Organizational Behavior – Definition

Cite this article as:"Organizational Behavior – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated December 2, 2019, last accessed December 4, 2020,

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Organizational Behavior Definition

Organizational behavior (OB) simply refers to the way people behave in organizations and the relationship between human behaviors and organizational settings. Individuals exhibit certain behaviors when they are in groups or when they are assigned organizational roles, OB is the study of such behaviors and how they affect organizations.

The connection and interface between humans, human behaviors and organizations are studied under organizational behavior. There are diverse researched that have been carried out on OB with the aim of improving the attitudes of workers at their workplace, enhancing organizational leadership, promoting job innovation, and satisfaction, among others.

A Little More on What is Organizational Behavior

Organizational Behavior refers to the study of how humans behave while performing organizational roles, this study started in the late 1920s and since then, it has been used to improve organizational structures and evaluation of the performance of individuals. When the study of organizational behavior started, researchers did studies on how organizational structures affect the performance and productivity of individuals and vice versa.

The earliest studies on the behaviors of workers un their organizational roles were launched by the Western Electric Company in Cicero, Illinois. The American Psychological Association recognized organizational behavior as a field of study in the 1970s and since then, the field as gained recognition as a legitimate study of human behaviors in organizations.

Goals of Organizational Behavior Study

Just like every other academic field of study, organizational behavior has its specific goals which include;

  • Using scientific techniques and observations to study the relationship between organizational structurs, workers’ behaviors, and performance.
  • To achieve enhanced productivity of workers through reorganizing groups, modifying compensation structures and others.
  • To underscore the different psychology patterns of employees and unique structures they fit.

The objectives of organizational behavior are diversified to align with the broad nature of the field of study. Over the years, some cultural components have been embedded in organizational behavior as a field of study. These components include culture, race, social class, ethnic beliefs, and gender roles and how they affect organizational structures and employee productivity.

The major points you should know about organizational behavior include the following;

  • Organizational behavior is an academic field os study that examines human behaviors within organizations.
  • This field of study examines how different organizational structures affect the behaviors of individuals and their productivity.
  • Organizational behavior started in the late 1920s but was officially recognized as a field of study by the American Psychological Association in the 1970s.
  • Organizational behavior is a field of study that is essential for decision making and important for corporate human resources.

Where Organizational Behavior Is Studied

Schools that focus on the study of organizational behaviors are schools of social work, business schools and psychology schools. Academicians from these fields and disciplines conduct various researches on organizational behavior. Technical means, computer models, quantitative and qualitative data analysis methods are also used by researchers to draw facts and conclusions about organizational behaviors.

Organizational behavior can also be used in institutes that offer courses relating to ethnography, anthropology, human resources, corporate management, and others. Organizational behavior is a broad field that covers topics such as motivation, compensation, group creation and group process, organizational structure, negotiation, relationships, environment, productivity, and others.

Real World Examples of Organizational Behavior

There have been many instances where findings from studies of organizational behavior have been used for decision making by the management of organizations and by human resource personnel. Human resource experts identify toxic cultures in workplaces and how they affect productivity and performance through the findings of organizational behavior research.

In the real world, compensation, employee evaluation, and retention, as well as recruitment processes for new employees, are done using guidelines from organizational behaviors. Management bodies are beginning to pay more attention to the candidate’s personality, and how certain cultural beliefs inform the behavior of individuals in their organizational roles.

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