Organizational Behavior Glossary A–C


Accommodating, the willingness of one party in a conflict to place the opponent’s interests above his or her own

Adjourning stage, the final stage in group development for temporary groups, characterized by concern with wrapping up activities rather than task performance

Affect, a broad range of feelings that people experience

Affect intensity, individual differences in the strength with which individuals experience their emotions

Affective commitment, an emotional attachment to the organization and a belief in its values

Affective component, the emotional or feeling component of an attitude

Agreeableness, a personality dimension that describes someone who is good natured, cooperative, and trusting

Anchoring bias, a tendency to fixate on initial information, from which one then fails to adequately adjust for subsequent information

Anthropology, the study of societies for the purpose of learning about human beings and their activities

Appreciative inquiry (Al), an approach that seeks to identify the unique qualities and special strengths of an organization, which can then be built on to improve performance

Attitudes, evaluative statements, either favorable or unfavorable, concerning objects, people, or events

Attribution theory, an attempt to determine whether an individual’s behavior is internally or externally caused

Attribution theory of leadership, leadership is merely an attribution that people make about other individuals

Authentic leaders, leaders who know who they are, know what they believe in and value, and act on those values and beliefs openly and candidly; their followers would consider them to be ethical people

Authority, rights inherent in a managerial position to give orders and expect the orders to be obeyed

Autonomy, the degree to which a job provides substantial freedom and discretion to the individual in scheduling the work and in determining the procedure to be used in carrying it out

Availability bias, the tendency for people to base their judgments on information that is readily available to them

Avoiding, the desire to withdraw from or suppress a conflict


BATNA, the best alternative to a negotiated agreement; the least the individual should accept

Behavioral component, an intention to behave in a certain way toward someone or something

Behavioral theories of leadership, theories proposing that specific behaviors differentiate leaders from nonleaders

Big Five Model, a personality assessment model that taps five basic dimensions

Bonus, a way to reward employees for recent performance rather than historical performance

Boundaryless organization, an organization that seeks to eliminate the chain of command, have limitless spans of control, and replace departments with empowered teams

Bounded rationality, a process of making decisions by constructing simplified models that extract the essential features from problems without capturing all their complexity

Brainstorming, an idea-generation process that specifically encourages any and all alternatives while withholding any criticism of these alternatives

Bureaucracy, an organization structure with highly routine operating tasks achieved through specialization, very formalized rules and regulations, tasks that are grouped into functional departments, centralized authority, narrow spans of control, and decision making that follows the chain of command


Centralization, the degree to which decision making is concentrated at a single point in the organization

Chain of command, unbroken line of authority that extends from the top of the organization to its lowest echelon and clarifies who reports to whom

Challenge stressors, stressors associated with workload, pressure to complete tasks, and time urgency

Charismatic leadership theory, a leadership theory that states that followers make attributions of heroic or extraordinary leadership abilities when they observe certain behaviors

Coercive power, a power base that is dependent on fear of the negative results from failing to comply

Cognitive component, the opinion or belief segment of an attitude

Cognitive dissonance, any incompatibility between two or more attitudes or between behavior and attitudes

Cohesiveness, the degree to which members are attracted to each other and are motivated to stay in the group

Collaborating, a situation in which the parties to a conflict each desire to satisfy fully the concerns of all parties

Collectivism, a tight social framework in which people expect others in groups of which they are a part to look after them and protect them

Command group, individuals who report directly to a given manager

Communication apprehension, undue tension and anxiety about oral communication, written communication, or both

Communication process, the steps between a source and a receiver that result in the transfer and understanding of meaning

Competing, a desire to satisfy one’s interests, regardless of the impact on the other party to the conflict

Compromising, a situation in which each party to a conflict is willing to give up something

Confirmation bias, the tendency to seek out information that reaffirms past choices and to discount information that contradicts past judgments

Conflict, process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affect, something that the first party cares about

Conflict management, the use of resolution and stimulation techniques to achieve the desired level of conflict

Conflict process, a process that has five stages: potential opposition or incompatibility, cognition and personalization, intentions, behavior, and outcomes

Conscientiousness, a personality dimension that describes someone who is responsible, dependable, persistent, and organized

Consideration, the extent to which a person is likely to have job relationships that are characterized by mutual trust, respect for employees’ ideas, and regard for their feelings

Contingency variables, situational factors; variables that moderate the relationship between two or more other variables

Continuance commitment, the perceived economic value of remaining with an organization compared to leaving it

Contrast effect, evaluation of a person’s characteristics that is affected by comparisons with other people recently encountered who rank higher or lower on the same characteristics

Core self-evaluations, the degree to which an individual likes or dislikes himself or herself whether the person sees himself or herself as capable and effective, and whether the person feels in control of his or her environment or powerless over the environment; bottom-line conclusions individuals have about their capabilities, competence, and worth as a person

Core values, the primary or dominant values that are accepted throughout the organization

Cost-minimization strategy, a strategy that emphasizes tight cost controls, avoidance of unnecessary innovation or marketing expenses, and price cutting

Creativity, the ability to produce novel and useful ideas

Cross-functional teams, employees from about the same hierarchical level, but from different work areas, who come together to accomplish a task

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