Changing Behaviour at Work: A Practical Guide

Changing Behaviour at Work: A Practical Guide

Changing Behaviour at Work: A Practical Guide

Changing Behaviour at Work: A Practical Guide

Synopsis

Using behaviour analysis theory to demonstrate the use of proven psychological techniques to change people's behaviour at work, this book is a lively illustrative study for managers and students of organizational behaviour. By showing readers how best to identify undesirable behaviours, then measure them, analyze why they are occurring, and finally how to implement strategies to change them, this is a theoretically-based practical guide to true organizational behaviour patterns. It provides `real life' examples of how managers have used the techniques to change behaviour, examples which range from behavioural self-management to those aiming to change the behaviour of large groups of people. This is a unique study of a fascinating subject.

Excerpt

David Roberts was a successful middle manager in a large manufacturing company. He was in his mid-thirties and keen and enthusiastic. He had attended management courses and read many of the recommended texts and so was familiar with the writings of the currently popular management gurus. As do many managers he felt that much of this was common sense, although some of the more 'far out' ideas did not seem to have much application to his situation. However, he conscientiously tried to apply their recommendations in his daily dealings with his subordinates. Thus he spent time considering how to motivate them and how to improve the attitude of those members of staff who seemed less involved with their work than could be deemed desirable. As a result of his efforts the department ran well and he was respected and generally liked by his staff, nevertheless there were certain problems which did not seem to be solvable. One or two members of staff kept up a steady work pace but no amount of exhortation or driving could increase this, even in emergencies. He had suspicions that one or two others were spending more time chatting with their colleagues than was perhaps desirable, and there was poor old Jim who always seemed to get hold of the wrong end of the stick. However much time he spent on these issues nothing ever seemed to change.

The scenario outlined above is common to many organizations. The problems faced by David Roberts are fairly typical and his method of tackling them is fairly usual, as is his lack of success. In this chapter we will examine why this is, in order to provide a basis for explaining why the behavioural approach can provide better solutions.

How managers manage depends on the beliefs they hold about people and what they believe causes them to behave in any particular way. As McGregor (1960) put it 'every managerial act rests on an assumption'. Although this book was written over forty years ago and the approach is, perhaps, rather simplistic, it still has important implications for management today. For this reason, although the ideas are quite well known, it is worth giving a brief summary for those who have not yet come across them. They are also quite widely misunderstood by those who are only superficially familiar with the theory.

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