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Differences Between Individuals In An Organization


TOC o “1-3” h z u HYPERLINK l “_Toc377538425” Introduction PAGEREF _Toc377538425 h 1

HYPERLINK l “_Toc377538426” 1. Organizational Structure and Culture PAGEREF _Toc377538426 h 1

HYPERLINK l “_Toc377538427” 2. Ways of being managed PAGEREF _Toc377538427 h 2

HYPERLINK l “_Toc377538428” 3. Workplace Motivation PAGEREF _Toc377538428 h 3

HYPERLINK l “_Toc377538429” 4. Groups and Teams PAGEREF _Toc377538429 h 6

HYPERLINK l “_Toc377538430” Conflict Resolution in the Work Place PAGEREF _Toc377538430 h 7


There are various personal perceptions that make individuals generally different from each other at the workplace. A common adage summarizes this general life phenomenon to the effect that two people giving different views of what they see on exactly the same object is no wonder. It is not any different in human resource management, since every individual’s perceptions about working experiences are expected to be different. Regarding these differences, various aspects of the organizational productivity are affected in various ways by the perception held by the distinct personalities at the organization. For instance, the organizational structure, motivation, group and ream dynamics and conflicts within the organization are affected by the different perceptions. Using theoretical perspectives, the following questions will be answered as subtopics in the development of the essay.

1. Organizational Structure and Culture

The organizational structure as well as cultural setting that an organization adopts is usually very vital in the settlement of differences and polarizations that are based on personalities. According to Dalton et al (1980, 49), it is clear that the basic importance of an organization structure is to instil uniformity and unanimity in approaching individual employees’ differences at the workplace. The author reckons that the same structure is important in exercise of power and making of decisions for the organization. Since the element of power among the management and the subordinates fuels some inequalities among the various organisational ranks, some level of inequality may infiltrate into the system. The complexity of the organizational structure as well as the assumed culture may fuel disparities or resolve them. For instance, a flat organizational structure is likely to attract homogeneity hence the feeling of equality that promotes performance. Cultural values and practices cultivated over time may play a role in eliminating individual differences for the sake of the overall objective achievement course taken by the organization.

2. Ways of being managed

The impact of individual differences to the management theory that with regard to the various perspectives of being manage can be demonstrated by classical management as postulated by Fayol (Fandt et al, 2007, p36). According to the explanation that the authors highlight about the Fuyol theoretical proposition, it is clear that there are several issues that individuals’ differences must come to terms with at the workplace. Among the most important principles highlighted by the theory, personal issues such as discipline and equity should be present in order for the organization to deliver results. Management application of tools such as division of labor and identification of command and direction are important for the management to guide the labor force towards certain goals. Authority and responsibility of the managerial team must be invested to facilitate the unity of direction and command necessary in elimination of unnecessary differences. It is therefore both an individual and group effort to be aware of the intricacies of managing an organization as Fuyol highlights, which explains the need for unanimity in initiative and control thereon (Beverly, 2011, p1).

Basing human resource management on scientific management approach postulated by Taylor, it is clear that individual differences can be managed in order for the organization to achieve maximized performance (Winslow, 1903, p25). Talylorism considers a concise study and understanding of the working experience in order to formulate decisions from an informed perspective. Increasing productivity by the reduction of unnecessary effort as a scientific application of managerial skills takes note of the weaknesses such as those caused by individual differences. Alternatively, human relations approach proposed by Mayo HYPERLINK “” t “_blank” recognizes the fact that production increases could best be explained through an analysis of human behavior occasioned by some pleasant experiences that can then be exploited in human resource management (Fendt et al, 2007, p40). The discovery of this effect became the Hawthorne effect which can be exploited in minimization of group differences that may adversely affect performance. Another approach explained by the authors (p40) that takes inherent differences and capacities into consideration is the human resources approach postulated by McGregor-Theory X and Theory Y. In the postulates contained in the theory, mangers’ perceptions and attitude on employees becomes central to the overall performance. As such, it becomes important on the leadership style that the manager puts into practice which may range from complete authoritarian (Theory X) to freedom mode in theory (Y).

3. Workplace MotivationMotivation at the work place is usually termed to be any psychological force that determines the direction of a person’s behavior that he or she is likely to engage in. It is clearly evident that individuals are totally different from one another regardless of the environment. With reference to the working place, individuals tend to differ depending on their status of hierarchy. Hierarchical variations play a fundamental role in enhances such changes in any given work place. Motivation in the workplace is fundamental element that initiates various changes in the work place. However, motivation in most cases exerts a positive impact in the working trend within a given organization. Changes in the working place are reflected in various theories of motivation that comprise of: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory, Macgregor’s theory X and Y, and McClelland’s theory among others.

Motivation theories may be largely grouped into five categories that attribute to changes in human behavior thus leading to various differences amongst people in the work place. These are: first, need-based theories, they explain work motivation in terms of the extent to which employees satisfy important needs in the workplace. Second, cognitive process theories emphasize on the decisions as well as choices that employees make when they allocate their efforts, third, the behavioral approach emphasizes applying principles of learning to the work environment. Fourth, self-determination theory emphasizes the significance of the distinction between motivations being driven by extrinsic factors vs. intrinsic factors. Finally, job-based theories place a source of motivation primarily in the content of jobs that employees perform in the work place.

There are so many ways in which the above mentioned motivational theories contribute to occurrence of differences between individuals especially in the work place. Need based theories may attribute to differential influence in the working place in away that, they are developed in a broader field of psychology and subsequently applied to motivation at work. By definition, a need indicates some deficient state within individual. It is clearly known that, humans need things such as water and oxygen for survival. However, psychologists have put across that, human behavior is often driven by the psychological needs parse (Kreitner 2006, p 378).

Maslow’s 1943 theory of hierarchy of needs

Psychologist Abraham Maslow clearly proposed the idea that every individual needs to satisfy the five basics of needs in his Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory.

Maslow’s 1943 theory of hierarchy of needs





35032956350Sense of belonging/love

Sense of belonging/love



358648087630Psychological needs

Psychological needs

The five basic needs identified by Maslow in 1943 comprise of: Psychological needs- are the most elemental needs of human beings and these are: food, drink, shelter, and sexual satisfaction. Such needs can be satisfied in the work place by managers providing compensation system that enables employees to buy food and clothing as well as having adequate housing. Need for safety, shelter, and protection from emotional and physical harm is also essential in human life. Employers can only enhance such needs by provision of job security, adequate health benefits as well as safe working conditions. Sense of belonging is merged with social interaction for love. Such needs in the workplace can be facilitated by promoting good interpersonal relations and organize social functions, such as company picnics and holiday parties. Need for esteem can occur as either internally or externally whereby an individual aims at attaining self respect, autonomy, status, and attention. Such needs can be enhanced in the workplace by granting promotions and recognition of accomplishments. Finally an individual works to be self-actualized that involve knowing about life and its meaning in order to fit into the paradigm. Managers can satisfy such needs by giving employees the opportunity to use their skills and abilities to the fullest extent possible. The above stated hierarchy leads to differences in the workplace due to change in behavior of individuals (Britt and Jex 2008, P237).

Basing on the individual needs theory by Frederick Herzberg 1959, Herzberg formed the opinion that some of the factors relating to an individual’s job attitude could be described as being satisfiers whereas other, not necessarily opposite factors, could be described as dissatisfiers. This conclusion was consistent with the approach he had taken in mental health is not opposite of mental illness and from it Herzberg derived the basic hypothesis for the research that determined various behaviors that can make people different (Sheldrake 2003, p153). Basing on the highlighted theories above, it is clearly evident that individuals do differ in various perspectives.

4. Groups and Teams

Individual and group performance enhancement issues in management are dealt with in a manner likely to send signals of employees collective empowerment. It is important that employees feel that they have control of what they do in their work, both as groups or as individuals. Making use of the synergy from employees in a group produces more or better output than employees working separately. The importance of a team is the benefits of synergism where employees contribute different skills and talents towards the same course. Management of such increased capacity turns inadequacy that personal differences would otherwise bring to the organization. Group dynamics has several benefits than disadvantages if exploited well at the work place in form of diversity and strength.

When employees work as a group, they have the capacity to bounce ideas off one another, correct each other’s errors and bring more new ideas to bear on problems, accomplish projects beyond the scope of distinctive individuals’ efforts. The application of these benefits in the overall performance enhancement should facilitate the transformation of the organization from differences of availed by personality differences to the strength of diversified capacities. Managers should build autonomous empowered groups composed of members with complementary skills and knowledge which is equipped to handle various challenges that the organization faces on the operation path. In order to avoid the manifestation of the unpleasant differences that a diverse team has, the management should keep in touch with both the organizational objectives, employee satisfaction and the minimum input that they ought to invest. In such a perspective, the management will have tapped the overall greater good of the organization at the expense of the individual differences (Work Place Synergy, 2010, p1).

Conflict Resolution in the Work PlaceConflict exists when two or more parties disagree about something. These parties are independent, meaning that the resolution of the conflict to mutual satisfaction cannot occur without some mutual effort. Conflicts do occur in the work place due to communication mess-ups, poor working conditions, and lack of motivation factors among others. In workplace conflict resolution can be enhanced through negotiation. Negotiating a resolution to conflict starts with all the relevant information about the past on the table and ends with a clear definition of what the future could be. According to Scott (2009, p47) conflict can only be managed through teamwork in any given workplace.


Beverly, A. (2011) Guide to Making the Most of Management Theory of Henry Fayol, [online] Available from: <> [accessed 19 May 2011]

Britt, T. W. & Jex, M. S. (2008) Organizational psychology: a scientist-practitioner approach. New York: John Wiley and Sons

Dalton, D. R., Fielding, G. J., Porter, L. W., Spendolini, M. J., & Todo, W. D. (1980) Organization Structure and Performance: A Critical Review, Academy of Management Review, vol. 5 no. 1 pp. 49-64

Fandt, P. M., Goodman, S. H., Lewis, P. S. & Michlitsch, J. F. (2007) Management: challenges for tomorrow’s leaders. Mason, OH: Thomson Higher Education

Kreitner, R. (2006) Management. New York: Cengage Learning

Scott, V. (2009) Conflict Resolution at Work for Dummies. Washington, DC: For Dummies

Sheldrake, J. (2003) Management theory. London, UK: Cengage Learning EMEA.

Winslow, T. F., (1903) HYPERLINK “” l “v=onepage&f=false” Shop management, New York, NY: HYPERLINK “” o “American Society of Mechanical Engineers” American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Work Place Synergy LLC. (2010) Synergy: Joint Work and Cooperative Action Will Produce Better Outcome, [online] Available from: <> [accessed 19 May 2011]

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