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Organizational Behavior A Paper on Organizational Cynicism Contents Abstract 2 Cynicism 2 Variables. 3 Job Attitude and Cynicism 4 Impact of Cynicism on Organizational Performance. 5 Dealing with Organizational Cynicism 7 References: 10 Abstract The Oxford English dictionary defines cynicism as “an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest”. This paper examines cynicism from an organizational point of view and how it impacts the organization’s performance. Various theories have been applied…
Impact of Cynicism in an Organizational Context Inhalt Cynical Managers Cynical Employees Reduction in organizational citizenship behavior Compliance with unethical requests Compromise on Work output References Prolonged existence of cynical behavior at workplace has detrimental effects on not only the people in the organization but the workplace environment as well. In an organization we observe two kinds of role, one is at the level of a management or supervisory level and other is at the employee or subordinate level. Cynical…

INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT ROHTAK

HRM-1 ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOUR I

ORGANIZATIONAL CYNICISM


ABSTRACT:

According to Oxford Dictionary, cynicism is defined as, “an inclination to believe that people are motivated purely by self-interest; scepticism”. This behaviour exhibited in an organizational context is termed as organizational cynicism.

Organizational cynicism is also defined as a negative attitude toward one’s employing organization, comprising three dimensions:


1.      A belief that the organization lacks integrity.

2.      Negative affect toward the organization

3.      Tendencies to disparaging and critical behaviors toward the organization that are consistent with these beliefs and affect.

In short, organizational cynicism is the negative intent formed in the employee’s beliefs with reference to and exhibited on the organization.

There are five main types of organizational cynicism.

1.      Personality or trait cynicism:-

 This is largely an employee’s character related aspect. It is an innate behaviour of the employee and is an inherent trait, where the negative perception is exhibited toward the society at large.


2.      Management cynicism:-

Management cynicism forms when the employee perceives that he is being treated unfairly by the management. Be it overburdening of work, violation of organizational justice or anything that the employee feels that there is a conflict of interest between him and the management gives rise to management cynicism.


3.      Change cynicism:-

Sometimes repeated failure occurs when an organization wants to change something in the organization. This leads the employee to form a pessimistic view on any other future changes that are to be effected in the workplace. This is change cynicism.


4.      Peer cynicism:-

This arises due to the negative influences of the peers in the group and affects the employee too to form a pessimistic view and be cynical.   

                  

5.      Customer/Client cynicism:-

This cynicism leads to a trait where the employee tends to blame the client for all the problems in the organization. The effects of these are reduced customer interactions and as well as a reduction in “organizational citizenship”

Knowing about what is organizational cynicism few questions will start linger in our mind like why organizational cynicism is prevalent in organizations, the impact it has on the performance of the employees and the organization as a whole and how an organization responds by bringing out solutions to minimize the effects of organizational cynicism.

CONTEXT:

Why does organizational cynicism exist?

Employees most of the time are encouraged to think of and presented an idealized picture of an organization, its values, beliefs etc. The reality is far from this. At an initial stage when the employee comes into contact with the organization and the beliefs and the perceptions of the employee about the organization does not concur with what he experiences and is exposed to in the organization, the employee responds by exhibiting a negative attitude toward the organization.

This conflict of beliefs is called a.....[read full text]

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The second predictor is job autonomy, defined as the
degree
or level of
freedom
and
discretion
allowed to an
employee
over his or her job. Self-theory postulates that traits and competencies, i.e. the skills, abilities, talents, and knowledge possessed by the individual, are major defining characteristics of the self.

Jobs that provide high degree of autonomy lead to positive outcomes like job satisfaction and commitment. It seems logical to assume that job satisfaction should be a major determinant of an employee’s organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB). Satisfied employees would seem more likely to talk positively about the organization help others and go beyond normal expectations in their job while a negative outcome might be cynicism.

Based on Job Characteristics model developed by J.Richard Heckman and Greg Oldham,the individual level employees who have more job autonomy show more positive affect, internal motivation, and self-confidence, more creativity, less mental strain as compared with those who have little job autonomy.

Evidence suggests people who feel such negative emotions are more likely than others to engage in deviant behavior at work. Once such kind of behavior starts it sets a stage for serious escalation of negative behavior.

The third predictor is self-esteem.
Smith and Mackie define it by saying "The self-concept is what we think about the self; self-esteem is the positive or negative evaluations of the self, as in how we feel about it."It is purposed that incongruence and lack of autonym are a threat to the self.

Self esteem is the central part of employee attitude. Being compelled to comply with organizational practices which the employee fails to identify with may engender feelings of powerlessness, disappointment and frustration, and may lead to the process of self-defence. Therefore it is suggested that self-esteem may not only be predictive of cynicism, but it may also mediate the job autonomy - cynicism relationships and incongruence cynicism.


CRITIQUE:

Impact of Organizational Cynicism on individuals and organizations.

The effect of cynicism can be disastrous, particularly if the cynic is a manager. He/she can lead the workplace to an environment which is dominated by a feeling of temporariness. This can lead to lack of cooperation in organization results in further insincerity and even cause anger from management.

The nature of the employment relationship is changing fundamentally. Organizations and employees have to find ways to respond to the new realities in the workplace such that work continues to provide meaning and organizational success. Whereas the workplace of twenty years ago was a place where employees offered loyalty, trust, and commitment in exchange for job security, training, promotion, and support from their employer, in the contemporary workplace they are expected to work longer hours, accept greater responsibility, be more flexible and to tolerate continual change and ambiguity.

Moreover, organizational strategies seem to almost invariably work against the interests of employees by bringing job insecurity through outsourcing, downsizing, and firings .The way employees respond to such unfavorable circumstances may have a significant impact on organizational effectiveness. The Factor analysis of the behavior, which assesses impact of cynicism, can be categ.....

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Items measuring Exit:

1.      Consider the possibility to change jobs

2.      Intend to change employers

3.      Actively look for a job elsewhere within the same   industry

4.      Look for job advertisements in the newspapers to which you could apply.

5.      Intend to change your field of work

Voice is conceptualized as pro-social voice, i.e. the expression of work-related ideas, information, or opinions, based on cooperative motives, intending to improve the work .  It will be positively related to affective organizational commitment, helping behavior, in-role behavior, job involvement, service orientation, and negatively related to stress.

Items measuring Voice:

1.      Try to work out solutions the organization might benefit from

2.      Come up with suggestions how to prevent these circumstances

3.      Try to work out a solution to the benefit of everyone

4.      Discuss the problem with your superior and try to work out a solution

Loyalty is described as passively but optimistically waiting for conditions to improve, giving public and private support to the organization, waiting and hoping for improvement, or practicing good work. As it seems, loyalty implies putting one's faith in the hands of the organization.

It will be positively related to affective organizational commitment, helping behavior, in-role behavior, and Organizational based self-esteem, and negatively related to stress. Loyalty will not be related to job involvement .....

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Items measuring Cynicism:

1.      Express your confidence in the sincerity of your organization

2.      Express the feeling that you are not taken seriously by the organization

3.      Withhold suggestions for improvements, because you think nothing is   going to change anyway

4.      Talk to your colleagues about your management's incompetence

5.      Raise your shoulders at what management requires you to do

Cynicism leads to a generalized mistrust of authority, to disparagement of management communications and directions, and ultimately to denigration of the leadership and mission of the enterprise. This is directly counter to the requirements for several key aspects of effective organization development actions.

As explained by Professors Thomas G. Cummings and Christopher G. Worley (Cummings and Worley, 1993), it's vital that the organization development agent establish an effective and trusting relationship with relevant change agents in the organization.


CONCLUSION:

           

The question how cynicism can be prevented or contained has no easy answer.


Heavy responsibility rests with management to find ways to ensure organizational effectiveness without causing Cynicism among subordinates.  Adherence in words to principles of truth and fair dealing, uprightness, honesty, and sincerity is not enough.

Alignment between words and deeds is indispensable to create an atmosphere in which cynicism is unlikely to prosper. Management has an important function as a whole model, to set the standards for the rest of the organization by walking its talk. Having a mandate to manage depends on establishing managerial competence and organizational coherence, and on the inclusion of employees in decision making and recognition of their skills and contribut.....

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4.      Organizations must learn to manage values with care to avoid disillusionment and organizational cynicism among employees and recruit people who have lower general cynicism.

5.      Organizational trainings should become the norm in many organizations where managers discuss specific attitudes that affect the organization’s culture while emphasizing both the short-term and long-term implications of organizational cynicism.

6.      Quarterly feedback should also be used to gauge how employees are feeling, so managers can create a healthier environment for all employees

For individual managers, the practical implications begin with the recognition that employee cynicism is an important attitude with significant consequences. Organizational cynicism is associated with many other concepts such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment; managers should deepen the perception of organizational justice that can be realized without spending much effort and resources.

In organizations with a high sense of justice, motivation and internal loyalty, employees are more likely to be more loyal to their work and organizations.


Organizational commitment is an attitude reflecting the nature and quality of the linkage between an employee and an organization. It is an individual's identification with a particular organization and its goals to maintain membership in order to attain these goals.

It also refers to an employee’s willingness to exert extra effort within the organization .It is a feeling of dedication, willingness to go the extra mile, and an intention to stay with the organization for a long period of time. It reflects the work attitudes of employees toward the organizations in which they work.


As described by J.Richard Hackman and Greg Oldham, managers should consider designing the jobs considering The Jo.....

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REFERENCE:

1.      

2.     

3.     

4.      .

5.     

6.      Organizational cynicism: bases and consequences – By Abraham R.

7.      Organizational Behaviour by Timothy A judge, Neharika Vohra and Stephen P.Robbins

8.      Interview by Alana Rafidi, Australian School of business.

9.      European Journal of Business and Management ISSN 2222-1905 (Paper) ISSN 2222-2839 (Online) Vol.5, No.12, 2013

.....

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