Why study Organizational Behavior?

org1Frederic Winslow Taylor, (1856-1915) was the first person who attempted to systematically analyze human behavior at work place. He compared the organization to a machine form; the machine with its low-priced, interchangeable parts, each of which does one specific function. Taylor said organizations are like big machines because humans working in an organization can be easily molded and can be transposable.

Like in a family or in a society, even in organizations, individuals and groups interact on different matters for the harmony and prosperity. The combined behaviors create a company climate that can reinforce or depress an organization’s success. Each individual and his behavior matters because business processes are interdependent. Therefore, while working from within a company’s structure, both management and staff might have difficulty in recognizing patterns of behavior and also how intensely those patterns can influence a company’s performance. The leadership is extremely important to create positive influence and positive atmosphere by helping the employees to grasp and work on achieving mission, vision and goals of the organization; this is where OB is important. Every person working in an organization from the gate keeper, sweeper to the CEO is involved in the company’s future. If the internal atmosphere is good in an organization, it projects a strong external manifestation.

OB relies heavily on social sciences and psychology. When an individual joins an organization he is concerned with his personal growth. But his interpersonal relations are important for the organizational competence and in return the group dynamics. The individual’s behavior is thus very important from the organization’s perspective. If the individual speaks good of his organization outside, it showcases the cultural strength of the organization. People are the key to an organization’s survival.

org2The importance of organizational behavior rests in understanding how individuals, groups, and organizational structures interact and affect one another. OB studies, examines communication patterns between individuals and groups, as well as the structure and culture of organizations. Many culturally and financially weak individuals have blossomed and grown after joining good workplaces. A detailed look at workplace behavior, business culture, and organizational practices generates greater insights about communication patterns and conflicts. People can make work place an exciting, fun-filled, and productive place to be, or they can make it a routine, boring, and ineffective place where everyone is apprehensive and tense. Steve Jobs, cofounder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc. attributed the innovations at Apple, which includes the iPod, MacBook, and iPhone, to people, noting, “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have.…It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.” 

Such conclusions sometimes spark solution-oriented policies and organizational change, causing leaders to implement rewards systems, new communication techniques, or innovative management approaches. Learning and revising the ways in which individuals and groups in an organization interact is often very helpful. Lot of factors challenge the system: culture of the nation, infrastructural facilities, demographics, educational standards in the nation, and few other factors are critical for explaining challenges within an organization.

Apple is known for its innovative products and sleek designs. The company is also known for offering tech products at higher price points than its competitors, but consumers still line up to buy new products or purchase upgraded versions of existing products. Apple corporate culture is built on innovation, but critics report that the executives push their employees hard and expect nothing less than the best from them. The company’s focus on creating seamless consumer technology has allowed it to prosper even when other tech companies have experienced declines in sales.

Another reality is that employees fear any change in an organization. Employees are often reluctant to embrace a new technology, new posting, new process, new boss, new colleagues – they have an aversion to something new. Change which cannot be avoided under any circumstance interferes with an organization’s advancement efforts. This is where OB becomes more important. Organizational behavior in such a situation as in adopting change highlights the capable leadership from top in effectively managing fear of change across the organization. When changes take place, managing individuals and groups are important.

Organizational culture is a system of shared values, beliefs, and assumptions that governs the behavior of people in the organization. The culture of an organization is determined by the values placed on a set of characteristics, such as risk taking ability, ethical governance and appreciation of good employees in detail. When jointly there is a high level of agreement and commitment among the members of an organization on preserving these values, the organization is said to have a strong culture. An organization in which members do not agree and are not committed to the core values has a weak culture.

Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Inc., a billion-dollar cosmetics company, makes a similar point, saying, “People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn’t make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it keeps.” Just like people, organizations come in many shapes and sizes.

org3The concern for ethical decision-making is key attribute among the regulators, employees, social groups and managers. It has substantially increased since failure of some of the prominent business organizations like, Satyam, Shell and Enron owing to strong social criticism of some of their business practices. Of late, prominent institutes like IIMs have now begun sensitizing students about business ethics and morality; eminent personalities like the Sri. Sri. Ravishnkar, Jaggi Vasudev or the Dalai Lama is invited to speak on business ethics and ethical behavior. A few imperative literature review shows that authors have frequently used ethics, morality and values interchangeably in the context of organizational behavior. But, this requires sufficient research to examine the linkage of ethical decision-making with organizational structure and business results.

While hiring people some organization go too far examining their cultures and behaviors. They check a list of desired attitudes and behavior before hiring employees. As far as possible they avoid hiring the wrong people, so that they can improve employee satisfaction and reduce employee turnover. Google is one such organization every industrialist might consider emulating, especially if the business is involved in the technology field. The company has an informal product development process and gives staff members access to the co-founders and chief executive.

They create a situation in an interview trying to confirm what they think of a candidate; psychologists call this confirmation bias.  Confirmation bias is the tendency to search, interpret, or prioritize information in a way that confirms one’s beliefs. A lot of scientific assessment goes in choosing the right candidate by hunting for evidence that confirms the panel’s initial impression.

org4Finally, much of what a manager does has to do with trying to get people to work as effectively as possible.  It involves trying to motivate each individual worker. Much of management has to do with understanding people and how they work.  Therefore, having an understanding of organizational behavior is vital to managers.

Each person has an inherent need to understand and envisage his role and his interaction with others in the organization because much of each individual’s time is spent working in or around a group of people in organization. People differ in their personalities, attitudes, and values, and an understanding of an individual’s personality is extremely important in maximizing his happiness and productivity at work. Organization Behavior theories are particularly helpful in satisfying people’s innate drives at the same time simultaneously using their strengths to accomplish vision, mission and goals of the organization. OB helps in creating a healthy work environment where individuals and organization grow concurrently.



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  1. Very well written… In Governmental Organization, this concept needs to be introduced so as to improve the quality and interest in day to day work. Thanks for such a innovative thought…

  2. Organisational Behaviour is very important aspect if one is looking forward to a long term career as it helps in knowing the hierarchy present, the work culture prevalent …it helps one in preparing oneself …” A known devil is better than an unknown devil”……