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Individual Behavior and Communication

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Essay title: Individual Behavior and Communication

Individual Behavior and Communication


Organizational behavior is an academic discipline concerned with describing, predicting, understanding and controlling human behavior in an organizational environment. Over the years, organizational behavior has evolved into a complex school of thought and continues to evolve in response to the dynamic environment of today’s corporate cultures. While a well functioning group is paramount to successful organizational behavior, individual behavior is a challenging and critical element that must not be overlooked and must be managed as well.

Ultimately, the work of an organization is accomplished by the individual, whether alone or in a group. Accordingly, the daunting task of monitoring, analyzing and controlling individual behavior is the ultimate goal of management. In order to accomplish this, managers must have the capacity to understand the patters of individual behavior in order to predict unique behavioral responses and to react accordingly in a manner that creates synergy between the organization and the employee.

In order to effectively analyze individual behavior, researchers have developed a variety of models designed to explain individual behavior. Factors that effect personality development, including situational, environmental, cultural, social, and genetic factors are typically taken into account. Researchers also analyze various personality types and what impact they have on organizations.

The job satisfaction study is one such tool that is utilized by organizational behavior researchers that not only enables them to measure job satisfaction in a tangible manner (such as pay rate, benefits, working conditions and promotional opportunities), but also measures how individual behavior patters influence corporate culture, both positively and negatively.

The analysis of organizational behavior draws heavily upon the field of psychology. When analyzing the individual aspect of organization behavior, researchers often study factors including creativity, motivation, perception, personality, cooperative behavior, deviant behavior, and ethics.

Ethical Responsibility

Ethical responsibility is critical for businesses. When a firm is charged with an infraction, concern is raised about moral behavior. Accordingly, the level of trust between the business and the consumer (as well as other business entities) may be compromised and in turn may ultimately lead to a loss of profits or closure of the business entirely.

While top management or the corporations themselves are typically referred to when ethical business practices are compromised, the individual (at any level) is often faced with day-to-day ethical dilemmas. It is not only the responsibility of the organization to educate their employees on what constitutes ethical business behavior, to enable them to act accordingly. This means that the ethical decision-making process must be set in motion by awareness of an ethical dilemma.

If an individual is faced with what he or she perceives as an ethical dilemma, the individual first forms an impression about the rightness or wrongness of the issue. (Ethics – Factors Affecting Ethical Decision Making, 2004) There are numerous personality traits that can have profound impact how someone perceives right from wrong, first studied by sociologist Lawrence Kohlberg during the 1960s.

Kohlberg posited that an individual’s level of moral development affects their ethical issue recognition, behavioral intentions and subsequent actions.

According to the theory, individuals pass through various stages of moral development as they age, defined in three different levels—the first being the “pre-conventional” level. The pre-conventional level of moral development is usually associated with small children or adolescents.

Kohlberg defined the next level of moral development as the “conventional” level. In this level, the individual looks outside him or herself to determine right or wrong. Kohlberg asserts that the majority of adults operate at the conventional level of moral reasoning. (Kohlberg, 630)

The highest stage of moral development is defined as the “principled” level, in which the individual applies principles to ethical issues in attempt to resolve them. At the “principled” level, Kohlberg surmises that a person is less likely to be influenced by organizational expectations.

Research has shown that behavioral intentions are the strongest motivator of actual behavior—ethical behavior in particular. (Kohlberg, 634). However, individual

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