Organizational Behavior (OB) is the systematic study of human behaviors at workplace settings in three different determinants: individual, group, and structure. It focuses on deciphering the complex behavior patterns, as well as the correlations of internal and external factors that serve as variables in behavioral changes. OB provides the insight of how individuals could impact the organization’s performance as a whole, allowing businesses to increase productivity by identifying and resolving OB issues, selecting management style that suits company needs and industry trends, and ultimately maximizing company’s resources for profitability.
In 1968, three years after the independence, the Economic Development Board of Singapore set out and established the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS) to finance the young country’s growing industries. After decades of continuous improvement and expansion across Asia region, DBS became the first Asian bank to be awarded the World’s Best Global Banks 2018 (Straits Time, 2018) for its digital innovation.
Just like many other large organizations, DBS believes in high standards of management and governance in the corporate by building a strong leadership culture. It also aims to attract and retain talents from various backgrounds to strengthen the organization through diversity. Internal mobility programme was introduced in 2010 to encourage employees to seize opportunities working in different roles across departments or even to pursue corporate ranks. As an organization that places high importance on its employees, DBS won the Aon’s Best Employers in Singapore category for 2018 (The Edge Singapore, 2018).
Three OB Issues
According to an online survey carried out by JobStreet.com, it was found that 45% of the 700 respondents in Singapore feel unhappy at work (Today, 2018). Dissatisfaction at workplace could cause negative impacts on individual’s performance and affect the organization as a whole. By identifying OB issues, businesses are able to understand the cause and effect of human behaviors at workplace, implementing the most suitable theories and practices to achieve high organizational effectiveness. Strategic development and implementation of OB lead to desirable result in company’s financial health. It also benefits individuals in achieving career success by increasing self-awareness, and develop intrapersonal and interpersonal skills.
In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, every human being is motivated to fulfill five different needs. Maslow divided the needs into two, the lower order of hierarchy consists physiological and safety needs pertaining to human survival. Hunger, thirst, other bodily needs, shelter, protection, and security are the basic elements required for a healthy, living individual. Maslow believed that only after the lower order has been fulfilled, individuals would then pursue the satisfaction of higher order of the hierarchy. The higher order needs include social, esteem, and self-actualization. Humans are sociable creatures that crave affection, acceptance, belongingness, and friendship. It is also natural for every individual to desire achievement, respect, status and etc to fulfill esteem need. Lastly, Maslow believed that self-actualization is the stage of self-fulfillment, when one reaches the fullest potential as human after other needs have been met. However, in present day’s context, individuals may not progress in the hierarchy of needs but pursue different needs simultaneously instead.
Due to the customer oriented nature of the industry, work-life balance is almost non-existent for those that work in the banking sector. Other than the regular 9 to 5 on weekdays, financial sales specialists are required to work after hours to meet customers, replying work emails, or attending road shows and events on weekends. As Singapore is Asia’s leading financial hub, employees that are in the global team that provides service to clients across the globe are required to accommodate to client’s time zone. Bank employees are often denied leave application, or even medical leave by the management.
DBS was rated only 2.8 out of 5 stars in terms of work-life balance by a total of 822 existing and ex-employees (Glassdoor, 2018). Despite the performance-based reward that comes in monetary form, many employees were not motivated in pursuing a career and chose to resign from DBS. It shows that although financial reward and career progression are able to fulfill physiological and esteem needs, most employees were not satisfied when deprived of personal time and social activities outside of work on a regular basis.
Every individual has a unique perception that stems from the beliefs, values, goals and priorities that differ from one another. In an organization, people with different point of views are required to work together hence conflict is inevitable. The Resolution-Focused View of Conflict focuses on managing the context and developing productive resolution to minimize the negative effects.
In first stage of the conflict process, incompatibility such as misunderstandings in communication, structure of jobs or groups, different personalities and emotions, all these factors create conditions for occurrence of conflicts. Second stage is the actualization of potential incompatibility that is based on the type of conflict: perceived conflict is when a disagreement arises between one or more parties, whereas felt conflict refers to emotional involvement that individuals experienced in disagreement. In the third stage, other’s intentions need to be deciphered before responding to it.
Which brings the conflict process to the fourth stage, where behaviors are displayed to implement individual’s intentions, it includes statements, actions, and reactions. In the final stage, outcomes are derived from actions and reactions between conflicting parties. In functional outcomes, conflicts are constructive and improve performance, it reduces groupthink, stimulates creativity and flexibility that is highly beneficial to the organization. However, there are also downsides of conflicts. Dysfunctional outcomes include reduction of satisfaction and trust among group members and decrease of information exchanges. The outcomes could lead to suspension of group activity and consequently, threatening group’s survival.
Turf war is one of the biggest causes to conflicts among sales representatives, the reward systems in terms of commissions and target sales set by the management creates an environment that increases the possibility of relationship conflicts. Sales staff put in large amount of time and effort in connecting and engaging customers. Often time tensions arise between employees, team, and outlets when one worked hard to serve the customer but the other takes the sales. Hostility is commonly seen when livelihood and performance are at risk. Despite the fact the many banks apply the rules of engagement to prevent turf wars, conflict that causes poor employee relationships is still prominent among financial sales specialists.
Like many other large corporations, DBS unavoidably faces the issue of red tape and corporate hierarchy. High quality customer service is one of the ways to retain and attract customers; that includes swift response to enquiries and requests. Whilst employees are motivated to provide the best for their customers, they could end up in frustration as excess bureaucracy in the organization hinders their performance, which could end up in losing customers to competitors that provide better and faster service. Additionally, corporate hierarchy could stifle the organization’s progression, constructive suggestions from lower rank or less favored staff may not be heard by decision makers. Furthermore, employees are more likely in directing extra time and energy in office politics instead of increasing productivity.
Emotions and Moods
Emotions are the intense feelings and spontaneous reaction towards external events, it is action-oriented and tends to be revealed by facial expressions. Whereas moods are less intense and could arise without any stimulus. Emotions and moods are interrelated, one can turn into another, or lead to an emotional response. They stem from personality that projects built-in tendencies that differ from others, intensities of emotions and moods vary from person to person. There are six universal emotions that are agreed by researchers – surprise, fear, sadness, anger, and disgust. All these emotions furnish important information about the environment, hence good decision making requires the implementation of both thinking and feeling.
Thanks to the geographic advantage, Singapore has attracted over 200 banks around the globe to set up regional headquarters (Monetary Authority of Singapore, 2018). While consumers are flooded with various options, financial sales representatives face increasing challenges in the extremely competitive industry. As the technology advances, the workforce in financial sector evolves to meet the digitization demands as well. The fact that customers are becoming more tech-savvy, bankers need to constantly crack their head to find new channels to engage clients and meet their demands.
When employees are being pressured to extended work hours, quality and duration of sleep are often compromised. On top of that, employees’ social needs are deprived as they do not have time to establish healthy social relationships. In a research conducted by Institute of Employment Studies in 2003, it was found that when employees feel compelled to work long hours it could lead to significantly more physical and psychological health complications in comparison to those that have control and autonomy (J. Kodz et al, 2013).
In physical aspect, fatigue caused by inadequate rest can pose health risks to employees. In psychological aspect, insufficient personal time and social interactions outside of work would put a strain on employees mental well being. Other than decline in overall job satisfaction, extensive period of overworking could potentially lead to mental health issues such as burnout and depression. Like every other company that deals with dissatisfied employees, DBS undoubtedly faces the issue of sub-par performance and high turnover rate due to lack of motivation among its staff, which consequently affects organizational performance negatively.
Frequent occurrences of dysfunctional conflicts bring down productivity and effectiveness of an organization. Instead of focusing on positive job performance, employees divert most attention to office politics and fighting over superior’s favor. On individual level, it leads to decrease in job satisfaction due to negative working environment and lack of social support from colleagues or peers. It is extremely damaging when individuals in a large organization are not able to function as a team or unit, as an employer DBS will need to divert more resources in resolving dysfunctional conflicts between outlets.
When employees’ ambition in achieving customer satisfaction hinders by frustration from red tape in the organization, it will cause frustration that leads to decrease in job satisfaction, employees would choose to work for competitors that are able to meet their expectations instead. Which means that on organizational level, DBS will be affected by the competitors’ well performed employees and expedite training for new hires continuously. It increases the costs and affects organizational profitability and growth.