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MGT 312 Orginizationa Behvior for Managers Week 2 Chapter 3.docx

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Individual differences (IDs)are the many attributes, such as traits andbehaviors, that describe each of us as a person.IDs are a big part of whatgives each of us our unique identities, and they are fundamental to theunderstanding and application of OB. So, what is it that makes us different? Is itour genetics or our environment? The answer is both.2And while the way you areraised, along6 with your experiences and opportunities, indeed helps shape whoyou are, a large volume of research on twins suggests that genetics matters more.But what is more important at work is recognizing the many attributes that makeus unique individuals, regardless of whether they are due to nature or nurture.On the left-hand side ofFigure 3.2we arrange individual differences on acontinuum. At the top of the continuum are intelligence and cognitiveabilities, which are relatively fixed. This means they are stable over timeand across situations and are difficult to change. At the bottom are attitudes(which we discussed inChapter 2) and emotions, which are relativelyflexible. Emotions change over time and from situation to situation, andthey can be altered more easily. To elaborate, you aren't more or lessintelligent at school than you are at work or home, although your emotionscommonly change within and between all of these places. Of course bothyour intelligence and emotions, as well as many other individualcharacteristics influence the many outcomes included in the right sideofFigure 3.2.The distinction between relatively fixed and flexible individual differenceshas great practical value. Wise managers know they have little or no impacton fixed IDs. You can’t change an employee’s level of intelligence or remakean employee’s personality.3But you can help employees manage theirattitudes and emotions. For instance, many effective managers (and their
employers) select employees based on positive, job-relevant, butPage82relatively stable IDs. This hiring strategy enables managers to capitalizeon the personal strengths that someone brings to a job because these stablestrengths affect behavior and performance in most every worksituation.4Intelligence and analytical abilities, for example, are beneficial infront of customers, in teams with coworkers, and when working alone on aproject.In contrast, managers can have more influence on relatively flexible IDs thatinfluence individual-level work outcomes, like performance and jobsatisfaction. They can do this by implementing policies that raiseemployees’ core self-evaluations, attitudes, and emotions. For example, as amanager you’ll likely see better results from assigning work with newproducts and new markets to employees who are open to experience than toemployees with low levels of this attribute. Similarly, you could help buildnew employees’ confidence about selling to tough customers if you role-model how to do this effectively, give them experience presenting to easy

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Big Five personality traits, Theory of multiple intelligences

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