Since the 1960’s, organizational behavior has gained more importance in business activities, as workers have become autonomous and free thinking. Because authoritative management styles have become less standard and independent employee decisions now carry more weight in contemporary business, there is a need for businesses to motivate workers. Today's organizational behavior topics include social responsibility, corporate culture and globalization—factors never considered by the top-down management style made popular in the years surrounding the industrial revolution.
A business’s activities affect its management, employees and environment, making social responsibility a topic prevalent in contemporary organizational behavior. It has become increasingly important for managers and employees to factor social ramifications into their everyday business decisions. According to Harris and Hartman (2001), there are two main viewpoints when it comes to social responsibility: enlightened self-interest and utilitarianism. When talking about the ethics of a business and its employees, a utilitarian standpoint strives to accomplish goals that provide the greatest effects for all concerned: the society, employees and the company. Enlightened self-interest is when the organization feels it has a moral duty to the society; therefore, societal interests are highly prioritized amongst the business’s goals.
Since the top-down management structure is becoming a less standard organizational structure, employee motivation has become an important factor in business activities. This topic broaches a new question to managers: How does a company keep employees continually productive? New tactics have been researched and employed because employees do not always respond to higher compensations or job titles. As companies take into account the values and motivation of their employees, they often find that more money doesn’t always equal higher productivity. In fact, some companies have discovered that a reward-based system can result in employees being more proactive. For example, if an employee has put in overtime closing out a project, a company can surprise her with a gift certificate rather than a bonus. Surprising the employee with a gift can result in positive sentiments towards the organization--especially if the gift seems genuine—which can result in higher productivity.
Corporate Culture and Values
How managers and employees feel and function in their work environments is directly affected by the corporate culture. This organizational behavior topic has become synonymous with corporate branding, as businesses have been trending towards tying together corporate and strong brand values. Developing a corporate culture is a crucial element in business structures where individual employees, just like managers, are making decisions that affect the business’ bottom-line. Employees must connect with the culture with such conviction that they function in accordance with those values, whether or not they are being monitored. For example, in the competitive soft drink market, a company’s corporate culture could influence every employee--from the sales managers, who are pushing the product into the mass-merchant’s doors, to the promotional team handing out the product in a crowded shopping center.
Engaging in partnerships with international businesses, changes the way overseas and domestic management interacts and functions. With globalization, management and employees have to be aware of the international corporate culture clashes that might arise as a result of diversity. When two international organizations partner to produce a profit, their corporate culture and management strategy must accommodate both companies’ corporate values. Furthermore, international managers have to be aware of the motivational factors that govern various employees’ productivity. The sentiments and values that would motivate a domestic worker, may not apply to international team members. For example, a hospitality company, with restaurants in Paris and New York, might discover that the productivity levels in New York heighten with tips and bonuses, while in Paris management and employees respond better to vacation time.