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Macquarie University

Organisational behaviour: Know your people

Macquarie University via Coursera


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Organisations have changed and now, more than ever, personnel management is crucial to organisational success. In this course you’ll explore a range of concepts, theories and methodologies that will help you navigate and optimise your work environment. Via structured learning activities (video lectures, quizzes, discussion prompts and written assessments) you will be exposed to the latest best-practice leadership strategies to enable your employees to achieve more at work. You’ll examine case studies on advanced leadership strategies and be challenged to consider how these might apply to your own workplace. And you’ll discover that your ability to manage and lead people in a flatter, more team-driven context is now the key to organisational success. As the world continues to undergo dynamic change, this course will prepare you to be the one to lead your team and your organisation into the dynamic work environments of tomorrow.


  • People in Organisations
    • We often think of people at work in terms of their expertise, their experience or their jobs, but to lead effectively, you have to understand different personalities, values, and attitudes. These are the attributes that may not be included in a job application but can have a substantial impact on the way people work, communicate and respond to leaders. In this course, industry experts will provide insight on how understanding individual differences has helped them to create a more productive and happier workplace. Ultimately, you will take a closer look at yourself as a leader and how you can make better decisions to optimise your team. As you move through this week, you will be asked to complete some quizzes that are designed to help you understand different concepts. Be prepared to think openly and answer honestly – this is an exciting journey into the psychology of people at work!
  • Diversity and Inclusion
    • Welcome to Week 2 of the Know Your People course. This week you will explore diversity and inclusion in organisations. You will learn about the challenges for leaders in an increasingly diverse workplace and pay close attention to the benefits that diversity can provide – especially if you have the right expertise and perspective. This week draws on learning from Week 1 by highlighting the importance of individual differences in our thinking about diversity. You will also think about how perception and perceptual bias might be important in more diverse workplaces. You will also look at different types of diversity and different levels – we often think of diversity in terms of gender, age or nationality, but to take full advantage of diversity, we need to look beyond these bio-demographic aspects of people at work and focus on deeper-level differences, such as differences in the way people think and their viewpoints. These may not be as easy to detect but they are critical to understanding how diversity can help organisations be more innovative and competitive. You will explore some of the remarkable outcomes that leaders have generated by creating more inclusive workplaces and take a closer look at how you can lead more inclusively. Be prepared to think differently about differences – this could be the key to unlocking the real potential of people at work!
  • Motivating Your People
    • Welcome to Week 3 of the Know your people course. This week you will explore motivation in organisations. You will learn about what motivates people and the actual process of motivation. Both are important when you make decisions about rewards, organising work and even relationships at work and we draw on more than fifty years of research to design a motivating job. Thinking about motivation is often restricted to monetary rewards but we need to look more closely at issues of meaning and commitment if you are to really understand motivation. You will pay close attention to the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation to answer the question: does money motivate? The answer might surprise you! You will also look at different types of rewards and think critically about the role of punishment at work. Be prepared to challenge your thinking about traditional rewards – especially money – the most effective motivators are often invisible!
  • Conflict and Emotion: Good or Bad?
    • Welcome to Week 4 of the Know your people course. This week you will explore conflict and emotions in organisations. Most of us think of conflict as inherently negative – something that we should avoid at work. But is harmony always better than friction? Is there a time when rocking the boat is a good idea? In an effort to answer these questions, you will learn about different types of conflict and their impact on the way people interact and think. You will pay close attention to the downside of conflict in organisations but you will also explore how you, as a leader, can think about conflict as a way to avoid stagnation and ‘groupthink’ – and even help employees innovate. You will also look into the role of emotions at work. Conflict and emotion often go hand-in-hand but emotions play a much greater role in our working life than you might think. Its not just about how you feel either; emotions can have a powerful influence on the way you think.
  • Teams and teamwork: Putting together high performing teams
    • Welcome to Week 5 of the Know your people course. This week you will explore teams in organisations. Most of you work or have worked in teams and know that teams are a growing feature of organisational life. The benefits of teams are often extolled, from greater innovation to increased satisfaction for members, but there are many who claim that teams can be problematic. They can allow some members to do little work while others carry a heavier load. There can also be great potential for conflict and tension in teams. This can cause a dilemma for leaders who want to take advantage of the many positive outcomes that teams can achieve without risking interpersonal hostilities. This week you will look at the factors that contribute to effective teamwork – you will examine how you can design and lead a team to maximise its potential.
  • Cross-cultural and global leadership
    • Welcome to the final week of the Know your people course. You all work in increasingly global and connected work environments. For many of you, this means that you lead people from different cultural backgrounds; for others it means leading people who have lived and worked in different countries. Although this is a reality for many leaders, few people really understand the challenges and real advantages that this provides. To help you reap some of these benefits (and avoid the pitfalls), you will explore how you can understand and leverage cultural differences. You will also learn about leadership across distance and truly global leadership: leading across countries and we explore the challenges of expatriate leadership. This week, I interview Professor Brendan Boyle, a leading scholar in international business and human resource management, and Dr Narender Sharma, who has extensive experience leading in multinational corporations. Together their research and international experience will help you develop important cross-cultural leadership skills!

Taught by

Rebecca Mitchell


4.8 rating at Coursera based on 1315 ratings

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