The cases in this class follow an experiential approach. This means you will reflect on your own experience in an organization and then apply the concepts from the module materials to think critically about these experiences and understand them better. The structure of the course and the assignments follow Kolb’s model of the adult learning process, which is discussed on the Module 1 Home page. [If you skipped the Module 1–Home page, you should read it now before you attempt to go any further.]
Think about an experience you have had where you felt extremely motivated. Then, in a 4- to 6-page paper, analyze this experience according to the Kolb format below. Each subtitle represents a different section of the paper. You can use the subtitles as headings.
Introduction: Discuss the topic of the paper and how you will approach it. It is best to write this section after you have written the rest of the paper.
Concrete Experience: Begin with a specific situation/event. Describe the experience where you felt extremely motivated. Be objective and focus on just the facts: who, what, where, when, and how – similar to how a newspaper article is written — as if you were composing a newspaper article.
Reflective Observation: Reflect upon that experience from the multiple perspectives of other people involved or affected in the experience. Step back from the situation, look at the experience from your own viewpoint, and the viewpoints of all other parties involved or affected. You want to look at the circumstances surrounding the experience from every relevant perspective. Why was the experience motivating to you? What did others do that increased your motivation? Was the situation (or would the situation) also be motivating to others? (Note: Your discussion of theories and models from your module materials belongs in the following section.)
Abstract Conceptualization: Use critical thinking skills in order to understand and interpret the experience at a deeper, more generalizable level. Interpret and understand the events you have described by drawing on the concepts, theories, and models in the background material from this module. What behavior patterns can you identify in yourself and others that are similar to the ones described in the material on motivation, values, and/or goals? How do these concepts and principles explain why you were motivated? What general principles of motivation can you derive from this analysis? Be sure to cite all references to concepts, ideas, and quotes you use that come from any outside source. Be sure to apply at least three concepts, theories, and/or models and cite all references to concepts, ideas, and/or quotes that you use from any outside source.
[This Abstract Conceptualization section is the “heart” of your paper. Using critical thinking skills, provide a clear, specific discussion on the logic, theories, and models and how they apply to your experience.]
Active Experimentation: Identify ways to respond to the next occurrence of a similar experience. How are you going to put what you have learned to use? How will you use this knowledge to motivate yourself and others? What actions will you take to create a work environment that is motivating?
Conclusion: Sum up the main points of your analysis and the key learnings you are taking from it.
Reference List: List all references that you have cited in the paper using APA formatting. References include materials from the required background readings as well as any outside Internet or library sources you used in researching and writing your paper. If you have APA questions, refer to the optional listings on the Background page.
MANAGING INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR
Note: All Background and Module Home materials are required unless designated as optional or general reference.
Module 1 focuses on the principles of individual behavior so that you can learn to manage people effectively. We are concerned here not only with managing subordinates, but also managing relationships with peers and developing effective relationships with superiors. It is best if you approach this module in three distinct sections. Start with values, attitudes, and perception. The second section will cover motivation and the third section will cover goal setting and job design as tools to maintain motivation.
Values, Attitudes, and Perceptions
Often we assume that the way we perceive and experience the world is the same way other people do. This assumption is false and can lead to ineffective leader and manager behaviors. Understanding how attitudes and perceptions influence individual behavior and performance at work is important to organizational study. Read the following chapter for a thorough treatment of how personality, values, perceptions, and attitudes affect work behaviors.
Many people believe that a happy worker is a productive worker, but research tells us that people can be highly satisfied with their jobs and still not get much done! Nevertheless, organizations have reasons to care about employees’ satisfaction with their jobs. The following reading is an excellent explanation of the job satisfaction model and why it is important to maintaining a highly productive workforce.
Motivation and Job Design
With a variety of values, perceptions, and attitudes, people are not motivated by the same things. The following reading summarizes key theories to help you understand what motivates you and those around you. Be sure to watch the 4-minute video at the start of the article.
Learn about the importance of job design in creating and maintaining a work environment that employees will find motivating. See the following talk on the Job Characteristics Model of Motivation:
Since the 1960s, management scholars have touted the effectiveness of setting high, but achievable, goals in attaining high levels of performance from employees. The following article reviews goal-setting theory and how to put it into practice.
Once we understand the power and potential of goal-setting, it is easy to overdo it. Here is a cautionary tale from the Harvard Business Review:
Source: Stat Watch (2014). Harvard Business Review, 92(6), 28