Chapter 1 notes

Like chapter 1 of most books, this chapter 1 provides introductory concepts.  The most interesting concepts of the chapter include how many disciplines are involved in understanding organizations and the idea that there are covert structures in additional to overt structures (org charts).  The chapter also discussed the importance of quality, but it is not clear how quality applies to organizational behavior.

The book identifies several disciplines that are relevant to understanding organizations:  psychology, sociology, engineering, anthropology, management and medicine.  Psychology, management and to some degree sociology are obviously relevant, but considering the others is thought provoking.  Anthropology suggests that many behaviors are learned, leading one to think that understanding why and when behaviors are learned might help in changing the behavior.  Knowing that a behavior is learned might ease the offensiveness of the behavior.  Considering medicine implies that some behaviors are healthier than others and that there is treatment for unhealthy behaviors.  Considering all these disciplines makes understanding behavior seem a little more complicated, and interesting.

Everyone knows that politics plays a significant role in determining behavior in an organization.  The book calls this out and defines an informal organizational structure that is different than the formal org chart.  In many ways, the informal structure has more significant impact on individuals’ behaviors.  Thinking of the formal structure as the context for the informal structure will be very useful.

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