During the past year I developed more discussion questions that could be used during the classes or in the examinations. Some of the questions have been adopted from Fiona Wilson (2013) Organizational Behaviour and Work. A Critical Introduction. Oxford University Press. The workplace romances-incident has been adopted from Stephen P. Robbins, Timothy Campbell & Timothy A. Judge (2010) Organizational Behavior (1st edition, European Edition), Financial Times/ Prentice Hall.
Setting the Scene
Has the promise of globalisation, which was to lift underdeveloped economies on to a level playing field with the developed ones, failed? Argue and provide your own conclusion!
The chief executive of a largest catering firm, employing almost 430,000 staff including an army of school dinner ladies, was recently paid 4.4 million EURO, including a 1.3 million EURO cash bonus. The average pay of his staff is 20,480 EURO. His pay deal is then worth 280 times that of an average employee at the company. Is this gap too big? Discuss!
In a typical month in Britain, 78 per cent of newspaper articles are written by men, 72 per cent of contributors to the BBC’s Question Time programme are men, and 84 per cent of reporters and guests on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme are men (Cochrane, 2011). Does it matter if women are not equally represented on radio and on TV?
Employees’ views of work
What does work mean to workers? Why is it important to understand what work means to them?
Employers attempt to make work more challenging and interesting for the workers. Yet, why?
Managerial Views of Work
Make a little test. Find a person, who works in a management position (top, middle or lower management). Find out what this person does, for example how a typical workday of this manager looks like. Compare your results with the statement that all managers plan, organise, motivate, control and co-ordinate.
Management is defined in terms of a thinking approach not a feeling approach. Discuss!
Should women change themselves and their behaviour in order to accommodate to the masculine conception of management? Discuss!
The Rationality of Management (including New Public Management)
When marking essays, lecturers often notice that students talk about ‘Taylor’ and ‘Taylorism’ as if it is history-that is, a management idea that existed in the past , but which is now outdated and old-fashioned. It is easy to see why: Taylor was writing and practising management at the start of the twentieth century. But his ideas are alive and well today. What examples can you think of that demonstrate that Taylorism is still of relevance and in use today? Provide and describe two examples!
What are the potential problems associated with running public organisations such as schools, universities, hospitals, public housing associations as if they where a private firm operating on a market?
Sexuality, Sex Typing, and Gende
Refer to a particular job or profession and a) explain how and to what extent it could be regarded as sex-typed, b) explain what consequences this sex-typing has for men and women working in this job/profession, and c) explain what consequences this sex-typing has for men and women, who aspire to work in this job/profession!
ARE WORKPLACE ROMANCES UNETHICAL?
A large percentage of married individuals first met in the workplace. A 2006 survey revealed that 40 per cent of all employees have been in an office romance. Another survey of UK workers reported more than seven out of 10 respondents said they were aware of a romance currently going on in their office. Given the amount of time people spend at work, this isn’t terribly surprising. Yet office romances pose sensitive ethical issues for organizations and employees. What rights and responsibilities do organizations have to regulate the romantic lives of their employees? Take the example of Julie Roehm, senior vice president (VP) of marketing at Wal-Mart, who began dating Sean Womack, VP of communications architecture. When Wal-Mart learned of the relationship, it fired both Roehm and Womack, arguing that the undisclosed relationship violated its policy against workplace romances. After her firing, Roehm sued Wal-Mart, claiming that the company breached her contract and damaged her reputation. Wal-Mart then countersued, alleging that Roehm showed favouritism on Womack’s behalf. The Wal-Mart, Julie Roehm and Sean Womack saga shows that while workplace romances are personal matters, it’s hard to keep them out of the political complexities of organizational life.
- Nearly three-quarters of organizations have no policies regulating workplace romances. Do you think organizations should have such policies in place? Provide reasons for your decision!
- Do you think it is ever appropriate for a supervisor to date an employee under his or her supervision? Why or why not?
- Some companies, such as Nike, openly try to recruit couples. Do you think this is a good idea? How would you feel working in a department with a ‘couple’?
“There is … no objective perception of a single reality; there are always differences in perception in organisations…” (Wilson, 2013, p. 177). Discuss the consequences of this statement for the interaction between managers (or supervisors, directors etc.) and workers!
Given what you know about the shortcomings of personality testing, what best advice would you offer to someone recruiting a new employee? When answering this question you need to relate to a particular position (e.g. mayor, head nurse, manager, IT-specialist etc.).
Do personality traits change over time? Some researchers argue that behaviour and personality will change over time. You might imagine that personality will change with personal growth. Many people like to think that they change for the better over time (becoming wiser, more mature, and more insightful). However, there is also research hat shows and impressive level of stability in personality traits (particularly extraversion, neuroticism, and conscientiousness) over time. Which view would you prefer to believe and why?
Please read about Herzberg’s theory in the textbook (pp. 130-132 in the 2013 edition) and watch the following two videos on Youtube:
From what you learned from this material please describe Fredrick Herzberg’s theory of motivation.
In your answer you may refer to movement and motivation, hygiene and motivation factors, the KITA principle, the relation between motivation, ability and opportunity, etc.
Do we need leaders? Discuss!
When we study leadership, is it enough to focus on the person of the leader (hence, her or his character traits and behaviour)? Provide reasons for your answer!
Why does culture matter for our understanding of what effective leadership is?
Power and Control
Why do managers not always share power? Why do some employees do not want to be empowered?
Is ideological control an effective way of controlling employees at work? Discuss!
What other functions does the formal structure of an organisation serve than to ensure the optimal coordination of activities in order to achieve the organisation’s goal?
What role does gender play in the police culture? Use the information provided in the textbook and other sources (other literature, own experiences, information from friends, relatives etc.) to answer this question!