When behavior hits our radar screen at work, it is usually when someone has done something wrong, or at least unexpected. When it gets our attention, we naturally begin to formulate explanations for the behavior we just observed.
So what do you think is driving most of the behavior that you observe at work – things about the person (P) or things about the environment or system (E)?
When we attribute behavior to people rather than system structure, the focus of management becomes the search for extraordinary people to do the job rather than designing the job so that ordinary people can do it. Sternberg (1994)
The law of crappy systems trumps the law of crappy people. Pfeffer and Sutton (2006)
I think systems (e.g. policies, procedures, equipment, training, staffing, compensation) are strong drivers of behavior in organizations. As a manager, I want to understand individuals – their personalities, attitudes, and values – so that I can get them to partner with me to improve the systems that affect everyone.