Organizational Behavior Helme-Steves, et al (2017) Book Review

The book – “Organizational Behavior and Management” by Helmes-Steves, et al. (2017) introduces the students with the basic concepts, theories, and best practices of organizational behavior that must be applied by the organizations towards their employees, for the overall profit maximization of their organization. The second section of his book contains 3 chapters: 4, 5, and 6 that discusses about the individual processes in the organizations in detail. The very first chapter in this section contains information about the basic foundation of individual behavior, found among the employees of the organization (Jernigan, Beggs, & Kohut, 2002).

One of the most common aspects of employee behavior, which is responsible for the future success of the organization is job satisfaction. Job satisfaction can motivate the employees to work overtime, put their full potential in the project, and also decrease the level of absenteeism. Most of the managers working in the MNC’s have a negative notion that salary is by far the major concern for most of the employees, which also defines the level of their job satisfaction. However, research done in this case suggest that once an employee started to earn around $40,000 a year or more, then the relationship between the pay and job gradually disappears. Thereafter, the employee started to emphasize on other aspects of his life like holidays, flexible working arrangements, and good behavior of manager and colleagues, which defines his or her job statisfaction level. Therefore, a theory called the “Attribution Theory,” discussed in this chapter is significant to understand this change in job satisfaction level at a certain pay package. Attribution theory the behavior attributes of an individual is directly related to the observations of the internal and external charctersitics of his or her behavior. This theory can help the managers to understand the change in behavior patterns of employees at different age and salary stages (Lee & Allen, 2002).

The 5th chapter of this book discusses the therories and concepts of employee motivation. Maotivation in terms of management is defined as the process of sustaining and arousing goal directed behavior of employees. This chapter also provides an overview of the equity theory, expectancy theory, and need-based theory of employee motivation. The most significant theory discussed in this chapter for employee motivation is Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. This theory suggests that there is a common hierarchy of the needs of every individual as shown in the figure below: —

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Figure 1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Griffin & Moorhead, 2004)

The individual employee gives preference to the needs that starting from the base, i.e. he or she will first of all give preference to his physiological needs, then security related needs, and then belongingness needs, and so on. This theory can help organizations to understand the basic motivating factors for employees, while increasing their job performance (Datta, Guthrie, & Wright, 2005).

Any employee working in a concerned organization would not get job satisfaction and can motivate himself for better performance without a good job profile. The managers have understood that designing a job to meet the requirements of the employees can further consolidate their profit maximization margins. The 6th chapter of this book tries to elaborate further about the concerns related to job design, employee involvement, and alternative working arrangement. This chapter discusses many theories and concepts of job design, job enrichment, job enlargement, job rotation, and job specialization. However, the concept of job specialization seems most significant from the context of management. Job specialization is basically the concept of dividing the existing job into different special tasks, so that the main job is composed of small and specific parts of the larger process. Therefore, the employees will be able to do the jobs easily with high repetition, basic steps, and low variety.

Helmes-Steves, et al. (2017) has discussed the concepts and theories related to the communication in MNC’s and concerned organizations in the 7th chapter. Many MNC’s now have to deal with employees belonging to different languages and cultures. Therefore, devising a proper way of communication becomes crucial for the success of the organization. There are many communication channels that exists within the organization. Some of these channels are formal, while others are informal.

Although, there are many formal communication channels that exists within the organization, e.g. downward communication, upward communication, and horizontal communication, but many employees prefer the informal communication channel called “grapevines.” Grapevine is nothing, but informal employee-to-employee message channel. When the formal communication channels do not fulfil the requirements of the employees, then they use grapevine to send and receive information in order to fill existing gaps in communication. Many researchers have also understood the significance of non-verbal communication for the management of large projects within the MNC’s. Non-verbal communication includes the gestures and facial expressions that generally does not involve words. The importance of non-verbal communication in management is well documented by many researches that suggest that around 45 to 93 percent of oral communication is influenced by non-verbal communication (Conrad & Newberry, 2011).  

Another most beneficial concept for the managers of MNC’s, discussed in this book is the decision making. Effective decision making is a crucial concept and a must skill for all the employees, precisely beneficial for managers, supervisors, and leaders. Decision making is defined as the capability of choosing the perfect solution from the available alternatives from the context of management. In this sense, there are basically two types of decision making that are crucial for the organisation: programmed decisions; and non-programmed decisions.

Programmed decisions are those that are already in the routine of the organizational framework and are totally automatic. Managers make these types of decisions often for the organization, e.g. declaring the performance management report of employee etc. On the other hand, non-programmed decisions are those that are taken by the managers in case of emergency in case of unusual situations that are not addressed often. Sometimes, the decisions taken by the officials must be in accordance with the ethical standards. Ethical decision making must be legally or morally acceptable to the large people, community, and organization, while utilizing all ethical models and perspectives. There are many decision making models and frameworks discussed in this chapter that must be analyzed by the managers to understand the overall decision making process (Ireland & Miller, 2004).

The next chapter of Helmes-Steves, et al. (2017) discusses another curcial aspect of management, i.e. managing teams. The environment of most of the organizations are complex, and that’s why team based work environments are crucial for their proper management. The success of any business required the efforts of every individual employee, working in a team; to achieve organizational objectives and goals. The first part of this chapter deals with presenting a research from an area, which are originating in the fields of social sciences, psychology, and group dyanamics. The research discussed in this chapter, has been gathered over decades to study how individuals work in the teams and groups.

The second half of this chapter discusses the advantages and disadvantages of working in teams and groups. It also discusses the conflict that generally arise while working in groups and teams, and present strategies to minimize the group conflict. This chapter also various techniques employed group decision making, designed to ensure a participatory process where multiple employees act collectively to analyze the problems and situations, while devising proper solutions for them at the same time.

The 10th chapter of Helmes-Steves, et al.’s book discusses about the various leadership approaches, theories, concepts, and best practices. Before understanding the concepts of leadership, it is mandatory to understand the difference between management and leadership. On one hand, management is responsible to bring about consistency and order within the organizational framework, by drawing formal plans, monitoring results, and designing organizational structure. On the other hand, leadership is not simply management of necessary tasks for the organization, but an ability to influence a group of people toward the achievement of vision, mission, and goals of the concerned organisation.

There are variety of leadership approaches, and no particular theory or model is considered to be relevant to describe all the elements that are essential for effective leadership behavior. Some researhers argue that leadership is a multifaceted concept and leadership theories continue to evolve, as some new understandings of this phenomena is understood and discovered. Helmes-Steves, et al. (2017) has discussed many leadership theories in this chapter like, e.g. the LMX theory, Path-Goal theory, Fiedler’s theory, etc. Fiedler’s contingency theory of leadership suggests that any leader’s effectiveness depends on both situational charactersitcs and his or her leadership style. Path-Goal theory of leadership suggests that effective leaders motivate their followers by giving them outcomes that they desire. All leadership theories discussed in this chapter are crucial for different organizational settings, environments, and frameworks (Jung & Avolio, 2000).

The next chapter of Helmes-Steves, et al’s book describes about some other crucial aspects of management like innovation, change, and conflict. It is a way of nature that it changes itself through the course of time and same phenomena holds true for every organization working in today’s business settings. Therefore, innovation and creativity are also some crucial concepts of management; that the managers must worry about.


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