Organizational Behavior and its Emerging Trends

Organizational Behavior: Concept 

The term ‘Organizational Behavior” is an integrated form of two separate words. Organizational and Behavior. The first word ‘Organizational’ is derived from the word ‘Organization’ which means ‘relating to organization’. The other word is ‘Behavior’ which means ‘what a person does’ or is a way of action.’ In other words, behavior can be defined as the observable and measurable activities of human beings. Thus, organizational behavior can be defined as the study of human behavior in the organizations and application of knowledge to make it more purposive, responsive and co-operative. It represents the human side of management, not the whole of management.

In other words, organizational behavior is the study and application of knowledge about how people act within organization. It applies broadly to the behavior of people in all types of organization, such as business, government, school and service organizations. Wherever organizations are, there is a need to understand organizational behavior. It is the set of actions to understand, predict, manage or control individual and group activities in the organization for improving organizational effectiveness.

The answer of following questions shows the scope of organizational behavior.
  • How people behave in an organization in given circumstances?
  • Why people join and continue the membership of an organization?
  • How do the people use the structure and technology to achieve the goals of the organization as well as of their own motives?
  • What internal and external factors influence their behavior in and outside the organization?
Organization are human association which consist of structure, technology and resources that are aimed to achieve desired goals by operating in a complex dynamic environment. Behavior refers to the series of activities performed by an individual which can be observed by others in a given environmental situation. The behavioral patterns and tendencies of an individual are important for understanding the individual behavior.

In simple words, organization behavior is the study of how people behave in an organization and how their behavioral activities affects the performance and outcome of an organization. Organizational behavior is concerned with understanding attitude, beliefs, feelings, emotions and sentiments of people working in an organization. The success and failure of an organization largely depends upon the behavioral attributes of the people working in an organization. The organizational behavior is related to the systematic study of the behavior of individuals and groups in an organization. It is focused on understanding, predicting and managing the human behavior in an organization for improving the organizational effectiveness. It focuses about human aspect of management in an organization which helps management to improve interpersonal relation, initiate motivational factors, minimize conflicts and assist to solve human related problem.

The organizational behavior is related with the behavior of human beings at work. It is the study and application of knowledge about how people as individual and as group behave or act in organizations. It provides a useful set of tools at many levels of analysis. For instance, it helps manager to look at the behavior of individuals and groups (both formal and informal) with in an organization. It is a human tool for human benefit and seeks to know the behavior of people in all types of organizations.

All organizations, be these business, educational or government, are social system. It is the combination of men, money, machinery, material and management, commonly known as 5 Ms. In fact, it is management i.e. people who actually take care of other 4 Ms. Then, it means that the functioning of an organization depends upon how people work or behave in the organization.

Organizational behavior can be defined as an interdisciplinary behavioral science which studies phenomena related to organizations and their human units. It is the field of study involving the integration of the behavioral sciences (e.g. psychology, sociology, anthropology etc.) to study of people’s behavior within organization. The study of organizational behavior, basically, focuses on individual behavior, group behavior, tasks and technology, organizational structure and environmental factors. 

Various experts and authors have defined organizational behavior as follows:
"The field that seeks knowledge of all aspects of behaviors in organizational settings by the use of the scientific method." – Greenberg and Baron
"Organizational behavior is the systematic study of the nature of organizations; how they begin, grow and develop and their effect on individual members, Constituent groups, other organizations and larger institutions." – Joe Killy
"Organizational behavior is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups, and structure have on behavior with in organizations for the purpose of applying such knowledge towards improving an organization’s effectiveness." – Stephen P. Robbins
"Organizations behavior is the study of organizational components and their impact on human behavior and organizational performances. Such study can benefit from various behavioral and social sciences." – Kae. H. Chung & Leon C. Megginson
"Organizational behavior is the study and application of knowledge about how people act within organizations. It is a human tool for human benefit. It apply broadly to the behavior of people in all types of organizations such as business, government, schools and service organizations." – Keith Davis & J. W. Newstorm
"Organizations behavior is directly concerned with the understanding, prediction and control of human behavior in organizations." – Fred Luthans

From the above definitions, organizational behavior is primarily concerned with that aspect of human behavior which is relevant for organizational performance. It studies human behavior at individual level, group level and organizational level. It applies the knowledge gained about individuals, groups and the effect of organization structure on behavior towards the end of making organization work more effective and efficient.

Organizational behavior is concerned with understanding and describing human behavior in an organizational setting. It seeks to shed light on the complex human factor in organizations by identifying causes and effects of human behavior. It is also called a social science because its main concern is people and their behavior. It is the field of study that integrates behavioral sciences like psychology, sociology and anthropology for the human behavior in and around organizations. OB studies three determinants of behavior in organizations, i.e. individuals, groups and structure. The behavior of individuals and groups and the impact of structural design on the behavior of individuals and groups are the major concern of organizational behavior. The knowledge of all these is applied to make the organization work more effectively.

To sum up, organizational behavior is concerned with the study of how and what people act in organizations and also how their behave affect the performance of the organization from one side. The other sides, it applies knowledge gained about an individuals and groups in order to make organizations work more effectively.

Elements of Organizational Behavior

The basic elements of organizational behavior are people, structure, technology and the environment in which the organization operates. When people join together in an organization to accomplish an objective, some kind of structure is done, so there is an interaction of people, structure and technology. These elements are influenced by the external environment, and they influence it.
Elements of Organizational Behavior

1. People

People constitute the internal social system of the organization. They consist of individuals and groups. Group may be classified as formal and informal, large and small, interrelated and complex, effective and non-effective, contributing and non-contributing and so on. People are living, thinking and feeling beings who work in organization to achieve their objectives. Organizations exist to serve people, rather than people existing to serve organization. People are very dynamic in nature, therefore, human organizations change every day. People may form, change and disband the organizations. Different attitudes, feelings, emotions, values, customs and behaviors of the people are studied in the organizational behavior.

2. Structure

It defines the formal relationships of people in organization. Structure defines the roles and relationship of the people in an organization. Different jobs are required to accomplish all of the organization’s activities. Organizational people have to be related in some structural way so that their work can be effectively coordinated. In other words, different people in an organization are given different roles and they have certain relationship with others. Proper structure focuses to division of labor so that people can perform their duties or works to accomplish the organizational goals. A well structure is developed focusing the works designed to different people like managers, accountants, clerks, workers, peons etc in the organization. All people are related to each other to accomplish the organizational goals in a coordinated manner. Thus, structure relates to power and duties. Structure must be effective, efficient, appropriate and should also ensure that it suits organizational people or participants.

3. Technology

Technology imparts the physical and economic conditions within the people’s work. It provides the resources with which people work and affects the task that they perform. People cannot accomplish anything without technology. The technology used has a significant influence on working relationships. The nature of technology depends on the nature of organization and influences work and working condition. The great benefit of technology is that it allows people to do more and better work but it also restricts people in various ways. Technology brings effectiveness in the works classified to different people in an organization. The stated tasks can be better performed by the related people in the easy way with less time consuming.

4. Environment

All organizations operate within an external environment. A single organization does not exist alone. It is a part of a larger system that contains many other elements, such as government, family and other organizations. All of these elements mutually influence each other in a complex system that creates a context for a group of people. It influences the attitude of people, affects working conditions and provides competition for resources and power. The environment is considered very important in the study of human behavior and organizational behavior.

Nature of Organizational Behavior

Organizational behavior is concerned with understanding values, attitudes, beliefs and emotions or feelings of people working in the organization. In other words, it is an academic discipline concerned with understanding and describing human behavior in an organizational environment. Organizational behavior is emerging as a separate field of study. Therefore, its nature is likely to change over the period of time. The nature of organizational behavior can be understood with the light of following points: 
Nature of Organizational Behavior
1. A Dynamic Discipline 
Organizational behavior is dynamic discipline by nature. Its main focus is on human behavior but also considers technical component of the organizations. It fully appreciates and recognizes the constraints of the working environment, their changes and takes due note of their implications on both behavioral as well as operational aspects. 

2. Interdisciplinary Approach 
Organizational behavior is basically an interdisciplinary approach. It integrates the relevant knowledge drawn from different disciplines for some specific purpose. It draws heavily from sociology, psychology, anthropology, political science and so on. These disciplines exist separately, but organizational behavior integrates the relevant contents of these disciplines to make them applicable for organizational analysis. 

3. Science as well as Art 
The knowledge about human behavior proves it as a science while application of this knowledge and skills clearly lead towards being an art. The basic objective of organizational behavior is to make application of various researches to solve the organizational problems particularly related to human behavior aspect. 

4. Multiple Levels 
Organizational behavior has a three-tier system. It deals with the individual behavior, group behavior and organizational behavior as a whole. All these three levels interact with each other and organizational behavior tries to assimilate them for the good results. 

5. Goal Directed Discipline 
Organizational behavior, being an applied science and emphasizing human aspect of the organization, is oriented towards organizational goals and objectives. The major goal of organizational behavior is to explain and predict human behavior in organizational context so that it may be molded to result-yielding situations. It provides a rational thinking, not an emotional feeling about people and their behavior. 

6. Humanistic and Optimistic 
Organizational behavior focuses the attention on people from humanistic and optimistic point of view. It is based on the belief that needs and motivation of people are highly concerned. There is an acceptance of the value of the individual as a thinking, feeling and many more. There is optimism about the innate potential of man to be independent, creative, productive and capable of contributing positively to the objectives of the organization. 

7. An Inexact Science 
Organizational behavior is an inexact science. It cannot provide specific answers to specific organizational problems. The exact prediction of the behavior of people in organizations is also not possible. It is possible to predict relationships between variables on a broad scale but it is difficult to apply predictive models on an individual basis.

Emerging Trends in Organizational Behavior

Business environment are dynamic which changes frequently. The dynamics of the environment arises from globalization, the changing work force diversity, increasing concern for quality and productivity, rapid technological change etc. Competition has been intense so management are expected to continually update their understanding of organizational behavior. The key emerging trends in organizational behavior are:

1. System Approach
Organizations are viewed as complex open system interacting with various elements to achieve a desired goal. Organizational behavior is viewed from system perspective. The behavioral relationship are interpreted in terms of whole person, whole group and as a whole organization. The system aspect of organizational behavior provides synergistic effect.

2. Contingency Variable
It refers to application of different behavioral practices for different situation. Each situation should be carefully analyzed and diagnosed prior to action. The universal principle of organizational behavior are being replaced by the contingency variables, there is no more “one best way” to solve the behavioral aspect of an organization.

3. Human Orientation
Organizational behavior has supported and practiced human orientation. It simply refers to putting people first as they are viewed as most important resources in an organization. It is concerned with developing of individual to their full potential, which increase the competency, creativity and skills needed to perform the job. The employee growth, initiation and performance are actively supported. The positive attitude towards employees are encouraged.

4. Distribution of power
The traditional organization system focused on power centralization at the top level. However the new trends are concerned with employee empowerment by providing autonomy at work and flexible work schedules. The decentralization and distribution of power has provided opportunities for employees to manage their work and enhance organizational effectiveness.

5. Self-Discipline
Discipline implies obligation to set rules, regulation and procedures. It is concerned with regulating the employee behavior. The past practices of organizational behavior was concerned with enforcement of discipline. However the emerging trend is self-discipline maintained by individual at work as they are willing adhering to set rules and acceptable behavioral standards. The self-direction and control is exercised by employees.

6. Intrinsic Motivation
Motivation is concerned with stimulating the energies of employees to achieve the desired result. It is concerned with individual’s intensity, direction and persistence of efforts towards attaining goals. Traditionally organizational behavior focused on extrinsic motivation which was induced in the form of financial incentives however, at present the intrinsic motivation is encouraged which is self-generated through sense of job satisfaction. The encouragement for teamwork, power delegation and focus on high order need an employee has empowered the employees which has generated intrinsic motivation.

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