Organizational Behavior Explained: Definition, Importance, Nature, Model

What is Organizational BehaviorOrganizational Behavior (OB) is the study of human behavior in organizational settings, the interface between human behavior and the organization, and the organization itself.

Organizational Behavior researchers study the behavior of individuals primarily in their organizational roles.

One of the main goals of organizational behavior is to revitalize organizational theory and develop a better conceptualization of organizational life.

As a multi­disciplinary field, organizational behavior has been influenced by developments in a number of allied disciplines including sociology, psychology, economics, and engineering as well as by the experience of practitioners.

History and Evolution of Organisational Behavior Studies

History and Evolution of Organisational Behavior Studies

Origin of Organisational Behaviour can trace its roots back to Max Weber and earlier organizational studies.

The Industrial Revolution is the period from approximately 1760 when new technologies resulted in the adoption of new manufacturing techniques, including increased mechanization.

The industrial revolution led to significant social and cultural change, including new forms of organization.

Analyzing these new organizational forms, sociologist Max Weber described bureaucracy as an ideal type of organization that rested on rational-legal principles and maximized technical efficiency.

In the 1890’s; with the arrival of scientific management and Taylorism, Organizational Behavior Studies was forming it as an academic discipline.

Failure of scientific management gave birth to the human relations movement which is characterized by a heavy emphasis on employee cooperation and morale.

Human Relations Movement from 1930’s to 1950’s contributed in shaping the Organizational Behavior studies.

Works of scholars like Elton Mayo, Chester Barnard, Henri Fayol, Mary Parker Follett, Frederick Herzberg, Abraham Mas low, David Mc Cellan and Victor Vroom contributed to the growth of Organisational Behaviour as a discipline.

Works of scholars like Elton Mayo, Chester Barnard, Henri Fayol, Mary Parker Follett, Frederick Herzberg, Abraham Maslow, David Mc Cellan and Victor Vroom contributed to the growth of Organisational Behaviour as a discipline.

Herbert Simon’s Administrative Behavior introduced a number of important concepts to the study of organizational behavior, most notably decision making.

Simon along with Chester Barnard; argued that people make decisions differently in organizations than outside of them. Simon was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on organizational decision making.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the field became more quantitative and produced such ideas as the informal organization, and resource dependence. Contingency theory, institutional theory, and organizational ecology also enraged.

Starting in the 1980s, cultural explanations of organizations and organizational change became areas of study. Informed by anthropology, psychology, and sociology, qualitative research became more acceptable in OB.

Read More: History and Evolution of Organisational Behaviour.

Organizational Behavior Definition

Organizational Behavior Definition

“Organizational behavior is directly concerned with the understanding, prediction, and control of human behavior in organizations.” — Fred Luthans.

Organizational behavior is the study of both group and individual performance and activity within an organization.

This area of study examines human behavior in a work environment and determines its impact on job structure, performance, communication, motivation, leadership, etc.

It is the systematic study and application of knowledge about how individuals and groups act within the organizations where they work. OB draws from other disciplines to create a unique field.

For example, when we review topics such as personality and motivation, we will again review studies from the field of psychology. The topic of team processes relies heavily on the field of sociology.

When we study power and influence in organizations, we borrow heavily from political sciences. Even medical science contributes to the field of Organizational Behavior, particularly to the study of stress and its effects on individuals.

There is increasing agreement as to the components or topics that constitute the subject area of OB.

Although there is still considerable debate as to the relative importance of change, there appears to be general agreement that OB includes the core topics of motivation, leader behavior, and power, interpersonal communication, group structure and processes, learning, attitude development and perception, change processes, conflict, work design, and work stress.

Features of Organizational Behavior

Organizational Behavior Features

Organizational Behavior is the study and application of knowledge about how people, individuals, and groups act in organizations. It does this by taking a system approach.

That is, it interprets people-organization relationships in terms of the whole person, whole group, the whole organization, and whole social system. Its purpose is to build better relationships by achieving human objectives, organizational objectives, and social objectives.

Organizational Behavior is;

  • A Separate Field of Study and not a Discipline Only.
  • An Interdisciplinary Approach.
  • An Applied Science.
  • A Normative Science.
  • A Humanistic and Optimistic Approach.
  • A Total System Approach.

These 6 features or characteristics shows the nature of Organizational Behavior that is the study of understanding and control behavior within the organization.

Objectives of Organizational Behavior

Objectives of Organizational Behavior

The organizations in which people work have an effect on their thoughts, feelings, and actions. These thoughts, feelings, and actions, in turn, affect the organization itself.

Organizational behavior studies the mechanisms governing these interactions, seeking to identify and foster behaviors conducive to the survival and effectiveness of the organization.

  • Job Satisfaction.
  • Finding the Right People.
  • Organizational Culture.
  • Leadership and Conflict Resolution.
  • Understanding the Employees Better.
  • Understand how to Develop Good Leaders.
  • Develop a Good Team.
  • Higher Productivity.

These 8 objectives of organizational behavior show that OB is concerned with people within the organization, how they are interacting, what is the level of their satisfaction, the level of motivation, and find ways to improve it in a way the yields most productivity.

Limitations of Organizational Behavior

Limitations of Organizational Behavior

Recognize the limitations of organizational behavior. Organizational Behavior will not abolish conflict and frustration; it can only reduce them. It is a way to improve, not an absolute answer to problems.

Furthermore, it is but part of the whole cloth of an organization.

We can discuss organizational behavior as a separate subject, but to apply it, we must tie it to the whole reality. Improved organizational behavior will not solve unemployment.

Organizational Behavior will not make up for our deficiencies, cannot substitute for poor planning, inept organizing, or inadequate controls. It is only one of the many systems operating within a larger social system.

major limitations of OB are;

  • Behavioral Bias.
  • The Law of Diminishing Returns.
  • Unethical Manipulation of People.

Organizational Behavior Model

Organizational Behavior Model Chart

The OB model Shows the 3 levels, Individual level, Group level, and Organization System level and how they impact the elements of human output.

The above figure presents the skeleton on which constructed OB model. It proposes that there are three levels of analysis in OB and that, as we move from the individual level to the organization systems level, we add systematically to our understanding of behavior in organizations.

The three basic levels are analogous to building blocks; each level is constructed on the previous level. Group concepts grow out of the foundation laid in the individual section; we overlay constraints on the individual and group in order to arrive at organizational behavior.

Key Forces Affecting Organizational Behavior

Key Forces Affecting Organizational Behavior

There are a complex set of key forces that affect organizational behavior today. These key forces are classified into four areas;

  • People.
  • Structure.
  • Technology.
  • Environment.

There is an interaction of people, structure, and technology and these elements are influenced by the environment.

Contributing Disciplines to the Organizational Behavior field

There are some important disciplines to the organizational behavior field which developed it extensively. Due to the increase of organizational complexity, various types of knowledge are required and help many ways.

The major disciplines are;

  • Psychology.
  • Sociology.
  • Social Psychology.
  • Anthropology.
  • Political Sciences.
  • Economics.

Reasons for Studying Organizational Behavior

Why Study Organizational Behavior

Organizational Behavior is concerned with the study of what people do in an organization and how that behavior affects the performance of the organization.

OB studies put the focus on motivation, leader behavior and power, interpersonal communication, group structure and processes, learning, attitude development and perception, change processes, conflict, work design, and work stress.

OB draws heavily from behavioral and social sciences, most importantly from psychology.

Why Study Organizational Behavior?

  1. OB is the study of learning how to predict human behavior and, then, apply it in some useful way to make the organization more effective. It helps in effective utilization of people working in the organization guarantees success of the organization.
  2. OB helps the managers to understand the basis of motivation and what he should do to motivate his subordinates.
  3. OB helps to maintain cordial industrial relations which help to increase the overall productivity of the industry.
  4. Helps greatly in improving bur inter-personal relations in the organizations.
  5. Helps managers apply appropriate motivational techniques in accordance with the nature of individual employees who exhibit a learning difference in many respects.

Conclusion

Organizational Behavior is the study and application of knowledge about how people, individuals, and groups act in organizations. It does this by taking a system approach.

That is, it interprets people – organization relationships in terms of the whole person, whole group, the whole organization, and whole social system. Its purpose is to build better relationships by achieving human objectives, organizational objectives, and social objectives.

It encompasses a wide range of topics, such as human behavior, change, leadership, teams, etc.

Organizational behavior has a great impact on individuals and also in organizations which cannot be ignored. In order to run the businesses effectively and efficiently, the study of organizational behavior is very essential.

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