What is OB? Organizational behavior or OB is the study of human behavior, attitudes, and performance in organizations. The study of OB is mainly concerned with the psychosocial, interpersonal, and behavioral dynamics in organizations. Organizations are systems of interacting components, such as people, tasks, technology, and structure. These internal components also interact with components in the organization’s task environment. Organizations as open systems have people, technology, structure, and purpose, which interact with elements in the organization’s environment. Nature of OB
Organizational behavior is an eclectic field of study that integrates the behavioral sciences into the study of human behavior within organizations. Human behavior in organizations is not an exact science. One of the failures of the scientific management movement was its belief that human behavior can be easily predicted. OB involves the study of abstract ideas, such as valance and expectancy in motivation, as well as the study of tangible matters, such as observable behaviors and physiological symptoms of distress at work. Therefore, learning about OB is a multidimensional activity.
It involves three stages: mastery of basic objective knowledge, skill development, and application of knowledge and skills. Scope of OB Cooperative relationships help organizations to achieve their objectives. OB provides the means to understand and achieve cooperative group relationships through interaction, reshuffling of members among groups, avoidance of win-lose situations, and focus on the overall group objectives. Levels of Understanding Human Behavior Organizational behavior helps in understanding human behavior at various levels of human interaction.
The levels include: individual level, interpersonal level, group level, and intergroup level Individual Level Direction (goal-oriented rather than random), intensity (amount of goal-directed effort), and persistence (continued effort overtime) are the internal forces that affect a person’s intended choice of behavior. Both natural aptitudes and learned capabilities are required to successfully complete a task. Understanding what task to perform, the relative importance of the task, and adopting the preferred behavior required to achieve the desired results help an employee work most effectively at the individual level.
Interpersonal Level Interpersonal level is where one focuses on the influence of one’s peer, the effect of which is inevitable in working relationships within the organization. OB provides the insight for understanding these interpersonal relationships. Analysis of reciprocal relationships, roles, and transactions are some of the common methods used to work most effectively at the interpersonal level. Group Level Though people interpret things in a particular way (primary human behavior) at the individual level, their interpretations are often modified by group pressures/ perspectives, which eventually reshape the primary human behavior.
Thus, it is important to study individuals within a group setting. Research in group dynamics has contributed vitally to OB and shows how a group behaves in its norms, cohesion, goals, procedures, communication patterns, and leadership. These research studies result in enhancing the managerial knowledge of understanding group behavior, which is very important for organizational morale and productivity. Intergroup Level An organization is made up of many groups that develop a network of relationships upon which the organization builds its process and substance. Intergroup relationships may either take the form of cooperation or competition.
Understanding the impact of group relationships in the organization is important for managers to succeed in achieving the organization’s objectives. Challenges and Opportunities of OB Now, let us look at the organizational challenges and opportunities modern managers face. The study of organizational behavior offers solutions or at least some meaningful insights to help managers handle such situations. Some of the major challenges and opportunities of organizational behavior are: understanding global organizational behavior, working with people from different cultures, movement of jobs to countries with low-cost labor, and workforce diversity