Since the beginning of the 20th century, businesses have been experimenting with creating the most effective organizations possible. What resulted is the study of organizational behavior, which analyzes the individuals, group, relationships and organization itself to fully comprehend how people work best in groups based on a better understanding of individual personalities, motivations and group behavior. When implemented, organizational behavior can lead to better performance and higher employee job satisfaction, and create an overall better environment and profit for the organization itself.
So, what is organizational behavior? Let’s take a look.
Disciplines That Form Organizational Behavior
Since the study is based in science, it makes sense to inquire into the fields that best explain how humans work, both individually and in group environments. Organizational behavior studies rely on psychology, anthropology, sociology, social psychology and even political science.
The study of behavior, psychology can be used to explain and improve individual motivation, personality, perceptions, work stress, emotions and conflict management. By studying work conditions and issues, psychologists can determine how to improve job motivation and satisfaction as well as hiring and firing techniques that encourage a well-functioning team starting with the individual.
With the rise of globalization and the ever-diversifying workforce, anthropology—the study of humans and their cultures—is vital for creating a collaborative and tolerant work environment that understands differences in values, attitudes and behaviors. Furthermore, by studying how perceptions and an organization’s culture influence behavior, the organization can change behavior by working to improve in those areas.
Sociology, the study of human group behavior, works to understand group dynamics like leadership, communication and decision making to create groups that work well together in organizational culture.
The combination of psychology and sociology, social psychology is the study of individuals’ effects on one another, in other words, focusing on smaller-scale relationships. By identifying the best methods for things from communication and trust-building to gaining and using power and authority within the group, social psychologists can enforce successful change management by influencing attitudes and encouraging acceptance.
Even this more specialized area of study that deals with behavior within government and political activity can help better understand group behavior since they must deal with their own decision-making, rules and regulations.
Organizational Behavior in Business
When asking what is organizational behavior, it’s important to recognize the proven direct link between job satisfaction and employee performance. Employees that are more satisfied at their jobs are more likely to increase their efforts, while less satisfied employees usually give minimal effort. Businesses seeking to create an environment that supports their employees and is more productive should look to organizational behavior studies for guidance. Especially useful during change-ups, OB can help bolster wider acceptance by taking advantage of group dynamics and individual influences on others.
Take, for example, how Brian Tocci implemented what he learned in the Organizational Behavior course he took as part of his MBA at Florida Tech. Taking concepts from that course, Tocci implemented a rewards system to motivate employees and increase job performance and satisfaction. Tocci said, “One big takeaway I have from this class is how important rewarding people is.” Read more about how studying organizational behavior helped Tocci with motivation and leadership here.
Why Managers Should Learn About Organizational Behavior
Managers have the best position to make a big difference in the overall satisfaction and performance of their employees. By implementing organizational behavior, they have the opportunity to build better teams through hiring practices that yield fitting recruits, inspiring their teams to improve and encouraging acceptance of change. Though there is no single model for how to manage behavior, managers can act as role models for their team, working to boost morale through optimism and charisma. They should have a thorough sense of self-insight, have good judgment and be able to correctly analyze circumstances and motivate their team.