Important Organizational Behavior Concepts for a New Manager

Understanding organizational behavior can help a new manager learn what motivates his employees.
Understanding organizational behavior can help a new manager learn what motivates his employees. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

A new manager faces many challenges. Whether she is new to the company or just new to the role, she will have to quickly learn how to delegate tasks to her employees, give them the proper support they need from the rest of the organization and how to motivate her employees. Understanding organizational behavior is a great way to learn how employees and managers fit into the company's hierarchy and how they are motivated.

Tall Versus Flat Structure

A business's hierarchy is often characterized as either tall or flat. A tall hierarchical structure has many layers between entry-level employees and top management, whereas a flat structure has relatively few layers. In the latter structure, entry-level employees may regularly work with and talk to top managers, including the CEO or owner. These structures often have a significant impact on a company's organizational behavior, with employees of flat structure organizations generally feeling more involved with and appreciated in their organization. While a new manager generally cannot change the overall structure of her company, she can treat employees in a more collaborative manner, as opposed to an authoritarian manner.


In organizational management theory, an important concept is expectancy. Expectancy refers to the perception of an employee that his contributions will lead to a desired outcome. This expectancy can be based on past experience, manager encouragement and self-confidence. If an employee expects his performance to pay off in a measurable way, he will be more likely to be motivated to work harder and feel appreciated.


In organizational behavior, valence is the value an employee places on the results of a particular project or initiative. For example, a project aimed explicitly at improving an aspect of a department to which an employee does not belong will likely have a very low valence for that employee. Alternatively, a sales pitch to a potential new customer will probably have a very high valence if the employee making the pitch is likely to receive a large commission if the pitch is successful.


Instrumentality refers to the perceived relationship between performance and reward. In other words, this is the "what's in it for me" factor. For example, if the employees in a department are told they will get a percentage of the money they save in a cost-cutting initiative in the form of a bonus, they will be more likely to put their best effort forward.

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