Ability An individual’s capacity to perform the various tasks in a job.
Absenteeism The failure to report to work.
Accommodating The willingness of one party in a conflict to place the opponent’s interests above his or her own.
Action research A change process based on systematic collection of data and then selection of a change action based on what the analysed data indicate.
Adjourning stage The final stage in group development for temporary groups, characterised by concern with wrapping up activities rather than task performance.
Affect A broad range of feelings that people experience.
Affect intensity Individual differences in the strength with which individuals experience their emotions.
Affective commitment An emotional attachment to an organization and a belief in its values.
Affective component of an attitude The emotional or feeling segment of an attitude.
Affective events theory (AET) A model which suggests that workplace events cause emotional reactions on the part of employees, which then influence workplace attitudes and behaviours.
Agreeableness A personality dimension that describes someone who is good natured, cooperative and trusting.
Anchoring bias A tendency to fixate on initial information, from which one then fails to adequately adjust for subsequent information.
Anthropology The study of societies to learn about human beings and their activities.
Appreciative inquiry (AI) An approach that seeks to identify the unique qualities and special strengths of an organization, which can then be built on to improve performance.
Arbitrator A third party to a negotiation who has the authority to dictate an agreement.
Assessment centres A set of performance-simulation tests designed to evaluate a candidate’s managerial potential.
Attitudes Evaluative statements or judgements concerning objects, people or events.
Attribution theory An attempt to determine whether an individual’s behaviour is internally or externally caused.
Attribution theory of leadership A leadership theory which says that leadership is merely an attribution that people make about other individuals.
Authentic leaders Leaders who know who they are, know what they believe in and value and act on those values and beliefs openly and candidly. Their followers would consider them to be ethical people.
Authority The rights inherent in a managerial position to give orders and to expect the orders to be obeyed.
Autonomy The degree to which a job provides substantial freedom and discretion to the individual in scheduling the work and in determining the procedures to be used in carrying it out.
Availability bias The tendency for people to base their judgements on information that is readily available to them.
Avoiding The desire to withdraw from or suppress a conflict.
BATNA The best alternative to a negotiated agreement; the least the individual should accept.
Behavioural component of an attitude An intention to behave in a certain way toward someone or something.
Behavioural theories of leadership Theories proposing that specific behaviours differentiate leaders from nonleaders.
Behaviourally anchored rating scales (BARS) Scales that combine major elements from the critical incident and graphic rating scale approaches: The appraiser rates the employees based on items along a continuum, but the points are examples of actual behaviour on the given job rather than general descriptions or traits.
Behaviourism A theory which argues that behaviour follows stimuli in a relatively unthinking manner.
Biographical characteristics Personal characteristics – such as age, gender, race and length of tenure – that are objective and easily obtained from personnel records.
Blog (Web log) A website where entries are written, generally displayed in reverse chronological order, about news, events and personal diary entries.
Bonus A pay plan that rewards employees for recent performance rather than historical performance.
Boundaryless organization An organization that seeks to eliminate the chain of command, have limitless spans of control and replace departments with empowered teams.
Bounded rationality A process of making decisions by constructing simplified models that extract the essential features from problems without capturing all their complexity.
Brainstorming An idea-generation process that specifically encourages any and all alternatives while withholding any criticism of those alternatives.
Bureaucracy A structure with highly routine operating tasks achieved through specialisation, very formalised rules and regulations, tasks that are grouped into functional departments, centralised authority, narrow spans of control and decision making that follows the chain of command.
Centralisation The degree to which decision making is concentrated at a single point in an organization.
Chain of command The unbroken line of authority that extends from the top of the organization to the lowest echelon and clarifies who reports to whom.
Challenge stressors Stressors associated with work load, pressure to complete tasks and time urgency.
Change agents Persons who act as catalysts and assume the responsibility for managing change activities.
Change Making things different.
Channel richness The amount of information that can be transmitted during a communication episode.
Charismatic leadership theory A leadership theory which states that followers make attributions of heroic or extraordinary leadership abilities when they observe certain behaviours.
Classical conditioning A type of conditioning in which an individual responds to some stimulus that would not ordinarily produce such a response.
Coercive power A power base that is dependent on fear.
Cognitive component of an attitude The opinion or belief segment of an attitude.
Cognitive dissonance Any incompatibility between two or more attitudes or between behaviour and attitudes.
Cognitive evaluation theory A theory which states that allocating extrinsic rewards for behaviour that had been previously intrinsically rewarding tends to decrease the overall level of motivation.
Cognitive resource theory A theory of leadership which states that stress unfavourably affects a situation and that intelligence and experience can reduce the influence of stress on the leader.
Cohesiveness The degree to which group members are attracted to each other and are motivated to stay in the group.
Collaborating A situation in which the parties to a conflict each desire to satisfy fully the concerns of all parties.
Collectivism A national culture attribute that describes a tight social framework in which people expect others in groups of which they are a part to look after them and protect them.
Command group A group composed of the individuals who report directly to a given manager.
Communication apprehension Undue tension and anxiety about oral communication, written communication or both.
Communication process The steps between a source and a receiver that result in the transfer and understanding of meaning.
Communication The transfer and understanding of meaning.
Competing A desire to satisfy one’s interests, regardless of the impact on the other party to the conflict.
Compromising A situation in which each party to a conflict is willing to give up something.
Conceptual skills The mental ability to analyse and diagnose complex situations.
Conciliator A trusted third party who provides an informal communication link between the negotiator and the opponent.
Confirmation bias The tendency to seek out information that reaffirms past choices and to discount information that contradicts past judgements.
Conflict A process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected or is about to negatively affect, something that the first party cares about.
Conflict management The use of resolution and stimulation techniques to achieve the desired level of conflict.
Conflict process A process that has five stages: potential opposition or incompatibility, cognition and personalisation, intentions, behaviour and outcomes.
Conformity The adjustment of one’s behaviour to align with the norms of the group.
Conscientiousness A personality dimension that describes someone who is responsible, dependable, persistent and organized.
Consideration The extent to which a leader is likely to have job relationships characterised by mutual trust, respect for subordinates’ ideas and regard for their feelings.
Consultant An impartial third party, skilled in conflict management, who attempts to facilitate creative problem solving through communication and analysis.
Contingency variables Situational factors: variables that moderate the relationship between two or more other variables.
Continuance commitment The perceived economic value of remaining with an organization compared to leaving it.
Continuous reinforcement Reinforcing a desired behaviour each time it is demonstrated.
Contrast effects Evaluation of a person’s characteristics that is affected by comparisons with other people recently encountered who rank higher or lower on the same characteristics.
Controlling Monitoring activities to ensure that they are being accomplished as planned and correcting any significant deviations.
Core self-evaluation The degree to which an individual likes or dislikes himself or herself, whether the person sees himself or herself as capable and effective and whether the person feels in control of his or her environment or powerless over the environment.
Core self-evaluations Bottom-line conclusions individuals have about their capabilities, competence and worth as a person
Core values The primary or dominant values that are accepted throughout the organization.
Cost-minimisation strategy A strategy that emphasises tight cost controls, avoidance of unnecessary innovation or marketing expenses and price cutting.
Creativity The ability to produce novel and useful ideas.
Critical incidents A way of evaluating the behaviours that are key in making the difference between executing a job effectively and executing it ineffectively.
Cross-functional teams Employees from about the same hierarchical level, but from different work areas, who come together to accomplish a task.
Decisions Choices made from among two or more alternatives.
Deep acting Trying to modify one’s true inner feelings based on display rules.
Defensive behaviours Reactive and protective behaviours to avoid action, blame or change.
Demands Responsibilities, pressures, obligations and even uncertainties that individuals face in the workplace.
Departmentalisation The basis by which jobs in an organization are grouped together.
Dependency B’s relationship to A when A possesses something that B requires.
Dependent variable A response that is affected by an independent variable.
Deterrence-based trust Trust based on fear of reprisal if the trust is violated.
Deviant workplace behaviour Voluntary behaviour that violates significant organizational norms and, in so doing, threatens the well-being of the organization or its members. Also called antisocial behaviour or workplace incivility.
Displayed emotions Emotions that are organizationally required and considered appropriate in a given job.
Distributive bargaining Negotiation that seeks to divide up a fixed amount of resources; a win/lose situation.
Distributive justice Perceived fairness of the amount and allocation of rewards among individuals.
Dominant culture A culture that expresses the core values that are shared by a majority of the organization’s members.
Double-loop learning A process of correcting errors by modifying the organization’s objectives, policies and standard routines.
Driving forces Forces that direct behaviour away from the status quo.
Dysfunctional conflict Conflict that hinders group performance.
Effectiveness Achievement of goals.
Efficiency The ratio of effective output to the input required to achieve it.
Electronic meeting A meeting in which members interact on computers, allowing for anonymity of comments and aggregation of votes.
Emotional contagion The process by which peoples’ emotions are caused by the emotions of others.
Emotional dissonance Inconsistencies between the emotions people feel and the emotions they project.
Emotional intelligence (EI) The ability to detect and to manage emotional cues and information.
Emotional labour A situation in which an employee expresses organizationally desired emotions during interpersonal transactions at work.
Emotional stability A personality dimension that characterises someone as calm, self-confident, secure (positive) versus nervous, depressed and insecure (negative).
Emotions Intense feelings that are directed at someone or something.
Employee engagement An individual’s involvement with, satisfaction with and enthusiasm for the work he or she does.
Employee involvement A participative process that uses the input of employees and is intended to increase employee commitment to an organization’s success.
Employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) A company-established benefits plan in which employees acquire stock, often at below-market prices, as part of their benefits.
Employee-oriented leader A leader who emphasises interpersonal relations, takes a personal interest in the needs of employees and accepts individual differences among members.
Encounter stage The stage in the socialisation process in which a new employee sees what the organization is really like and confronts the possibility that expectations and reality may diverge.
Environment Institutions or forces outside an organization that potentially affect the organization’s performance.
Equity theory A theory which says that individuals compare their job inputs and outcomes with those of others and then respond to eliminate any inequities.
ERG theory A theory that posits three groups of core needs: existence, relatedness and growth.
Escalation of commitment An increased commitment to a previous decision in spite of negative information.
Ethical dilemmas Situations in which individuals are required to define right and wrong conduct.
Evidence-based management (EBM) Basing managerial decisions on the best available scientific evidence.
Evolutionary psychology An area of inquiry which argues that we must experience the emotions we do because they serve a purpose.
Exit Dissatisfaction expressed through behaviour directed toward leaving the organization.
Expectancy theory A theory which says that the strength of a tendency to act in a certain way depends on the strength of an expectation that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the attractiveness of that outcome to the individual.
Expert power Influence based on special skills or knowledge.
Extraversion A personality dimension that describes someone who is sociable, gregarious and assertive.
Feedback The degree to which carrying out the work activities required by a job results in the individual obtaining direct and clear information about the effectiveness of his or her performance.
Felt conflict Emotional involvement in a conflict that creates anxiety, tenseness, frustration or hostility.
Felt emotions An individual’s actual emotions.
Femininity A national culture attribute that has little differentiation between male and female roles, where women are treated as the equals of men in all aspects of the society.
Fiedler contingency model The theory that effective groups depend on a proper match between a leader’s style of interacting with subordinates and the degree to which the situation gives control and influence to the leader.
Filtering A sender’s manipulation of information so that it will be seen more favourably by the receiver.
Five-stage group-development model The five distinct stages groups go through: forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning.
Fixed pie The belief that there is only a set amount of goods or services to be divvied up between the parties.
Fixed-interval schedule Spacing rewards at uniform time intervals.
Fixed-ratio schedule Initiating rewards after a fixed or constant number of responses.
Flexible benefits A benefits plan that allows each employee to put together a benefits package individually tailored to his or her own needs and situation.
Flexitime Flexible work hours.
Formal channels Communication channels established by an organization to transmit messages related to the professional activities of members.
Formal group A designated work group defined by an organization’s structure.
Formalisation The degree to which jobs within an organization are standardised.
Forming stage The first stage in group development, characterised by much uncertainty.
Framing A way of using language to manage meaning.
Friendship group People brought together because they share one or more common characteristics.
Functional conflict Conflict that supports the goals of the group and improves its performance.
Fundamental attribution error The tendency to underestimate the influence of external factors and overestimate the influence of internal factors when making judgements about the behaviour of others.
Gainsharing A formula-based group incentive plan.
General mental ability (GMA) An overall factor of intelligence, as suggested by the positive correlations among specific intellectual ability dimensions.
Goal-setting theory A theory which says that specific and difficult goals, with feedback, lead to higher performance.
Grapevine An organization’s informal communication network.
Graphic rating scales An evaluation method in which the evaluator rates performance factors on an incremental scale.
Group order ranking An evaluation method that places employees into a particular classification, such as quartiles.
Group Two or more individuals, interacting and interdependent, who have come together to achieve particular objectives.
Groupshift A change in decision risk between a group’s decision and an individual decision that a member within the group would make; the shift can be toward either conservatism or greater risk.
Groupthink A phenomenon in which the norm for consensus overrides the realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action.
Halo effect The tendency to draw a general impression about an individual on the basis of a single characteristic.
Heredity Factors determined at conception, one’s biological, physiological and inherent psychological makeup.
Hierarchy of needs theory A hierarchy of five needs – physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualisation – in which, as each need is substantially satisfied, the next need becomes dominant.
High-context cultures Cultures that rely heavily on nonverbal and subtle situational cues in communication.
Higher-order needs Needs that are satisfied internally, such as social, esteem and self-actualisation needs.
Hindrance stressors Stressors that keep you from reaching your goals (red tape, office politics, confusion over job responsibilities).
Hindsight bias The tendency to believe falsely, after an outcome of an event is actually known, that one would have accurately predicted that outcome.
Human relations view of conflict The belief that conflict is a natural and inevitable outcome in any group.
Human skills The ability to work with, understand and motivate other people, both individually and in groups.
Hygiene factors Factors – such as company policy and administration, supervision and salary – that, when adequate in a job, placate workers. When these factors are adequate, people will not be dissatisfied.
Idea champions Individuals who take an innovation and actively and enthusiastically promote the idea, build support, overcome resistance and ensure that the idea is implemented.
Identification-based trust Trust based on a mutual understanding of each other’s intentions and appreciation of each other’s wants and desires.
Illegitimate political behaviour Extreme political behaviour that violates the implied rules of the game.
Illusory correlation The tendency of people to associate two events when in reality there is no connection.
Imitation strategy A strategy that seeks to move into new products or new markets only after their viability has already been proven.
Impression management (IM) The process by which individuals attempt to control the impression others form of them.
Independent variable The presumed cause of some change in a dependent variable.
Individual ranking An evaluation method that rank-orders employees from best to worst.
Individualism A national culture attribute that describes the degree to which people prefer to act as individuals rather than as members of groups.
Informal channels Communication channels that are created spontaneously and that emerge as responses to individual choices.
Informal group A group that is neither formally structured nor organizationally determined; such a group appears in response to the need for social contact.
Information overload A condition in which information inflow exceeds an individual’s processing capacity.
Initiating structure The extent to which a leader is likely to define and structure his or her role and those of subordinates in the search for goal attainment.
Innovation A new idea applied to initiating or improving a product, process or service.
Innovation strategy A strategy that emphasises the introduction of major new products and services.
Institutionalisation A condition that occurs when an organization takes on a life of its own, apart from any of its members and acquires immortality.
Instrumental values Preferable modes of behaviour or means of achieving one’s terminal values.
Integrative bargaining Negotiation that seeks one or more settlements that can create a win/win solution.
Intellectual abilities The capacity to do mental activities – thinking, reasoning and problem solving.
Intentions Decisions to act in a given way.
Interacting groups Typical groups in which members interact with each other face-to-face.
Interactional justice The perceived degree to which an individual is treated with dignity, concern and respect.
Interactionist view of conflict The belief that conflict is not only a positive force in a group but that it is also an absolute necessity for a group to perform effectively.
Interest group People working together to attain a specific objective with which each is concerned.
Intergroup development OD efforts to change the attitudes, stereotypes and perceptions that groups have of each other.
Intermittent reinforcement Reinforcing a desired behaviour often enough to make the behaviour worth repeating but not every time it is demonstrated.
Intuition A gut feeling not necessarily supported by research.
Intuitive decision making An unconscious process created out of distilled experience.
Job characteristics model (JCM) A model that proposes that any job can be described in terms of five core job dimensions: skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback.
Job design The way the elements in a job are organized.
Job enlargement Increasing the number and variety of tasks that an individual performs. Job enlargement results in jobs with more diversity.
Job enrichment The vertical expansion of jobs, which increases the degree to which the worker controls the planning, execution and evaluation of the work.
Job involvement The degree to which a person identifies with a job, actively participates in it and considers performance important to self-worth.
Job rotation The periodic shifting of an employee from one task to another.
Job satisfaction A positive feeling about one’s job resulting from an evaluation of its characteristics.
Job sharing An arrangement that allows two or more individuals to split a traditional 40-hour-a-week job.
Knowledge management (KM) The process of organizing and distributing an organization’s collective wisdom so the right information gets to the right people at the right time.
Knowledge-based trust Trust based on behavioural predictability that comes from a history of interaction.
Leader–member exchange (LMX) theory A theory that supports leaders’ creation of in-groups and out-groups; subordinates with in-group status will have higher performance ratings, less turnover and greater job satisfaction.
Leader–member relations The degree of confidence, trust and respect subordinates have in their leader.
Leader-participation model A leadership theory that provides a set of rules to determine the form and amount of participative decision making in different situations.
Leadership The ability to influence a group toward the achievement of a vision or set of goals.
Leading A function that includes motivating employees, directing others, selecting the most effective communication channels and resolving conflicts.
Learning A relatively permanent change in behaviour that occurs as a result of experience.
Learning organization An organization that has developed the continuous capacity to adapt and change.
Least preferred coworker (LPC) questionnaire An instrument that purports to measure whether a person is task or relationship oriented.
Legitimate political behaviour Normal everyday politics.
Legitimate power The power a person receives as a result of his or her position in the formal hierarchy of an organization.
Level-5 leaders Leaders who are fiercely ambitious and driven but whose ambition is directed toward their company rather than themselves.
Long-term orientation A national culture attribute that emphasises the future, thrift and persistence.
Low-context cultures Cultures that rely heavily on words to convey meaning in communication.
Lower-order needs Needs that are satisfied externally, such as physiological and safety needs.
Loyalty Dissatisfaction expressed by passively waiting for conditions to improve.
Machiavellianism The degree to which an individual is pragmatic, maintains emotional distance and believes that ends can justify means.
Management by objectives (MBO) A programme that encompasses specific goals, participatively set, for an explicit time period, with feedback on goal progress.
Managerial grid A nine-by-nine matrix outlining 81 different leadership styles.
Managers Individuals who achieve goals through other people.
Masculinity A national culture attribute that describes the extent to which the culture favours traditional masculine work roles of achievement, power and control. Societal values are characterised by assertiveness and materialism.
Matrix structure A structure that creates dual lines of authority and combines functional and product departmentalisation.
McClelland’s theory of needs A theory which states that achievement, power and affiliation are three important needs that help explain motivation.
Mechanistic model A structure characterised by extensive departmentalisation, high formalisation, a limited information network and centralisation.
Mediator A neutral third party who facilitates a negotiated solution by using reasoning, persuasion and suggestions for alternatives.
Mental models Team members’ knowledge and beliefs about how the work gets done by the team.
Mentor A senior employee who sponsors and supports a less-experienced employee, called a protégé.
Merit-based pay plan A pay plan based on performance appraisal ratings.
Metamorphosis stage The stage in the socialisation process in which a new employee changes and adjusts to the job, work group and organization.
Model An abstraction of reality. A simplified representation of some real-world phenomenon.
Moods Feelings that tend to be less intense than emotions and that lack a contextual stimulus.
Motivating potential score (MPS) A predictive index that suggests the motivating potential in a job.
Motivation The processes that account for an individual’s intensity, direction and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal.
Movement A change process that transforms the organization from the status quo to a desired end state.
Multi-team systems Systems in which different teams need to coordinate their efforts to produce a desired outcome.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) A personality test that taps four characteristics and classifies people into 1 of 16 personality types.
Narcissism The tendency to be arrogant, have a grandiose sense of self-importance, require excessive admiration and have a sense of entitlement.
Need for achievement (nAch) The drive to excel, to achieve in relationship to a set of standards and to strive to succeed.
Need for affiliation (nAff) The desire for friendly and close interpersonal relationships.
Need for power (nPow) The need to make others behave in a way in which they would not have behaved otherwise.
Negative affect A mood dimension that consists of emotions such as nervousness, stress and anxiety at the high end and relaxation, tranquillity and poise at the low end.
Neglect Dissatisfaction expressed through allowing conditions to worsen.
Negotiation A process in which two or more parties exchange goods or services and attempt to agree on the exchange rate for them.
Nominal group technique A group decision-making method in which individual members meet face-to-face to pool their judgements in a systematic but independent fashion.
Normative commitment An obligation to remain with an organization for moral or ethical reasons.
Norming stage The third stage in group development, characterised by close relationships and cohesiveness.
Norms Acceptable standards of behaviour within a group that are shared by the group’s members.
OB Mod The application of reinforcement concepts to individuals in the work setting.
Openness to experience A personality dimension that characterises someone in terms of imagination, sensitivity and curiosity.
Operant conditioning A type of conditioning in which desired voluntary behaviour leads to a reward or prevents a punishment.
Opportunity to perform Absence of obstacles that constrain the employee. High levels of performance are partially a function of the opportunity to perform.
Organic model A structure that is flat, uses cross-hierarchical and cross-functional teams, has low formalisation, possesses a comprehensive information network and relies on participative decision making.
Organization A consciously coordinated social unit, composed of two or more people, that functions on a relatively continuous basis to achieve a common goal or set of goals.
Organizational behaviour (OB) A field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups and structure have on behaviour within organizations, for the purpose of applying such knowledge toward improving an organization’s effectiveness.
Organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB) Discretionary behaviour that is not part of an employee’s formal job requirements but that nevertheless promotes the effective functioning of the organization.
Organizational commitment The degree to which an employee identifies with a particular organization and its goals and wishes to maintain membership in the organization.
Organizational culture A system of shared meaning held by members that distinguishes the organization from other organizations.
Organizational demography The degree to which members of a work unit share a common demographic attribute, such as age, sex, race, educational level or length of service in an organization and the impact of this attribute on turnover.
Organizational development (OD) A collection of planned change interventions, built on humanistic-democratic values, that seeks to improve organizational effectiveness and employee well-being.
Organizational justice An overall perception of what is fair in the workplace, composed of distributive, procedural and interactional justice.
Organizational structure The way in which job tasks are formally divided, grouped and coordinated.
Organizing Determining what tasks are to be done, who is to do them, how the tasks are to be grouped, who reports to whom and where decisions are to be made.
Participative management A process in which subordinates share a significant degree of decision-making power with their immediate superiors.
Path-goal theory A theory which states that it is the leader’s job to assist followers in attaining their goals and to provide the necessary direction and/or support to ensure that their goals are compatible with the overall objectives of the group or organization.
Perceived conflict Awareness by one or more parties of the existence of conditions that create opportunities for conflict to arise.
Perceived organizational support (POS) The degree to which employees believe an organization values their contribution and cares about their well-being.
Perception A process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions in order to give meaning to their environment.
Performing stage The fourth stage in group development, during which the group is fully functional.
Personality The sum total of ways in which an individual reacts and interacts with others.
Personality traits Enduring characteristics that describe an individual’s behaviour.
Personality–job fit theory A theory that identifies six personality types and proposes that the fit between personality type and occupational environment determines satisfaction and turnover.
Physical abilities The capacity to do tasks that demand stamina, dexterity, strength and similar characteristics.
Piece-rate pay plan A pay plan in which workers are paid a fixed sum for each unit of production completed.
Planned change Change activities that are intentional and goal oriented.
Planning A process that includes defining goals, establishing strategy and developing plans to coordinate activities.
Political behaviour Activities that are not required as part of a person’s formal role in the organization but that influence or attempt to influence, the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within the organization.
Political skill The ability to influence others in such a way as to enhance one’s objectives.
Position power Influence derived from one’s formal structural position in the organization; includes power to hire, fire, discipline, promote and give salary increases.
Positive affect A mood dimension that consists of specific positive emotions such as excitement, self-assurance and cheerfulness at the high end and boredom, sluggishness and tiredness at the low end.
Positive organizational culture A culture that emphasises building on employee strengths, rewards more than punishes and emphasises individual vitality and growth.
Positive organizational scholarship An area of OB research that concerns how organizations develop human strength, foster vitality and resilience and unlock potential.
Positivity offset The tendency of most individuals to experience a mildly positive mood at zero input (when nothing in particular is going on).
Power A capacity that A has to influence the behaviour of B so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes.
Power distance A national culture attribute that describes the extent to which a society accepts that power in institutions and organizations is distributed unequally.
Power tactics Ways in which individuals translate power bases into specific actions.
Prearrival stage The period of learning in the socialisation process that occurs before a new employee joins the organization.
Proactive personality People who identify opportunities, show initiative, take action and persevere until meaningful change occurs.
Problem A discrepancy between the current state of affairs and some desired state.
Problem-solving teams Groups of 5 to 12 employees from the same department who meet for a few hours each week to discuss ways of improving quality, efficiency and the work environment.
Procedural justice The perceived fairness of the process used to determine the distribution of rewards.
Process conflict Conflict over how work gets done.
Process consultation (PC) A meeting in which a consultant assists a client in understanding process events with which he or she must deal and identifying processes that need improvement.
Production-oriented leader A leader who emphasises technical or task aspects of the job.
Productivity A performance measure that includes effectiveness and efficiency.
Profiling A form of stereotyping in which a group of individuals is singled out – typically on the basis of race or ethnicity – for intensive inquiry, scrutiny or investigation.
Profit-sharing plan An organization-wide programme that distributes compensation based on some established formula designed around a company’s profitability.
Psychological contract An unwritten agreement that sets out what management expects from an employee and vice versa.
Psychological empowerment Employees’ belief in the degree to which they affect their work environment, their competence, the meaningfulness of their job and their perceived autonomy in their work.
Psychology The science that seeks to measure, explain and sometimes change the behaviour of humans and other animals.
Punctuated-equilibrium model A set of phases that temporary groups go through that involves transitions between inertia and activity.
Quality circle A work group of employees who meet regularly to discuss their quality problems, investigate causes, recommend solutions and take corrective actions.
Randomness error The tendency of individuals to believe that they can predict the outcome of random events.
Rational Characterised by making consistent, value-maximising choices within specified constraints.
Rational decision-making model A decision-making model that describes how individuals should behave in order to maximise some outcome.
Reference groups Important groups to which individuals belong or hope to belong and with whose norms individuals are likely to conform.
Referent power Influence based on possession by an individual of desirable resources or personal traits.
Reflexivity A team characteristic of reflecting on and adjusting the master plan when necessary.
Refreezing Stabilising a change intervention by balancing driving and restraining forces.
Reinforcement theory A theory which says that behaviour is a function of its consequences.
Relationship conflict Conflict based on interpersonal relationships.
Representative participation A system in which workers participate in organizational decision making through a small group of representative employees.
Resources Things within an individual’s control that can be used to resolve demands.
Restraining forces Forces that hinder movement from the existing equilibrium.
Reward power Compliance achieved based on the ability to distribute rewards that others view as valuable.
Rituals Repetitive sequences of activities that express and reinforce the key values of the organization, which goals are most important, which people are important and which are expendable.
Role A set of expected behaviour patterns attributed to someone occupying a given position in a social unit.
Role conflict A situation in which an individual is confronted by divergent role expectations.
Role expectations How others believe a person should act in a given situation.
Role identity Certain attitudes and behaviours consistent with a role.
Role perception An individual’s view of how he or she is supposed to act in a given situation.
Selective perception The tendency to selectively interpret what one sees on the basis of one’s interests, background, experience and attitudes.
Self-actualisation The drive to become what a person is capable of becoming.
Self-concordance The degree to which a person’s reasons for pursuing a goal is consistent with the person’s interests and core values.
Self-efficacy An individual’s belief that he or she is capable of performing a task.
Self-fulfilling prophecy A situation in which a person inaccurately perceives a second person and the resulting expectations cause the second person to behave in ways consistent with the original perception.
Self-leadership A set of processes through which individuals control their own behaviour.
Self-managed work teams Groups of 10 to 15 people who take on responsibilities of their former supervisors.
Self-monitoring A personality trait that measures an individual’s ability to adjust his or her behaviour to external, situational factors.
Self-serving bias The tendency for individuals to attribute their own successes to internal factors and put the blame for failures on external factors.
Sensitivity training Training groups that seek to change behaviour through unstructured group interaction.
Shaping behaviour Systematically reinforcing each successive step that moves an individual closer to the desired response.
Short-term orientation A national culture attribute that emphasises the past and present, respect for tradition and fulfilment of social obligations.
Simple structure A structure characterised by a low degree of departmentalisation, wide spans of control, authority centralised in a single person and little formalisation.
Single-loop learning A process of correcting errors using past routines and present policies.
Situational leadership theory (SLT) A contingency theory that focuses on followers’ readiness.
Skill variety The degree to which a job requires a variety of different activities.
Skill-based pay A pay plan that sets pay levels on the basis of how many skills employees have or how many jobs they can do.
Social loafing The tendency for individuals to expend less effort when working collectively than when working individually.
Social psychology An area of psychology that blends concepts from psychology and sociology and that focuses on the influence of people on one another.
Socialisation A process that adapts employees to the organization’s culture.
Socialised charismatic leadership A leadership concept that states that leaders convey values that are other-centred versus self-centred and who role model ethical conduct.
Social-learning theory The view that people can learn through observation and direct experience.
Sociology The study of people in relation to their social environment or culture.
Span of control The number of subordinates a manager can efficiently and effectively direct.
Status A socially defined position or rank given to groups or group members by others.
Status characteristics theory A theory which states that differences in status characteristics create status hierarchies within groups.
Stereotyping Judging someone on the basis of one’s perception of the group to which that person belongs.
Storming stage The second stage in group development, characterised by intragroup conflict.
Stress A dynamic condition in which an individual is confronted with an opportunity, a demand or a resource related to what the individual desires and for which the outcome is perceived to be both uncertain and important.
Strong culture A culture in which the core values are intensely held and widely shared.
Subcultures Minicultures within an organization, typically defined by department designations and geographical separation.
Surface acting Hiding one’s inner feelings and forgoing emotional expressions in response to display rules.
Survey feedback The use of questionnaires to identify discrepancies among member perceptions; discussion follows and remedies are suggested.
Systematic study Looking at relationships, attempting to attribute causes and effects and drawing conclusions based on scientific evidence.
Task conflict Conflict over content and goals of the work.
Task group People working together to complete a job task.
Task identity The degree to which a job requires completion of a whole and identifiable piece of work.
Task significance The degree to which a job has a substantial impact on the lives or work of other people.
Task structure The degree to which job assignments are procedurised.
Team building High interaction among team members to increase trust and openness.
Technical skills The ability to apply specialised knowledge or expertise.
Technology The way in which an organization transfers its inputs into outputs.
Teleworking People who work mainly in their own home or mainly in different places using home as a base, who use both a telephone and a computer to carry out their work
Terminal values Desirable end-states of existence; the goals a person would like to achieve during his or her lifetime.
Theory X The assumption that employees dislike work, are lazy, dislike responsibility and must be coerced to perform.
Theory Y The assumption that employees like work, are creative, seek responsibility and can exercise self-direction.
Three-component model of creativity The proposition that individual creativity requires expertise, creative thinking skills and intrinsic task motivation.
Traditional view of conflict The belief that all conflict is harmful and must be avoided.
Trait theories of leadership Theories that consider personal qualities and characteristics that differentiate leaders from nonleaders.
Transactional leaders Leaders who guide or motivate their followers in the direction of established goals by clarifying role and task requirements.
Transformational leaders Leaders who inspire followers to transcend their own self-interests and who are capable of having a profound and extraordinary effect on followers.
Trust A positive expectation that another will not act opportunistically.
Turnover Voluntary and involuntary permanent withdrawal from an organization.
Two-factor theory A theory that relates intrinsic factors to job satisfaction and associates extrinsic factors with dissatisfaction. Also called motivation-hygiene theory.
Type A personality Aggressive involvement in a chronic, incessant struggle to achieve more and more in less and less time and, if necessary, against the opposing efforts of other things or other people.
Uncertainty avoidance A national culture attribute that describes the extent to which a society feels threatened by uncertain and ambiguous situations and tries to avoid them.
Unfreezing Changing to overcome the pressures of both individual resistance and group conformity.
Unity of command The idea that a subordinate should have only one superior to whom he or she is directly responsible.
Utilitarianism A system in which decisions are made to provide the greatest good for the greatest number.
Value system A hierarchy based on a ranking of an individual’s values in terms of their intensity.
Values Basic convictions that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence.
Variable-interval schedule Distributing rewards in time so that reinforcements are unpredictable.
Variable-pay programme A pay plan that bases a portion of an employee’s pay on some individual and/or organizational measure of performance.
Variable-ratio schedule Varying the reward relative to the behaviour of the individual.
Virtual organization A small, core organization that outsources major business functions.
Virtual teams Teams that use computer technology to tie together physically dispersed members in order to achieve a common goal.
Vision A long-term strategy for attaining a goal or goals.
Vision statement A formal articulation of an organization’s vision or mission.
Voice Dissatisfaction expressed through active and constructive attempts to improve conditions.
Wellness programmes Organizationally supported programmes that focus on the employee’s total physical and mental condition.
Whistle-blowers Individuals who report unethical practices by their employer to outsiders.
Winner’s curse A decision-making dictum which argues that the winning participants in an auction typically pay too much for the winning item.
Work group A group that interacts primarily to share information and to make decisions to help each group member perform within his or her area of responsibility.
Work sample test A test that is a miniature replica of a job that is used to evaluate the performance abilities of job candidates.
Work specialisation The degree to which tasks in an organization are subdivided into separate jobs.
Work team A group whose individual efforts result in performance that is greater than the sum of the individual inputs.
Workforce diversity The concept that organizations are becoming more heterogeneous in terms of gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and inclusion of other diverse groups.
Workplace spirituality The recognition that people have an inner life that nourishes and is nourished by meaningful work that takes place in the context of community.