DSST Organizational Behavior Practice Questions Answer Key
1. D: Leadership (d) is not one of Mintzberg’s main groupings of roles managers play but a subcategory, or one of the roles found in each grouping. The role of leader falls under the interpersonal (a) grouping of roles. The three main groupings of roles are interpersonal, informational (b), and decisional (c). Since (d) is the incorrect item, making it the correct answer, answer (e) is incorrect.
2. C: These are both examples of (c) the figurehead role, which falls into the interpersonal grouping of managerial roles according to Mintzberg. The leader (a) role also falls into this group; this is the role responsible for inspiring motivation in and providing direction for workers. The liaison (b) role also falls into the interpersonal grouping. This is the role responsible for staying in touch with resource people outside the company who can supply information and assistance. The disseminator (d) role falls into the informational grouping. This is the role responsible for giving information, from those outside the company or from other workers, to members of the workplace. The spokesperson (e) role also falls into the informational grouping of roles. This is the role responsible for communicating information about the firm’s policies, programs, activities, and outcomes to those outside the company and for functioning as an expert on the company’s specific industry.
4. B: The term for underestimating outside forces while overestimating the influence of individuals is known in psychology as (b) the fundamental attribution error. We are more likely to attribute failure, for example, to our employees’ deficiencies than to a competing company’s superior product or to our own company’s inferior product. The self-serving bias (a) describes our tendency to attribute success to our own hard work or talent but to attribute failure to other people’s actions or to bad luck. So we tend to take personal credit for positive outcomes but blame negative outcomes on outside forces. The error of selective perception (c) is our tendency to notice more salient features while disregarding others because we cannot possibly observe everything at once. For example, we are more likely to notice others’ cars of the same make, model, and color as our own car. This occurs commonly in the workplace when employees perceive the functions of their own department as more important than those of other departments, where they have less involvement and interest. The error created by contrast effects (d) is caused by comparison of one person with others, as we do not perceive a person in a vacuum. For example, a job applicant can get a higher rating when interviewed immediately following several less qualified applicants, or a lower rating if interviewed immediately after several more qualified applicants. The error created by the halo effect (e) refers to the phenomenon of allowing a single attribute of an individual to color one’s perception of all the individual’s other attributes. The halo effect can result in a supervisor giving an employee favorable evaluations on all job criteria because of outstanding performance on just one criterion. For example, a salesperson with superior sales figures may also be perceived through the halo effect as being superior at keeping records and interacting with coworkers, even though the salesperson is actually deficient in these areas.
5. E: Sally engaged in projection, and Malcolm engaged in stereotyping. Sally herself was honest and projected this trait onto other people, so she unrealistically expected everybody else to be honest. Malcolm had hired several technically proficient Asian American employees and then saw all Asian American employees who were qualified for technical jobs as being equally proficient; i.e., he stereotyped all Asian Americans in technical job fields as always being superior in technical ability/performance to technical workers who were not Asian American. In both cases, these errors distorted Sally’s and Malcolm’s perceptions. Answer (a) reverses Sally’s error with Malcolm’s error and is thus incorrect. Sally and Malcolm did not both engage in projection in these examples (b); only Sally did. Sally and Malcolm did not both engage in stereotyping in these examples (c); only Malcolm did. Since Sally engaged in projection and Malcolm engaged in stereotyping, it is incorrect that (d) they did not engage in either one of these.
6. C: Active vs. reflective (c) is not one of the Myers-Briggs pairs of classification terms. The MBTI classifies individuals as either (a) extroverted or introverted—outgoing and social versus inward and reserved; (b) sensing vs. intuitive—practical, orderly, and detail oriented versus more reliant on the unconscious than order and more interested in the “big picture”; (d) thinking vs. feeling—more reliant on logic and rational approaches versus more reliant on emotional and personal approaches; and (e) judging vs. perceiving—preferring control and structure versus preferring spontaneity and flexibility. Note: A choice of one out of each of these pairs does not by itself constitute a personality type in the MBTI. Rather, this instrument, after identifying which pole the individual best fits in each pair, combines all four choices within each dimension to arrive at one of 16 specific personality types. Using E for extroverted, I for introverted, S for sensing, N for intuitive, T for thinking, F for feeling, J for judging, and P for perceiving, an individual may be categorized as either ESTJ, ESTP, ESFJ, ESFP, ENTJ, ENTP, ENFJ, ENFP, ISTJ, ISTP, ISFJ, ISFP, INTJ, INTP, INFJ, or INFP. Each combination of traits yields a different type, such as visionary, organizer, etc.
7. B: Locus of control (b) is not one of the Big Five personality traits. Locus of control is identified by psychologist Julian Rotter as how much an individual attributes his or her outcomes to internal or external factors, described as having an internal locus of control or an external locus of control. Individuals who attribute their failures to their own lack of ability and/or effort and their successes to their own ability and/or effort are said to have a predominantly internal locus of control. Those who blame their own failures on things outside of themselves, like bad luck, sabotage by coworkers, or an unfair boss, and credit their own successes to good luck, help from coworkers, or a boss who favors them are said to have a predominantly external locus of control. (Note: A person operating under the self-serving bias—see #4—would appear to have an internal locus of control for his or her positive outcomes and an external locus of control for his or her negative outcomes.) In addition to extroversion, the other four of the Big Five personality traits are agreeableness (a), or how cooperative and trusting one is; conscientiousness (c), or how responsible and reliable one is; emotional stability (d), or how secure, confident, and calm one is (as opposed to neuroticism, or how insecure, unconfident, and nervous one is); and openness to experience (e), or how comfortable with novelty one is (as opposed to disliking anything new or different).
8. D: Based on the description, Don is best characterized as a (d) Machiavellian type. Named for Niccolo Machiavelli, the 16th-century author of The Prince, who wrote that “the ends justify the means,” this personality type in the workplace will do whatever is needed to succeed, regardless of the ethical ramifications or the rules, and shows talent for the persuasion and manipulation of others to realize his or her goals. Under the right circumstances, Machiavellian types can be very successful. A narcissistic type (a) is likely to be less successful than a Machiavellian type. Narcissists are selfish, arrogant, likely to exploit others, and unlikely to help others. They need and demand excessive attention and have an inflated sense of their own importance. They tend to rate themselves higher on their job performance, while their bosses tend to rate them lower. A risk-taking type (b) is a personality type more comfortable with uncertainty, more willing to take chances, and quicker to make decisions than one more averse to risk. This type is more successful in certain types of enterprises than in others. Speculative positions such as those of stockbroker, entrepreneur, or manager in a large corporation are more suited for risk takers than positions requiring more thoroughness and deliberation, such as accounting or auditing. A Type A personality (c) is highly ambitious, competitive, impatient, driven, and aggressive. This type is usually not creative, as Type A personalities are more concerned with speed and amount of production and tend not to vary their responses when faced with new challenges. A proactive personality (e) is a type that displays initiative rather than remaining passive, and persists until the desired changes are affected. Though they are more likely to challenge existing conditions and to express any dissatisfaction, these personality types tend to be successful in work and desirable to employers for their initiative and positive actions. They are also more likely to depart from those employers to start their own businesses due to their high initiative.
9. A: Julia is experiencing (a) cognitive dissonance. Identified and named by psychologist Leon Festinger, cognitive dissonance is a discrepancy between or among attitudes, or between attitudes and behavior. Festinger stated that we naturally find cognitive dissonance uncomfortable and seek to reduce it. Julia’s perception of her company in positive terms is inconsistent with the reports of behaviors by her company that she finds negative. There is no such term as employee dissonance (b); there is a recent term called employee engagement, or how involved, enthusiastic, and satisfied an employee is with his or her job. There is no such term as organizational dissonance (c); organizational commitment is one of several terms used to describe job attitudes, along with job satisfaction and job involvement. It refers to how much an employee identifies with his or her employing organization (rather than with his or her individual job, which is job involvement). Employee engagement (d) is defined above in the explanation to (b). This is a real term but is not what Julia is experiencing. Perceived organizational support (e), or POS, is also a real term but is not what Julia is experiencing. It refers to how much a worker feels the organization cares about his or her welfare and values his or her contributions to it.
10. B: Cris’ practices are an example of (b) operant conditioning. His employees’ timely behavior increased after he gave positive consequences or reinforcement for this behavior. Reinforcement is a consequence of a behavior that strengthens its likelihood of recurring. Classical conditioning (a) also conditions behavior to recur in the presence of certain stimuli with which the behavior becomes associated, but it conditions passively; i.e., it is known more for learning with reflexive behaviors (like Pavlov’s dogs salivating to a bell once they came to associate it with food, even without the food; or the pupils of a person’s eyes contracting at a bell once they come to associate it with a bright light, even without the light). Operant conditioning involves a choice by the learner. Coming to work on time was a voluntary behavior by the employees. They were more likely to do it after being rewarded for it. Social learning (c) is observational or vicarious learning: An individual can learn from observing and imitating a model without directly experiencing what the model experiences. While both operant conditioning and social learning theory subscribe to the idea that behavior is changed by the consequences it receives, in operant conditioning the learner learns through direct experience with consequences, while in social learning the learner can learn indirectly through observing consequences experienced by others. Shaping (d) is a type of behavior modification that also uses the operant conditioning paradigm, but it refers specifically to the use of successive approximations. In other words, behavior is changed incrementally in smaller, more achievable steps. For example, if some of Cris’s team members were often 30 minutes late, and he first rewarded each of them for being only 20 minutes late, then for being only 15 minutes late, then only 10 minutes late, then only 5 minutes late, and finally for being on time, with the rewards improving as they moved closer to the goal, this would be shaping. Since (b) is correct, answer (e) is incorrect.