Psychology 267
(Winter, 2017) -

Organizational Behavior

6th Period MWF, Room A-107 SMC

INSTRUCTOR: Frank T. McAndrew

Psychology Department Web Page

Frank McAndrew: SMC E131, Ext. 7525, e-mail: fmcandre@knox.edu.

Organizational Behavior by Robbins & Judge (16th Ed., 2015)  – ISBN: 978-0-13-350764-5

In addition to the above text, there are a number of outside readings (“OR”) that are downloadable from this web page.  These readings are listed at the end of the syllabus.


The format for the classes in this course will be primarily lecture and discussion, with many in-class activities.  Some of these class activities will be assigned as projects that you will be graded on; some of them will simply be learning exercises that you engage in as part of the classroom experience.  Your final grade will be the percentage of points that you accumulate out of the total possible points on three examinations, three quizzes, and four graded class projects.  No make up tests will be given without prior permission and a very good excuse.  The tests will be based on the textbook, the outside readings, and class lectures.  The third test will NOT be a comprehensive final exam.  Each quiz will be worth 5 points.  Each written project will be worth 10 points, AND THE PSYCHOLOGY DEPARTMENT WRITING POLICY WILL BE APPLIED TO ALL WRITTEN PROJECTS.  A copy of the psychology department writing policy can be viewed HERE. The number of points on each test will vary, but each test will probably be worth about 75 points. As a rough guide for grading, use the following percentages:

(A = 93-100%)
(A- = 90-92%)
(B+ = 88-89%)
(B = 83-87%)
(C = 73-77%)
(D = 63-67%)
(F = anything < 60%)


Your learning will be assessed by the quality of the written work that you hand in and your performance on the tests and quizzes.   Every course that you take is designed to help you acquire knowledge and skills.  The departmental learning goals & competencies assessed in this course include the following:

1) Understand the basic theoretical approaches and classic empirical findings of
2) Effectively communicate with clear, grammatically-correct writing.

3) Demonstrate an empathic understanding of people of diverse abilities, experiences,
    backgrounds, and perspectives

Goal # 1 listed above will be assessed via the tests & quizzes.
Goals# 2 & 3, & 4 will be assessed via the class projects & activities


What Is Organizational Behavior?  (Chapter 1; OR#1)

Diversity in Organizations (Chapter 2; OR#2, 3, 4, & 5 )   

QUIZ on outside readings #2, 3, 4, & 5
Individual Differences: The Stuff that Makes Organizations Interesting (
Chapters 4 & 5; OR#6)
(Personality, Values, Emotions)

PROJECT #1: Values & Managerial Decision Making (Due Date: TBA)       

Organizational Structure, Culture, & Change (Chapters 15, 16, & 18; OR#7, 8, & 9)

QUIZ on outside readings #7, 8, & 9

PROJECT #2: Organizational Culture (Due Date: TBA)

TEST #1 (Wednesday, January 25th)

Communication: Interpersonal and Organizational (Chapter 11; OR#10 & 11)

PROJECT #3: Team Building Exercise (OR# 12 & 13) (Due Date: TBA)

Work Teams & Group Dynamics: Managing Group Behavior (Chapters 9 & 10; OR#14)

Decision Making/Problem Solving/Creativity (Chapter 6; OR#15)

TEST #2 (Wednesday, February 15th)

Leadership and Management Style (Chapter 12; OR#16, 17, 18, 19, & 20)

PROJECT #4: Understanding Your Leadership Style (Due Date: TBA)

QUIZ on outside readings #16, 17, 18, 19, & 20)

Power, Politics, Conflict, & Negotiation (Chapters 13 & 14; OR#21)

Job Satisfaction (Chapter 3; OR #22, 23, 24)

TEST #3 (During Scheduled Final Exam Period)


Project #1 - Values & Managerial Decision Making (10 points)
One of the most difficult decisions faced by managers is deciding which employees must be let go when lay-offs due to "downsizing" become necessary, or to determine how limited finances will be divided among competing employees or departments.  Unfortunately, such situations always result in “winners” and “losers” and thus create hard feelings.  This is an inescapable part of a manager’s job.  To help you examine the values that you would bring to bear in this situation, you will be provided with the information required to make such decisions in a hypothetical management situation.  You may download the exercise by clicking HERE.  You will write a report to the CEO of the company with your recommendations and a careful explanation of the criteria you used in reaching your decision.  You may be asked to make an oral presentation of your recommendations to the executive council (i.e., the rest of the class) and defend your recommendations against sharp questioning.

Project #2 - Organizational Culture (10 Points)
“Organizational Culture” refers to the perceptions of an organization that are widely shared by its members, and it is the perception of the organization on seven key characteristics that distinguish it from other, similar organizations.  You will reflect on an organization that you currently belong to (or have been a member of in the past few years) by assessing it on the Organization Culture Questionnaire.  You will write a brief essay in which you analyze and describe the culture of this organization.

Project #3 - Team Building (10 Points)
Most of the work that gets done in organizations is the result of the coordinated effort of work teams. In fact, the ability to function as an effective team member is one of the most valuable job skills one can cultivate. However, the experience of being on a work team can be complicated.  On the one hand, it essential that everyone pull together for the good of the group and to reach organizational goals, but at the same time, your coworkers are also your fiercest competitors for recognition, promotions, and access to other resources.

Organizations frequently sponsor “team building activities” to increase morale, trust, cohesiveness, and productivity among their employees. The goal of these team-building exercises is to get people to step outside of their day-today work roles and to break down the barriers to effective communication that can exist in organizations.  Frequently, these exercises take the form of wilderness hikes where coworkers have to work together to navigate their way through obstacle courses or engage in physically challenging activities.  It is believed that getting employees out of their comfort zones and interacting with their colleagues under completely different conditions can have long-term beneficial effects. We cannot do something quite as exotic as a wilderness field trip, but we will do our best to capture the spirit of corporate team building.  Some of these activities will take place in a regular class, and some will occur during a class period held at the college swimming pool while you are fully dressed in appropriate business attire.  The final details about the exercises will be provided to you in class.  Some students will win money and some will not; some will get wet, some will not.  There will be suspense, and (hopefully) fun.  In addition to giving you a first hand experience with team building, these exercises will also serve as an icebreaker and get you to interact with other members of the class in an interesting situation.

The exercises will emphasize a variety of different team-building skills such as remembering names, establishing clear, efficient communication between work partners, and coordinating physical movement with your coworkers.  One of these activities will be an exercise in persuasion.  In work organizations, it is necessary for groups to divide labor and assign tasks to individuals in a way that takes advantage of what each person has to offer the organization. Being a successful employee in such an organization requires that you find a niche in which the contributions that you make work to everyone’s advantage.  Sometimes, merely working hard will not be enough if your efforts are invisible or if the value of the work that you are doing is not immediately apparent.  As you rise in the organization’s hierarchy, your persuasive skills will become increasingly important as you may now be called upon to contribute to the plans that the organization is making for its own future.   Thus, being able to thrive in an organizational setting in the long run requires that you become a good persuader.  You will need to be able to persuade others about the value of your own contributions as well as persuading them about courses of action that the group as a whole should pursue.  Unfortunately, it is an unavoidable feature of organizational life that sometimes some employees must be sacrificed for the good of the whole group.  One of the most difficult decisions faced by managers is deciding which employees must be let go when lay-offs due to "downsizing" become necessary.  The persuasion exercise is also designed to help you examine the values that you would bring to bear in situations such as this.

After the completion of the Team-Building Exercises, you will write a brief “Reaction paper” in which you assess the value of the exercise.  This type of assessment is often used in organizations to determine the value of continuing such activities in the future.

Project #4 - Understanding Your Leadership Style (10 Points)
We will be spending a fair bit of time learning about leadership in this course.  As we do so, you will assess your own leadership style by filling out five different leadership scales designed to assess leadership style from five different theoretical perspectives.  You will also fill out a scale that will assess your preferred style for dealing with conflict.  You will write a reflective essay in which you analyze your own personal style of leadership.  In your essay, identify which one of the leadership scale(s) seemed to be the best at helping you think about your leadership style and explain why you think that is the case.  Also, describe how your style of dealing with conflict might affect the way you would manage people. Describe what you think your leadership style is, and identify the situations in which you think you would perform best as a leader.  Finally, discuss whether the results of the various leadership scales confirmed things that you already believed about yourself or whether they are at odds with your self-perception of yourself as a leader.


1. A Cold Slap in the Face: Past Graduates, Corporate Managers Explain Why You Probably Can’t ‘Have it All’ (Campbell)

2. Allegations Against Mitsubishi (Peoria Journal Star)

3. Abuse of Power (Maremont)

4. Stereotype Threat at Work (Roberson & Kulik)

5. Generations: Boomers and Echos and Nexters – Oh My! (Hankin)

6. The "Dark Triad" of Personality Traits Will help You Get Ahead in Your Career (Andrews)

7. Why I Am Leaving Goldman-Sachs (Smith)

8. How Do You Change Organizational Culture? (Denning)

9. The Peter Principle and How to Beat It (Reh)

10. Communicating Across Cultures (Adler)

11. Gossip in Your Workplace Probably Does More Good Than Harm (McAndrew)

12. Clinging to a Cliff, Riding the Rapids . . . .(Kerven)

13. Company Retreats:  Know the Rules (Dilenschneider)

14. Playing Ball Without the Coach (Burrows)

15. Putting Your Company’s Whole Brain to Work (Leonard & Straus)

16. In Praise of the Incomplete Manager (Ancona, Malone, Orlikowski, & Senge)

17.  Macho Management (Dunsing & Matejka)

18. When the Boss Feels Inadequate (Fast & Chen)

19. Arrogance: The Executive Achille’s Heel (Moskal)

20. The Tyranny of Toxic Managers (Lubit)

21. Building the Civilized Workplace (Sutton)

22. High Status Stress (Warner)

23. Banana Time:  Job Satisfaction and Informal Interaction (Roy)

24. Woodworker  (Mosher)                               

I have put copies of the Powerpoint slides that I used in class on the web. To see copies of the PPT slides that were used in the lectures for this course, click on the picture of the overhead projector.