Organizational 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.
“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 in 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.
NATURE OF ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOUR
Organizational behaviour has emerged as a separate field of study. The nature it has acquired is identified as follows :
- A Separate Field of Study and not a Discipline Only
By definition, a discipline is an accepted science that is based on a theoretical foundation. But, O.B. has a multi-interdisciplinary orientation and is, thus, not based on a specific theoretical background. Therefore, it is better reasonable to call O.B. a separate field of study rather than a discipline only.
- An Interdisciplinary Approach
Organizational behaviour is essentially an interdisciplinary approach to study human behaviour at work. It tries to integrate the relevant knowledge drawn from related disciplines like psychology, sociology and anthropology to make them applicable for studying and analysing organizational behaviour.
- An Applied Science
The very nature of O.B. is applied. What O.B. basically does is the application of various researches to solve the organizational problems related to human behaviour. The basic line of difference between pure science and O.B. is that while the former concentrates of fundamental researches, the latter concentrates on applied researches. O.B. involves both applied research and its application in organizational analysis. Hence, O.B. can be called both science as well as art.
- A Normative Science
Organizational Behaviour is a normative science also. While the positive science discusses only cause effect relationship, O.B. prescribes how the findings of applied researches can be applied to socially accepted organizational goals. Thus, O.B. deals with what is accepted by individuals and society engaged in an organization. Yes, it is not that O.B. is not normative at all. In fact, O.B. is normative as well that is well underscored by the proliferation of management theories.
- A Humanistic and Optimistic Approach
Organizational Behaviour applies humanistic approach towards people working in the organization. It, deals with the thinking and feeling of human beings. O.B. is based on the belief that people have an innate desire to be independent, creative and productive. It also realizes that people working in the organization can and will actualize these potentials if they are given proper conditions and environment. Environment affects performance or workers working in an organization.
- A Total System Approach
The system approach is one that integrates all the variables, affecting organizational functioning. The systems approach has been developed by the behavioural scientists to analyse human behaviour in view of his/her socio-psychological framework. Man’s socio-psychological framework makes man a complex one and the systems approach tries to study his/her complexity and find solution to it.