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Ob - Dependence as a Trait


Submitted By Joymalya
Words 2794
Pages 12


1. Introduction 3

2. Conceptual Framework 3

3. Review of Literature 3

4. Study of the subject and deductions and their extrapolation to a generic case 4

5. Contributions to OB 8

6. Conclusion 8

7. Bibliography 9


“Like the body that is made up of different limbs and organs, all moral creatures must depend on each other to exist.” – Proverb Quotes

Dependence is one of the cornerstones of individual, interpersonal, organizational interactions. It is one of the most important bases on which relationships and bonding are created and nurtured. The son depends on the mother for sustenance and love and many other things. The boss depends on his workforce to give him profits, whereas the workforce depends on him for their salary. Dependence permeates all strata of society and is evident everywhere. The following write up will introspect the various aspects of this trait and come up with relevant inferences.

Conceptual Framework

Dependence - Relying on or requiring a person or thing for support, supply, or what is needed[1]

As the definition clearly states, the quality of dependence is innately interpersonal and hence is evident on every level. The concept finds application in any binary, tertiary or multiple interaction bases. Hence, the same in its various forms can be observed inter alia in group activities like projects and assignments, individual activities where there are skewed references, in organizations and institutions and even in the relationship between an addict and the addiction. The subject has been studied basically with respect to:

• Social Dependence

• Family Dependence

• Addiction Dependence

Review of Literature

Dependence as the definition suggests has plethora of works with direct and indirect reference. The following books have been referred to, in order to understand the concept along with many others, in fact the scope of this present assignment or any typical study cannot fit in the bibliographical reference of dependence. However enumerated are a few of the literature referred to:

Loyalties by John Galsworthy – The play by renowned author John Galsworthy looks at loyalties and prejudices in English society and in a way charts out the social dependence quotient that is prevalent in society quite brilliantly

Emergent Learning Behaviour in a Simulated Organization Faced with Tasks Requiring Team Effort P. -S. Deng and E. G. Tsacle – The study looks at effectiveness of synergy in group tasks and the increase in productivity resulting out of it and thus explores in a way organizational dependence in a way.

Researching family relationships: a qualitative mixed methods approach by Jacqui Gabb – The paper explores family relationships and in a way assesses the dependence of various family members on each other.

Other than the aforementioned literature various other case studies have been referred to. In fact some of the most important sources for this exercise has been novels which chart out Human dependence in an explicit manner.

Study of the subject and deductions and their extrapolation to a generic case

Dependence, being a very sublime characteristic of the human psyche does not express itself clearly when researched on an interview or questionnaire basis. In fact, even third party estimation more often than not is biased towards an underestimation or overestimation of the quality. Hence the typical research methodology has been that of observance. The subjects under consideration has been kept confidential and has been referred to as X or Y or similar alphabets. The situations under which they were observed were as follows:

1. In cases where certain group activities were conducted

2. In cases where the subject was engaged in an individual duty.

The dynamics from the aforementioned situations has been noted and the same along with the findings are duly enumerated below:

Category 1 – Subjects who portrayed characteristics of dependence as dominant trait in interaction or execution

Subjects who fell under the aforementioned category typically had the affinity towards collaboration and had the propensity towards involving interested individuals in any sort of activity. The onus was more on seeking assistance in certain aspect or the other of the job at hand and there was a distinct feeling of discomfiture during times of isolation. The same can be explained through the following incident of character X in the following environs:

I was walking along a step or two behind this X, who had recently been given certain assignment which was supposed to be completed and submitted individual. The same I could decipher through his rendition of the event over the phone to a close friend of his not based in the same institute. The characteristic shown was rather unique – The individual had received the assignment around 5 min back and he was in isolation for a similar period of time. Yet what was notable was that the person had to share his hardship with a friend. This is indeed an expression of social dependence which is a subset of the gregarious qualities of human beings. However this was much noted in this person who could not spend 5min to reflect on the job at hand but took recourse to finding support in company of a friend.

Moving further on from this incident of X, I followed him and as I walked I engaged him in conversation to gauge at the situation that was presented to him. The reaction was typical to the reaction described above. The individual described his predicament to me and the breakup of his narration was as follows:


The pie chart above had a vey interesting revelation about how familial dependence is significant to certain individuals. The individual ha d spent around a month away from home and the fact that he depended on his parents and sibling for the mental cushion was starkly evident in the converstaion we had.

I decided to tag along with him further because the other feature which I needed to explore was the subjects group dynamics and gauge at his comfort level in isolation and society. Hence the next scene that I will be introspecting on is the group conversation for a group assignment for the subject.

The results of the observation was pretty much concordant with the initial experiences. The subject revelled in the group situation, was an active participant and thrived on the symbiosis. The subject seemed to cherish the fact that people were assigned activities and there was a level of dependence among group members.

My next observation situation was when In went to X’s hostel room and found him working on his individual assignment. The difference between the vibes shown at the group assignment and individual assignment was stark. There was a decided lack of enthusiasm in the job at hand . I asked him whether the work at hand was ardous and whether that was the reason fir his dejected demeanour. The reason I got from him was again interesting. He told me that the work was not that difficult and it only had a certain level of tedium with it. His main issue was that he did not find it preferrable to do the work alone and would have been happy if somebody helped him out.

Typically my findings from my study of subject X are as folllows:

• Dependence a trait is a subset of human gregariousness and the spirit of social existence

• Dependence can be social dependence where subjects typically draw strength from society at large

• Dependence on family is also very much present in Indian society

I would now like to move away from subject X and narrate another subject with whom I had conversation during one of my travels. It was not for the purpose of this study but the events once rendered will produce some interesting insights.

The person under consideration – subject Y was an interesting case because of the more variations of dependence he brought in light. So far from X we had broadly learnt about social and familial dependence. From subject Y we will be getting a deep insight on other aspects of dependence which we come across in society, namely:

• Dependence on superstitions

• Dependence on circumstance and environs for the planned activity

The following is the narration which introspect these aspects through a description of my interaction with subject Y.

The subject Y and I had an interesting interaction during a train journey once, the train journey being of more than a day, which gave me the sample space. The subject concerned and I was engaged in conversation when I suddenly noticed him touching his left thumb with his right whenever we crossed any bridge or overpass. It was a curious idiosyncrasy and I could not resist asking him the reason behind this strange action. What he replied was more fascinating. He told me that his brother had once met with a train accident while the train was crossing an overpass. Subsequently when he ventured out he took a train with a similar route and while crossing the bridge where his brother had lost his life he had performed the same action stated above. The train did not meet an accident and this led to him believing that the action was lucky. This led to his dependence on the action fuelled by superstition and he could not cross any bridge without performing the same activity. I have cross referenced this particular trait and have come to the following conclusion – Superstition is a very common form of dependence and often a source of sustenance. It is decoupled with education and culture and is as much present with a post graduate as with an illiterate.

The second aspect that I was referring to is similar to the previous in the sense that what I have noticed is that people do certain things in certain ways whether it be drinking water, or writing which is typical and without which people won’t free comfortable. People call this an idiosyncrasy or a typical behavioural trait. However, the same can be described as an odd form of superstition wherein people depend on the activity to be performed before they get the mental sense of preparedness to proceed. It often acts like the warm up of an athlete and hence is an interesting a perspective of human behaviour.

The other forms of dependence that I want to dwell on before I move on to the study of people who claim to be delinked or not dependent are those who are dependent are addiction. It is a serious social curse and afflicts many. The subjects who have been observed have been random people at certain locations and one or two with whom I had certain degree of interaction. One of them, subject Z gave me certain insights on how this dependence originates, how it slowly captures the psyche and ultimately how it holds its grip on the person. Typically what I found was that dependence of this form typically starts in an unassuming way through the medium of “harmless” experimentation – the first puff or the first drag or the first shot whatever people call it. Then as time goes by people start craving for the second shot and the second begets the third, the third begets the fourth till the time the addict starts depending on it fully for his existence and justifies every result through the addiction. Another spin off from this is the dependence on the co-addicts and the bonding that is formed.

Category 2 – Subjects who apparently did not portray characteristics of dependence as dominant trait in interaction or execution

My second category of observations was concentrated to people who were more of individuals, loners or people with strong character who liked to lead and took the onus of doing their work themselves. The methodology of research is the same and is in the form of informal interactions and character observations.

My first subject in this subject category would be subject A whom I had come across in my workplace. The person concerned was in the mid management level and was a high performer. He had a typical working methodology wherein he would always give work to his juniors. But his typical approach was that he would tell them that he did not depend on them for the engagement and it was a learning experience for them and he could do the work himself. He typically backed it up with many instances of night outs where he re did the work of his juniors when he did not find the quality up to his standards. On that level he can be considered to be not dependent. However if we carefully analyze the situation certain levels of dependence will become more apparent.

Dependence on family

An important reason why the subject could spend so many night outs was the support he got from his family. The same was enumerated by him. He clearly explained that his family supported his habit of taking the workload and supported him by reducing his part of the household chores that he was supposed to perform. He actually depended on his family to provide him the support so that he could work in peace.

Dependence on his own need to work

This is a very interesting aspect where the subject at a certain level agreed that he needed to work that hard and could not do without it. This typically is a form of addiction about which I have mentioned above but this variant has a socially positive attribute to it. None the less it is indeed a form of dependence when somebody needs to spend at least two nights out just to work on a regular basis. It is but an interesting take on work holism as it is nothing but a form of dependence where the subject has to work for certain extended hours before he/she can obtain peace of mind.

Another subject about whom I would like to write about is subject B – a loner who prefers to stay by himself and does his work mostly sans consultation. I came across one such individual who would do his work mostly within the confines of his room and he had a closed door approach. The more interesting thing was that he displayed similar characteristics in group tasks also. I noticed that whenever he was involved in group activities, he had a tendency of wrapping up the group discussions as soon as possible so that he could get back to being with himself. As far as the task was concerned, the person either sent his deliverable or stopped caring about the engagement or if he had a leadership role in the group did the work himself without consulting anybody. One might call this independence or lack of social skills or anything. However, from the perspective of OB, the same can be interpreted as dependence on the loneliness as a mode of existence. The person has this urge to stay alone and then only can he be productive. One might infer that in a way it is a form of addiction.

Contribution to OB

Dependence as a quality has immense contribution to OB. The case studies enumerated in the previous sections along with the telephonic interviews and conversations revealed the following factors:


The figure above is based on sample studies of different age categories and the degree of dependence perceived by them on a scale of 1 to 100. The graph clearly shows an increasing trend with age.

This shows that dependence is one of the tenets on which OB stands as dependence defines the relative behaviours, the reactions and the fallouts that is always a part of organization and behaviour. It defines the relationships based on which causal networks are assessed and qualities like deviant or compliant behaviour and other aspects can be observed. It forms the basic tenet on which OB can be studied.


Dependence is omnipresent in society. Every human being expresses it at some level either consciously or unconsciously. In fact dependence can be considered as a being in itself and it has an influence on every human. Hence there is a tendency of people to go to people and work together. In fact the entire economy and every micro and macro level factors work on this factor. Hence even the loneliest of loners does have to interact. Every interaction is a form of dependence and the trait in fact links and forms society.


Loyalties by John Galsworthy

Emergent Learning Behaviour in a Simulated Organization Faced with Tasks Requiring Team Effort P. -S. Deng and E. G. Tsacle

Researching family relationships: a qualitative mixed methods approach by Jacqui Gabb

Siddhartha – Herman Hesse



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