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PSY 4242 Organizational Psychology and Behavior

Course Description

Examines the key concepts, applications, theoretical perspectives and empirical findings of organizational effectiveness on human behavior.

Week 1

Lecture: Introduction to Organizational Psychology and Behavior


  • Define organizational psychology (OP)
  • Describe the major characteristics of the field of OP
  • Distinguish between the Theory X and Theory Y philosophies of management
  • Identify the fundamental assumptions of the field of OP
  • Describe the three levels of analysis in OP and the main ideas behind systems theory
Lecture: The Performance Appraisal Process: An Application of Personality, Perception, & Learning


  • Define personality and explain the nature of its effects on behavior in the workplace
  • Describe personality dimensions that are responsible for individual differences in organizational behavior
  • Define social perception and explain the processes by which people come to make judgments about what others are like
  • Describe social identity theory and Kelly’s theory of causal attribution and explain the various biases that make the social perception process imperfect
  • Define learning and describe the two basic kinds of learning that occur in organizations
  • Explain various ways in which principles of learning are applied in organizations

Week 2

Lecture: Understanding Employee Attitudes
  • Distinguish between emotions and moods
  • Explain how emotions and moods influence behavior in organizations
  • Describe ways in which people manage their emotions in organizations
  • Identify the major causes of organizational stress
  • Describe the adverse effects of organizational stress
  • Identify various ways of reducing stress in the workplace
  • Distinguish among the concepts of prejudice, stereotypes, and discrimination
  • Distinguish between affirmative action plans and diversity management programs
  • Describe four theories of job satisfaction
  • Identify the consequences of having dissatisfied employees and describe ways of boosting job satisfaction
  • Distinguish among three fundamental forms of organizational commitment

Week 3

Lecture: Motivation Matters: Theories of Employee Motivation


  • Identify four different forms of organizational justice and the organizational impact of each
  • Describe things that can be done to promote organizational justice
  • Explain what is meant by ethical behavior and why organizations should be concerned about ethics
  • Describe the individual and situational factors responsible for unethical behavior in organizations and methods for minimizing such behavior
  • Define motivation
  • Explain needs hierarchy theory and how it applies in organizations
  • Describe equity theory’s approach to motivation in the workplace
  • Outline the basic assumptions of expectancy theory and its implications in organizations
  • Explain how goals can be set to motivate high levels of job performance
  • Describe ways in which jobs can be designed to enhance motivation

Week 4

Lecture: Counterproductive Work Behavior


  • Describe two types of psychological contracts in work relationships and the types of trust associated with each
  • Describe organizational citizenship behavior and ways in which it may be promoted
  • Identify ways in which cooperation can be promoted in the workplace
  • Describe competition and what makes it inevitable in organizations
  • Identify three forms of deviant organizational behavior and how to minimize them
  • Define communication and describe the various steps in the communication process
  • Distinguish between verbal communication – both traditional and computer mediated – and nonverbal communication, and the factors that make each effective
  • Explain how to meet the challenges associated with communicating with people from different cultures

Week 5

Lecture: Understanding and Integrating Theories of Leadership


  • Define leadership and explain the major sources of power leaders have at their disposal
  • Describe the trait approach to leadership and identify the major characteristics of effective leaders
  • Identify the types of behavior that have been most strongly associated with effective leadership
  • Identify the emerging trends and challenges in leadership practice
  • Describe various approaches that can be taken to develop leaders in organizations

Week 6

Lecture: Group Development and Interaction


  • Define what is meant by a group and how a team differs from a group
  • Explain how individual performance in groups is affected by the presence of others (social facilitation) and the number of others with whom one is working (social loafing)
  • Define what teams are and describe the various types of teams that exist in organizations
  • Describe the evidence regarding the effectiveness of teams in organizations
  • Describe the different varieties of decisions people make in organizations
  • Explain the three major approaches to individual decision making (the rational-economic model, the administrative model, and image theory)
  • Identify various factors that contribute to imperfect decision making in organizations
  • Describe the conditions under which individuals make better decisions than groups and groups make better decisions than individuals
  • Explain how various structural techniques and computer-based techniques may be used to improve the quality of decisions made by groups

Week 7

Lecture: Organizational Culture


  • Define organizational culture and identify the functions it serves in organizations
  • Identify the factors responsible for creating organizational culture, for transmitting it, and for getting it to change
  • Define creativity and describe the basic components of individual and team creativity
  • Describe various approaches to promoting creativity in organizations
  • Identify the basic components of general innovation and management innovation, and the stages through which each progress
  • Distinguish among the three types of departmentalization: functional organizations, product organizations, and matrix organizations
  • Define organizational design and distinguish between classical and neoclassical approaches to organizational design
  • Describe the contingency approach to organizational design
  • Identify five emerging approaches to organizational design
  • Distinguish between conglomerates and strategic alliances as two types of inter-organizational designs

Week 8

Lecture: Change: Individual and Organizational Perspectives


  • Identify the major external forces responsible for organizational change
  • Describe what is meant by strategic planning and identify the steps in the strategic planning process
  • Describe why people are resistant to change in organizations and ways in which this resistance may be overcome
  • Define organizational development (OD) and describe three OD techniques
  • Describe the conditions under which OD techniques are most effective
  • Describe how OD is affected by national culture and explain the ethical concerns that have been voiced about using OD techniques

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. November 2013