Organizational Behaviour, some learnings from the #MBA #OB

Here are several Organisational Behavior (OB) concepts learned during the course organized at the MBA Solvay Business School. The current paper is split into three parts: Individual level, Group level and Leadership level.

Individual level OB concepts and theories

These include, personality, motivation, perception and emotion

“…internals [employees] do better than externals in work that required initiative and independent action, complex information processing and learning…”;

Group level OB concepts and theories

These include, group dynamics, teams and conflict

There is a difference between a group, a working group and a team (André 2008). Being able to define those entities helps to manage them: their size, the type of tasks their members can or cannot achieve, the governance to apply, as well as their goals are different (satisfice or optimise); one should ensure those characteristics are taken into account when building them in order to increase the chance to reach the expected goal.

Teams can produce different level of outputs depending on the commitment of their members; high-performance team is a real team whose “members [are] deeply committed to each others’ personal growth and success” (André 2008)

They are stages of group development from its forming to its adjourning but short-term groups[i] defined by the punctuated equilibrium model suggests that, “time-pressured groups progress through long period of inertia, punctuated by concentrated, creative periods of significant change” (André 2008).

One can monitor the participation within a group by evaluating a few amounts of criteria like: who is talking most frequently, why? Who interrupts others? How are quite members handled? Etc. A visual tool can be used to facilitate the monitoring: a sociogram.

They are many modes or behaviours a group can take that endanger the efficacy of the group; they have to be discovered and tackled as soon as possible:

  • A groupthink is a mode of thinking leading to inefficiency within a group as “group members avoid criticising their leaders’ or colleagues’ ideas” (André 2008)
  • The polarization: “the tendency that groups have to make more extreme decisions [adventurous or conservative] than individuals” (André 2008)

They are believes regarding how a group can produce better results that are wrong:

  • Brainstorming is less productive than having the same number of people working alone and then collecting and organising their ideas
  • Electronic brainstorming are more productive than traditional brainstorming

They are three main types of conflict in an organisation, They are constructive and destructive conflicts:

  • relationship conflict,
  • task conflict
  • and process conflict.

“More communication always creates more clarity” (André 2008) is a myth; but parties can overcome this myth if they truly listen to and understand each other’s positions before additional talk can become useful.

They are five styles for managing interpersonal conflict depending whether people are oriented towards others or themselves:

  • integrators,
  • obligers,
  • dominators,
  • avoiders
  • or compromisers.

One emotion that is generally felt during a conflict is anger; we are generally angry with people who are important for us, people we value or people on whom we depend. Feeling angry energises and educates us; it forces us to examine what makes us angry and learn more about our own commitments and values.

[i] The author doesn’t value the length of a short-term group

Leadership OB concepts and theories

These include, classic and contemporary theories as well as social identity theory of leadership

Recruiters are more likely to say someone has ‘leadership potential’ if that person has the same personality traits as the recruiter. Unfortunately, when individuals label other as effective leader merely because they meet their own personal ideal, companies may not get the type of leadership they need.” (André, 2008), Page 310.  

The “interpersonal approaches to difficult people” describes how to counsel and discipline them by “Taking the bull out of the bully” (André, 2008), page 331. This is a straightforward definition presenting how the team working for my non-profit organisation should envisage the management of difficult people.

An effective follower establishes early on whether their boss really wants to know the truth, and, if the boss does, occasionally reminds the boss of his position” (André, 2008), page 334.

Until business schools teach future accounts and leaders how deep the connections are between business, society, nature, and the world, corporations will continue to be run by hollow leaders who have no sense of ethics or responsibility. Accounting for performances is likely to remain too narrowly focused to be helpful in todays’ demanding environment.” (André, 2008), Page 337.

Many stakeholders and observers are doubtful that the CEO should be involved in succession planning (André, 2008), page 339. We will see if newly appointed CEO of Apple will survive this concept.

“[everyone in a company has to set] the stage…have you ever walked into a professor’ office and not seen a wall full of diplomas?…” (André, 2008), page 350. This is linked to the dehumanization described here under. 

[Many tactics can be effective] when targeting peers and subordinates … these include rational persuasion, consultation, collaboration, and inspirational appeals. Using coalitions, legitimation, and pressure are not likely to be effective… When you are trying to influence your boss … the tactic most likely to be successful is rational persuasion” (André, 2008), page 352.

Of four standard managerial activities, only networking had a statistically significant relationship with being successful [managers in comparison to Effective managers]” (André, 2008), page 354

It is not so much the kind of person a man is as the kind of situation in which he finds himself that determines how he will act” (André, 2008), page 358

The dehumanization is the process of depriving individuals of their human qualities and activities; of their individuality” (André, 2008), page 360.


Andre, R. (2008). Organizational Behavior: An Introduction to Your Life in Organizations (1st Edition ed.). Pearson Education.

Barsade, S. D., & Gibson, D. E. (2007). Why Does Affect Matter in Organizations? Academy of Management Perspectives , 21 (1), 36-59.

BOUJRAF, A. (2009, September 13). Pay-For-Performance or How to fail your human resources management. Retrieved October 30, 2011:

Kostner, J. (1996). Virtual Leadership: Secrets from the Round Table for the Multi-Site Manager. United States of America: Grand Central Publishing.

Reuchlin, M. (2000). Psychologie. (Presses Universitaires de France – PUF, Ed.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.