Introduction to OB Org Behavior 330, spring 2010
Introduction An introduction to theory and practice • Why theory? • It is an account of how things work, coherent in its terms, and applicable to phenomena that it seeks to interpret, understand, and explain. • It provides a frame upon which we make sense of our world, and the things within it • What is practice? • Simply put, it is what managers do
Management, managing, and manager Management is • The process of communicating, coordinating, and accomplishing actions in the pursuit of organizational objectives • The process of managing relationships with stakeholders, technologies, and other artifacts both within and between organizations
Management, managing, and manager Managing refers to • Handling, directing, controlling, exercising skill in executive ability • The acts done by a person (manager) in charge of controlling and directing the affairs of a business, institution, or agency The manager • Discharges the functions of managing (planning, controlling, coordinating, and directing) • Is rational in that he/she systematically applies techniques that seek to achieve goals
Sensemaking Sensemaking • Ongoing: We are always making sense, even when asleep - dreams are ways of making sense, according to Freudian theory • Retrospective: We make sense of something as it is elapsing and we are constantly reviewing the sense we make in terms of additional sense data. • Plausible: We never make perfect but always provisional sense, sense that is good enough for the matter at hand. It allows us to go on with what we are trying to do. While accuracy may be desirable, reasonable constructions that are continuously updated serve better as directional guides when things are changing fast. • Images: we often work with representations of things – models, plans, and so on – as we navigate our way in daily life. • Rationalize: we rationalize the meanings of things that are confusing to make them clearer and justifiable. • People: Although organizations contain many things that act which are not people (e.g. computers) - it is people who do the sensemaking in organizations. • Doing: we do things through thinking and action, which defines one another. Weick uses a rhetorical question, “how can I know what I think until I see what I say?” the point he is making is that when people act they discover their goals, which may be different even when we think we are dealing with the same cues.
Sensemaking Organizations involve multiple sources of sensemaking • Is underpinned by ideology (beliefs, attitudes, and opinions) • Shapes what is taken to be rational • Multiple sources = multiple rationalities Common sense is important for organizations * Making a sense that is common across customers, suppliers, shareholders, and employees * Management seeks to establish rules and rational routines that will make individual sensemaking predictable.