What is Organizational Behavior?
Organizational behavior is the area of study that investigates the impact that
individuals, groups and structure have on behavior within organization for the
purpose of applying such knowledge toward improving an organization‟s
An organization is a collection of people who work together to achieve a wide
variety of goals, both goals of the organization and goals of the various
individuals in the organization. Organizations exist to provide services and
goods that people want. These goods and services are the products of the
behaviors of workers. Organizational behavior usually known as „OB‟ is the
study of the many factors that have an impact on how individuals and groups
respond to and act in organizations and how organizations manage their
Organizational behavior is a field of study, that statement means that it is a
distinct area of expertise with a common body of knowledge. What does it
study? It studies three determinants of behavior in organizations: individuals,
structure and groups. In addition, OB applies the knowledge gained about
individuals, groups and the effect of structure on behavior in order to make
organizations work more effectively.
To sum up our definition, OB is concerned with the study or what people do in
an organization and how that behavior affects the performance of the
organization. And because the OB is specifically concerned with employment
related situations, you should not be surprised to find that is emphasizes
behavior as related to jobs, work, absenteeism, employment turnover,
productivity, human performance and management.
Although many people assume that understanding human behavior in
organizations is intuitive, many commonly held beliefs about behavior in
organizations, such as the idea that a “happy worker is a productive worker”,
are either entirely false or true only in specific situations. The study of
organizational behavior provides a set of tools, concepts and theories that help
people understand, analyze and describe what goes on in organizations and
why. How do the characteristics of individuals, groups, work situations, and the
organization itself affect how members feel about their organization?
The ability to use the tools of organizational behavior to understand behavior in
organizations is one reason for studying this subject. A second reason is to learn
how to apply these concepts, theories, and techniques to improve behavior in
organizations so that individuals, groups and organizations can achieve their
goals. Managers are challenged to find new ways to motivate and coordinate
employees to ensure that their goals are aligned with organizational goals.
Five Contributing Disciplines to the Organizational Behavior
OB is a behavioral science that is built upon contributions from a number of
behavioral disciplines. The dominant areas are psychology, sociology, social
psychology, anthropology, and political science. As we shall learn,
psychology‟s contributions have been mainly at the micro level of analysis; the
other four disciplines have contributed to our understanding of macro concepts
such as organization and group process.
Psychology is the science that seeks to measure, explain, and sometimes change
the behavior of humans and other animals. Psychologists involve themselves
with studying and attempting to understand individual behavior. Those who
have contributed and continue to add to the knowledge of organizational
behavior are learning theorists, personality theorists, counseling psychologists,
and, most important industrial and organizational psychologist. Early industrial
and organizational psychologists concerned themselves with problems of
fatigue, boredom, and other factors relevant to working conditions that could
impede efficient work performance. More recently, their contributions have
been expanded to include learning, perception, personality, training, leadership
effectiveness, needs and motivational forces, job satisfaction, decision making
processes, performance appraisals, attitude measurement, employee selection
techniques, work design and job stress.
Where psychologists focus on the individual, sociologists study the social
system in which individual fills their role; that is, sociology studies people in
relation to their fellow human beings. Specifically, sociologists have made their
greatest contribution to organizational behavior through their study of group
behavior in organizations, particularly in formal and complex organizations.
Some of the areas within organizational behavior that have received valuable
input from sociologist are group dynamics, design of work teams,
organizational culture, formal organization theory and structure, organizational
technology, communications, power conflict, and inter group behavior.
3. Social Psychology
Social psychology is an area within psychology, but it blends concepts from
psychology and sociology. It concentrates on the influence of people on one
another. One of the major areas receiving considerable investigation from social
psychologist have been change, how to implement it and how to reduce barriers
to its acceptance. In addition, social psychologists are making significant
contributions in the areas of measuring, understanding, and changing attitudes;
communication patterns; the ways in which group activities can satisfy
individual needs; and group decision making processes.
Anthropology is the study or societies to learn about human beings and their
activities. Anthropologists‟ work on cultures and environments, for instance,
has helped us understand differences in fundamental values, attitudes, and
behavior between people in different countries and within different
organizations. Much of our current understanding of organizational culture,
organizational environments, and differences between national cultures is the
result of the work of anthropologist or researchers using their methodologies.
5. Political Science
Although frequently overlooked, the contributions of political scientists are
significant to the understanding of behavior in organizations. Political science
studies the behavior of individuals and groups within a political environment.
Specific topics of concern include structuring of conflict, allocation of power
and how people manipulate power for individual self-interest.
Contributing disciplines to the Organisational Behaviour field
Organizational behaviour is an applied behavioural science that is built upon
contributions from a number of behavioural disciplines. The predominant areas
are psychology, sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and political
- Psychology is the science that seeks to measure, explain, and sometimes
change the behaviour of humans and other animals.
- To use psychological and organizational theory and research to improve
organizational effectiveness and the work life of all individuals.
- psychologists concern themselves with studying and attempting to
understand individual behaviour
- learning, perception, personality, emotions, training, leadership
effectiveness, needs and motivational forces, job satisfaction, decision-
making process, performance appraisals, attitude measurement, employee
selection techniques, work design and job stress
- Sociologists study the social system in which individuals fill their roles
- Sociology studies people in relation to their fellow human beings to
improve organizational performance.
- Study of group behaviour in organisations, group dynamics, design of
work teams, organisational culture, formal organisational theory and
structure, organisational technology, communications, power and conflict
- An area within psychology that blends concepts from psychology and
sociology and that focuses on the influence of people on one another.
- Major area: change – how to implement it and how to reduce barriers to
- Study areas: measuring, understanding and changing attitudes,
communication patters, building trust, the ways in which group activities can
satisfy individual needs, group decision-making processes
- The study of societies to learn about human beings and their activities.
- Study on culture and environment has helped us understand differences
in fundamental values, attitudes, and behaviour between people in different
countries and within different organisations
- The study of the behaviour of individuals and groups within a political
- Study areas: structuring of conflicts, allocations of power, how people
manipulate power for individual self-interest
Challenges and Opportunities of Organizational Behaviour
Organizational Behavior is a field of study that investigates the impact that
individuals, groups, and structure have on behavior within the organizations and
its effective use for the purpose of such knowledge towards improving its
performance. Similar to the evolution of man and its environment there has
been a substantial change in the approach for better productivity within an
organization through the brainstorming efforts applied by a good manager.
Understanding organizational behavior within a corporation and particularly the
factors influencing the organizational behavior of a single entity has become the
key to the success of any manager. There is no one single approach to
organizational behavior which is best for all organizations; instead, companies
must evolve the system which works best for them with the help of effective
planning and technological support which changes over time as their
environment and the individuals within that environment change.
Challenges and opportunitiesges and unities for
• Responding to Globalization
– Increased foreign assignments
– Working with people from different cultures
– Coping with anti-capitalism backlash
– Overseeing movement of jobs to countries with low-
– Managing people during the war on terror.
• Managing Workforce Diversity
– Embracing diversity
– Changing U.S. demographics
– Implications for managers
* Recognizing and responding to differences
• Improving Quality and Productivity
– Quality management (QM)
– Process reengineering
• Responding to the Labor Shortage
– Changing work force demographics
– Fewer skilled laborers
– Early retirements and older workers
• Improving Customer Service
– Increased expectation of service quality
– Customer-responsive cultures
1: Changing Social/ Cultural Environment
Organizational ethics and well-being
Diverse work force
2: Evolving Global Environment
Understanding Global Differences... [continues]