ORGB 3201 (Organizational Behavior)

COURSE SYLLABUS


INSTRUCTOR INFO

Office:                      112D Hayden Hall

Email:                       p.ellen@northeastern.edu

Office Hours:          Tuesdays & Fridays, 11:30 – 1:00 pm, or by appointment


Class Information

Section:                 13

Day & Time:          Tuesday & Friday, 08:00 AM - 09:40 AM

Location:               222 Hayden Hall

 

Section:                 14

Day & Time:          Tuesday & Friday, 09:50 AM - 11:30 AM

Location:               222 Hayden Hall


COURSE Materials

Textbook:               Organizational Behavior, Colquitt, LePine, & Wesson, 5th Ed 

Course pack:         Harvard Business School Press (click here)


Course Overview

We all are embedded within a variety of organizations. As a result, we constantly interact with others as we pursue individual and group goals. The intent of this course is to help you develop an awareness of the different individual, group, and organizational factors that influence these interactions, so that you are better prepared to be (and to help others to be) a positively contributing organizational member. Throughout our time together, we will read about, discuss, and even experience many different organizationally-relevant concepts from both theoretical (i.e., using research findings) and practical (i.e., as related to personal experience, current events, and case studies/activities) perspectives. In terms of specific learning outcomes, through this course, you will have the opportunity to learn how to:

  • Reflect on and assess your own behaviors and experiences, and formulate plans for personal and professional development
  • Diagnose and improve the effectiveness of groups that you’re involved in
  • Identify how people in organizations can capitalize on individual differences
  • Recognize the role of conflict in organizations, and formulate effective responses
  • Explain how individuals gain and exercise influence, and apply some of these methods to situations in your own life
  • Explain and apply motivational processes
  • Describe how organizational systems, culture and design influence behavior

Course Format

This course is designed to be interactive. Although there will be some elements of more traditional “lecture” to present information, we will rely heavily on discussion and in-class activities. Therefore, preparation (i.e., reading, viewing, and completing assigned materials), attendance, and participation are critical to making the course a successful learning experience for everyone.


Everyone will be assigned to a learning team that will work together throughout the semester. Although I understand many have a deep-seated hatred for group work, my hope is that you will find value in the way groups are used in this course. First, the burden of out-of-class coordination is removed, as the plan is to conduct all group work in class. Second, grading for group work will be based on individual engagement and contributions to team member learning, not on the products the team produces. Thus, shoddy team members’ work won’t hurt individual grades. However, excellent group work can boost individual grades through the readiness assurance process and group activities (explained in more detail below). Finally, as this is a course about organizing and interpersonal interaction, it seems appropriate to have some of our time together dedicated to collaboration.  

Learning Teams


In keeping with our institution’s dedication to experiential learning, we will dedicate some of our in-class time to activities that are designed to provide a learning opportunity through a more applied avenue. Many of these activities will involve making decisions, analyzing situations, or generating output based on course material and a given scenario or set of parameters. Most of these activities will be completed as learning teams (but some may be individual efforts), and will include a “report-out” requirement where the other teams/class members discuss what has been generated. At times, we may vote on the best output. As teased earlier, this could (emphasis on could…this is at my discretion…and possibly mood) result in bonus points for excellent work.

In-Class Activities


The time not dedicated to experiential activities will involve large (and maybe small) group discussions about course readings (both from the text as well as “pop press” articles) and assigned case studies (from the Harvard Business School Press course pack). In contrast to the in-class activities, which will rely heavily on learning team collaboration, many of our other discussions (especially those dedicated to assigned case studies) will require individual input. I understand and appreciate that some are not naturally as talkative or outgoing as others. However, sharing and defending ideas in front of groups is an important skill for success in organizations, and this course provides a great opportunity to practice and improve this skill. For those still concerned, start with the following article, and then schedule some time to visit with me during office hours, if necessary. 

https://hbr.org/2016/04/how-to-talk-in-meetings-when-you-hate-talking-in-meetings?utm_medium=email&utm_source=flipboard

Class Discussions


Selected materials (e.g., text books chapters, pop press articles, podcasts, and case studies) relevant to the course will be assigned for each class period. The expectation is that all material will be digested (i.e., read, thought about, and hopefully even written about) prior to the class meeting for which it is associated. Although the amount of material necessary to prep will vary by topic and day, it probably is a good idea to allocate approximately 3-6 hours each week for work outside of class time.

Prepping for Class


There is no formal attendance policy, in that x number of absences doesn’t assure a failing grade for the course. However, the expectation is that everyone will attend every class, as the course design is built on participation, and it is impossible to participate without being present. Thus, everyone should plan to be here as specified in the course schedule, and make every effort to arrive on time, with necessary material prepped for discussion, and plan to stay for the duration of each class meeting. Things happen, and I understand that a late arrival, early departure, or complete absence likely will happen at some point. Whenever possible, let me know in advance about a tardy, early exit, or absence. Also, understand that missing a class meeting, even part of one, doesn’t absolve you of responsibility for the material covered. Work first with your classmates to find out what was covered and announced, and to obtain copies of any notes, handouts, or additional instructions. Then, if there are things you need to obtain from me, send me an email.

Also, any assignments, quizzes, and/or exams are due on specified dates, regardless of whether you missed class in the preceding days or are absent on the specified due date. Of course, if there is a University-approved reason (and associated appropriate documentation) for a missed class or delayed assignment, I will work with you on how to make up the missed work or turn the assignment in late.

Coming to Class


Laptops, tablets, cell phones, smart watches, etc. may be used (possibly even required) for class-related activities (e.g., note taking, group activity work). Using them to text, check e-mail/social media, shop, or seek entertainments through YouTube is not acceptable. These activities detract from the learning environment, as they prevent you from being fully engaged. Also, they are not as subtle as you may think, and can be distracting to others (especially me). So, make sure that your cell phone is silenced before coming to class, and limit any online activity to that related directly to what we’re doing in class at that moment. 

Technology Policy


ASsessment of Learning

The formal nature of your degree program (and my employment) requires that some quantitative and qualitative evaluation of learning take place throughout the semester. Because this is a core course, there is some structure in place regarding the nature of the assessments used for evaluation. Thus, we will be completing testing (i.e., quizzes and exams) and writing (i.e., case analyses and a semester paper) assessments. Additionally, contribution to the learning environment (i.e., both learning team and overall class) will be assessed. The following sections outline the nature of these assessments in more detail. 


We will begin many class periods (which means punctuality is important) with what is called the Readiness Assurance Process. You will recognize them as quizzes, but with a twist. The process will begin with a brief, closed-note, closed-book individual quiz that will consist of five multiple choice questions that cover the material assigned for that class.

Once all individual quizzes have been collected, you will retake the quiz with your learning team members (this is the twist). During this time, you will discuss the reasoning for your respective individual answers and come to a consensus on a team answer to each quiz question. Team quiz performance will determine whether and if any bonus points are added to individual quiz scores.

Finally, after the team quizzes have been taken, we will spend a few minutes, if necessary, debriefing the questions and answers for that day’s quiz.

These assignments are designed as low-stakes incentives to prepare for class by reading and thinking about the material we will cover that day. This will help foster participation in class discussions and enhance processing of those discussions, which should help with comprehension of the material. Yes, they also encourage attendance and punctuality, but research on learning (and anecdotal reports from recent students) indicates that these types of assessments foster learning by helping to ensure that everyone is ready for the higher-level engagement with the material, which will come through group discussions/activities. 

Quizzes


Three closed book, closed note exams will be given during the semester. Exam 1 should cover classes 1 – 6, Exam 2 should cover classes 9 – 14, and Exam 3 should cover classes 17 – 24. Thus, the exams are NOT cumulative. The exam format will be a combination of multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions that cover topic areas discussed in the preceding weeks. Short answer questions are open-ended, and require a demonstration of knowledge and understanding through application (i.e., tell me why, give examples, etc.) for full credit. Attendance on the day the exam is scheduled is required to receive credit, as no make-up opportunities are available (outside of University-approved absences). 

Exams


Writing Assignments

This course is designated by the University as a writing-intensive course. Thus, you will have the opportunity to:

  1. Improve written communication skills, especially within a business context
  2. Increase your comfort with, and the effectiveness of, your oral communication skills, both one-on-one, and in small and large group settings.
  3. Develop critical thinking skills that enable you to challenge assumptions, reframe situations, and translate classroom learning and prior experiences to future experiences and different contexts.

This means you will be asked to demonstrate comprehension and analysis of assigned course materials through two different types of writing assessments, discussed below. These are independent efforts, and the writing is expected to be professional (i.e., free of spelling, grammatical, and typographic errors, and should be organized clearly and logically with meaningful headings, sub-headings, and overall structure). As always, when referencing or building on the work of others, proper attribution is essential (e.g., citations and references, preferably in APA or another consistently applied standard).

All writing assignments should be submitted through turnitin. Please make sure that you receive confirmation of submittal, and notify me PRIOR to the deadline about any issues you might have submitting a paper. Letter grades for these assignments will be determined using the rubric provided in this syllabus. 

The University offers the writing center (http://www.northeastern.edu/english/writing-center/) as a resource to support improvement, clarity, and professionalism in written communications.

For students concerned about writing in a non-native language, additional resources (e.g., ESL tutoring, academic writing, etc.) are available through the Global Students Success center. Please visit www.cps.neu.edu/gss for additional information.


Questions for each case study assigned are provided on the course schedule to aid your preparation for class discussions. Often, your notes on these questions will serve only to aid you in the discussions. However, for two cases a formal case write-up is due through turnitin prior to the class during which that case will be discussed. You get to choose which 2 cases you write up for a grade. However, it is up to you to make sure that you submit two during the semester. These responses should be 3 pages, double-spaced, with 12-point font and 1" margins.  

Case Analyses


You might have noticed there is no final exam for this course (You’re welcome!). Instead, the culmination of our time together will be a cumulative semester paper. One of the goals of this course is to facilitate self-reflection about organizational life. Given that your co-op placements likely are your most recent work experiences, as well as those most relevant to your early careers, they make for the most obvious avenue to accomplish this self-reflection. Thus, your paper will be an analysis of your co-op experience(s) through the lens of the organizational behavior topics we have discussed throughout the semester. This paper should be written such that it clearly demonstrates command of the course material within 6-8 pages (double-spaced, with 12-point font and 1" margins), and is due through turnitin prior to the last day of class. 

More specifically, your task is to analyze how the following elements of your co-op experiences affected your job performance and organizational commitment. Your paper should demonstrate a thorough understanding of at least one of the OB concepts presented from each group below, using information from the course materials and class discussions, as well as examples from your experience that illustrate these concepts, and their relationships to job performance and organizational commitment.

Group 1 (pick at least one):

  • Job Satisfaction
  • Stress
  • Motivation
  • Ethics
  • Justice

Group 2 (pick at least one):

  • Teams
  • Power, Politics, Influence
  • Leadership

Group 3 (pick at least one):

  • Organizational Structure
  • Organizational Culture

In terms of the format, I expect three main sections: introduction, analysis, and conclusion. The introduction should present what you are going to discuss, and why. The analysis should detail examples of each of the topics you selected as you experienced/encountered them on co-op, as well as your assessment of how they affected your performance and commitment. Finally, the conclusion should effectively tie the paper together, and drive home what you have learned this semester. Within the above sections, feel free to use sub-sections as appropriate.

NOTE: This is the most in-depth writing assignment you will conduct this semester, the culmination of semester, and the equivalent of a final exam. Thus, you should consider the bar set high for this assignment.

Semester Paper


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Over the years, I have learned that very few students follow the advice to keep notes throughout the course to aid with the development of the semester paper. As a result, the overall quality of the papers submitted is lower than it could/should be. To combat this, I have instituted a reflection journal requirement. Following class discussion of each chapter/topic, students will record thoughts on how the material relates to their co-op experience in an online journal. This is not a formal writing assignment (i.e., bullet points and short sentences/fragments are acceptable); however, the task is considered "for credit." You will not receive a letter or number grade for these entries. Instead, I will assess the perceived effort with a "checkmark" system (including +/-), and the pattern of check marks throughout the semester will influence the overall credit earned.    

Reflection Journal 


Contribution to Learning

Active participation during class discussions and activities is critical to creating a productive learning environment. Thus, contribution to learning through active participation (engaging in discussions/activities) is expected of everyone, and will inform a portion of your final grade. Your participation grade for the semester will be based on the following criteria:

I.    I make major, substantive contributions to the learning of other students and have added unique insights to, or have made a significant impact on, the class discussion. I draw on my own experience where relevant. I listen carefully to others, balancing advocacy (i.e., restatement or agreement of views) and inquiry (i.e., building on and/or exploring others’ ideas) in order to further our collective understanding of the issues being discussed.

I am very well prepared and have read assignments carefully and thoughtfully so that I am familiar with the facts, ideas, and concepts and can draw on them when I participate. I contribute to and am focused on the discussion in every class. My pattern of contribution has been steady; my participation frequency has not fallen off. Even when I have nothing substantive to add verbally, I stay engaged in the discussion, actively listening and following the flow of ideas. I always am on time and have missed, at most, one class. I do not have to be reminded about appropriate use of smart phones, laptops, etc. in class.

II.  I participate often. I raise my hand to volunteer to answer questions a moderate amount. Most of my contributions have been fairly brief responses to straightforward questions. However, I am clearly prepared, have read through the materials before class, and am able to give appropriate answers that are helpful to the class discussion. The frequency and quantity of my participation have been steady, or have increased as I became familiar with the class.

I almost always am on time, and have missed, at most, two classes. I have been reminded regarding appropriate smart phone, laptop usage no more than once.

III. I speak infrequently, but have spoken at least once. I don’t raise my hand often, and it is likely that when I have spoken, I was called on when my hand was not raised.

I have spoken largely on straightforward topics.

When called on, I may not have been well prepared to answer the question, or my answer may have been weak or insufficient.

Attendance/punctuality is a problem. I have arrived after class started more than once, and/or I have missed more than two classes. I have been reminded regarding smart phone, laptop usage more than once.

IV. I have not spoken in class.

When called upon I have declined to contribute. I have not raised my hand speak.

Attendance and being late is a continual issue for me. I have been reminded regarding smart phone and/or laptop usage multiple times.

V.   I have not spoken in class and appear unprepared.

Attendance and being late is a consistent issue for me. I use technology inappropriately during class.

 

Grading:

A   Meets all criteria under I.

A-  Meets nearly all criteria under I, paragraph 1, and all criteria under paragraph 2.

B+ Meets all criteria under II, and some criteria under I.

B   Meets all criteria under II.

B-  Meets nearly all criteria under II.

C+ Meets some criteria under II, and at least one paragraph under III applies.

C   Meets a minimum of two criteria under III.

C-  Meets all criteria under III.

D+ Meets some criteria under IV, and paragraph 1 and 2 under III apply.

D   Meets criteria under IV, paragraph 1.

D-  Meets nearly all criteria under IV.

F    Meets all criteria under V.

My Assessment


Additionally, because this class is highly interactive, a portion of your participation grade will come from a peer assessment. Thus, at the end of the semester, your peers will evaluate your learning team contribution and your class discussion contribution

Peer Assessment


Assessment Summary

Testing

   Quizzes:                                 10%

   Exam #1:                                  5%

   Exam #2:                                10%

   Exam #3:                                15%

Writing

   Case Analyses #1:                   5%

   Case Analyses #2:                  5%

   Reflection Journal:                  5%

   Semester Paper:                    20%

Contribution to Learning              

   My Assessment:                    20%

   Peer Assessment:                    5%

Total                                         100%


Final Grades

Final grades for the course will be calculated based on the assignment weights listed above. The following ranges will be applied to the weighted grade to determine the final letter grade reported to the registrar for the course.

A         93 – 100%

A-        90 – 92%       

B+       87 – 89%       

B         83 – 86%       

B-        80 – 82%       

C+       77 – 79%        

C         73 – 76%        

C-        70 – 72%       

D+       67 – 69%        

D         63 – 66%        

D-        60 – 62%       

F          below 60%


The “Fine Print”

“On my honor, I pledge to uphold the values of honesty, integrity, and respect that are expected of me as a Northeastern student” (link).

Honor Code


Northeastern University places utmost value on academic integrity. All students are expected to understand the University’s expectations and guidelines for what constitutes, as well as what violates, academic integrity (http://www.northeastern.edu/osccr/academic-integrity-policy/).

The D’Amore-McKim School of Business takes the University’s Academic Integrity Policy and student Honor Code very seriously: “Essential to the mission of Northeastern University is the commitment to the principles of intellectual integrity. Academic integrity is important for two reasons. First, independent and original scholarship ensures that students derive the most from the educational experience and the pursuit of knowledge. Second, academic dishonesty violates the most fundamental values of an intellectual community and depreciates the achievements of the entire university. Accordingly, Northeastern University views academic dishonesty as one of the most serious offenses that a student can commit while in college. Academic dishonesty includes cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, unauthorized collaboration, participation in academically dishonest activities, and facilitating academic dishonesty. All members of the Northeastern University community—students, faculty, and staff—share the responsibility to bring forward known acts of apparent academic dishonesty. Any member of the academic community who witnesses an act of academic dishonesty should report it to the appropriate faculty member or to the director of the Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. The charge will be investigated and if sufficient evidence is presented, the case will be referred to the Northeastern University Student Judicial Hearing Board.”

The increased use of the internet has caused many cases of plagiarism and insufficient credit attribution to arise. Students using the Internet for research must be very clear when citing their sources. There are formal citation guidelines you are expected to follow that go beyond citing just the web address. The University Libraries website provides tips for avoiding plagiarism (http://library.northeastern.edu/get-help/research-tutorials/avoid-plagiarism, and a list of resources to assist students in citing sources (http://library.northeastern.edu/get-help/citations-bibliographies). Additionally, OSCCR provides a helpful resource in the Citation and Academic Integrity Checklist (found here).

Student conduct for written assignments, presentations, projects, exams, or other work that violates University policies for academic integrity will result in zero points for the assignment and may be brought to the attention of the OSCCR. If there is any confusion about what is expected of you, please address the issue with me prior to turning in an assignment. 

Academic Integrity


In the workplace, missing deadlines typically results in negative consequences. For example, failing to meet a deadline can result in a lost opportunity for work, the loss of a client relationship, a poor performance appraisal, or even the loss of one’s job. Thus, there will be negative consequences for late class assignments. This also ensures equity among students in class. Any late assignments will be accepted under the following penalty schedule:

·      A submission up to 24 hours late will receive a max grade of 80%.

·      A submission between 24 and 48 hours late will receive a max grade of 60%.

·      A submission between 48 and 72 hours late will receive a max grade of 40%.

·      A submission between 72 and 96 hours late will receive a max grade of 20%.

·      A submission more than 96 hours late will receive zero credit.

Late Assignments


Advanced notice and appropriate documentation are required for any special accommodations. Contact the staff at the Disability Resource Center (DRC) in 20 Dodge Hall (tel. 617.373.2675) for support: http://www.northeastern.edu/drc/aboutus/index.html. I encourage you to see or email me in the first week of classes if you know you would benefit from special accommodations that need alternative arrangements.

Accommodations