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Self Assessment Applying Organizational Behavior Theories

Part A: Self Assessment The terminal values I have are happiness, recognition, and prosperity. My primary goal is to live a happy life. When I look back at my life, I want to feel that I have lived a happy one. I tell myself that I want to die smiling, and if there are lots of people missing me, I will have lived good life. As it can be seen from wanting to have people missing me, recognition from the people around me is also a very important terminal value. My definition of recognition is to be loved and admired from my friends and family, mostly for my character as well as ability and achievement.

This puts me in the category of high need for affiliation, which is true. It is my philosophy that no one is perfect, and no one can live alone. People need each other, and I am no exception. This high desire to gain recognition motivates me to put in a lot of effort to polish my character and ability. The need for recognition can also be explained by the fact that I consider dependability, courtesy, and honesty as most important instrumental values. I’ve always wanted to be someone people can count on, especially when they are going through hard times. When my friends have a problem, I try everything I could do for them.

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And their gratitude towards my contribution makes me feel really good, about myself and my relationship with my friends. Moreover, I always try to be courteous. I think being well mannered and considerate is a key factor of courtesy and I do my best not to hurt others’ feelings or annoy them. It is also important to be honest, especially with people you have known for a long time. Lies turn out to be lies after time. It takes a lot of effort and time to build trust, but it can be broken even with the smallest lie. In terms of honesty, I try to remember the quote saying ‘Characters build slowly, but it can be torn down with great swiftness. I know how fragile trust can be, so I put honesty as one of my top instrumental values. I am of belief that being dependable, courteous and honest could fulfill my terminal goal to gain recognition from people. The third terminal value that I have is prosperity. Many tend to feel somewhat negative against the desire to earn a decent living, labeling it with words like greed or obsession with money. However, wealth is a positive, as well as essential, element of a happy life. I do agree with the fact that money cannot guarantee satisfaction in life. It’s just that a certain amount of wealth is required.

The desire for prosperity came from my childhood experience. When I was seven, my family moved to Korea from US. My father was planning to start a business in Gwang-ju. However, my family couldn’t afford a place to stay there. So for a year my father and I stayed in Gwang-ju, while my mother and brother stayed in Seoul, in our relatives’ houses. During those times I couldn’t help thinking, ‘If we had more money, the family would have been able to stay together. ’ Ever since, wealth has been a pretty important value to me. My high need for affiliation also affects the way I communicate.

Assessment shows that I have an attentive and animated communication style. Since I care for others a lot, I listen carefully in order to understand them. I am a firm believer of ‘Never fail to know that if you are doing all the talking, you are boring somebody,’ so I usually let the other people do the talking. The same applies to people who aren’t speaking in a group. I ask them questions to get them involved and hear them out. However, being attentive doesn’t mean I underestimate the importance of expressing myself. I seek ways to express myself affectively.

As one way, I use a lot of animated gestures such as using hands, shrugging shoulders, and raising eyebrows. This helps me express my thoughts and emotions visually. I feel that verbal communication is somewhat insufficient. For example, I look into the person’s eyes in conversations to show sincerity. These non-verbal communication means are much more effective than just words. When handling conflicts, I show some characteristics of need for affiliation, too. I am collaborating and compromising when faced with conflicts. I understand what people want is different, and sometimes not everyone can get everything they want.

The important part is that everyone should express their desires, and the decision should be made through a fair procedure, so people could accept giving up something they want. And if I am the one to give things up, I would have no complaints. As for leadership, I show both task-oriented and people-oriented results. In terms of task completion, I do have a higher task-oriented characteristic. Although I have high need for affiliation, when a task is given to complete and someone has to push the group, I become more task-oriented and call for focus on achieving the goal.

The assessment says that the best leaders can use both leadership styles in various situations, and I always try to balance the two. Three years ago, I was elected as a leader of a music performance club. As a leader, I had to get along with all the members and keep them cohesive. On the other hand, I had to push them hard to do better when performing on stage. During my time as a leader, I exerted leadership through expertise and being referent. By holding profound knowledge of what I do, I won’t be challenged and earn respect by subordinates. In this case, I had a good knowledge of Hip-hop, R&B, and soul music along with singing.

So I taught them how to become better. I thought by being referent, I could understand my subordinates better and motivate them. I had open conversation to listen to what my members wanted from the club, and made sure my members were getting what they wanted. Sometimes our goal as a performance club and the members’ desire conflicted each other, and I had a hard time satisfying both aspects. To me, an ideal leader is someone subordinates can rely on, regarding tasks and emotions, and I believe that it can be carried out with knowledge and reference.

I showed no distinctive preference for organizational structure. Since I am not a big fan of hierarchical structure, I think I fit more into an organic structure. But in terms of task completion I do enjoy working under planned goals and specific job roles, which are characteristics closer to mechanic structure. Throughout the course, the professor stressed the importance of individual-organization fit. Organizational structure is one of the categories of this fit. For me, I plan to work in an organic company, with a fierce competition that requires some mechanic characteristics for efficiency.

Part B: Understanding Others Description of My Team Experience During the semester, I was able to experience the whole process of team forming, which can be demonstrated by Tuckman’s Five Stage Group Development Theory. The forming stage started out by the professor. Professor Chun has given us the team case study, and he has stated what he expected from us. Out of the four team members, the three of us knew each other already. To make sure that we don’t become a friendship group with high cohesiveness and low performance norms, we asked another student to join the group, who we have not known.

The team’s storming stage did not have any conflict involved, which is the main characteristic of storming stage. No one attempted to take the leadership position, nor did anyone try to impose tasks to others. Je-sung arranged schedules, and he set deadlines to have our work done in time. Also, we had to study the same material for the team discussion, so there wasn’t any conflict over who does what either. Since we were all familiar with what we were supposed to do, our cohesiveness formed very quickly in the norming stage. We were all business school students, so we all were at least familiar with materials related to business.

Second of all, in terms of goal setting, Professor Chun has stated his expectations in the EKU very clearly in terms of goal setting, so we had a good understanding of our goal and therefore highly motivated. As we shared the same goal, our cohesiveness was formed almost right away. Since most of us knew each other, we had a socio-emotional cohesiveness formed together. Other than the team case, we also shared our private stories and talked a lot about OB lectures in general. The performing stage was the hardest part. We went through a process of studying the same material individually, having a debate, and coming up with the idea as a team.

The discussion took a long time and sometimes our ideas had conflicts, so mediating this was the most difficult part of our team. However, the debates we’ve had represent a high quality feedback. Through instant feedbacks and revisions of ideas, I believe we were able to come up with a satisfactory team’s idea. But the team activity wasn’t all perfect. The hardest part of the debate was the pressure to reach an agreement, also known as pressure for groupthink. Since our cohesiveness was high and our background as business school majors were similar, we had a tendency to try to reach consensus.

When someone states an opinion, at least one or two people agreed right away. There were some occasions when I was opposing against the other three, and I could actually feel the atmosphere pressuring me to conform to the members’ idea. Although I hate to admit this, our team represents as an example of the Punctuated Equilibrium Model. As more debates were held, the members were exhausted, so our work rate slowed down. When the due date was within 2 weeks, our work pace picked up again, which accounts for the transition of the whole process.

Now that our team is at the end of performing stage in Tuckman’s Five Stage Group Development Theory, we are faced with the Adjourning stage. According to the theory, we return to our independent life, but since we have formed a pretty tight socio-emotional cohesiveness, I don’t expect our members’ relationship to break down and go back to the point before the team formation. Leadership in My Team As I have mentioned in the storming stage of the team, no one attempted to take the leadership position at first. Je-sung arranged schedules, and in debates he said how much work he wanted to be done.

At first, Je-sung suggested me to be the leader, but I declined and set Je-sung as the team leader. He was the oldest of the four people, so I thought it would be nice for him to take care of the leader role. Years ago, I have experienced a huge conflict when I was trying to lead a team older than me. I realized that the Korean culture isn’t so friendly with young one taking over as leader. People tend to feel somewhat uncomfortable with a younger person leading them. Considering the situation of me being the younger in the team and the common Korean culture, I thought Je-sung’s leadership would be more effective.

It turned out the Je-sung’s leadership was effective. Looking through the 4I’s of Full Range Leadership Model, Je-sung showed individualized consideration, idealized influence, and some inspirational motivation. Before we formed the team, he had known all three of us. He understood what each member wanted, and showed consideration according to each of our situation. In addition, Je-sung stressed idealized influence by trying to set a good example. He used to say ‘I should set an example by studying a lot,’ for every debate. When setting meetings he considered the members’ schedules first rather than his.

He also tried to motivate us inspirationally by being enthusiastic and optimistic. I could see him encouraging us with complimentary comments such as ‘I think we have a good report here,’ and ‘This is something good. ” With all of these leadership style put together, I think Je-sung was a good leader. My role in the team was mostly intellectual stimulation. I made sure everyone had a chance to state their opinions, sometime suggesting new ideas. I also brought other books related to OB when everyone was looking at the Power point slides to get an idea. I tried to stimulate them in many ways we can have many different ideas as a team.

I accounted for a corrective transaction (MBE-Active) role, too. When the members were having conflict about the idea of some OB terms, I told the team that we lack the basic studying need to continue this project. When the team seemed to slack off, I took the devil’s advocate role and criticized ourselves. Part C: Application of OB I once heard in the lecture that people love leadership. Maybe it’s because people tend to believe they will be leaders someday, and they want to prepare for that time. I do agree with the importance, of leadership, but I feel more interested in communication.

I believe communication is most important factor in a world where people live together. Communication is involved in many other OB theories I have learned in class. It is related in goal setting such as MBO, exerting leadership like controlling follower’s behavior, motivating people, expressing emotions, sharing information, making decision, and many more. What makes communication so important is the fact that it is very vulnerable to distortion and misunderstanding. I have always been interested in why miscommunications occur and what we can do to make it as correct as possible.

I try to express myself clearly as possible, as I have mentioned animated as my communicating style. The most common experience I had was arguing with my girlfriend. She takes what I said in a wrong way, or sometimes I choose the wrong words. Even though there was nothing wrong with what we did, the miscommunication caused me lots of trouble, not only with my girlfriend but with my friends and my parents, too. It seems that there are inherent problems coming from the attribute of communication; exchange between people. Each individual have diverse backgrounds and ways of thinking.

Words and nonverbal expressions have different meanings to people. During lectures I learned about many communication barriers such as filtering, selective perception, information overload, emotions, communication apprehension, and language barrier. For each barrier I was able to think of my past experiences representing it. For example, when my girlfriend is not in a emotional state, she usually distorts what I say and feel bad about it. There are also communication barriers between man and women, like the saying ‘Men are from Venus, and Women are from Mars. After the lectures about communication, I was able to understand how barriers hinder us from communicating clearly, and feel less frustrated about misunderstandings. In addition to learning the inherent possibility of miscommunication, I was also curious about how I could minimize faults. I would have to communication all my life: at work, home, with my friends, and my family. I want to make others understand me as much as possible, and also the other way around. The difference among oral, written, and nonverbal communication gave me some new ideas.

I was glad that I was using animated method as my communicating style, because it seems that my gestures do supplement the inadequacy of communication. “Politically correct” choice of words also gave me something to think about. Sometimes I do feel certain words may stereotype, intimidate, and offend some people. When I spent my 6th grade in America, the word ‘handicapped’ was changed with the word ‘physically challenged. ’ I learned that this was because the use of word ‘handicapped’ may offend some people, who fall into that category or families of those people. The same goes with the word ‘African American’ taking place of ‘Black. For example, my music performance club performs hip-Hop, R&B, and soul music. Many people call our music club ‘black music. ’ But I thought this was somewhat inappropriate, and abandoned the use of the terms ‘black music. ’ To me, minimizing miscommunications is really important, given the fact that I have high need for affiliation. I strive to understand what people think, how they feel, and what they want. And I believe the knowledge of communication I gained throughout the course will give me a new start in becoming a better communicator, enabling me to become a good leader and a good peer. Appendix

Table 1. Results of Self-Assessments Self-Assessment Items| Results| What do I value? | Top three terminal values: HappinessRecognition from peersProsperityTop three instrumental values: DependabilityCourtesyHonesty| What’s my fact-to-face communication style? | AttentiveAnimated| How good am I at building and leading a team? | 2nd quartile| What’s my leadership style? | Both task and people oriented| What’s my preferred type of power? | ReferentExpert| What’s my preferred conflict handling style? | CollaboratingCompromising| What kind of organizational structure do I prefer? | No clear Preference|


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