NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College


Spring 2011

Instructor Details

Howard, Elizabeth


By appointment

KMC 7-154


Course Meetings

MW, 9:30am to 10:45am

KMC 3-80

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Course Description and Learning Goals

Description & Objectives
This course builds upon the Management and Organizational Analysis course by providing a more in-depth look at people within organizations. We will study how employees impact the effectiveness of their organization and how organizations and their managers impact the attitudes, behaviors, and effectiveness of employees. We will also explore the interpersonal dynamics that permeate organizational life. Understanding these various processes is a critical component of any business education for at least two reasons. First, the effectiveness of any organization depends on how well the individuals and groups comprising the organization are managed. Second, individual happiness and success at work is contingent on knowing how to interact and deal with others.

Therefore, through this course, you will learn (a) how organizations can improve their performance through better management of people and teams, (b) how individual managers can be more effective and successful in their careers, and (c) how individuals can be more effective in organizational settings.

This leads to the two basic objectives that define this course. The first is to provide you with concepts and frameworks for understanding critical issues related to behavior in organizations. Examples of these issues include how to motivate and reward employees, facilitate teamwork, and resolve conflict. The second objective of the course is to help you identify how you yourself can be more effective in organizational settings. For example, we will discuss topics such as perception, happiness, and organizational politics from the perspective of you as an employee or manager.

We will pursue these objectives through a variety of activities, with an emphasis on experiential exercises. Learning will be interactive, and each class session will require your participation. All students are expected to be active participants in the course.


Course Outline

NOTE: This course schedule is subject to change.
•G/J—George & Jones, Organizational Behavior textbook.
•RP: Course reading packet
•BB: Located on course Blackboard site
•Bobcat: Available via Bobcat electronic access. See reference section at end of course schedule.

Part 1: Introduction
W January 21 What is Organizational Behavior? Course Overview
Read: Course syllabus
G/J: Chapter 1.

Part 2: Individuals
M January 26 Individual Differences in the Workplace
Read: G/J: Chapter 2
Prepare: BB: Student information sheet with photo
Complete the assessments of various personality dimensions that are in the textbook. Bring scores to class. Think about implications of your scores for your career.

W January 28 Perception
Read: G/J: Chapter 4

M February 2 Perception & Attribution

W February 4 Diversity & Gender
Read: Bobcat: Penalties for Success: Reactions to Women who Succeed at Male Gender-Typed Tasks
Online: Implicit Attitudes Test: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo

M February 9 Values, Attitudes & Emotions
Read: G/J: Chapter 3 Homework #1: RP: Advanced Micro Parts Corporation

W February 11 Motivation: General Theories
Read: G/J: Chapter 6
G/J: Chapter 7
Case #1: RP: Hausser Food Products

M February 16 NO CLASS – President’s Day

W February 18 Motivation: Theoretical Controversies
Read: Bobcat: Why Incentive Plans Cannot Work
Bobcat: Rethinking Rewards
Homework #2: BB: GME consulting

M February 23 Motivation: Application
Read: G/J: Chapter 8
RP: Performance Pay at Safelite Auto Glass
In-class: Safelite; GME discussion

W February 25 Motivation wrap-up; Start Cross-cultural
Case #2: RP: Nordstrom
In-class: Nordstrom

M March 2 Cross-cultural issues
Read: RP: How Do Cultural Differences Affect Organizations?
In-class: The Mexico Venture (I will distribute)

Part 3: Groups
W March 4 Groups & Group Decision Making, Part 1
In-class: We’ll watch ‘Twelve Angry Men’. Class will start 10 mins early and end 10 mins late. We’ll finish in the following class if necessary.

M March 9 Groups & Group Decision Making, Part 2
Read G/J: Chapter 10
In-Class: Carter Racing (I will distribute)
Homework #3: Answer questions regarding the movie listed in the Case & Homework Preparation Guide


** March 16 & 18 SPRING BREAK!!

M March 23 Designing and Managing Effective Teams
Read: G/J: Chapter 11
G/J: Chapter 15 (pg. 511-527)

W March 25 Information Sharing & Creativity in Groups
Read: G/J: Chapter 5 (pg. 163-170)
In-class: PB Technologies

M March 30 Power & influence, part 1
Read: G/J: Chapter 13 (pg. 427-441)
Case #3: RP: Monica Ashley

W April 1 Power & influence, part 2
In class: FG&T Towers

M April 6 Power & influence, part 3; start Intergroup Relations
Read: RP: Intergroup Relations; RP: Managing Conflict Among Groups

W April 8 Intergroup Relations & Conflict
Case #4: RP: The Washington Post

M April 13 Intergroup Relations & Conflict (wrap-up); Trust
Read: RP: The Importance of Trust in Relationships
Due: One paragraph summary of project topic
Part 4: Pathways to individual success

W April 15 Leadership
Read: G/J: Chapter 12
Bobcat: What Leaders Really Do
In Class: 3 Hour Tour

M April 20 Introduction to Negotiation
Read: RP: Negotiation
In class: Coffee Contract (I will distribute)
Homework #4 I will distribute questions with cases

W April 22 Satisfaction & Happiness in Work & Life
Read: Bobcat: How resilience works
Bobcat: Would you be happier if you were richer?
Bobcat: Lottery winners and accident victims: Is happiness relative?

M April 27 Start in-class presentations
Homework #5: Reflect on the discussion of Satisfaction & Happiness

W April 29 In-class presentations

M May 4 In-class presentations

Readings that can be accessed via Bobcat electronic access:
1.“Achieving relational authenticity in leadership: Does gender matter?” by Alice Eagly (2005). Leadership Quarterly, 16, 459-474.
2.“Why Incentive Plans Cannot Work”, by Alfie Kohn. September – October, 1993. Harvard Business Review, pp. 54-63.
3.“Rethinking Rewards”, various authors, November - December, 1993. Harvard Business Review, pp. 37-49.
4.“What Leaders Really Do”, by John Kotter. May - June, 1990. Harvard Business Review, 103 - 111.
5.“Would You be Happier if You Were Richer?”, by Daniel Kahneman, et al. June 2006. Science, vol. 312, pp. 1908 - 1910.
6.“Lottery Winners and Accident Victims: Is Happiness Relative?”(1978) , by Phillip Brickman, Dan Coates & Ronnie Janoff-Bulman. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 36, No 8, pp 917-927.
7.“How Resilience Works”, by Diane L. Coutu. May 2002. Harvard Business Review, 46-55.


Required Course Materials

•Jennifer George & Gareth Jones, Organizational Behavior. Addison-Wesley. (Available at NYU Bookstore).
•Reading Packet (additional readings & cases) (Available at Unique Copy Center, 252 Greene St).
•Course handouts.


Assessment Components

You are expected to regularly attend and actively participate in class, since this course uses various learning methods that require your physical presence and your active involvement (e.g., discussions, exercises, simulations, etc.). This means that you should be ready to discuss the readings and to be an active participant in any in-class exercise. By doing so, you ensure that you will maximize what you get out of the course. Your attendance also ensures exposure to the substantial amount of course material that is covered in class but is not in the readings.

Of course, things happen and people are sometimes forced to miss class. Therefore, you are permitted up to three absences before being penalized. Beginning with the fourth absence your final course grade will be lowered 1 percentage point for each absence. If your final course grade is a 90%, and you’ve been absent five times, your final course grade will be an 88%.
If something serious arises (e.g., sickness, family problems, etc.) that forces a student to exceed the three permitted absences, this policy may be reconsidered for that student at the instructor’s discretion. Students should approach me as soon as possible if they foresee this arising.
A word on tardiness….part of showing up to class involves showing up on time. Many days we will be doing exercises for which it is absolutely critical that everyone be present at the start of class. If you are regularly late for class, I will have to start counting you as absent for the day.

Project (20%)
Since one of the goals of the course is for you to be able to take the frameworks and theories we discuss to understand the people, groups, and organizations that compose your world, you will do a project in which you demonstrate your ability to do just that.

Your task is to identify a situation, phenomena, group, individual, leader, culture, process, organization, country, or any other entity, and to analyze “it” using course concepts. You have a great deal of discretion over the topic or phenomena you may choose for your project. The idea is for you to pick something that you find interesting and use course concepts to understand the why and how of that topic or phenomena. That is, to use your course knowledge to delve deeper into the topic, to present insights that would not likely be available to people who have not taken this course.

Creativity and novelty are important to carrying this out successfully. There is no need to restrict yourself to work contexts; you can analyze anything so long as it is relevant to course material.

Good sources for ideas may be newspapers, magazines, current events, reality TV, etc. You are welcome to frame your analysis objectively or to develop a thesis and defend it. One of the tasks involved in this project is identifying a topic; I’m happy to help but please don’t come to me saying that “I can’t think of anything to do the project on.” This suggests that you do not understand the relevance of the course material.

You will present your analysis in two ways: 1) in a 5 minute (approx.) class presentation at the end of the semester, and 2) in a 5-page, double-spaced written report. In both, you should provide a sufficient outline of your topic such that others know what you are examining, but the emphasis should be on analysis. Your presentations should be interesting and creative; your written reports should be thorough and compelling. You will be evaluated on these criteria, as well as your ability to convey your ideas (i.e., your presentation and writing skills).

These projects can either be an individual effort or can be done in coordination with another student (with some adjustment to the scope of the project). For pragmatic reasons, we will need at least several pairs of students to work together (since we have limited time for the presentations). We will revisit this issue later in the semester, but please be thinking about whether there is someone you would like to work with on the project. You must submit a one-paragraph summary of your project topic to me no later than April 8th.

Written reports are due on the same day that you give your presentation.

Case analyses (15%)
Over the course of the semester, we will be analyzing four cases. You are expected to be familiar with all cases, by not just reading the case but also thinking through the questions that are in the Case & Homework Preparation Guide (attached to this syllabus and posted on Blackboard).

For two of the cases (you may select any 2, but no more than that), you must hand in a written analysis that addresses the questions that are asked about the case. Your case analyses must be no longer than 4 double-spaced pages, with one-inch margins and 12-pt font. These analyses will be collected at the beginning of class. Late case analyses will not be accepted under any circumstances, since we will be going over the answer in class. If you are absent, I need to receive your case analysis before the start of the class during which we will be discussing the case.

Case analyses are evaluated according to two criteria: (a) how clearly and thoroughly have you answered the guide questions? and (b) how effectively have you utilized material from the course to support your analysis? Case analyses are not case summaries—you should analyze, not summarize.

Midterm and Final Exam (50% total)
The midterm will be on March 9th; the final exam will be Monday, May 11th, at 10am. Both will be in-class exams containing a combination of multiple choice, fill-in the blank, and short answer/essay questions. Each exam will count towards 25% of your final grade.

You must take the exams on the scheduled dates; exceptions must be very well-justified, and re-scheduling must occur more than 1 week in advance.

Homework and class preparation (15%)
Participation (5%)
This course is based on a model of active learning, with class discussions and exercises playing a central role. Students are expected to read the assigned material, and to carefully prepare for all cases and exercises before coming to class.

In evaluating your class preparation, I will consider (a) whether you regularly contribute to class discussions and demonstrate that you are prepared for those discussions, and (b) the extent to which your in-class comments demonstrate relevance and insight, help to move the discussion forward, and build upon the comments of others. In grading, there will be an emphasis on quality over quantity. Active, high quality participants will receive the full 5 points toward their final grade. Those who participate less will receive fewer percentage points. The FULL RANGE of the grading scale will be used for these evaluations, i.e., it is quite possible to get a 2 for participation. Note: Expressing viewpoints in a group is difficult for some people, but it is a crucial skill for you to develop here at Stern.

Homework (10%)
The course outline lists 5 homework assignments over the course of the semester. You are required to hand in 4 of these at the start of class on the day for which they are due. Homework assignments should be 1– 1½ double-spaced pages (12 point font, 1” margin), and they should be typed. Late homework will not be accepted. If you are absent from class, I need to receive your homework before the start of class if you are turning it in for evaluation.

Homework assignments will be graded with a system of check-plus (exceeds expectations by showing an analysis or insight that goes beyond what would be expected given our class discussion), check (meets expectations), or check minus (falls short of expectations by showing little effort to address the questions in an insightful way). You will receive 2 points for each check-plus you receive, 1.8 points for each check, 1.4 points for each check-minus, and 0 points for a missing assignment. This grading scheme implies that you should turn in all assignments, but that if you have competing demands on your time, you may not want to knock yourself out trying to get a check-plus. Homework assignments are primarily meant to provide me with frequent access to students’ thoughts on the issues we are discussing.


Group Projects

Guidelines for Group Projects

Business activities involve group effort. Consequently, learning how to work effectively in a group is a critical part of your business education.

Every member is expected to carry an equal share of the group’s workload. As such, it is in your interest to be involved in all aspects of the project. Even if you divide the work rather than work on each piece together, you are still responsible for each part. The group project will be graded as a whole:   its different components will not be graded separately. Your exams may contain questions that are based on aspects of your group projects.

It is recommended that each group establish ground rules early in the process to facilitate your joint work including a problem-solving process for handling conflicts. In the infrequent case where you believe that a group member is not carrying out his or her fair share of work, you are urged not to permit problems to develop to a point where they become serious. If you cannot resolve conflicts internally after your best efforts, they should be brought to my attention and I will work with you to find a resolution.

You will be asked to complete a peer evaluation form to evaluate the contribution of each of your group members (including your own contribution) at the conclusion of each project. If there is consensus that a group member did not contribute a fair share of work to the project, I will consider this feedback during grading.



At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject matter.  In general, students in undergraduate core courses can expect a grading distribution where: 

Note that while the School uses these ranges  as a guide, the actual distribution for this course and your own grade will depend upon how well  you actually perform in this course.



The process of assigning grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. Students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and are discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.

If you believe an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have the grade re-evaluated may be submitted. You must submit such requests in writing to me within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why you believe that an error in grading has been made.


Professional Responsibilities For This Course




In-class contribution is a significant part of your grade and an important part of our shared learning experience. Your active participation helps me to evaluate your overall performance.
You can excel in this area if you come to class on time and contribute to the course by:




Classroom Norms


Stern Policies

General Behavior
The School expects that students will conduct themselves with respect and professionalism toward faculty, students, and others present in class and will follow the rules laid down by the instructor for classroom behavior.  Students who fail to do so may be asked to leave the classroom. 


Collaboration on Graded Assignments
Students may not work together on graded assignment unless the instructor gives express permission. 


Course Evaluations
Course evaluations are important to us and to students who come after you.  Please complete them thoughtfully.


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. As members of our community, all students agree to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct, which includes a commitment to:

The entire Stern Student Code of Conduct applies to all students enrolled in Stern courses and can be found here:

Undergraduate College: http://www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct
Graduate Programs: http://w4.stern.nyu.edu/studentactivities/involved.cfm?doc_id=102505

To help ensure the integrity of our learning community, prose assignments you submit to Blackboard will be submitted to Turnitin.  Turnitin will compare your submission to a database of prior submissions to Turnitin, current and archived Web pages, periodicals, journals, and publications.  Additionally, your document will become part of the Turnitin database.


Recording of Classes

Your class may be recorded for educational purposes


Students with Disabilities

If you have a qualified disability and will require academic accommodation of any kind during this course, you must notify me at the beginning of the course and provide a letter from the Moses Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD, 998-4980, www.nyu.edu/csd) verifying your registration and outlining the accommodations they recommend.  If you will need to take an exam at the CSD, you must submit a completed Exam Accommodations Form to them at least one week prior to the scheduled exam time to be guaranteed accommodation.


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