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Organizational Behavior: Difficult Situations

Chapter 1.1 Organizational Behavior

  • What motivated Jeff Shelstad to found Flat World Knowledge (FWK)?

He noticed that students were constantly finding ways to avoid purchasing textbooks by tracking down substitutes and free copies.

Shelstad was motivated to found Flat World Knowledge by his experience working in textbook publishing. He observed that students were constantly finding ways to get around purchasing expensive textbooks, which led him to believe that there was a market for a new option that “combined quality and affordability.”

  • What was the original business model of Flat World Knowledge?

To provide free online textbook access to students but charge for add-ons such as study aids and alternate textbook formats

FWK began by offering all of its texts free to students, with the opportunity to purchase add-ons such as study quizzes and flash cards. Eventually, however, they changed the price of their textbooks to $19.95, calling their original free “a barrier to long-term growth” for the organization.

Chapter 1.2 Understanding Organizational Behavior

  • Which of the following BEST explains what organizational behavior is?

It is the study of how people and teams behave within the workplace.

Simply put, organizational behavior is the study of how people and teams behave within the workplace. (As the text puts it, OB is “the systematic study and application of how and why individuals and groups act within the organizations where they work.”)

  • Consider the following example: Lauren is creating an organizational behavior study of a company. In the study, she focuses on the company’s culture and its influence on the company. At what level of analysis is Lauren examining the company?

The organizational level

If Lauren’s focus is on company culture, she’s examining the company at the organizational level, rather than at the individual or group level. Company culture is an organizational issue because it exerts influence on the entire organization.

  • According to the text, which of the following is the most important asset to an organization?


People are the most important asset to an organization. As stated by Steve Jobs and Mary Kay, the most valuable assets an organization can have are quality people.

  • According to the text, why is organizational behavior different from common sense? Choose the BEST answer.

Organizational behavior, unlike common sense, relies on research about how individuals and groups behave in the workplace.

While organizational behavior may seem like common sense, its conclusions are in fact the result of research and study. (As the text puts it, organizational behavior is the “systematic study and application of knowledge about how individuals and groups act within the organizations where they work.”)

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1.3 Adding to Your OB Toolbox

  • Look at the chart “Education & Training Pays, 2006” in the middle of this page. According to the chart’s data, which of the following statements is MOST accurate?

There is a strong correlation between education level and financial success.

The chart indicates that there is indeed an important relationship between education level and financial success. The more education you have, the higher your earnings and employment prospects are likely to be.

  • Let's say you decide to take Tom Peters’s advice and start building your personal skill set. Which of the following should you do?

Learn a new technology such as Twitter

Peters says that it’s crucial to keep up with technology. Learning how to use a new program, such as Twitter, is a good way to do so—and could help you network too.

Chapter 1.4 Understanding Your Learning Style

  • Jacob takes notes during class, rewrites his notes, and draws diagrams to help him study and process information. Jacob is probably what type of learner?

A visual learner retains information through reading and visual representations of information.

  • Riley doesn't take notes during biology class, but always pays close attention to her professor. After class, she goes online to watch videos on the topic to learn more. She is especially spirited during class discussions. Riley is mostly likely what type of learner?

Auditory learners enjoy conversations and learning from lectures and videos. They like to hear things said aloud so that they can remember them better.

  • Which of the following study habits is equally useful to learners, regardless of their learning style?

According to the text, flash cards are helpful to every type of learner introduced on this page. For kinesthetic learners, the act of making the card helps the term stick. For auditory learners, saying the answers aloud helps, and for visual learners, seeing the answers written down is helpful.

  • An auditory learner should do which of the following to facilitate his or her learning?

Joining a study group would help an auditory learner, as he or she would hear the different concepts and terms discussed during the group. Auditory learners remember concepts best after hearing them aloud.

  • Winston has developed a study system: he reads for 45 minutes and then takes a ten-minute break to walk around the library and stretch his legs. He has found that this activity helps him comprehend what he just read better. Most likely, Winston is what type of learner?

Kinesthetic learners learn best through doing, or by trial and error. Because Winston needs to walk around to best understand what he just read, he is a kinesthetic learner.

Chapter 1.5 Self-Assessment 1: Jungian Typology

  • What was your result?


Introvert(89%) Sensing(12%) Feeling(25%) Judging(39%)
•You have strong preference of Introversion over Extraversion (89%)
•You have slight preference of Sensing over Intuition (12%)
•You have moderate preference of Feeling over Thinking (25%)
•You have moderate preference of Judging over Perceiving (39%)

  • Did your typology results surprise you?

My typology fits me perfectly.

  • What did you learn about yourself from this assessment?

After taking the Jung Typology Test I discovered that I have an ISFJ, which does not surprise me at all. After reading the ISFJ Description by Marina Margaret Heiss I was surprised by how well the test matched my personality. Overall I did not learn that much about myself because I already knew most of what the test told me about my personality. The main thing I did learn about myself is that that there are other people who share my personality. This was an important find for me because I always thought that I was just shy; I did not think that it was a real element of my personality. I also learned that my introvert personality coupled with my high work ethic and loyalty may cause me to become underappreciated in a work environment. Learning this makes me feel that I should try to be less introverted so that I do not get stuck into being taken advantage of in my future work place; to this end I plan to work on being able to delegate to other people instead of undertaking everything myself.

Chapter 1.6 Understanding How OB Research Is Done

  • Which of the following is the term for research conducted within an actual organization?

Field studies are conducted within an actual organization, and the most effective ones use an experimental design with a control group and a treatment group.

  • Which of the following is a type of research that occurs under controlled conditions and includes observation, interviews, or experiments?

In a lab study, one group is assigned to be the control and the other to be the experimental group. It is less realistic in this setting, but researchers are able to examine a hypothesis and test its validity.

  • Think back to the story about Flat World Knowledge in the introduction to this chapter. The presentation of the company was an example of which of the following organizational behavior research methods?

A case study is a detailed description of an industry or organization, and can lead to conclusions about the circumstances or people involved. However, it can also lead to generalizations.

  • Which of the following BEST describes meta-analysis?

A meta-analysis is the process of summarizing research from completed studies. The analysis is completed by taking correlations from multiple studies and determining if the effect holds true or not.

  • To answer the next question, consider this finding from an assessment: extroverts tend to end up in leadership positions. Given this finding, which of the following statements BEST describes the relationship between extroversion and promotions?

Given this finding, we can conclude that extroversion is correlated with promotions. While more research is required to determine whether or not extroversion is the CAUSE of promotions, there is an undeniable correlation between the two.

  • Imagine you’re doing research on individual behavior in the workplace, and have just begun a field study. You have recorded one observation during your first day in the field. What is this observation called?

When you only have one observation, it is called a “datum.” When you have multiple observations, they are called “data.”

  • Which of the following is the MOST effective way of ensuring a company behaves ethically?

Research suggests that the most important determinant for ethical behavior is if leaders are committed to ethical behavior and whether the organization has a culture of ethical behavior.

  • Which of the following statements about trends in organizations in the United States is correct?

As the text explains, 76 million baby boomers will retire over the next 30 years, but there will only be 46 million new workers from younger generations entering the American labor force.

  • Which of the following descriptions of the Millennial Generation (people born between 1980 and 2000) is true?

Members of this generation have seamlessly integrated technology into their lives and are very capable with new technology.

  • Which of the following BEST defines offshoring?

Offshoring entails moving part of a business—typically, certain jobs—from one country to another. This is different from contracting an outside organization to complete tasks, which is the definition of outsourcing.

  • Which of the following statements about trends in technology is correct?

The establishment of “no email Fridays” strongly indicates that we are living in an age of information overload.

  • Which of the following are components of “the triple bottom line”?

The triple bottom line refers to results that take into account economic, environmental, and social considerations—not just economic considerations.

  • Which of the following BEST describes a “shamrock organization”?

A shamrock organization has the following structure: one-third of the company is professional in-house staff, one-third is outsourced vendors, and one-third is temporary employees.

  • Which of the following statements about engaged employees is true?

According to the text, engaged employees are much more loyal to their companies than unengaged employees. The text cites a Gallup study estimating that if 100 percent of a company’s employees were engaged, job turnover would drop 70 percent, which strongly suggests that loyalty is a product of engagement.

Chapter 1.8 Maintaining Core Values: The Case of Nau

  • Which of the following BEST captures the founding principle of Nau?

Nau’s founding principle is to do good through business practices.

  • Which of the following organizational behavior concepts has Nau seemed to focus on primarily?

Nau focuses on sustainable business practices. The company is deeply focused on the life of its products, from the raw materials used to make them through their usage by consumers.

Chapter 1.9 Self-Assessment 2: How Productive Are You?

  • What score did you receive on your self-assessment?


  • What did this self-assessment teach you?

This self-assessment has taught me that while I am on the right with my productivity efforts I still have room for improvement. This assessment has assessed me in organization, attitude, delegation, information integration, and effective use of systems. I learned that my best areas were attitude and information integration; while my worst areas were organization, delegation, and productive systems. After learning about what elements of productivity I am the worst I now can create a plan on how to improve. For instance I can make an effort to keep my work areas in a set order, I can become more aware of the need to delegate, and I can work on being more of a team player. This assessment has taught me that I need to take more time to evaluate myself because I thought that I was maximizing my productivity potential when I still have room for a decent amount of improvement.

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