Master of Business Administration-MBA Essay Sample

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Q.1Explain the four processes of Social Learning Theory.
Social learning theory focuses on the learning that occurs within a social context. It considers that people learn from one another, including such concepts as observational learning, imitation, and modeling. Among others Albert Bandura is considered the leading proponent of this theory. General principles of social learning theory follows:

1. People can learn by observing the behavior is of others and the outcomes of those behaviors. 2. Learning can occur without a change in behavior. Behaviorists say that learning has to be represented by a permanent change in behavior, in contrast social learning theorists say that because people can learn through observation alone, their learning may not necessarily be shown in their performance. Learning may or may not result in a behavior change. 3. Cognition plays a role in learning. Over the last 30 years social learning theory has become increasingly cognitive in its interpretation of human learning. Awareness and expectations of future reinforcements or punishments can have a major effect on the behaviors that people exhibit. 4. Social learning theory can be considered a bridge or a transition between behaviorist learning theories and cognitive learning theories. How the environment reinforces and punishes modeling:

People are often reinforced for modeling the behavior of others. Bandura suggested that the environment also reinforces modeling. This is in several possible ways:

Q.2What are the hindrances that we face in perception?
Individuals have a tendency to use a number of shortcuts when they judge others. An understanding of these shortcuts can be helpful toward recognizing when they can result in significant distortions.

1. Selective Perception

Any characteristic that makes a person, object, or event stand out will increase the probability that it will be perceived. It is impossible for an individual to internalize and assimilate everything that is seen .Only certain stimuli can be taken in selectively. Selectivity works as a shortcut in judging other people by allowing us to “speed-read” others, but, not without the risk of drawing an inaccurate picture. The tendency to see what we want to see can make us draw unwarranted conclusions from an ambiguous situation.

2. Halo Effect

The halo effect (Murphy & Anhalt, 1992) occurs when we draw a general impression on the basis of a single characteristic. For example, while appraising the lecturer, students may give prominence to a single trait, such as, enthusiasm and allow their entire evaluation to be tainted by how they judge the instructor on that one trait which stood out prominently in their estimation of that person. Research suggests that it is likely to be most extreme when the traits to be perceived are ambiguous in behavioral terms, when the traits have moral overtones, and when the perceiver is judging traits with which he or she has had limited experience.

3. Contrast Effects

Individuals do not evaluate a person in isolation. Their reaction to one person is influenced by other persons they have encountered recently. For example, an interview situation in which one sees a pool of job applicants can distort perception. Distortions in any given candidate’s evaluation can occur as a result of his or her place in the interview schedule.

4. Projection

This tendency to attribute one’s own characteristics to other people – which is called projection – can distort perceptions made about others. When managers engage in projection, they compromise their ability to respond to individual differences. They tend to see people as more homogeneous than they really are.

5. Stereotyping

Stereotyping–judging someone on the basis of our perception of the group to which he or she belongs. Generalization is not without advantages (Hilton & Hippel, 1996). It is a means of simplifying a complex world, and it permits us to maintain consistency. The problem, of course, is when we inaccurately stereotype. In organizations, we frequently hear comments that represent stereotypes based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, and even weight. From a perceptual standpoint, if people expect to see these stereotypes, that is what they will perceive, whether or not they are accurate.6. First-impression error Individuals place a good deal of importance on first impressions. First impressions are lasting impressions. We tend to remember what we perceive first about a person, and sometimes we are quite reluctant to change our initial impressions. First-impression error means the tendency to form lasting opinions about an individual based on initial perceptions. Primacy effects can be particularly dangerous in interviews, given that we form first impressions quickly and that these impressions may be the basis for long-term employment relationships.

Q.3Describe the bases of power
Power can be categorized into two types:
Formal and informal
A. Formal Power:
It is based on the position of an individual in an organization. Formal power is derived from either one’s ability to coerce or reward others or is derived from the formal authority vested in the individual due to his/ her strategic position in the organizational hierarchy. For example, a manager may threaten to withhold a pay raise, or to transfer, demote, or even recommend the firing of a subordinate who does not act as desired. Such coercive power is the extent to which a manager can deny desired rewards or administer punishments to control other people. The availability of coercive power also varies across organizations. The presence of unions and organizational policies on employee treatment can weaken this power base significantly. Formal power may be categorized into four types which are as follows: 1. Coercive Power:

The coercive power base is being dependent on fear. It is based on the application, or the threat of application, of physical sanctions such as the infliction of pain, the generation of frustration through restriction of movement, or the controlling by force of basic physiological or safety needs. In an organization one can exercise power over another if they have the power to dismiss, suspend, demote another assuming that the job is valuable to the person on whom power is being unleashed. 2. Reward Power:

The opposite of coercive power is reward power. Reward power is the extent to which a manager can use extrinsic and intrinsic rewards to control other people. Examples of such rewards include money, promotions, compliments, or enriched jobs. Although all managers have some access to rewards, success in accessing and utilizing rewards to achieve influence varies according to the skills of the manager. 3. Legitimate Power:

The third base of “position” power is legitimate power, or formal authority .It stems from the extent to which a manager can use subordinates’ internalized values or beliefs that the “boss” has a “right of command” to control their behavior. For example, the boss may have the formal authority to approve or deny such employee requests as job transfers, equipment purchases, personal time off, or overtime work. Legitimate power represents a special kind of power a manager has because subordinates believe it is legitimate for a person occupying the managerial position to have the right to command. The lack of this is legitimacy will result in authority not being accepted by subordinates. Thus this type of power has the following elements: · It represents the power a person receives as a result of his/her position in the formal hierarchy. · Positions of authority include coercive and reward powers. · Legitimate power, however, is not limited to the power to coerce and reward. It encompasses the acceptance of the authority of a position by members of an organization. 4. Information Power:

This type of power is derived from access to and control over information. When people have needed information, others become dependant on them. (For example, managers have access to data that subordinates do not have). Normally the higher the level, the more information would be accessed by managers. B. Personal Power

Personal power resides in the individual and is independent of that individual’s position. Three bases of personal power are expertise, rational persuasion, and reference. Expert power is the ability to control another person’s behavior by virtue of possessing knowledge, experience, or judgment that the other person lacks, but needs. A subordinate obeys a supervisor possessing expert power because the boss ordinarily knows more about what is to be done or how it is to be done than does the subordinate. Expert power is relative, not absolute. However the table may turn in case the subordinate has superior knowledge or skills than his/ her boss. In this age of technology driven environments, the second proposition holds true in many occasions where the boss is dependent heavily on the juniors for technologically oriented support. Rational persuasion is the ability to control another’s behavior, since, through the individual’s efforts, the person accepts the desirability of an offered goal and a viable way of achieving it.

Rational persuasion involves both explaining the desirability of expected outcomes and showing how specific actions will achieve these outcomes. Referent power is the ability to control another’s behavior because the person wants to identify with the power source. In this case, a subordinate obeys the boss because he or she wants to behave, perceive, or believe as the boss does. This obedience may occur, for example, because the subordinate likes the boss personally and therefore tries to do things the way the boss wants them done. In a sense, the subordinate attempts to avoid doing anything that would interfere with the pleasing boss –subordinate relationship. Followership is not based on what the subordinate will get for specific actions or specific levels of performance, but on what the individual represents – a path toward lucrative future prospects. Charismatic Power is an extension of referent power stemming from an individual’s personality and interpersonal style. Others follow because they can articulate attractive visions, take personal risks, demonstrate follower sensitivity, etc.

Q.4What are the consequences of conflict in organisations?
Organizational conflict is a state of discord caused by the actual or perceived opposition of needs, values and interests between people working together. Conflict takes many forms in organizations. There is the inevitable clash between formal authority and power and those individuals and groups affected. There are disputes over how revenues should be divided, how the work should be done, and how long and hard people should work. There are jurisdictional disagreements among individuals, departments, and between unions and management. There are subtler forms of conflict involving rivalries, jealousies, personality clashes, role definitions, and struggles for power and favor. There is also conflict within individuals — between competing needs and demands — to which individuals respond in different ways.

Conflict sometimes has a destructive effect on the individuals and groups involved. At other times, however, conflict can increase the capacity of those affected to deal with problems, and therefore it can be used as a motivating force toward innovation and change. Conflict is encountered in two general forms. Personal conflict refers to an individual’s inner workings and personality problems

Another facet of personal conflict has to do with the multiple roles people play in organizations. Behavioral scientists sometimes describe an organization as a system of position roles. Each member of the organization belongs to a role set, which is an association of individuals who share interdependent tasks and thus perform formally defined roles, which are further influenced both by the expectations of others in the role set and by one’s own personality and expectations. For example, in a common form of classroom organization, students are expected to learn from the instructor by listening to them, following their directions for study, taking exams, and maintaining appropriate standards of conduct. The instructor is expected to bring students high-quality learning materials, give lectures, write and conduct tests, and set a scholarly example. Another in this role set would be the dean of the school, who sets standards, hires and supervises faculty, maintains a service staff, readers and graders, and so on. The system of roles to which an individual belongs extends outside the organization as well, and influences their functioning within it. As an example, a person’s roles as partner, parent, descendant, and church member are all intertwined with each other and with their set of organizational roles

Q.5 Explain sensitivity training.

This approach evolved from the group dynamics concept of Kurt Lewin and the first sensitivity training session was held in 1946 in State Teachers’ College, New Britain, USA. Since then, it spread to numerous training centers in USA and other countries. Sensitivity training is a small-group interaction process in the unstructured form which requires people to become sensitive to others’ feelings in order to develop reasonable group activity. The objectives of sensitivity training are as follows: To make participants increasingly aware of, and sensitive to, the emotional reactions and expressions in themselves and others. To increase the ability of participants to perceive, and to learn from, the consequences of their actions through attention to their own and others’ feelings. To stimulate the clarification and development of personal values and goals consonant with a democratic and scientific approach to problems of personal and social decisions and actions. To develop achievement of behavioural effectiveness in participants. To develop concepts and theoretical framework for linking personal values and goals to actions consistent with these inner factors and situational requirements. Process of Sensitivity Training:

Sensitivity training focuses on small group (T-group) with number of members ranging from ten to twelve. T-groups are designed to provide members with experiential learning about group dynamics, leadership and interpersonal relationships. The basic T-group training or sensitivity training is to change the standards, attitudes and behavior of individuals by using psychological techniques and programs. Based on the sources from where these members are drawn, there may be three types of T-group: stranger-lab, cousin-lab, and family-lab. In the stranger-lab, all participants are from different organizations and they are strangers to each other. In cousin-lab, all participants are from the same organization but from different units.

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