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Insurance Agency’s Organizational Behavior Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 8th, 2020

Introduction

Organizational behavior encompasses understanding of human conduct with respect to the setting of a given organization. It involves examination, analysis, and presentation of the interrelationships between human behavior and organizations in which they exist. Excelling managers possess sufficient knowledge about the criteria of applying organizational behavior. This knowledge equips them with suitable tools and concepts that make them understand, analyze, and describe activities that take place in their companies.

This research paper provides a critical analysis of the organizational behavior of an insurance agency that is well known for its sale of indemnity services to companies and individuals worldwide. To achieve the objective of determining effective usage of human skills in management, the top manager, Miss Kally, was interviewed about of the company. The responses were used to elaborate on the various elements that are incorporated to apply organizational behavior successfully.

  • Name – Miss Kally
  • Title – Insurance Agency
  • Level – Top manager
  • Organization – Insurance Company

Personality

An Individual’s personality is responsible for various behaviors towards other people. Managers should practice good personal attitudes towards their colleagues and junior staff. The personalities of managers have significant influences on their leadership characteristics and motivation of staff.

Miss Kally, the manager of an insurance company, possessed empathetic and understanding personalities. These traits were realized through her willingness to train and nurture talents of the junior staff. The manager also focused on strengths of workers to ensure realization of success. In addition, she possessed an extrovert disposition since she was fond of interacting with her employees and customers. From the interview, it is clear that she tried her best to persuade the customers to buy insurance covers. She also possessed greater skills of convincing other companies to purchase the indemnification products that the agency offered. Majority of the company’s employees had both introvert and extrovert traits. They always presented meaningful ideas to the manager who liked sharing information with them.

Motivation

Motivation is an inner force that initiates, guides, and maintains behaviors that are geared towards a specific goal. Individuals are motivated in different ways. Therefore, managers should consider various needs of staff to realize effective performance. The manager, Miss Kally, applied the McClelland’s acquired theory that recognizes priorities and needs in different ways. From the interview, it is clear that she focused on a need for achievement, power, and affiliation. Besides, she associated the needs with distinct work preferences of the employees. The manager also stated that they provide good salaries, suitable work environment, and job security. As a result, her staffs are strongly motivated by the job conditions. She exhibits an element of self-motivation through her ability to lead staff and competitiveness that she has experienced in various working situations.

Stress

Most individuals such as managers and staff experience varying aspects of stress while performing their duties. With respect to the interview, both the manager and employees have experienced stress in their respective capacities in the insurance agency.

The manager’s stress was mainly derived from time, anticipation, situations, and encounters. The interview unveils that she always strived to manage such issues through refresher courses on time management and prioritization, use of positive visualization, and application of conflict resolution skills.

Most employees derived stress from their private issues, interpersonal relationships, and work. For instance, inability to beat deadlines due to procrastination of work is one of the great challenges that most workers have been facing in the company. However, the manager has always encouraged the workers to take responsibilities in physical activities by minimizing the bulk of work issued. Good training was always conducted on matters that pertain to time management and communication skills to encourage staff to have better ways of sharing their feelings with colleagues and management.

Decision-making

In most cases, managers are faced with varied choices, ideas, and/or course of action that requires them to follow a cognitive procedure of picking an ideal way of handling situations. A final choice of action is realized through formulation of the best decisions. Therefore, decision-making is an element of organizational behavior that requires a procedural approach to draw conclusions. A combination of intuition and reasoning must be considered when making effective decision because to reduce complication of choices. Mechanisms that are used to arrive at decisions should be timely and effective.

The types of choices that were adopted by the company included strategic decisions, which influence directions. Effective performance of such choices inculcates tactical decisions that have been incorporated. Another type of choice that is applied in the company is execution of operational decisions to achieve the short-term goals. Due to improvement of technology, an automated approach was put in place to automate decision-making processes.

Miss Kally mentioned that both analytical and conceptual styles of decision-making skills have been beneficial to the company in various aspects. Firstly, the analytical approach relies on facts and focuses on negotiations while the conceptual style is concerned with long-term results. In such cases, opinions of different staff are gathered and meditated upon to develop teamwork.

During the interview, she further explained that the departmental managers were concerned with efficiency and time. Thus, they relied on quick and concrete decisions that benefitted the company in terms of realization of visions, values, and goals. The manager further elaborated that staffs were involved in provision of ideas about the course of actions to be taken. However, the final power of deciding on the effective action depended on the management. Due to decentralization of powers in the various departmental heads, the managers made their own decisions after consultations with colleagues at the departmental levels. The overall decisions were arrived at by the top office to ensure conformity of decisions. Miss Kally pointed out that teamwork and loyalty have been realized amongst the employees.

Team Dynamics

A company can have teams at various levels of organization that perform duties together, but without dynamism. Such teamwork cannot bring about success to organizations. Team dynamic is a behavioral interaction between staff of a given group that performs a particular duty. Team dynamic relies on the roles and responsibilities of every person. Effective implementation of team dynamic results in positive outcome, avoids conflicts, and enhances productivity.

The various groups that were operational in the company included the customer support, strategy, committee, advisory panel, employee involvement, and negotiating teams. These teams were unique in terms of purpose, structures, and size. Each group composed of between ten and thirteen members. Cohesiveness in every team was also realized uniquely both within and amongst the groups. According to the manager, the teams had unique characteristics that included outstanding competencies, clear purpose, effective communication, accountability, and fairness among others. She reiterated that her team observed time management, judicious presentation of agendas, and consensual decision-making on critical issues among other rules have been stipulated by the organization.

Incidences of social loafing were countered by ensuring early distribution of assignments to prevent procrastination amongst the employees. The manager revealed that she conducted selection of group members based on skills, cohesiveness, and establishment of clear rules of behaviors, realistic goals, and development of a common understanding among others.

Team Building

Current managers embrace team-building approaches whereby responsibilities and/or allocation of duties are endowed to teams. The main goal is improvement of motivation and productivity. Numerous ideas and innovations have characterized individuals who work as teams in organizations. Team building has also encouraged development of skills amongst junior staff. It has been identified as one of the best means of improving employees’ morale. Miss Kally was appreciative of the decisions that were made by various departmental managers to develop work teams across the various units of the insurance firm. This situation enhanced their immediate experience, group skills, and communication.

Miss Kally and other managers usually organized the team building programs such as picnics and retreats to breakdown boredom, personal barriers, and eliminate political boundaries. This strategy enhanced realistic empowering of individuals towards the achievement of common goals. Openness amongst managers and the junior staff in the insurance agency encouraged establishment of trust between employees and their managers. According to Miss Kally, team building has also improved loyalty and transparency in all the units of the company. Other benefits include prudent problem-solving strategies, definition of objectives, and improved processes and procedures.

Communication

Effective management in an organization entails sharing information among staff and management to arrive at a consensus. The receiver must comprehend the relayed information and a response must be delivered back to sender to confirm that an idea has been captured. Effective communication enables managers to welcome ideas and comments of colleagues and staff to reach a concrete decision.

When staff are involved in communication, a rapport and sense of ownership is created in them; hence, they are able to share their ideas freely. Poor communication breaks trust, de-motivates employees, destroys team building, and disrupts problem solving in an organizational setup. Managers have a crucial role to play in training their junior staff to improve on communication skills. This situation leads to improvement production due to enhanced performance.

Most organizations incorporate various means of communication. For instance, Miss Kally reveals that the insurance agency uses both informal and formal forms of communication. Both verbal and non-verbal information is conveyed through multi-dimensional channels across all the departments and management networks. Mostly, the company utilizes formal communication means via e-mail messaging and telephone to reach clients and staffs quickly. Miss Kally categorically mentioned that their main objective of effective communication was to improve relations amongst colleagues, staff, and customers.

Effectiveness of communication also benefited the company through staff satisfaction, sharing of information and knowledge, and boosting the company’s competitiveness. However, various barriers of communication that were realized. The managers revealed that delayed report delivery, internet traffic congestion, noise pollution, and misinterpretation of information were among the key barriers that disrupted communication in the company. All the problems were addressed through use of clear channels, avoidance of work procrastination, and frequent maintenance of the company’s website among others.

Although Miss Kally noted that there were no major cross-culture or gender based issues that affected the efficiency of communication in the company, a minimal percentage of ethnocentrism was realized amongst the staff. The company strived to go beyond cultural ways of observing customers and staff because the business had developed to a global level where different cultures were exhibited.

Power

Power is the potentiality in a person to influence behavior and direction of activities. In most cases, power is practiced in an official capacity to control an individual or a group of people authoritatively. Managers critically use this organizational behavior to ensure that staffs are influenced to perform their duties diligently for the success of the organization.

Many researchers attest that people have a tendency of following individuals who seem to have higher authority or power. Managers must be careful when exercising powers to junior employees since some of them lose morale and enthusiasm towards their duties. The interview revealed that Miss Kally and other managers in the company acquired power through expertise (expert power). As a result, their employees admire them. The leaders influenced the employees through their skills and qualities. Miss Kally also stated that some of the leaders in the company also gained power through promotion and the decentralized system of administration that distributed power to various lower levels of management. The company practiced equality and equity among the employees and it was a routine for leaders to handle situations in a manner that made an employee feel worthwhile. This technique enabled the leaders of the company to earn respect from colleagues.

Conflict Negotiations

Incompatibilities that are observed in an enterprise arise from different opinions or oppositions that are brought about by dissimilar personalities. Therefore, the managements of the organizations are paramount to effective productivity. The usage of strategies that correct opinion differences amongst colleagues at the workplace in a positive way is termed conflict management.

With respect to the responses gathered from the manager, the various sources of conflict in the organization included change and implementation of new technologies that took employees some time to adapt. This situation led to stress, interpersonal relationships among employees, and change in economy. To manage the aforementioned conflicts the insurance agency implemented the five A’s technique (assessment, acknowledgement, attitude, action, and analysis) to seek the causes and appropriate solutions.

Leadership

A person who practices a social influence to guide and direct people to accomplish a given task is termed a leader. Effective leadership in an organization involves providing clear and elaborate directions, establishing effective communication, motivating, inspiring, and empowering staff to work effectively towards realization of organizational goals.

Various organizations practice different leadership styles in relation to task, degree of authority, and employee potential. Good managers possess leadership qualities that enable them do the right things. The interview revealed that Miss Kally majorly applied two styles of leadership namely participative and transformational. Although the manager had a final say in decision-making, she highly valued the input of the staff and other members of the board. She stated that participative style inculcated staff to triggered involvement and creativity. The manager further elaborated that the style was effective whenever a change of structure was required because the employees easily adopted such modifications. A transformational style encouraged her junior staff through motivation that led to improved productivity. Miss Kally was familiar with various principles of critical and strategic thinking, communication, and modes of motivation among others.

Conclusion

Effective management requires implementation of the above-mentioned organizational behaviors. Although success was realized in the insurance agency, some shortcomings were noted in various areas. Therefore, managers should execute policies that ensure effective operations in various market levels. Good leadership that embraces transformation and other techniques that enable the involvement of staff is paramount to accomplishment of organizational goals.

Appendix

Research analysis on how managers utilize elements of organization behavior concepts: A case analysis of Insurance Agency

Personality

  • What personality traits do you have as the manager of the company?
    • Empathetic and understanding
  • What do you think your Myers-Briggs personality assessment is? And
    • Extrovert
  • Why?
    • Loves interactions with employees, customers and other companies
    • Has a greater skill in convincing companies to buy products.
  • What type of personality assessment do your employees have?
    • Majority are both introvert and extroverts.

Motivation

  • Which type of motivational theory do you use in your company?
    • McClelland’s acquired theory
  • Why?
    • This theory recognizes everybody’s priorities and needs in different ways
  • How?
    • Focuses on need for achievement
    • Good salaries, job security to employees
    • Favorable environment.
  • What motivates you as a manager?
    • Ability to lead the staff
    • Competitiveness and experience in working situations.
  • What motivates your employees?
    • Job conditions and their responsibilities

Stress

  • What sources of stress you experience or have?
    • Time
    • Anticipation
    • Situations
    • Encounters
  • How do you manage them?
    • Attended refresher course on time management and prioritization
    • Used positive visualization
    • Apply conflict resolution skills.
  • What sources of stress do your employees have?
    • Personal issues
    • Interpersonal relationships
    • Work
  • How do you handle your employees’ stress?
    • Training of the workers on communication skills and time management
    • Issuance of reasonable workload

Decision Making

  • What types of decisions do you usually make in the company?
    • Strategic decision
    • Effective performance decision
    • Automated decision
  • What style of decision-making is used?
    • Analytical style
    • Conceptual style
  • Why?
    • Analytical style relies on facts and focuses on negotiations while the conceptual style is concerned with long-term results.
  • Are your employees involved in decision-making?
    • Yes

Team Dynamics

  • What teams are in this organization?
    • Customer support team
    • Strategy team committee
    • Advisory panel
    • Employee involvement group
    • Negotiating teams
  • What are their characteristics, size, and composition?
    • Variety of skills from members
    • Have clear purpose of their duties
    • Embrace effective communication within the members as well as accountability and fairness to all among others
    • The teams composed of between ten to thirteen members
  • What are the norms of the teams?
    • Time management
    • An agenda to be tabled in a meeting must be published in advance and decision on critical issues to be made through consensus among others
  • Are the teams cohesive?
    • Yes
  • How do you deal with social loafing?
    • Distribution of assignment to prevent procrastination Conducted selection of group members based on skills, cohesiveness and establishment of clear rules of behaviors.
    • Establishment of realistic goal and development of a common understanding

Team Building

  • How do you build trust amongst the teams?
    • Empowering the staff
    • Being open with staff
  • How does the team building occur?
    • Organizing team building programs like taking employees out of offices, picnics or on retreat-like places in order to breakdown boredom, personal barriers and to eliminate political boundaries.

Communication

  • What type of communication do you usually use in the organization?
    • Formal
    • Informal
  • What is the most effective form of communication used?
    • Non-verbal communication via E-mails
  • Why?
    • Because the information conveyed reaches clients and staff quickly
  • What communication barriers do you experience in the organization?
    • Delayed delivery of reports
    • Internet traffic congestion
    • Noise pollution
    • Misinterpretation of information
  • What cross-cultural and gender issues in communication do you experience?
    • Ethnocentrism

Power

  • Where do you get powers to manage the organization?
    • Expertise
    • Referent
    • Decentralized style of management
  • How do you influence your employees?
    • Training the employees
    • Involving the employees in sharing ideas

Conflict and Negotiation

  • What sources of conflict do you experience in the company?
    • Change and implementation of new technologies
    • Interpersonal relationships among employees
    • Change in economy
  • How is conflict managed?
    • The company mainly uses the five A’s techniques that include assessment, acknowledgement, attitude, action and then analysis.

Leadership

  • What type of leadership style do you use in your organization?
    • Participative
    • Transformational
  • Is it effective?
    • Yes
  • Why?
    • Participative style enables staff to be involved in giving creative ideas for development.

A transformational style encourages staff through motivation and leads to greater changes in productivity.

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