What is the importance of behavior and culture in the process of improving conduct in the organizational environment?
Any type of human behavior is exhibited in a particular environment, which is represented by a social or workgroup, school or family, and, of course, the workplace. Each of the mentioned environments includes an operating system that is built based on its systematic characteristics as well as the dynamics, which greatly impact the interactions between the system itself and human behavior. Therefore, to improve conduct in a workplace system, behavior analysis is required.
Apart from behavior, the organizational environment can also be greatly affected by the cultural background of individuals, which often dictates their conduct. People from different regions and countries often perform the same task in different ways. Thus, the idea of culture can be beneficial for exploring conduct in the workplace, and, subsequently, improving it.
The concepts of human behavior and culture have been explored exponentially in the research literature. Brethower focused his research on behavioral system analysis targeted at improving human behavior in organizational settings. His approach towards understanding human behavior revolved around the understanding of the “environment as system” principle, which was explained with the importance of behavioral systems analysis invention (Brethower, 2004, p. 172).
Treven, Mulej, and Lynn (2008) approached the concept of organizational behavior from a cultural perspective (p. 27). Their research focused on describing how individual’s culture can affect the motivation as well as the employee ethics within an organizational environment, concluding that the idea of the culture largely impacts any human interactions in a workplace since the components of every culture together present a unified framework for particular attitudes and conduct.
Hofstede also explored the concept of culture in the context of the organizational environment. His IBM studies paid attention to the organizational cultural differences instead of national. Through collection and analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data, Hofstede (2011) was able to outline six dimensions of organizational culture such as results versus process-oriented, employee versus job-oriented, parochial versus professional, closed versus open systems, loose versus tight control, and normative versus pragmatic (p. 21).
Von Rosenstiel (2011) reviewed the scientific research related to personal behavior in the workplace, underlining the fact that there are many difficulties when it comes to obtaining coherent information of the topic due to its multi-dimensional nature (p. 345). Also, his article provided a report on the details regarding variable and stable traits of an individual as well as their behavior in practical workplace situations. It was concluded that despite the knowledge being based on valuable findings, there was no substantial research on the individual behavior that does not affect the organizational performance to any degree.
When linking personal experience to the reviewed literature, one can agree that culture and behavior of employees affect the workplace settings to a large degree. For example, a student from Saudi Arabia that got an internship in a European company may not come to terms with the fact that European women have a right to go to work wearing short-sleeved blouses and skirts that show their legs.
Because the Islamic cultures do not advocate for such a style of clothing for women, his resentful behavior towards female employees can turn into a misunderstanding or even a conflict. Therefore, to boost organizational conduct in the workplace, the assessment of group and individual behavior, as well as some cultural peculiarities of workers is fundamental. Brethower’s approach “environment as a system” will be the most effective for improving conduct in the workplace since even minor changes related to employees’ conduct would eventually create an entire system of effective practices.
Cultural differences related to organizations themselves rather than specific cultures should also be included in the improvement of the organizational environment, similar to the approach proposed by Hofstede. Through the assessment of specific rules, behaviors, and practices in the organization in question a much more realistic picture of the environment can emerge. Thus, treating the organizational environment as a wholly unique system will help improve it as a unit rather than a combination of separate practices.
To conclude, the organizational environment is affected by a variety of factors; however, culture and individual behaviors are what can create truly positive and productive working conditions as well as negative and counterproductive. Assessment of employees’ behavior and culture separately and as a unit will help in finding the advantages and disadvantages of the organizational environment as well as become the primary step towards organizational improvements.
Another conclusion made relates to treating the organizational environment as a system which can be different from one workplace to another. Such a specific approach towards resolving behavior and cultural issues in the working environment allows for a more detailed analysis and action plan. Therefore, any behavioral and cultural peculiarities of the workplace atmosphere are of high importance when it comes to improving the organizational environment.
Brethower, D. (2004). Understanding behavior of organizations to improve behavior in organizations. The Behavior Analyst Today, 5(2), 170-181.
Hofstede, G. (2011). Dimensionalizing cultures: The Hofstede model in context. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1), 3-26.
Treven, S., Mulej, M., & Lynn, M. (2008). The impact of culture on organizational behavior. Management: Journal of Contemporary Management Issues, 13(2), 27-39.
Von Rosenstiel, L. (2011). Employee behavior in organizations. On the current state of research. Management Revue, 22(4), 344-366.