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Sample Personal Statement for Organizational Behavior

The purpose behind this personal statement is to not only gain admission to your well-established and highly respected Ph.D. program, but to impress upon you my passion for learning and my tremendous desire to succeed in both scholastic research and in teaching on the professional level. I have based my decision to pursue an academic career not on purely practical reasons, but rather on my own natural interests and aptitude. My personal philosophy is that money and social status should not be pursued as life-consuming objectives and that in actuality they are the by-products of goals originating from one's inner needs. I understand that my intellectual capacity is a gift, and I intend to use this gift to the very best of my substantial capabilities.

I am interested in the field of study of Organizational Behavior. In the past, I have had the experience of working in settings where the people and the corporate cultures of the companies were all different. I have found that there is a great difference in the both the behaviors of people and of their organizations, depending on whether they are state-owned enterprises (SOEs), large multinational firms, or small to medium sized foreign enterprises. One simple example is that of the ability of an employee to act independently without direct instructions from his or her boss. In many Chinese organizations, acting without direct instructions is considered a form of disrespect towards the supervisor, who is generally offended by such behavior. In my experience and research, such organizations tend to have low operating efficiency with the employees losing their innate ability to take the initiative.

In contrast, foreign enterprises tend to welcome employees who have the ability to make decisions on their own, though the extent to which this is true depends on whether the supervisor is a local Chinese or an expatriate. These organizations have comparatively higher operating efficiency and employees enjoy greater job satisfaction.

My research and observations have shown me that only a small fraction of Chinese employees are well adapted to the working methods of the foreign enterprises. Many are accustomed to merely having others make the decisions for them and are not experienced at taking on some reasonable responsibilities. What accounts for the different behaviors of these people and their organizations? My observations and personal experience have greatly aroused my interest in studying this subject. I am interested in determining the specific factors that determine the different behaviors of employees and how they work together to form the behavior of the organization, as well as finding ways to modify such behaviors to make for a more healthy and properly functioning organization.

In all of the various fields that I have worked in, such as international trade, marketing and office administration, I have found that the most important factor in successful businesses lies in how the business is able to exploit its resources to meet the needs of its target markets. Human resources ultimately make possible the full utilization of the other resources, even including that of the most advanced and powerful new technologies. The essence of success at leveraging resources is managing people and their behavior. With the introduction and development of the idea of employee empowerment, organizational behavior is now being determined by the participation of more people throughout the organization rather than just a few senior level managers. I would very much like to study these trends - what exactly are the roles that employees and employers play in modern organizations? What impact do these changes in organizational behaviors have on the social and economic development of countries?

In China, there are currently no outstanding professors in the field of organizational behavior. Textbooks are translated from other languages rather than written by native Chinese. My goal is to become the most outstanding professional scholar studying and researching Organizational Behavior in China. With China's entry into the World Trade Organization, there will be tremendous changes and challenges in organizational structures. These changes must be studied and thoroughly researched so that successful practices can be identified. Models can then be developed to guide future Organizational Behavior practices in China. One of my goals is to write THE authoritative textbook on Organizational Behavior in China.

I have chosen to pursue my Ph.D. abroad, in the field of Organization Behavior, due to a variety of factors. In the United States, study and research of management and organizational behavior in particular is much better developed and is at a much more advanced level than the rest of the world. I believe that studying in America can not only broaden my vision in this field but also help me to find ways of thinking and solving problems. In China, research in the social sciences has not progressed as quickly as research into the natural sciences and economic development. I grew up in an environment where there was only one right answer to the question, and that was dictated to us by the teacher or the government. People were not encouraged to question the way things were, and often would have to pay a price for thinking or acting differently. Of course, practices have been changing with the opening-up policy and governmental and economic reforms. But the opportunity for overseas study in the United States will not only provide a better research and study environment but also the rare chance to see the world and China through a different paradigm.

My past work and educational experience has given me many opportunities for research for various projects. In my MBA program, all of my courses required written papers and presentations, such as market research and business plans. I thoroughly researched every written paper to find the most up to date information with a tenacious pursuit of accuracy. During my undergraduate studies majoring in the English language, I not only learned the language but the culture and logic behind the language itself. This understanding has helped me to unlock the sometimes-obscure meanings in written work to get at the essence of the data and how it applies to my particular case.

I have developed a study plan for successfully completing your Ph.D. program. First, I will aspire to grasp and thoroughly understand research methodology to lay a solid foundation for conducting serious academic research. Secondly, I will complete the basic courses in organizational behavior and related fields while conducting some elementary research. Third, I will study the present theories and practices in the field while observing the development of organizational behavior in China. Finally, I will thoroughly research organizational behavior in China and try to contribute innovative theories leading to effective practices.

I believe that my love for education is due mainly to the fact that I was born into a teaching family. Both of my parents and my elder sister are teachers. I embraced the love of learning at an early age, excelling as early as elementary school when I was chosen as one of only three students admitted to the best middle school in our province. My role model and inspiration has always been my father. My father was born into a very poor family and was the only child to survive while all of his brothers and sisters died of disease and malnutrition. My grandmother (over the objections of my grandfather) insisted that my father go to school rather than to work in the fields. Since then, he has continuously studied the agricultural field for years and wrote the first ever laws and regulations in China regulating the agricultural economy while simultaneously earning the respect and appreciation of high-level government officials in the ministry. My father has always encouraged me to achieve and excel, even though as a female in China such a pursuit is usually discouraged, if not impossible. His will to survive against all odds and his never-ending pursuit of education have given me the inspiration to follow his example and never let adversity stand in the way of achieving excellence to the fullest of my abilities.

"The Confessions" by Rousseau stated that the least knowledge acquired by humans is knowledge about humans. Knowing yourself and fellow mankind are extremely important in life as well as in management. Through earning my Ph.D. from your school, I hope to be able to contribute to other people, my country, society and life as a whole by realizing self-actualization and self-fulfillment through the study of organizational behavior.


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