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Appears in Collections:Management, Work and Organisation eTheses
Title: Developing a theoretical basis for the concept of organizational behaviour
Author(s): Richards, James
Supervisor(s): Baldry, Christopher
Hallier, Jerry
Keywords: organizational misbehaviour
Industrial sociology
Social identity approach
Covert participant observation
Case study
Self-categorization theory
Social identity theory
Labour process analysis
Management control
Issue Date: Sep-2006
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Workplace misbehaviour is seen to be a neglected feature of organizational study (Ackroyd and Thompson; Vardi and Weitz, 2004). Where research has been undertaken into misbehaviour the emphasis tends fall into two broad categories. First of all, organizational behaviour theorists use the term misbehaviour as a means to highlight how the ‘negative’ behaviour of employees gets in the way of formal organizational goals. Secondly, radical sociologists tend to use the term misbehaviour as a means to critique Foucauldian labour process theory. Here an argument is made that suggests the disciplinary affects of new management practices associated with human resource management and total quality management have been overstated. Furthermore, radical sociologists also use the term misbehaviour as means to critique organizational behaviour accounts, which are believed to paint overly optimistic accounts of organizational life. However, on further examination it was discovered that neither a radical sociological approach, nor a traditional organizational behaviour approach, sufficiently addresses the current deficit in our understandings and explanations for workplace misbehaviour. Hence, one of the main themes of this thesis was to design a theoretical and methodological framework to address the deficit in our understandings and explanations. As such, a view was taken of how a radical sociological approach (orthodox labour process analysis) combined with an emerging social psychological perspective (a social identity approach (Haslam, 2001) could help overcome previous theoretical problems associated with researching misbehaviour. Empirical support for this approach is provided by the detailed examination of the objective and subjective working conditions of four different sets of low status workers. The findings are based on longitudinal covert participant observations, as well as covert interviews and the covert gathering of company documents. The findings depart from previous insights into workplace misbehaviour in stressing the importance of acknowledging and investigating both the organizational and sub-group social identities of low status workers, in relation to such activities. As such, a great deal of the misbehaviour noted in the findings can be attributed to the poor treatment of low status workers by management, yet misbehaviour is equally if not more attributable to the empowering or inhibitive qualities of the many psychological groups that worker can associate with or disassociate themselves from. Recommendations are made about the direction of future research into workplace misbehaviour. There are many suggestions made and include examining misbehaviour in a wider range of settings, sectors and levels of organizations.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: Stirling Management School

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