FIT – MGT5013 – Week 1, Discussion 1
There were many different organizational behavior concepts introduced in this chapter. Reflect back to a situation that you either encountered in your personal or professional life that involved one of these concepts. Would the outcome have been any different if you had prior knowledge from this week’s readings and discussions? (Describe the situation and the actual outcome within your response)
There were quite a few concepts that were introduced in both chapter 1 and chapter 2 of this week’s reading. I work in the technology field, and while my home office is in New York City, I spend a significant amount of time in San Francisco. There is no lack of diversity in NYC or SFO and one thing that I love about the tech field today (wasn’t always this way) is the focus on substance over style. I wear jeans, a t-shirt a hoodie and sneakers to work almost every day, I work with a very diverse group of people and the culture is one that values, respects and demands differing perspectives. With this said we have a corporate culture comprised of three core areas, sales, engineering and back office. While the engineering team has transcended to a place where individuals are measured by their contributions the sales team seems to at a minimum still place style on equal footing with substance. Style vs. substance is an area of conflict within our corporate culture, a conflict which at times I stoke because I am hoping we can move to a place where diversity is welcomed and we realize that each person given the opportunity had a unique perspective to share, a view that could dramatically alter an outcome. While recent harassment and discrimination headlines involving tech giants like Uber and Google coupled with other Silicon Valley headlines may challenge the positive changes I have observed, I think the progress we’ve made is astonishing.
I am a culture reigns supreme sort of person, I believe that great corporate cultures are comprised of great subcultures. I battle every day to keep culture first, with group cohesion being paramount to me. Group cohesion is not socialism; it’s not about equal wages, it’s about mutual respect, trust and the ability to depend on one another so that we can achieve outcomes beyond what any one individual is capable of achieving on their own. I have been with my current employer for twelve years, I have run a high-performing team for all twelve years, and I have been invited to what my company calls Presidents Club, eleven of the twelve years. I have declined the invite all eleven times, the first three years I declined no one said much, in year four the CEOs administrative assistant at a national sales meeting asked me why I never go to Presidents Club. Presidents Club trips are trips to exotics locations like Bali, Hawaii, etc… I replied with I can’t in good conscious leave behind my team of twenty plus people to sun myself while they keep working, everyone is deserving because we succeed or fail together. I expect everyone to work hard, I expect everyone to be smart, and I expect exemplary performance within the confines of what an individual is capable of. An individual’s capabilities are expected to grow with time, but this is what I expect from the team and myself, this is the subculture, and this subculture is what has gotten me an invite to Presidents Club, accepting would be counter-cultural. (I paraphrased, the actual conversation and follow-up Jerry Maguire paper was much longer). The conversations which followed led to the company to allow me to use the dollars they would have spent for my wife and me to attend the Presidents Club trip for a team retreat. I truly believed in this and eight years later my team continues to outperform, and we continue to hold a frugal retreat once a year which the entire team attends. Our team has the highest group cohesion of any group in the company, and I’d like to believe actions like what I outlined above have and continue to play a significant role.
Lastly, I related to Evidence-based management (EBM) and big data. I am an engineer, and I like empirical data, I trust my gut, but I also like big data sets and analytics to make me feel good about my guttural decision making. I recently wrote a blog entitled “I’m a skeptic, satiated by large raw data sets, analysis & inference” about my addiction to data, analytics, and inference.
I also think in the world we live in, the best data is often gathered indirectly, the tech and marketing industry calls this sentiment analysis. My team uses a platform called Slack as our primary communication medium, we have a channel in Slack called #the-railroad, the way this works is anyone can post something to the railroad with a chat command “/on” followed by what they are working on. I wrote the chatbot and what it does is capture and log the post, post it to #the-railroad for everyone to see, uses NLP (natural language processing) to perform sentiment analysis. Once the sentiment analysis is complete it sends the poster back some motivational words based on sentiment; there is also a web page where I can view all the analytics over time, by individual, day of week, time of day, etc… The bot uses a dictionary of words that are categorized as positive, negative or neutral, and a naive bayes algorithm to calculate sentiment. To improve accuracy ‘noise’ or ‘stop’ words are removed. The result is the following: https://sites.google.com/view/quokka-analytics/home
I have an addiction, I know. I like to analyze everything, I have to apply gamification to everything, but this makes employee reviews so much more interesting. 🙂
When I think about ethics and some of the things I have witnessed over the years, I feel uncomfortable, but I think I’ve said enough.
Chang, E. (2018, January 04). “Oh My God, This Is So F—ed Up”: Inside Silicon Valley’s Dark Side. Retrieved March 07, 2018, from https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/01/brotopia-silicon-valley-secretive-orgiastic-inner-sanctum
Fuchs, C. (2018, March 5). Ex-recruiter accuses Google of hiring discrimination against white, Asian men in lawsuit. Retrieved March 07, 2018, from https://www.nbcnews.com/news/asian-america/ex-recruiter-accuses-google-hiring-discrimination-against-white-asian-men-n853601
Kosoff, M. (2017, June 06). Mass Firings at Uber as Sexual Harassment Scandal Grows. Retrieved March 07, 2018, from https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/06/uber-fires-20-employees-harassment-investigation
Ku, G., Wang, C. S., & Galinsky, A. D. (2015). The promise and perversity of perspective-taking in organizations. Research in Organizational Behavior, 35, 79-102. doi:10.1016/j.riob.2015.07.003
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. (2018). Essentials of organizational behavior. New York, NY: Pearson.
Edited on 03/07/2018 at 09:38:PM EST
Jasmin, thanks for sharing, I can relate to the cultural differences in Japan and ceremony with which the Japanese do business. In the late 90s I made a number of repeated trips to Japan because of a partnership my company at the time had with Hitachi. I am a pretty informal person, but that certainly doesn’t fly in Japan, the business card exchange ritual was quite an experience, the best way I can describe it is by highlighting the business card exchange scene in the film American Phyco, just like in the scene I felt like the stock, the font, etc… were all under intense scrutiny. 🙂
It’s funny because today I am in full Save A Tree mode and don’t use business cards, everything I do is prefixed by an “E”. I trade contact information either using a digital business card with the app Haystack (and a QR code) or I point someone to my LinkedIn profile. In my day-to-day interacting with other people who are in technology, who like me can’t understand the people who still print out emails, this is perfectly acceptable. With this said I know if I have a meeting at Bank of Tokyo or HSBC, I put a suit on instead of jeans and t-shirt and I bring cards, and I also make sure that the cards looked like they are still warm from the printing press.
Gakuran, M. (2014, April 24). What You Need To Know About Exchanging Business Cards in Japan. Retrieved March 11, 2018, from https://blog.gaijinpot.com/exchanging-business-cards-japan/
Jacobs, H. (2017, January 17). I forgot one thing on my trip to Japan – and now I have to apologize to every person I meet. Retrieved March 11, 2018, from http://www.businessinsider.com/japan-business-culture-etiquette-bring-business-cards-2017-1