Managing individual differences
Individual differ from each other is universal fact. Both inherited and external factor are responsible in our development. It is important task for every managers and leaders to understand individual differences and also to integrate to individual and the organization, to provide a better working environment that gives job satisfaction to their employees as well as help them to achieve organizational goals. The report emphasizes on hoe individuals differ from each other in terms of values, personality and attitudes by using different academic theories such as Schwartz value theory, the big five personality theory, MBTI etc. It also reflects on diversity at workforce and its importance to create productive environment. It concludes that managers should need to balance between needs and expectations to achieve success.
Individual differences is a study of human psychology which mainly concentrates on differences or similarities among individual on different psychological aspects such as their values, personality, attitude, intelligence and interest, perception, ethnic origin. Some people have believed that their personality is heavily influenced by their hereditary characteristics and it will never change, others think the reverse. (Mullins, 2011)
Organizational behaviour: According to Huczynski and Buchanan (2011) “organizational behavior has argumentative or controversial relationship with management practice.” It is the study of individual and group involves understanding, prediction and control of human behavior which helps to achieve or improve organizational performance and effectiveness (Mullins, 2011).
Individual differences influencing workplace behavior
- Values: According to Schwartz (1992), values are based on personal and social factors, it is set of beliefs and goals that serve as guiding principles in one’s life. Values are important to individual to tend to have an effect on the types of decision they make, how they perceive their environment and their actual behaviors. This is very difficult role of managers to understand values of their co workers, a customer, their superiors or other organizations. Understanding values is critical in align organizational behavior and managing people. There are ten types of universal values and some are the values are mutually exclusive.
[Source: Adapted from Clegg et.al, 2011]
It is the study of psychological qualities that have an influence on individuals stable aspects of behavior and internal states of mind that help explain a person’s behavior tendencies. (Clegg et.al, 2011) Independence, conscientiousness, agreeableness and self control these are the examples of personality characteristics. To understand personality and individuals behavior in organization psychologist have employed different techniques and ways of categorize the personality qualities.
The big five personality traits
Researchers have identified 171 traits on which individual can be ranked and then list was prepared to reduce number of traits by identifying the similarities and combining them. After the study of 171 traits only five major traits was found to be value for use in organizational situations.
If managers want to achieve organizational goals then they have to concentrate on these five personality dimensions.
The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI):
This tool is designed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katherine Briggs measures their preferences on four pairs of trait which was earlier proposed by Carl Jung in nineteenth century. This is most widely used instrument in the world. Participants are classified on four axes to determine one of 16 possible personality types such as, ENTJ
- Extraversion-Introversion – related to feeling energetic and comfortable. Extraversions are more energetic in group while introversion are more energetic and productive in alone.
- Sensing and intuiting – related to collecting information for solving problem.
- Thinking and feeling – based on evaluation alternatives for decision making
- Judging and perceiving – related to orientation of a person to the outside of the world.
According to (Arnold.et al, 2005) attitude is a tendency to think, believe or perform in a particular way toward some object. Attitudes have three components namely, feel- affective component, think – cognitive component and behave – behavioral component. In every organization each employee hold different type of attitudes than others and it helps them to get adjust to their work environment by providing interpreting things or happiness in the work. Knowledge, expressive, instrumental and ego- defensive these are the main functions of attitudes in the workplace.
Many organizations conduct attitude survey, Likert techniques and questionnaires to understand values and attitudinal climate of the organization and also to analyze the views and opinions of staff members on a particular issue or on the organization itself. So, the managers make changes which will be beneficial to the organization and individual as well. Surveys can encourage to employees to get involved, management also considers employees opinions, and also provide effective communication which helps managers to achieve success.
It is a positive attitude of employees has towards their job resulting from an evaluation of characteristics. It is closely related to motivation and performance. With the help of Job Descriptive Index (JDI) and Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) managers can measured workers job satisfaction towards job and organization.
Diversity in workplace:
Diversity is concerned with valuing individual differences. Work place diversity means variety of differences that individual have in organization. It consists of visible and non-visible equality and differences such as, age, gender, race, personality, education background, personality and disability equality and more. The success of organization depends on individual difference and diversity which gives importance to team spirit. In the last few years been given lot of attention to managing diversity because of social attitudes changing as per the situation, all employees get equal chance to perform, develop high level skills and also for demographical changes in the organization. (Mullins, 2011)
Equal opportunities to managing diversity:
All workers in the organisation should get equal opportunities to perform better and manager may not treat differently one employees than other because of their religion, age, educational qualification, work experience, race, knowledge and skills and should be treat them differently on the their target achievement, better performance, appraisal.
Individuals play important role in every organization. Above discussion provides food for thought to understand and respect individual differences and diversity to bring best in people who will help organization by increasing productivity and by providing a competitive edge. Successful managers need to achieve balance between needs and expectations to reach ladder of success.
Huczynski A and David B (2013), Organizational behaviour, 8th edition, Pearson publication, Harrow.
Clegg S, Pitsis T and Komberger M (2011), Managing and organizations: Introduction to theory into practice, 3rd Ed. SAGE publication, London.
Mullins L (2011), Management and organizational behaviour, 8th edition, Pearson education, Newyork.
Mazur B (2010), Cultural diversity in organizational theory and practice. Journal of Intercultural Management, Vol.2, Pg.no.5-15
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