Human Behavior in Organizations, OLS 252

Instructor: Rob Walter
Office: ET 309D
Phone: (o) 278-2379
Textbook: Cohen, A. R., Fink, S. L., Gadon, H., & Willits, R. D. (1995). Effective Behavior in Organizations (6th Ed.). Chicago: Irwin.

Course Description:

The course is designed for the study of human behavior in organizations. The primary goal is the study of how individual behavior affects the small group dynamic as the group completes tasks pertinent to organizations.

Course Goal:

  1. The student will become a valuable member of a cohesive, autonomous, work group.

Course Objectives:
To accomplish the course goal, students will be able to:

  1. Explain the behaviors that individual members of a cohesive and autonomous group exhibit.
  2. Explain the behaviors leaders exhibit that tend to bring out the best or worst efforts from their followers.
  3. Use reflection as a means for analyzing personal behavior as it relates to other members in their group.
  4. List and explain the major concepts involved in the study of group dynamics.

Course Methodology:
This is an experiential learning course. In other words, you will learn from your experiences within and outside of the classroom. The learning experience will be somewhat structured and lectures will be delivered on pertinent subject maker. Lectures will not, however, constitute the major classroom activity. Students will complete group exercises and case studies. Students will read the text and handouts relevant to group dynamics theory.

Grade Criteria:

Attendance - a majority of your work will take place in groups to which you have been assigned. Therefore, your presence for every class is required for your group to function. Attendance will be taken; it is worth 5 points each time it is taken. Excessive absence (i.e. five or more) will result in the loss of a letter grade. Please advise the instructor of any extenuating circumstances. Journal - the journal is an opportunity for you to record important interactions that take place in your group, as well as your personal reactions to the class and the group. The journal will consist of several paragraphs for each class session and each team meeting. Write about what comes to your mind in the context of the course. How your group is working or not working, your thoughts about things related to your group or thoughts on how the course material relates to your team are all topics for your consideration.

As a leader, you should develop the habit of recording your observations, thoughts, and impressions after meetings, seminars, and discussions. Your journal will enable you to recall what was said and done, and your reactions. This will provide the means for you to be an effective participant/observer in your group. What observations can you make? What self-reflections do you have? What ideas do you want to express? Write honestly about your thoughts and emotions.

If you want to know what motivate others, what makes others "tick", to learn why people do what they do, you must learn what motivates the person with whom you are most familiar. Learn about you. The ability to reflect on experience is a key to personal development. And, personal development is key to leader development. To develop as a leader you must develop as a person. The effective leader is an effective person. As you grow your abilities to lead will transcend any context. Writing your journal will help you learn about yourself. It will help you grow yourself. A rather noble thing to do, don't you think?

Your journal should contain the sum total of your internal reactions to the lectures, assignments, and team activities. It should be a narrative of your experiences in this class. It should summarize your thoughts on application of what is covered in class and in the text. There are a variety of ways to organize your journal. One suggestion would be to segment your analysis by separating observational data from interpretations.

Please consider that it is easier to discard unimportant detail weeks after an experience than it is to recall important points. No one will read this journal except me. The journal should be typed or word-processed. Because the journal is important it is worth 50 points.

Quizzes - there will be approximately seven quizzes given throughout the semester. Quizzes are not announced in advance, and may not be made up. The quiz will cover material (assigned and discussion) from previous classes. Questions will usually be multiple choice and/or fill-in-the-blank along with one short-answer problem. The quizzes are worth 15 points each, and I will throw out the lowest score.

Tests - there will be three tests and one optional final exam. The tests and final exam will address the content of the reading assignments and classroom lectures. The tests and the final exam will include the questions asked on the quizzes as well as some new questions. Quiz questions will not be used word-for-word on the tests and final exam, but if you study the quizzes and understand the concepts you will do great on the tests and (if necessary) the final exam. The three tests will be over the material covered in that section, and will not be comprehensive. The optional final exam will be comprehensive and will replace the lowest test score. Tests may be made up if permission is obtained in advance of the test. The tests and final exam are worth 100 points each.

Peer Evaluation -

Letter Grades - are determined by a percentage of the sum of points available from attendance, journal, quizzes, and three exams. Grades will be assigned as follows:

100% to 97 A+ 79.99 to 77 C+
96.99 to 93 A 76.99 to 73 C
92.99 to 90 A- 72.99 to 70 C-
89.99 to 87 B+ 69.99 to 67 D+
86.99 to 83 B 66.99 to 60 D
82.99 to 80 B- 59.99 to 0 F

OLS 252 Syllabus/Schedule

No. Topic Activity Next Assignment
1 Course overview, Saying hello Autographs worksheet
Read Chapter 1
2 Introduction
Organizations and Systems
Polling Student Experiences
Form groups
Read Chapter 2
Read Models for
Case Analysis
3 Case analysis techniques Lecture/discussion Read Chapter 3
4 Library Facilities Library Tour Read Banana Time
5 The Work Group Banana Time Case discussion Read Chapter 4
6 Group cohesion
Intro to Observation Skills
Organizational observation planning
7 Observation Skills Group Work Organizational observation field work  
8 Observation Skills Exercise
Classroom presentation Read Chapter 5
9 Cohesiveness and
Differentiation in Groups
Test review
Review Chapters 1 to 5
10 First test Test #1 Chapters 1 to 5 Read Chapter 6
11 Test #1 results
Group effectiveness and development
Return and discuss Test #1
Tower Building Exercise preparation
Read Dilemma at Devil's Den Case
12 Dilemma at Devil's Den Case Dilemma at Devil's Den Case discussion Read Chapter 7
13 Needs and rewards Lecture/discussion Read A Particle of Evidence Case
14 A Particle of Evidence Case A Particle of Evidence Case discussion
Tower Building Exercise preparation
Read Chapter 8
Find and complete personality indicator
15 Personal systems and personality types Lecture/discussion Complete Feedback Exercise
16 Feedback Exercise Lecture/discussion Read Chapter 9
17 Two person work relationship Lecture/discussion Bring Tower Building Materials
18 Tower Building Exercise Construction and Judging Read Chapter 10
19   Spring Break Renew yourself
20   Spring Break Renew yourself
21 Improving the Two-person Relationship Lecture/discussion
Test review
Review Chapters 6 to 10
22 Second test Test #2 Chapters 6 to 10 Read Chapter 11
23 Test #2 results
Leadership: Influence and Power
Return and discuss Test #2
24 Characteristics of Superior Leaders Exercise Lecture/discussion
Bridge Building Exercise Preparation
Read Chapter 12
25 Managerial functions and Styles Lecture/discussion Read Chapter 12
26 Interpersonal Style Inventory Leadership Styles Lecture/discussion Read Chapter 13
27 Inter-group Relations Lecture/discussion Read Chapter 14
28 Change Lecture/discussion Read compass info sheet
29 Charge
Prep for Compass Exercise
Test Review
Outdoor compass training
Review Chapters 11 to 14
30 Test #3
Journal Due
Test #3 Chapters 11 to 14
Turn in journals
31 Test #3 results Outdoor Compass Exercise  
32 Last regular class
Return Journal
Discuss compass exercise
Instructor Evaluations
Saying Goodbye
Review Chapters 1 to 14 if taking the Final Exam
33   Final Exam

*This schedule subject to change, if necessary