A 24-year old, Gen-Y guy entered a B-School with an aim to enter the Operations Field. He was asked to go through a Core course of Organizational Behaviour. He thought to himself, “What does an institute like IIT think, asking an aspiring MBA-grad to go through this HR Course?”
Well, that was me at the beginning of this quarter when I saw the time-table for this quarter. I have been through an OB Course during my graduation and that course left me dry. Now, after almost 2 months; my opinion of Organization Behaviour is exactly opposite. Let me start from the starting.
An Honest Confession
After the introduction and description of the course outline in the first class where we told about the topics, the readings and the cases; my first impression was that Prof. Rupashree has put in a lot of effort for this course. But, the subject itself is so boring that I can never get myself to like it. Well, I was wrong but only on one count. Prof. Rupashree has put in so much effort in designing and carrying out the course that the energy got to me Instead of day-dreaming in the class, somehow I was attentive and I wasn’t even making an effort to do so (I have to do so in some subjects). The in-class activities were attentiongrabbers. Realization
The first time a case study was discussed in the class, I realized how punctiliously the course had been designed; the zeal behind the classes was evident from the course structure. It was not a class where we were told about a lot of concepts and we had to remember the intricacies; it was about understanding the relative experience. I say this because I come with a work experience of 2 years in more than one organizational setting. I could relate to a lot of theories being taught in the class. I can easily recall the class where motivation was being discussed. Also, at so many instances when team work was being discussed, I could recall my team in Infosys Ltd. Once, I came prepared after reading the case or reading for the class, it was so easy to understand what was being told. I feel this was the best part about the OB class; we were always involved in the class with either in-class activities or discussing the cases and readings. The shift from textbook oriented was refreshing and intriguing. I say this because of my prior experiences with theory-related courses.
One of the most refreshing things about the course was that I learned with examples, rather than learning by rote. There have been numerous instances throughout the course when I have been surprised at the objectivity of situations in real life. For instance, in our class about motivation, we were discussing about the process of motivation. Never before had I thought about breaking down such an important task so objectively. Another instance was the class where we were discussing about leadership, where our professor was talking on different types of leaders; I never thought that leadership skills could be listed out so objectively. I could very easily relate to the discussion because of my own outlook towards leadership. I can also recall the first lecture, when our Professor told us that she would be dividing the groups and not asking us to form groups with our friends.
She did so because she wanted us to work with people with whom we were not in a comfort zone. This led to a big takeaway for me; I learned that group cohesion can be achieved very easily if the goal is the same. Today, aft er having worked with Aparna, Gunjan, Ruchita and Sourav, I would like to thank our professor for helping me interact with 4 people with whom I share a very clear work ethic. This happening made me aware about the omnipresence of the topics discussed in our classroom. As I have already mentioned that I could relate to the course; I say this mainly because of the sessions on Values, Ethics and Attitudes and Perception. The second session on Values, Ethics and Attitudes caught me mainly because of the philosophies of work I have built up over the past 2 years. I could think of situations I have faced in my work -life and my attitude in those situations. Of all the cases and reading, I found both the readings, one about ethics and the other about reaching the potential very interesting.
I session on Diversity was when I committed my first mistake, by going to the class totally unprepared, without having read a reading or a case. After the class, I took a pledge to manage my time better, although I have failed myself time and again, but I haven’t made the same mistake again. The lecture left a little void in me and I realized that I had wasted more time by not preparing than I saved by not reading.
The next session of Perception featured one of my favourite case studies of the course, Jensen Shoes. I can recall that I had much to say during the discussion of the case and I was happy that I received a positive response from our Professor. I can recall almost every moment of this lecture, probably due to the wonderful pictures included in the slides. Things discussed in this lecture depicted reality and the objective truth about what happens in the real world. This lecture defied one of the OB Concepts – Selective Attention. The discussion on Perception also featured interesting reading about the Pygmalion Effect and Setup-to-fail syndrome. (I must say that I would have liked to present these readings)
The next session taken by Prof. M. P. Ganesh (inarguably one of my most favourite teachers of all time) Personality, was also interesting. It brought to light two important instruments, I was unaware off till now; the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator(MBTI) and Big Five Personality Model. The MBTI psychometric analysis was especially interesting as it talked about an area I find deeply interesting.
Personality traits such as Machiavellianism, Narcissism, self-monitoring and risk taking are important in today’s world. I cannot say if all people can be generalized as considering certain traits, but I do believe that a lot people behave in the ways described in the traits. These traits do define the personality of an individual. On the survey sheet about Machiavellianism, provided in the class, my score was moderate; which I believe is true of me. Being a 24-year old, Work-Life Balance is an area which I feel is over-rated and I feel is something that cannot be generalized.
Probably, my views will change in the coming yea rs and I would respect the discussions on this topic far more than I do now. Stress, in my opinion is a byproduct of ambitious people of this age and coping with that is essentially a personal choice. I cannot deny that people with more intellect and experience (including my parents, who have been working for over 20 years) share the views expressed in the lecture. However, I somehow am just not able to accept the discussions because I feel it is a choice of the individual. I have to admit that I have been stressed out at various instances in my life. A number of such instances have come in the past 4 months in IIT-Madras, but coming here was my choice and I was ready to accept these challenges before I came here. I do not proscribe the matter of the course, nor do I have any negative feedback for it; it is just that I am unable to relate to this topic, and that too may change in the coming years.
I missed a few sessions in between due to illness and I cannot emphasize on how much I lost to learn about Team Dynamics, Interpersonal Communication and Emotions, Moods and Learning. The course was concluded with my most favourite topic, Leadership. It is my favourite because I learnt the most during the discussion of this topic. It may sound pompous but I could relate to the topic because I see myself as leader. The different categorization of leaders was something I found really interesting. I am actually interested to know what kind of a leader I would be. My interest in the same made me the quiz mentioned in the last slide of the presentation. My result is indicated below.
I do not know whether the results are true or not, but my enthusiasm regarding leadership is immense.
When I sit now after experiencing the course, the one biggest takeaway would be professionalism which I have experienced during the course. I attribute this quality to the way lectures were conducted by Prof. Rupashree Baral. I would like express my sincer e gratitude towards her for making me go through the process of realizing some extremely important intricacies of the modern workplace. I have already expressed that I lacked objectivity in many areas of this subject, I would not say that I have learned it all; but I have to say that the process of awakening has commenced. I am far more aware after the 10 sessions I have attended, than I could have ever hoped to be.
This experience has been much more than just enriching. The relevance of this subject has t ruly enticed me to learn more about.
Madam, I resolved myself to write this paper honestly, please pardon me for any harsh comments.