The definition of organizational behavior has been defined as the study of human behavior within the organization (Griffin and Moorhead p. 4). Management of this behavior includes four functions namely planning, leading controlling and organizing (Griffin and Moorhead, p. 7). Robbins & Judge 2011, p. 6 defines the work of managers as being responsible for designing an organization’s structure”. This paper will focus on the benefits and decisions that are taken within the management circles. This is aimed at ensuring that the decisions taken within an organization are those that benefit the workers and hence ensure productivity goes up.
Rationale for the Emphasis on Organizational Behavior Management
Whenever a manager within the organization makes a conscious decision, there are always repercussions. The manager has a number of skills that he/she need to exploit. Human skills imply the knowledge to communicate and inspire the workers as individuals and as groups. In fact, Robbins & Judge 2011, p. 4 noted that “developing managers’ interpersonal skills also helps organisations attract and keep high performing employees”. Conceptual skills involve making sense of complex situations and handling them effectively. According to Sims p. 235, participative leadership model is a form where leadership is shared. This means that the decision making within the organization is a shared matter. No one single person is running all affairs within the organization while the rest of the employees are subservient to him/her.
A leader in the organization who adopts this model has the benefit of a number of gains. One of these is the increased participation of everyone within the organization (Mayer p. 8). This means that the employees are made to feel as though their opinions matter. It also means that the management at the top does not hog the limelight for its own benefit. It also means that as far as accountability is concerned, the decisions taken at the top will be acceptable all the way down to the lowest cadres. Management has a number of roles which include information roles. The management needs to constantly scan and apply what other organizations are up to on the matter of participative leadership.
It also means that new ideas are introduced in the process of discourse and application of the decisional role (Mayer p. 8). It is not always that the leadership at the top has all the answers. They may come across a matter that has them utterly confounded. In such an instance, participatory leadership will come in to provide insights as to how the problem can be surmounted. This is important to the organization, as Robbins & Judge 2011, p. 27 noted that if organizations lack such measures, then, it can lead to employee withdrawal and this have “a very negative effect on an organization”.
Another benefit of the participatory leadership model is that of ease of implementation of the decisions. According to Mayer (p. 8), the employees are allowed to weigh in their opinions and so have little objection to the implementation. Krutza and Wiff posit that the employees are more than willing to implement what they actively played a role in formulating.
As a result an organization will find that it has lesser bureaucracy within its ranks. Another benefit is that the progress of making and implementing the decisions is much smoother and the results are positive. This ensures that employees feel being part of the organization. This makes them attend to customers effectively. In fact, Robbins & Judge 2011, p. 19 believes that “many organizations has failed because its employees failed to please customers”. Mayer (p. 8) is of the opinion that the leaders will be in a position to assess the viability of their decisions. The leaders must attempt to practice the ‘leadership function’, ‘human resource communication and networking skills’. This writer holds the view that participatory leadership model allows the leaders to assess their decisions long before they come to the implementation stage.
The benefit of this is that it allows the leaders to come to the best option open to them as a result of the consensus that exists. When the leaders assess the strengths and weaknesses of their decisions, they will then decide on the best way moving forward and come up with the best open decision for the organization as a whole.
Mayer (p. 8) is of the view that the adoption of the participative leadership model is the way of the future. The allowance of all the people within the organization to have a say in the decision making process is pivotal to the organization. The management of the organization needs to embrace its workforce diversity. The opening up of the decision making process is very important. It has the important role of ensuring that the entire staff of the organization gets to have a voice on a lot of issues that face them. This also implies that as an organization, interpersonal relations are strengthened. The employees will relate well with the members of the top management and those that are their peers.
Participatory leadership model is divided into three groups (Pride et al p. 180). These groups are consultative, consensus and democratic leadership. According to Pride et al, the consultative leader will seek the opinion of others within the organization. This is on all important matters that will need him/her to make decisions. However, Pride et al go on to state that the final decision that will be made is solely the jurisdiction of the leader. This means that even after consulting, the leader may end up disregarding all these opinions.
The next form of leadership is that of consensus leadership. This is the leaders hip where the opinions of the members of the organization. However unlike consultative leadership, the decisions reached under consensus leadership is more or less based on the opinions of all those who gave their two cents worth of opinions (Pride et al p. 180). The leadership model applied here leads the employees to feel wanted and valued. The workers who are made to feel this way will end up being highly productive and profitable to the organization.
The final form of leadership is democratic leadership. Pride et al (p. 180) state that democratic leaders have surrendered the decision making prerogative to the employees. Pride et al give an example of Larry Page and Sergey Brin. These are the two Google co-founders who have embraced this leadership model. The defining characteristic of democratic leadership is that communication is active upwards and downwards. As a result, the employees are free to approach the management to give their input on a matter and can be assured that the matter will be put into consideration.
Mayer (p. 8) goes on to say that participatory leadership has the benefit of increasing job satisfaction. This means that the numbers of employees who are working in the organization are content. At the same time due to the level of interest in the work, new skills are gained. This means that while the employees are productive and therefore assets to the business, they are at the same time learning something new. This is a way of ensuring that the organization has the capacity to retain a productive and skilled workforce.
Whenever management applies Evidence Based Management (EBM), their decisions are effective. The value of this management style is its reliance on scientific evidence. The manager in this case will make the most practical decision based on what will be the best outcome. This is in line with what Robbins & Judge 2011, p. 5 argued that managers direct the activities of others to attain goals”. This however entails a great deal of research on the part of the manager.
Rational Against the Emphasis on Organizational Behavior Management
While there are benefits of ensuring that organizational behavior is managed, there is a down side to this emphasis. The manager who employs this leadership tactic will be seen to always encourage the participation of the employees under him/her. This may end up being perceived as just another ploy by the manager to endear him/herself to the employees (McConnell p. 163-164). According to McConnell, this comprises of ‘management 101’. It is a sort of ploy by most new mangers or even old ones to win the approval of the employees under them. This may end up being the reason for the organization’s own undoing.
Another hazard warned against by McConnell is the danger of falling into the trap of employee perception. This is a situation where the manager cannot do anything without having to get the approval of the employees. He/she fears the reaction of the employees should they take a certain step. This is not a healthy managerial trait because the manager is reduced to a mere rubber stamp. While it is wise to consult the employees under him/her, this does not in any way mean that the manger cannot be their own man or woman. The employees must not be allowed to usurp the authority of the manager. This is in line with what Robbins & Judge 2011, p. 23 argues that “companies that promote strong ethical leadership can influence employees decisions to behave ethically”.
Jones et al (p. 575) caution against the over-reliance on the participative model. They are of the opinion that it will be ridiculous to over rely on the model. The manger will loose a lot of valuable time whenever he/she has to consult the employees whenever a decision has to be reached. This means that the entire decision making process takes longer to be concluded unlike the case where the leader has adopted a more autocratic leadership approach. This means that in an organization, there comes a time when a decision needs to be made quickly. In such a moment, the manager will not have time to consult the employees but will make split second choices that will affect the organization as a whole.
Jones et al (p. 575) hold a leader who has to consult his/her juniors in times of emergencies as being a weak leader. Strength of character demands of the leader enough conviction to make tough choices. Making the error of seeking consult in such a time will cause the employees under him/her to undermine him/her. This will then mean that the leader will have a hard time having to make the employees respect their directives. For this reason, it is advisable to temper the wish to consult since this will become an Achilles heel for the leader.
The article has gone through the motions of the use of participative leadership model. It has explored the positives as well as the negatives of using this particular model. Though there are obvious risks of adopting this model, it is non-the-less an advisable model to approach. An organization should be careful enough to note the risks and incorporate them. The lessons learnt from these risks will then help to strengthen the model in the organization. This will in the long run contribute to the prosperity of the organization and those employed within this organization.
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