February 2014
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Month February 2014

Organizational Behavior Glossary N–P


Narcissism, the tendency to be arrogant, have a grandiose sense of self-importance, require excessive admiration, and have a sense of entitlement

Need for achievement (nAch), the drive to excel, to achieve in relationship to a set of standards, and to thrive to succeed

Need for affiliation (nAff), the desire for friendly and close interpersonal relationships

Need for power (nPow), the need to make others behave in a way in which they would not have behaved otherwise

Negative affect, a mood dimension that consists of emotions such as nervousness, stress, and anxiety at the high end and relaxation, tranquility, and poise at the low end

Neglect, dissatisfaction expressed through allowing conditions to worsen

Negotiation, a process in which two or more parties exchange goods or services and attempt to agree on the exchange rate for them

Neutralizers, attributes that make it impossible for leader behavior to make any difference to follower outcomes

Nominal group technique, a group decision-making method in which individuals meet face-to-face to pool their judgments in a systematic but independent fashion

Normative commitment, an obligation to remain with the organization for moral or ethical reasons

Norming stage, the third stage in group development, characterized by close relationships and cohesiveness

Norms, acceptable standards of behavior that are shared by the group’s members


Openness to experience, a personality dimension that characterizes someone in terms of imagination, sensitivity, and curiosity

Organic model, a structure that is flat, uses cross-hierarchical and cross-functional teams, has low formalization, possesses a comprehensive information network, and relies on participative decision making

Organizational behavior (OB), afield of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups, and structures have on a behavior within organizations, for the purpose of applying such knowledge toward improving an organization’s effectiveness

Organizational climate, the shared perceptions organizational
members have about their organization and work environment

Organizational commitment, the degree to which an
employee identifies with a particular organization and its goals and wishes to maintain membership in the organization

Organizational culture, a system of shared meaning held by members that distinguishes the organization from other organizations

Organizational demography, the degree to which members of a work unit share a common demographic attribute, such as age, sex, race, educational level, or length of service in an organization, and the impact of this attribute on turnover

Organizational development (OD), a collection of planned change interventions, built on humanistic-democratic values, that seeks to improve organizational effectiveness and employee well-being

Organizational justice, an overall perception of what is fair in the workplace, composed of distributive, procedural, and interactional justice

Organizational politics, the use of power to affect decision making in an organization, often based on self-serving and organizationally unsanctioned behaviors

Organizational structure, how job tasks are formally divided, grouped, and coordinated


Participative management, a process in which subordinates share a significant degree of decision-making power with their immediate superiors

Perceived conflict, awareness by one or more parties of the existence of conditions that create opportunities for conflicts to arise

Perceived organizational support (POS), the degree to which employees believe the organization values their contributions and cares about their well-being

Perception, a process by which individuals organize and interpret their sensory impressions to give meaning to their environment

Perceptual distortions, errors in perceiving situations based on phenomena like overconfidence bias, anchoring bias, confirmation bias, availability bias, escalation of commitment, risk aversion, and hindsight bias

Performing stage, the fourth stage in group development, during which the group is fully functional

Personal power, influence derived from an individual’s characteristics

Personality, the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts to and interacts with others

Personality traits, Enduring characteristics that describe an individual’s behavior

Personality—job fit theory, a theory that identifies six personality types and proposes that the fit between personality type and occupational environment determines satisfaction amid turmoil

Piece-rate pay plan, plan in which employees are paid fixed sum for each unit of production completed

Political behavior, activities that are not required as part of one’s formal role in the organization but that influence, or attempt to influence, the distribution of advantages and disadvantages within the organization

Politicking, when people use their influence to taint the facts in an ambiguous environment to support their goals and interests

Politics, when employees convert their power into action to exert influence, earn rewards, and advance their careers.

Position power, influence derived from one formal structural position in the organization; includes power to hire, fire, discipline, promote, and give salary increases

Positive affect, a mood dimension consisting of positive emotions such as excitement, self-assurance, and cheerfulness on the high end and boredom, sluggishness, and tiredness at the low end

Positive organizational culture, a culture that emphasizes building on employee strengths, rewards more than it punishes, and emphasizes individual vitality and growth

Positivity offset, the tendency of most individuals to experience a mildly positive mood at zero input (when nothing in particular is going on)

Power, a capacity that A has to influence the behavior of B so that B acts in accordance with A’s wishes

Power distance, degree to which people in a country accept that power in institutions and organizations is distributed unequally

Power tactics, ways in which individuals translate power bases into specific actions

Prearrival stage, the period of learning in the socialization process that occurs before a new employee joins the organization

Proactive personality, people who identify opportunities, show initiative, take action, and persevere until meaningful change occurs

Problem-solving teams, a group of 5 to 12 employees from the same department who meet for a few hours each week to discuss ways of improving quality, efficiency, and the work environment

Procedural justice, the perceived fairness of the process used to determine the distribution of rewards

Process conflict, conflict over how work gets done

Process consultation (PC), a meeting in which a consultant assists a client in understanding process events with which he or she must deal and identifying processes that need improvement

Production-oriented leader, a leader who emphasizes technical or task aspects of the job

Profit-sharing plans, organization-wide program that distributes compensation based on some established formula designed around a company’s profitability

Psychological empowerment, employees’ belief in the degree to which they affect their work environments, their competence, the meaningfulness of their jobs, and the perceived autonomy in their work

Psychology, the science that seeks to measure, explain, and sometimes change the behavior of humans and other animals

Pygmalion effect, a form of self-fulfilling prophecy in which believing something can make it true

Organizational Behavior Glossary J–M


Job characteristics model (JCM), a model that proposes that any job can be described in terms of five core job dimensions: skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback

Job enrichment, the vertical expansion of jobs, which increases the degree to which the worker controls the planning, execution, and evaluation of the work

Job involvement, the degree to which a person identifies with a job, actively participates in it, and considers performance important to self-worth

Job rotation, the periodic shifting of an employee from one task to another

Job satisfaction, a positive feeling about one job resulting from an evaluation of its characteristics

Job sharing, an arrangement that allows two or more individuals to split a traditional 40-hour-a-week job


Leader—member exchange (LMX) theory, a theory that supports leaders’ creation of in-groups and out-groups; subordinates with in-group status will have higher performance ratings, less turnover, and greater job satisfaction

Leader—member relations, the degree of confidence, trust, and respect subordinates have in their leader

Leadership, the ability to influence a group toward the achievement of a vision or set of goals

Least preferred co-worker (LPC) questionnaire, an instrument that purports to measure whether a person is task or relationship oriented

Legitimate political behavior, normal everyday politics

Legitimate power, the power a person receives as a result of his or her position in the formal hierarchy of an organization

Long-term orientation, a national culture attribute that emphasizes the future, thrift, and persistence

Low-context culture, a culture that relies heavily on words to convey meaning in communication

Loyalty, dissatisfaction expressed by passively waiting for conditions to improve


Machiavellianism, the degree to which an individual is pragmatic, maintains emotional distance, and believes that ends can justify means

Management by objectives (MBO), a program that encompasses specific goals, participatively set, for an explicit time period, with feedback on goal progress

Masculinity, a national culture attribute describing the extent to which the culture favors traditional masculine work roles of achievement, power, and control; societal values are characterized by assertiveness and materialism

Material symbols, objects that serve as signals of organization’s culture, including the size of offices, executive perks, and attire.

Matrix structure, a structure that creates dual lines of authority and combine functional and product departmentalization

McClelland’s theory of needs, a theory stating that achievement, power, and affiliation are three important needs that help explain motivation

Mechanistic model, a structure characterized by extensive
departmentalization, high formalization, a limited information network, and centralization

Mental models, team members’ knowledge beliefs about how the work gets done by the team

Merit-based pay plan, a pay plan based on performance appraisal ratings

Metamorphosis stage, the stage in the socialization process in which a new employee changes and adjusts to the job, work group, and organization

Moods, feelings that tend to be less intense than emotions and that lack a contextual stimulus

Motivation, the process that accounts for an individual’s intensity, direction, and persistence of effort toward attaining a goal

Movement, a change process that transforms the organization from the status quo to a desired end-state

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a personality test that taps four characteristics and classifies people into 1 of 16 personality types