Chapter 37. Organization Behavior Describer Survey (OBDS)

Roger Harrison and Barry Oshry

The Organization Behavior Describer Survey (OBDS) was developed to assess the behavior of line and staff managers and administrators in group and interpersonal situations arising during the course of work. It can be used as a self-evaluation form or to obtain descriptions of behavior from others.

The OBDS originally was developed deductively from Argyris's (1962) theory of interpersonal behavior in organizations. Argyris postulates two kinds of administrative competence: rational-technical competence and interpersonal competence. Rational-technical competence is the ability to meet intellectual-knowledge and technical-skill requirements of the job; interpersonal competence is the individual's willingness and ability to deal directly and openly with the emotional aspects of interpersonal relationships in the organization.

Argyris's theory is similar to other two-factor theories of organizational behavior, notably Fleishman's Initiating Structure and Consideration, Blake's Managerial Grid, and McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y. Another Fleishman instrument, the Supervisory Behavior Questionnaire, was already available for assessing supervisory behavior on the dimensions of Initiating Structure and Consideration. It focused on supervisor-subordinate relationships and was primarily designed for the first-line level of supervision. In contrast, the OBDS was designed to produce a more general measure ...

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