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Assignment Questions

Summaries on Workforce Chapters

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An outline of summaries provided below? Summary covering Chap?s 4, 5, 14 and 16 (can provide personal examples based on the chapters) Discuss each chapter on an individual basis

Chapter 4 Study Guide

1. What is workforce diversity, and why is it important?
Workforce diversity is the mix of gender, race and ethnicity, age, and able-bodiedness in the workforce.
Workforces in the United States, Canada, and Europe are becoming more diverse, and valuing and managing such diversity is becoming increasingly more important to enhance organizational competitiveness and provide individual development.

2. What are demographic differences among individuals, and why are they important?
? Demographic differences are background characteristics that help shape what a person has become.
? Gender, age, race and ethnicity, and able-bodiedness are particularly important demographic characteristics.
? The use of demographic differences in employment is covered by a series of federal, state/provincial, and local laws outlawing discrimination.
? Demographic differences can be the basis for inappropriate stereotyping that can influence workplace decisions and behaviors.

3. What are aptitude and ability differences among individuals, and why are they important?
? Aptitude is a person’s capability of learning something.
? Ability is a person’s existing capacity to perform the various tasks needed for a given job.
? Aptitudes are potential abilities.
? Both mental and physical aptitudes and abilities are used in matching individuals to organizations and jobs.

4. What are personality determinants and differences among individuals, and why are they important?
? Personality captures the overall profile or combination of characteristics that represent the unique nature of an individual as that individual interacts with others.
? Personality is determined by both heredity and environment; across all personality characteristics, the mix of heredity and environment is about 50?50.
? The Big Five personality framework consists of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience.
? A useful personality framework consists of social traits, personal conceptions, emotional adjustment, and personality dynamics, where each category represents one or more personality dimensions.
? Personality characteristics are important because of their predictable interplay with an individual’s behavior. Along with demographics and aptitude/ability differences, personality characteristics must be matched to organizations and jobs.

5. What are value and attitude differences among individuals, and why are they important?
? Values are broad preferences concerning courses of action or outcomes.
? Rokeach divides 18 values into terminal values (preferences concerning ends) and instrumental values (preferences concerning means).
? Allport and his associates identify six value categories, ranging from theoretical to religious.
? Meglino and his associates classify values into achievement, helping and concern for others, honesty, and fairness.
? There have been societal changes in value patterns away from economic and organizational loyalty and toward meaningful work and self-fulfillment.
? Attitudes are a predisposition to respond positively or negatively to someone or something in one’s environment; they are influenced by values but are more specific.
? Individuals desire consistency between their attitudes and their behaviors.
? Values and attitudes are important because they indicate predispositions toward behaviors.
? Along with demographics, aptitude/ability, and personality differences, values and attitudes need to be matched to organizations and jobs.

6. What does managing diversity and individual differences involve, and why is it important?
? Managing diversity and individual differences involves striving for a match between the firm, specific jobs, and the people recruited, hired, and developed, while recognizing an increasingly diverse workforce.
? Affirmative action; ethical considerations; local, national, and global competitive pressures; and a projected change in the nature of the workforce provide increasing workforce diversity.
? Once a match between organizational and job requirements and individual characteristics is obtained, it is necessary to manage the increasing diversity in the workforce.
? Firms now use a wide variety of practices in managing workforce diversity; for example: interactive networks, recruitment, education, development, promotion, pay, and assessment.

Chapter 5 Study Guide

1. What is the perceptual process?
? Individuals use the perceptual process to pay attention to and to select, organize, interpret, and retrieve information from the world around them.
? The perceptual process involves the perceiver, the setting, and the perceived.
? Responses to the perceptual process involve thinking and feeling and action classifications.

2. What are common perceptual distortions?
? Stereotypes or prototypes.
? Halo effects.
? Selective perception.
? Projection.
? Contrast effects.
? Expectancy.

3. How can the perceptual process be managed?
Managing the perceptual process involves
? Impression management of self and others.
? Managing the information attention and selection stages.
? Managing the information organizing stage.
? Managing the information interpretation stage.
? Managing the information storage and retrieval stage.
? Being sensitive to effects of the common perceptual distortions.

4. What is attribution theory?
? Attribution theory involves emphasis on the interpretation stage of the perceptual process and consideration of whether individuals’ behaviors result primarily from external causes or from causes internal to the individuals.
? Three factors influence an external or internal causal attribution?distinctiveness, consensus, and consistency.
? Two errors influencing an external or internal causal attribution are fundamental attribution error and self-serving bias.
? Attributions can be managed by recognizing a typical overemphasis on internal causes of behavior and an under emphasis on external causes.
? An overemphasis on internal causes tends to lead to assignment of failure to employees with accompanying disciplinary actions, negative performance evaluations, and the like.
? An under emphasis on external causes tends to lead to lack of workplace support.

Chapter 14 Study Guide
1. What is leadership, and how does it differ from management?
? Leadership is a special case of interpersonal influence that gets an individual or group to do what the leader wants done.
? Leadership and management differ in that management is designed to promote stability or to make the organization run smoothly, whereas the role of leadership is to promote adaptive change.

2. What are the trait or behavioral leadership perspectives?
? Trait, or great person, approaches argue that leader traits have a major impact on differentiating between leaders and non-leaders and predicting leadership outcomes.
? Traits are considered relatively innate and hard to change.
? Similar to trait approaches, behavioral theories argue that leader behaviors have a major impact on outcomes.
? The Michigan, Ohio State, and Graen’s Leader?Member Exchange (LMX) approaches are particularly important leader behavior theories.
? Leader behavior theories are especially suitable for leadership training.

3. What are the situational or contingency leadership approaches?
? Leader situational contingency approaches argue that leadership, in combination with various situational contingency variables, can have a major impact on outcomes.
? The effects of traits are enhanced to the extent of their relevance to the situational contingencies faced by the leader.
? Strong or weak situational contingencies influence the impact of leadership traits.
? Fiedler’s contingency theory, House’s path?goal theory, Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership theory, and Kerr and Jermier’s substitutes for leadership theory are particularly important, specific situational contingency approaches.
? Sometimes, as in the case of the substitutes for leadership approach, the role of the situational contingencies replaces that of leadership so that leadership has little or no impact in itself.

4. How does attribution theory relate to leadership?
? Attribution theory extends traditional leadership approaches by recognizing that substantive effects cannot always be objectively identified and measured.
? Leaders form attributions about why their employees perform well or poorly and respond accordingly.
? Leaders and followers often infer that there is good leadership when their group performs well.
? Leaders and followers often have in mind a good leader prototype, compare the leader against such a prototype, and conclude that the closer the fit the better the leadership.
? Some contend that leadership makes no real difference and is largely symbolic; others, following the ?romance of leadership? notion, embrace this symbolic emphasis and attribute almost magical qualities to leadership.

5. What are the new leadership perspectives and why are they especially important in high performance organizations?
? The new leadership consists of charismatic, transformation, and visionary leadership, and leadership of self-directing work teams.
? Charismatic, transformational, and visionary attributions help move followers to achieve goals that transcend their own self-interests and help transform the organization.
? Particularly important new leadership approaches are Bass’s transformational theory and House’s and Conger and Kanungo’s charismatic theories.
? Transformational approaches are broader than charismatic ones and often include charisma as one of their dimensions.
? Leadership in self-leading teams, particularly involved in high performing organizations, changes the external leadership role by making it a facilitative one to encourage team members to lead themselves.
? Behaviors of team coordinators are assumed to work best when reinforced by leaders who provide empowerment and stress various aspects of the new leadership.
? The new leadership, in general, is important because it goes beyond traditional leadership in facilitating change in the increasingly fast-moving and high performance workplace.

Chapter 16 Study Guide
1. What is the nature of the communication process?
? Communication is the process of sending and receiving messages with attached meanings.
? The communication process involves encoding an intended meaning into a message, sending the message through a channel, and receiving and decoding the message into perceived meaning.
? Noise is anything that interferes with the communication process.
? Feedback is a return message from the original recipient back to the sender.
? To be constructive, feedback must be direct, specific, and given at an appropriate time.

2. What are the essentials of interpersonal communication?
? Communication is effective when both sender and receiver interpret a message in the same way.
? Communication is efficient when messages are transferred at a low cost.
? Nonverbal communication occurs through facial expressions, body position, eye contact, and other physical gestures.
? Active listening encourages a free and complete flow of communication from the sender to the receiver; it is nonjudgmental and encouraging.
? Communication in organizations uses a variety of formal and informal channels; the richness of the channel, or its capacity to convey information, must be adequate for the message.

3. What barriers interfere with effective communication?
? The possible barriers to communication include physical distractions, semantic problems, and cultural differences.
? Mixed messages that give confused or conflicting verbal and nonverbal cues may interfere with communications.
? The absence of feedback can make it difficult to know whether or not an intended message has been accurately received.
? Status effects in organizations may result in restricted and filtered information exchanges between subordinates and their superiors.

4. What is organizational communication?
? Organizational communication is the specific process through which information moves and is exchanged within an organization.
? Organizations depend on complex flows of information, upward, downward, and laterally, to operate effectively.
? Groups in organizations work with different interaction patterns and use different communication networks.
? Interacting groups with decentralized networks tend to perform well on complex tasks; coacting groups with centralized networks may do well at simple tasks.
? Restricted communication networks are common in counteracting groups involving subgroup disagreements.

5. What forces influence communication in the high performance workplace?
? As new electronic communication technologies change the workplace, they bring many advantages of rapid and greater information processing capability.
? These same technologies have the potential to bring disadvantages in the form of a loss of emotion and personality in the communication process.
? Researchers are interested in possible differences in communication styles among men and women and in the relative effectiveness of these styles for conditions in the new workplace.
? Current controversies in organizational communication also include both issues of privacy and political correctness in workplace communications.

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