that contain factors that cause stress that often is difficult to manage as it is seldom under a person’s control (DeJanasz, et al., 2001, p. 66).
Information technology has multiplied job demands and is leaving employees with frequent change in the working environment; supplying progressively more information which is found to be difficult to handle. Due to these factors, stress levels are increased and if not regulated the effects of technology are seen in the shape of work related stress. Stress and personal well-being are connected; therefore managing stress is very important. The principal cause of job stress is a worker’s ability versus working conditions and another major position is an individual’s characteristic such as personality and coping technique (Stress Management, 2007). People are experiencing technology overload in the workplace today. Having to adjust to email, voice mail, faxes, pagers, and cell phones that make individuals all too easy to reach is creating stressful demands on workers. Information arrives too fast and some cannot keep up (Work Related Stress, 2005). Stress called destructive stress can impair both an individual and the organization in the form of job burnout that arrives and presents itself as loss of interest in and satisfaction with a job due to hectic working conditions. When an individual is burned out, there is a feeling of exhaustion, both emotionally and physically, making it impossible to deal optimistically with work responsibilities and opportunities (Schermerhorn et al, 2005, p. 373). Allowing employees access to rewards and benefits such as flexible work schedules, telecommuting options, or compensation time is advantageous to the company and the employee as stress-related troubles have huge financial implications for an employer (DeJanasz, et al., 2001, p. 70).
Not all stress is bad for instance; the excitement of winning a race or completing a challenge can be exciting. This form of stress is called eustress; the positive stress. It allows an individual to get energized about life and provides a feeling of satisfaction (Stress Management, 2007).
In conclusion, the practice of decision-making is set off by the confirmation of a moral issue that is the understanding that an ethical dilemma exists and ethical decision making is affected by both individual and organizational issues. Ethical conflicts are unavoidable today as human exchanges become gradually more numerous and complicated. Learning how to deal with conflict and how to decide on a solution that will not show prejudice against any party involved are just two examples of ethical issues that take place regularly in the workplace. Workplace stress is on the rise and everyone faces stress at work one time or another. It is almost impossible to remove situations that cause stress, but it may be possible to managed stress more effectively (Workplace Trends, 1999).
Brownell, E., (2003, January 24). Just what does it mean to be ethical in American business? The Business Review. Retrieved August 5, 2007, from http://albany.bizjournals.com/albany/aboutus/about_the_paper.html
DeJanasz, S. C., Dowd, K. O., & Schneider, B. Z., (2001). Interpersonal Skills in
Organizations. The McGraw?Hill Companies.
Fang, Miao-Ling, (2006). Evaluating Ethical Decision-Making of Individual Employees in Organizations-An Integration Framework. Journal of American Academy of Business, Cambridge, 8(2), 105-112. Retrieved August 6, 2007, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 957238951).
Loviscky, G. E., Treviño, L. K., Jacobs, R. R., (2007). Assessing Managers’ Ethical Decision-making: An Objective Measure of Managerial Moral Judgment. Journal of Business Ethics, 73(3), 263-285. Retrieved August 5, 2007, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 1275891241).
Schermerhorn, J. R., Hunt, J, G., & Osborn, R, N. (2005). Organizational Behavior, (9th ed.). John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Stress Management, (2007). Impact of Technology on Work Related Stress. Retrieved August 7, 2007, from http://www.aboutstressmanagement.com/stressrelief/workplace-stress/management/impact-of-technology-on-work-related-stress.htm
“Workplace trends: Technology increases workplace stress”. Office World News. Oct 1999. FindArticles.com. 07 Aug. 2007. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3840/is_199910/ai_n8869850
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