Emergence and Ethical Perspective on Organisational Behaviour

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Emergence and Ethical Perspective on Organisational Behaviour (OB)

Organisational Behaviour- Emergence and Ethical Perspective

Organisational behaviour has emerged gradually, right from inception of social organisation. The main factor which promoted the growth of O.B. was understanding the needs and motives of the people engaged in organisational activities. Individual’s desires and wants were focused on the activities devoted to obtain material means of satisfaction of his wants.

In this context, one can observe that it has direct link between labour, capital and management. The fact that needs of the labour force have not been given adequate importance by the management. The discontent at the work places becomes severe due to bad working conditions, occupational diseases and the unhealthy atmosphere.

Poor workers had to work just for survival. There was no consideration to improve human relation to create behavioural satisfaction the working class. The discontent at the work places becomes uncontrollable and resulted in industrial revolution in England in the latter half of the 18th century.

This action of the labour force brought them some relief in wages and relief measures in work places. In this regard, Robert Owen, a factory owner in Wales was the first person, who realised the needs of workers in his factory. He is sometimes referred to as the forerunner of Personnel Management.

The actual development of OB started from 1900 AD. The period witnessed scientific management of F.W. Taylor. He could inspire through his scientific management to a certain extent, workers to motivate their interest in work. Taylor advocated that improved working conditions can increase productivity. His approach made the initial momentum for OB. He believed in technical efficiency so much that this efforts could bring awakening among the workers.

It was during the First World War that ‘Human relation movement’ really got a significant support from the American Management Association, which took keen interest in the human factor in industry. This paved the way for the organisation for well-known conference in New York in 1918.

During this period Whiting Williams was conducting a research study on workers. Later on, he published his work entitled, “What is in the workers’ mind?” In the year 1920, The book of Williams had awakened thinking among the entrepreneurs and the intellectuals all over the world about importance of human relations in industry.

Elton Mayo and Roithlesberger of Harvard University stressed the importance of “Human behaviour at work places.” Their famous experiment of Hawthrone Electric Company helped in understanding the basic idea of social System within the working environment and the human problems to be solved by understanding in human factor at work.

During the Second World War and thereafter, this concept of human behaviour and an integrated relationship between management and workers gained much weightage amongst the industrialists and academicians. The contemporary organisational behaviour, by and large, became a full-fledged subject (Social Discipline) by the end of 1950 in the management field.

OB has contributed to management through its principles like setting of the goal in organisations, measures for assessing performance like MBO in performance appraisal, etc. In these fields, the contributions of Peter Drucker and Mc Gregor are worth mentioning.

The ethical or human conduct in organisation improved remarkably after the Hawthrone experiment. Milgrams Obedience to Authority Study and the Management Trust (MBT) by R.S. Dwivedi are of immense value to Human Behaviour Studies.

Salient features-

The salient features of ethical perspective are given below:

  1. Higher performance criteria.
  2. Subordinates have been given the freedom to control and execute the work with proper accountability.
  3. Understanding and providing job security to workers and also recognising them as human beings.
  4. Workers’ sense of belongingness to the organisation.
  5. Acknowledging that in an organisation the informal group has a great role over the ethical aspects of workers and their performance vi. To achieve objectives, the leadership has a responsibility to suitably change the behaviour pattern of the workers.
  6. A shift from the unions’ collective relations, OB has led to individualisation of collective relations.
  7. Employees’ commitment is achieved by giving more power to them by cooperative decision making.
  8. Human relations to promote “Neo-unitarianism” (a new type of relation based on consensus and belief between the workers and management).
  9. OB directs the employees to Quality of Work Life (QWL).

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