Organizational Behaviour Models

Every organization develops a particular model in which behaviour of the people takes place. This model is developed on the basis of management’s assumptions about people and the vision of the management. Since these assumptions vary to a great extent, these result into the development of different organizational behaviour models (OB models). From the very beginning of the civilized human society, two alternative approaches have been adopted for placing trust on people.

One says “trust everyone unless there is a contrary evidence”: another says “do not trust anyone unless there is a contrary evidence”. Naturally, interpersonal interactions take place differently under these two approaches. Following description of the organizations is worth while to note here:

“Most of our originations tend to be arranged on the assumption that people cannot be trusted or relied on, even in tiny matters”.

However, this is only one side of the coin. For example, McGregor has given theories X and Y and each theory makes assumptions which are quite contrary to each other; Argyris has given the concept of immaturity and maturity of people which also provides two opposite views about the people. Thus, OB models developed on the basis of these assumptions would show great variations.

However, OB models that are in practice show some kind of continuum between these two opposite poles, though they tend to lean towards a particular pole. Davis has described four OB models which are as follows:

  1. autocratic
  2. custodial
  3. supportive
  4. collegial.

Autocratic Model

In the autocratic model, managerial orientation is towards power. Managers see authority as the only means to get the things done, and employees are expected to follow orders. The result is high dependence on boss. This dependence is possible because employees live on the subsistence level. The organizational process is mostly formalized; the authority is delegated by right of command over people to whom it applies. The management decides what is the best action for the employees.

The model is largely based on the Theory of X assumptions of McGregor where the human beings are taken inherently distasteful to work and try to avid responsibility. A very strict and close supervision is required to obtain desirable performance from them. Likert’s management system can be compared with the model of organizational behaviour.

His system (exploitative authoritative) in which motivation depends on physical security and some use of desire for start and better performance is ensured through fear, threats, punishment, and occasional rewards; communications is mostly one-way, that is downward: there is little interaction between managers and employees.

The autocratic model represents traditional thinking which is based on the economic concept of the man. With the changing values and aspiration levels of people, this model is yielding place to others. However, this does not mean that this model is discarded in toto. In many cases; the autocratic model of organizational behaviour may be a quite useful way to accomplish performance, particularly where the employees can be motivated by physiological needs. This generally happens at lower strata of the organization.

Custodial Model

In the custodial model, the managerial orientation is towards the use of money to play for employee benefits. The model depends on the economic resources of the organization and its ability to pay for the benefits. While the employees hope to obtain security, at the same time they become highly dependent on the organization. An organizational dependence reduces personal dependence on boss. The employees are able to satisfy their security needs or in the context of Herzberg’s theory only maintenance factors.

These employees working under custodial model feel happy, their level of performance is not very high. This resembles again to Herzberg’s satisfier and dissatisfier. Since employee are getting adequate regards and organizational security, they feel happy. However, they are not given any authority to decide what benefits or rewards they should get. This approach is quite similar to partrimonial approach where the basic assumption

is that it is the prerogative of management to decide what benefits are best suited to the employees. Such an approach is still quite common in many business organizations in India. The phenomenon is more predominant in family-managed business organizations where family characteristics have also been applied to the organizational settings. The basic ingredient of the family-managed system is that, parents decide what is good or bad for their children and managers decide what is good for their employees. From this point of view, this model is not suitable for matured employees.

Supportive Model

The supportive model organizational behaviour depends on managerial leadership rather than on the use of power of money. The aim of managers is to support employees in their achievement of results. The focus is primarily on participation and involvement of employees in managerial decision-making process. The model is based on principles of supportive relationship’s of Likert, which is the basic ingredient of his system 4 (participative).

Likert states that, the leadership and other processes of the organization must be such as to ensure a maximum probability that in all interactions and all relationships with the organizations each member will, in the light of his background, values and expectation views the experience as supportive and one which builds and maintains, his sense of personal worth and importance.28 It is quite similar to the assumptions of McGregor’s Theory Y.

The supportive model is based on the assumptions that human beings move to the maturity level and they expect the organizational climate which supports this expectations. Various organizational processes-communication, leadership, decision-making, interaction, control, and influence-are such that, these help employees to fulfil their higher order needs such as esteem and self-actualization.

Likert has shown that, supportive model is best suited in the conditions when
employees are self-motivated. Thus, this emphasizes not on the economic resources of the organization but its human aspect. Manager’s role is to help employees to achieve their work rather than supervising them closely. This can be applied more fruitfully for higher level managers whose lower order needs are satisfied reasonably.

Organizations with sophisticated technology and employing professional people can also apply this model for getting best out of their human resources. However, this does not mean that, this model can be applied in all circumstances. For example Davis observes that, ‘the supportive model tends to be specially effective in nations with affluence and complex technology, because it appeals to higher order needs and provides intrinsic motivational factors.

It may not be the best model to apply in less developed nations. Because their employees need structures who are often at lower levels and their social conditions are different’. More over, this model can be applied more fruitfully for managerial levels as compared to operative levels. As such, the tendency of modern management is to move towards supportive model, especially for their management groups

Collegial Model

Collegial model is an extension of supportive model. The term collegial refers to a body of people having common purpose. Collegial model is based on the team concept in which each employee develops high degree of understanding towards others and shares common goals. The employee response to this situation is responsibility.

Employees need little direction and control from management. Control is basically through self discipline by the team members. The organizational climate is quite conductive to self-fulfillment and self-actualization. Collegial model tends to be more useful with unprogrammed work requiring behavioural flexibility, an intellectual environment, and considerable job freedom.

The various models of organizational behaviour are based on the assumption of the human characteristics and how they can work best. Since situational variables are strong factors in determining the organizational processes, managers cannot assume that a particular model is best suitable for all purposes and for all situations. Rather all the models will remain in practice and that too with considerable success.

These models are basically constructed around need hierarchy. Since need hierarchy is not similar for all the employees, the same model cannot be used for all of them. The need hierarchy changes with the level of a person in the organization, level of his education, level of maturity, personality factors and the type of work environment. Considering these factors, a particular model can be applied.

Organization theorists have argued that there is a tendency to move towards the adoption of supportive model because in this case people may give their best because in other models they do not find conditions conducive to give their best performance. This is why managers are taking a number of steps to humanize their organizations, such as participation, morale building, and so on to make the organizations more effective.

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