Five Models of Organizational Behavior

The five models of organisational behaviour are the:

  • autocratic model,
  • custodial model,
  • supportive model,
  • collegial model and
  • system model.

Autocratic model

Autocratic model is the model that depends upon strength, power and formal authority.

In an autocratic organisation, the people (management/owners) who manage the tasks in an organisation have formal authority for controlling the employees who work under them. These lower-level employees have little control over the work function. Their ideas and innovations are not generally welcomed, as the key decisions are made at the top management level.

The guiding principle behind this model is that management/owners have enormous business expertise, and the average employee has relatively low levels of skill and needs to be fully directed and guided. This type of autocratic management system was common in factories in the industrial revolution era.

One of the more significant problems associated with the autocratic model is that the management team is required to micromanage the staff – where they have to watch all the details and make every single decision. Clearly, in a more modern-day organisation, where highly paid specialists are employed an autocratic system becomes impractical and highly inefficient.

The autocratic model is also a detractor to job satisfaction and employee morale. This is because employees do not feel valued and part of the overall team. This leads to a low-level of work performance. While the autocratic model might be appropriate for some very automated factory situations, it has become outdated for most modern-day organisations.

Custodial model

The custodial model is based around the concept of providing economic security for employees – through wages and other benefits – that will create employee loyalty and motivation.

In some countries, many professional companies provide health benefits, corporate cars, financial packaging of salary, and so on – these are incentives designed to attract and retain quality staff.

The underlying theory for the organisation is that they will have a greater skilled workforce, more motivated employees, and have a competitive advantage through employee knowledge and expertise.

One of the downsides with the custodial model is that it also attracts and retains low performance staff as well. Or perhaps even deliver a lower level of motivation from some staff who feel that they are “trapped” in an organisation because the benefits are too good to leave.

Supportive model

Unlike the two earlier approaches, the supportive model is focused around aspiring leadership.

It is not based upon control and authority (the autocratic model) or upon incentives (the custodial model), but instead tries to motivate staff through the manager-employee relationship and how employees are treated on a day-to-day basis.

Quite opposite to the autocratic model, this approach states that employees are self-motivated and have value and insight to contribute to the organisation, beyond just their day-to-day role.

The intent of this model is to motivate employees through a positive workplace where their ideas are encouraged and often adapted. Therefore, the employees have some form of “buy-in” to the organisation and its direction.

Collegial model

The collegial model is based around teamwork – everybody working as colleagues (hence the name of the model).

The overall environment and corporate culture need to be aligned to this model, where everybody is actively participating – is not about status and job titles – everybody is encouraged to work together to build a better organisation.

The role of the manager is to foster this teamwork and create positive and energetic workplaces. In much regard, the manager can be considered to be the “coach” of the team. And as coach, the goal is to make the team perform well overall, rather than focus on their own performance, or the performance of key individuals.

The collegial model is quite effective in organisations that need to find new approaches – marketing teams, research and development, technology/software – indeed anywhere the competitive landscape is constantly changing and ideas and innovation are key competitive success factors.

System model

The final organisational model is referred to as the system model.

This is the most contemporary model of the five models discussed in this article. In the system model, the organisation looks at the overall structure and team environment, and considers that individuals have different goals, talents and potential.

The intent of the system model is to try and balance the goals of the individual with the goals of the organisation.

Individuals obviously want good remuneration, job security, but also want to work in a positive work environment where the organisation adds value to the community and/or its customers.

The system of model should be an overall partnership of managers and employees with a common goal, and where everybody feels that they have a stake in the organisation.

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