Organizational Behavior

Organizational behavior is a field of social science which studies how people interact in the workplace. Organizational behavior examines personal and group behavior and mechanisms that help to increase efficiency at both the individual and organization level. In this sense, organizational behavior is an applied discipline and is closely related to sociology, psychology, statistics and ergonomics. Core topics include organizational structure and culture, organizational development, organizational change, communication and decision-making in the group.

Every organization has an underlying set of values, beliefs and goals, which are shared by its members and which drive its overall performance. There are four organizational models according to Professor Keith Davis, of Arizona State University, in his 1967 study Human Relations at Work. The first is the autocratic model based on power and authority, which yields poorest outcomes. The employees in this model are dependent on the manager and only their basic needs are met. The second model is the custodial one, based on economic resources and money; the employees are dependent on the organization and their security needs are satisfied. The third model of organization is the supportive one, based on leadership and support; the employees feel involvement and participation. The fourth, collegial model, is based on partnership and teamwork; employer and employee jointly contribute to the organization. Most organizations combine the characteristics of more than one model and operate in wider and more complex framework, given the advance of technologies, the fast-changing business environment and the growing social and cultural diversity of modern organizations.

At the individual level, organizational behavior looks at perception, motivation, learning and personality driven performance. This level of study is closely linked to psychology. For example, the Theory X and Theory Y developed by Douglas McGregor in the 1960s gives the psychological perspective of the employee-employer relations. The two models outlined in McGregor's book The Human Side of Enterprise view two opposite types of behavior at work. In Theory X the worker dislikes what he/she does, has little ambitions and would shrink responsibility if possible. As a result, managers in this model impose tight control, use threat and force and blame the employee for failures. The Theory X is based on negative assumptions about the human nature as opposed to Theory Y, which lies on a positive set of beliefs about people assuming that employees are ambitious and self-motivated and enjoy their work. The Theory Y managers, in turn, freely communicate with subordinates, trust them and include them in the decision-making process.

The group-level analysis in organizational behavior focuses on group dynamics, roles, norms, cultural diversity and leadership. At this level, the analysis may focus on how different leadership styles (autocratic or democratic) influence the performance of the individual within the group and the group as a whole.

Theory Z: How American Business Can Meet the Japanese ChallengeOrganizational behavior management applies organizational behavior knowledge to enhance outcomes with modern studies covering issues like workers' health and safely, incentives, feedback and evaluation models to improve employee performance. Research in organizational behavior is widely used by human resource specialists in selection, training and retention of people who are the main asset of an organization in the context of the modern business world. Recent trends focus on ways to raise organizational efficiency through constructive, proactive and change-focused communication and behavior.

Organizational Behavior: Selected full-text books and articles

Understanding Behavior of Organizations to Improve Behavior in Organizations By Brethower, Dale M The Behavior Analyst Today, Vol. 5, No. 2, Spring 2004
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Organization Theory: From Chester Barnard to the Present and Beyond By Oliver E. Williamson Oxford University Press, 1995 (Expanded edition)
Employee Behavior in Organizations. on the Current State of Research** By von Rosenstiel, Lutz Management Revue, Vol. 22, No. 4, October 1, 2011
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Dark Side of Organizational Behavior By Ricky W. Griffin; Anne M. O'Leary-Kelly Jossey-Bass, 2004
Organizational Psychology in Cross-Cultural Perspective By Colin P. Silverthorne New York University Press, 2005
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