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Work behavior is a concept that describes how people carry out their employment activities. The business environment in which organizations operate today is always changing, and work behavior is becoming more and more complex. Making decisions inline with work behavior may require considerable amount of relevant data, information, and knowledge.
Processing these, in the framework of the needed decisions, must be done quickly, frequently in real-time, and usually requires some proper application of management functions, such as planning, staffing, controlling, organizing, and directing. In this regard, there are factors both personal and organizational which affect work behavior. The following paragraphs analyze these factors and consider project management as a work setting that is mostly affected.
Factors that moderate work behavior
Work behavior analysis encompasses the methodical assessment of the nature and components of a well defined job. Factors that affect work behavior can be categorized as personal or organizational; Personal factors include individual differences, personality, perception, values, and attitudes, while organizational factors include people, goals, culture, and communication style.
This section looks at the individual factors that affect work behavior. To begin with, individual differences such as gender, marital status, and tenure affect work behavior in various ways.
The obvious differences between men and women affect job performance. There exist no systematic male and female differences in analytical abilities, competitive focus, problem-solving skills, and decision making skills. It is believed that women are more willing to abide by the rule of work and men are insistent and more likely to have expectations of achievement.
Another issue that seems to differ between male and female employees is the preference for job schedules. Married women are likely to request for part time work, flexible schedule, and telecommuting in order to put up with family duties.
On the issue of marital status, research indicates that married workers are more likely to maintain a stable job through satisfaction as compared to unmarried employees (Mullins, 2004). Work experience through tenure also affects work behavior. It is believed that if person stays long in a job, chances are few that he or she will quit. Thus, tenure and satisfaction are concurrently related.
Second, personality tends to predict behavior and happiness related to work. These behaviors include absenteeism, performance, and team effectiveness. Personality matters when we combine different personality, thus achieving a stronger relationship between work performance and personality.
Third, what people perceive determine how they perform their work-related activities. For instance, workers are more likely to engage in tasks that they see as rewarding in terms of money and satisfaction. Fourth, values help individuals to determine what is good, right, or desirable. Values help in the analysis of organizational behavior and hence managers can be able to accommodate individuals from different cultures.
Since values differ across cultures, understanding such differences is helpful in predicting employee behavior from various cultures. Finally, attitudes affect work behavior because they reflect how employees feel about the work. Attitude can be explained through cognition, affect and behavior.
Cognitive facet of an attitude is a belief in something; for instance, grapevine is wrong. Affective facet of attitude is the emotional or feeling part of attitude, while behavioral facet of an attitude is an intention to act in a particular way towards somebody or something (Landy & Conte, 2009).
In relation to organization, there are several factors that affect work behavior. First, people within the organization have different positions, relations, and views. The relationship between individuals of various departments in regard to management level determines how they behave.
Workers tend to conform to their line manager more often as compared to managers of other departments. Customers also influence the way employees perform their duties, as there exist the need to satisfy customers. In addition, organizational goals will shape the way employees work. The goals of an organization are the reason for existence.
The activities of the organization are directed to the attainment of its goals. The goals of an organization will determine the nature of its inputs and outputs, the series of activities through which the inputs are achieved, and interactions with its external environment (Decenzo & Silhanek, 2002).
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Furthermore, culture reflects the underlying assumptions about the way work is performed; what is acceptable and not acceptable, and what actions and behavior are encouraged and discouraged within a company. Organizational structure underlines the way in which individuals and groups are arranged with respect to the task they perform.
The culture and structure of an organization develop over time and in response to a complex set of factors affecting work behavior. The key factors that are expected to affect the development of any corporate culture include: history, primary function and technology, goals and objectives, size, location, management and staffing, and the environment.
Finally, communication style used within an organization dictates how work is performed. Managing communication channels within a company is mostly compromised by barriers such as prejudgment, language, cultural differences, stereotyping, emotions, and lack of interest.
Patterns of communication such as vertical and horizontal communication affect the way people exchange information. Vertical communication is concerned with movement of information from upper to lower level of management and vice versa.
This pattern is commonly applied when instructions and policies from decision makers are to be conveyed to subordinates. Horizontal communication involves the communication between two people of the same level or status. This increases productivity, as everyone knows what everybody else is doing.
Work behavior analysis of project managers
This section analyses project management as role of project managers’ role. The factors described in the previous sections are considered here in relation to project management. Project management is the use of techniques and skills in preparation and controlling activities and resources required by the project to achieve results.
The purpose of project management is to produce a successful project. To be successful, a project must: meet the expectations of customers; should be delivered in time; be within budget; and have a minimal impact on on-going business (Lock, 2007).
Project management has been defined and described in different ways, but generally is a field that require proper management of people and various resources to help develop a successful project. In analyzing the work behavior of project management, the following paragraphs describe factors that may influence the behavior and efficiency of project managers.
Attitudes: project managers feel that there is need to complete the project within the stipulated time. If there is bad attitude towards the project, it is deemed to fail. This implies that there might be no harmony in the interrelated activities since the project manager is the one concerned with overseeing project activities.
Values: values help the project manager to make right decisions through analytical thinking. The members of a project team constitute different values and it is therefore appropriate for a project manager to analyze and select suitable project development cycle and use project management tools to plan, schedule and budget for the project.
Communication style: in the field of construction, assertive communication style is used frequently to create mutually agreeable solutions. Project management has limits and it is the obligation of managers to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
Supervision: project managers require technical expertise in overseeing people at work in a view to ensure compliance with established plans. When workers are supervised, their performance increases hence productivity. Bad supervision results to failed projects.
The job: it is the function of a project manager to ensure that the project is successful. Tasks such as initiating a project and planning affect the behavior of project management. Planning tends to take time because several plans must be put in place to ensure consistency and organization of activities.
Culture: the organization procuring the project requires the project management team to comply with the processes within the organization. Thus, process orientation, governance, training, and roles within the organization may influence the way a project is executed.
Structure: project management favors a matrix structure of organization. A matrix structure is a combination of both the functional structure and hierarchical structure. It is applicable to projects because different activities are performed in different areas. Other structures such as the line structure and functional structure might hinder the development of a project due to constant communication breakdown.
Co-workers: project managers should work in tandem with other workers, such as supervisors, business analysts, organizational managers, and general workers. A project is not something that can be rushed, but is something that requires the consent of every party within the company setup.
Goals and Personality: the goal of project management is to achieve a successful project. This ensures that individuals are active in their assigned tasks. Personality tends to determine the effectiveness of work. Team efficiency is brought about by good personal behavior which stems from experience in work.
All organizations including global manufacturing and services organization have some function to perform. Organizations exist in order to achieve objectives and to provide satisfaction to its members. By analyzing the factors that affect work behavior, managers can be able to come up with strategies that can be used to accomplish goals.
This paper has analyzed these factors in regard to project management; they include attitudes, values, communication style, supervision, the job, culture, co-workers, goals, and personality. For a project to be successful there must be: a clear defined objectives; partnership approach; a project sponsor; support from senior management; good attitude towards projects; accommodative organization culture; and effective communication.
These promote positive work behavior. On the other hand, negative work behavior is generated through the following: failure to establish commitment to the project; lack of interpersonal qualities; taking shortcuts; poor expectation; over optimism; and inefficient resources.
Decenzo,D. A. & Silhanek,B. (2002).Human Relations: Personal and professional development. (2nd Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Landy, F.J. & Conte, J.M. (2009) Work in the 21st Century: An Introduction to Industrial and Organizational Psychology. California: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Lock, D. (2007). Project management. (9th Ed.). Burlington: Gower Publishing Company.
Mullins, L. (2004). Management and Organizational Behavior. London: Pitman Publishing.