Organizational Behavior Has Emerged as a Prominent Term Paper

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Organizational behavior has emerged as a prominent field of study because of the desire of managers and leaders to better understand the intrinsic and extrinsic variables that shape the development and success of operations. While investigations into organizational behavior have demonstrated that there are a wide range of variables which can impact outcomes for the organization, in recent years, attention has been focused on the specific variables which create motivation and productivity for the individual employee. The idea behind this vein of inquiry is that by delineating motivational factors for each individual in the organization will lead to the development of a collective culture in which the needs of employees are satisfied, allowing all members of the organization to contribute productively to operations.

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In an effort to better understand the individual variables that can impact outcomes for the organization, researchers have considered the issue of intelligence as a dominant paradigm in predicting the outcomes of employee motivation and behavior. Although some scholars believe that the intelligence of the employee will have a direct bearing on productivity and behavior, others argue that intelligence must be nurtured and developed in the context of the organization in order to provide clear benefits for operations. With the realization that so much controversy has resulted as a consequence of investigating intelligence in the context of organizational behavior, there is a direct impetus to examine this issue and its impact on the organization. Using this as a basis for investigation, this research considers a discussion of the following statement: An individual's work achievement can be best predicted by measuring their intelligence. Through a careful review of what has been noted about the importance of intelligence in the organization and its impact on employee behavior, it will be possible to elucidate the specific issues involved in maximizing intelligence for organizational benefit.

Literature Review

Intelligence: Definition and Scope

Term Paper on Organizational Behavior Has Emerged as a Prominent Assignment

In order to begin this investigation, it is first helpful to consider a brief overview of the definition and scope of intelligence. A cursory overview of the current literature on this subject demonstrates that while numerous efforts have been made to define and conceptualize intelligence, considerable variation on what should be included in the definition of this term remains. To illustrate this point, Sternberg (2006) notes how the evolution of intelligence in the twentieth. According to this author, in 1921, a group of psychologists was asked to provide their review of how intelligence should be defined. Although variations on the definition were provided by each psychologist, there was considerable consensus on some particular issues with regard to intelligence. Specifically, Sternberg reports that, "First, intelligence involves the capacity to learn from experience. Second, it involves the ability to adapt to the surrounding environment" (p. 485-6).

Sternberg (2006) goes on to report that 65 years later in 1986, a group of psychologists was again asked to define intelligence. Sternberg reports that in their definition the same two issues of intelligence identified in 1921 were noted along with additional features, which professionals argued provided a more integral understanding of intelligence. In particular, Sternberg observes that "They, too, underscored the importance of learning from experience and adapting to the environment. They also broadened the definition to emphasize the importance of metacognition -- people's understand and control of their own thinking processes" (p. 486). Sternberg further reports that modern psychologists also emphasized the role of culture in the development and display of intelligence. In short, cultural contexts would require different adaptations for the individual. The ability to make these adaptations then was clearly an indication of intelligence.

Not surprisingly, the various definitions of intelligence that have been posited in the literature have given rise to questions about how intelligence should be applied in the context of assessment or evaluation. Sternberg (2006) notes the challenges that have developed in the context of understanding intelligence in an organizational context. As reported by this author, the manifestation of intelligence can be difficult to predict and understand. In an effort to demonstrate this point, Sternberg provides an example of the competent salesperson that is able to excel at his job. Although the salesperson may not have a high level of cognitive intelligence, according to Sternberg, this individual has a high degree of implicit intelligence. In short, the salesperson is able to examine a situation, make quick and accurate judgments and adjust in order to effectively make a sale. This type of intelligence can be difficult to assess utilizing standardized tests of intelligence.

Intelligence and Individual Work Performance

With a basic understanding and definition of intelligence provided, it is now possible to consider current information on the application of intelligence to the individual employee and the larger context of the organization. A critical review of what has been noted about the utilization of intelligence to predict employee behavior in the organization suggests that intelligence can play a positive role in this process. For instance, Fincham and Rhodes (2006, p. 134) report that, "many larger organizations believe that an individual's ability to perform in professional and administrative roles can to an extent can be predicted from an intelligence test score." Through the application of intelligence assessments, Fincham and Rhodes assert, organizations can effectively gauge the overall behavior of the individual employee.

Although Fincham and Rhodes (2006) note the importance of intelligence in the development of individual behavior, they also note that efforts to understand intelligence of employees often focuses on the tangible aspects of intelligence that can be measured through the application of standardized assessments. Explicit manifestations of intelligence, according to Fincham and Rhodes, have conceptualized intelligence into the measurement of a single factor G. Factor G. Or general ability is a standard measure of the individual's overall intelligence level and ability to complete specific tasks. As reported by Fincham and Rhodes, this measure provides a basic understanding of intelligence as a single factor as compared with personality, which is conceptually comprised of a number of different factors.

While the concept of intelligence as G. provides a salient means for organizations, managers and leaders to effectively quantify the presence of intelligence and link it to other variables in the organization -- i.e. employee performance, pay rate, etc. -- Fincham and Rhodes (2006) do note that further examinations of the G. factor have prompted the evolution of understanding with respect to this concept. In the context of the organization, Fincham and Rhodes report, scholars began to realize that while the G. factor could provide some insight into the overall performance of the individual, there were a host of different types of intelligence that an individual could display. To illustrate this point, Fincham and Rhodes note the work of Howard Gardner and his theory of multiple intelligences. According to these authors, Gardner attempted to go beyond the G. factor in identifying areas of intelligence that represented clear indications of the individual's abilities. Fincham and Rhodes argue that Gardner's work has resulted in the development of a "grand theory" in which "biopsychologial potential" has been noted to be a prominent factor in understanding the definition, conception and application of intelligence.

When placed in this context, it is evident that while efforts to develop and understand intelligence as a single concept for understanding employee behavior and performance do not provide a salient means for unifying definition and applying intelligence to the workplace. Rather, investigations into intelligence have demonstrated that there are a host of areas in which intelligence can manifest; some of which can be difficult for experts to effectively measure. Thus, while it is reasonable to assume that individual intelligence levels may have some bearing on predicting the behavior of the individual, the reality is that intelligence is only one measure which will have an impact on the outcomes achieved by the individual.

Other scholars examining the issue of intelligence and its impact on predicting behavior have argued that general intelligence assessments can only provide a rudimentary understanding of how the individual will respond in the organization (Youndt and Snell, 2004). According to Youndt and Snell, individual intelligence must be developed in the context of the organization in order to make it a relevant concept for measuring and predicting both individual performance and overall organizational performance. What this effectively suggests is that the specific environment in which intelligence is developed and nurtured will have a direct impact on the specific results that will be achieved. In this context of this process, Youndt and Snell argue, a number of interactions occur which can impede or facilitate the development of intelligence of individual behavior. Specifically, these authors argue that organizational culture will play a direct role in the development of how the individual behaves and responds.

Fincham and Rhodes (2006) make similar observations in their examination of intelligence and its impact on outcomes for the organization. In particular, these authors report that:

One suggestion is that some of the impact of intelligence on performance in organizations occurs much more indirectly and subtly. This is because some of the impact of intelligence comes not so much from… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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