Levels of Organizational Behavior

A system is defined as the set of interrelated and interdependent component arranged in a manner that produces a unified whole. The system is composed of a number of sub-systems and all the subsystem are related to each other. Organizational behavior (OB) in a system perspective consists of the following interacting and interrelated components.

i. Input: It provides stimulus to behavior
ii. Processing: It can be at individual, group and organization level
iii. Output: Outputs are the behavioral consequences
iv. Feedback

Input, Processing, Output System
1. Input: The input provides stimulus to OB system. It consists of various variables at individual, group and organization level. They can be:

  • Individual variables: It relates to individual differences in employees. It is person specific. They can be personal characteristics (i.e. age, gender, marital status). The personality (the way how an individual reacts and interacts with others), the values and attitudes.
  • Group Variables: A group consists of two or more individuals working for a particular objective. Group variables are concerned with role, status, norms, size, composition and cohesiveness.
  • Organization System Variable: It is concerned with the structure, and working culture of an organization.
2. Processing: It is one of the aspect of OB system. It is concerned with adding value to the input. The processing of OB system at various levels are:

Individual Level Processing

  • Perception: It is concerned with giving meaning to stimulus. The perception of an individual is based on what reality is not, what reality exists.
  • Learning: It refers to permanent change in behavior that occurs as a result of information and experience.
  • Motivation: It is stimulation of energies with intensity, direction and persistence of efforts to achieve goals.
  • Decision Making: It is related to selecting the best alternative among the available alternatives.
Group Level Processing

  • Communication: It is transmission of information and understanding for meaningful purpose.
  • Leadership: It is the ability to influence a group towards achievement of goals.
  • Power and Politics: It refers to the capacity of influencing the behavior of others.
  • Conflict: It consist of all kinds of opposition and antagonistic interaction between different individuals.
  • Team work: It is directed for synergistic effect.
Organization System Level Processing

  • HR Policies and Practices: It is concerned with management, practices of job design, analysis, recruitment, selection, socialization, training, development, performance appraisal.
  • Organizational Development: It is the process of managing planned change through behavioral intervention.
iii) Output: Output of the OB system are the behavioral consequences which are dependent variables and are affected by the inputs and processing mechanism. It consists of:

  1. Job Satisfaction: It refers to an individual attitude towards jobs. The satisfied employee tends to be more productive.
  2. Organizational Citizenship: It refers to employees feeling to be a part of organization and provide performance beyond expectations.
  3. High Productivity: It refers to high loyalty and performance by employees by minimizing absenteeism and conflicts.
  4. Low Turnover: It refers to minimum level of complaints from customers.
iv) Feedback: It provides information to redesign OB inputs and processing to achieve the desired behavioral consequences in the system.

Level of Analysis of Organizational Behavior (OB)

Organizational behavior offers several ideas to management as to how human factor should be properly emphasized to achieve organizational goals and objectives. Human factor is not merely an instrument in the organization but the very core organizational existence.

The OB is concerned with the systematic study of what people do in the organization and how their behavior affects organizations performance. Organizational behavior has three basic levels.

1. Individual Level
Organization behavior has viewed organization as individuals behavior. It studies the individual behavior of people how they react to organizational plan, policies, etc. Psychological theories like learning, motivation and leadership are also considered to the study of the behavior of an individual. It has also studies the factor like learning, perception, belief and attitude of each individual. OB studies the impact of psychological factor upon behavior and job performance at individual level.

Organization consists of people with differ in personal characteristics and demo-graphical factors. The difference in individual is analyzed by understanding their behavior and reaction to organizational policies, procedures and practices. It is highly concerned with the psychological theories of an individual as it studies motivation, perception, learning, value and attitudes, personality of an individual and try to analyze how individual behave and react in different situations. 

Organizations are composed of individuals and their behaviors. Organizational behavior specially focuses on the individual activities and behaviors. It provides information for analyzing why and how an individual behaves in particular way. Human behaviour is a complex phenomena and is affected by a large number of factor such as psychological, social, culture, ethical and others. In other words, organizational behavior focuses an individual level such as individual perception, attitude, feelings, emotions, motivation, learning, values, ethics etc. OB integrates these factors to provide simplicity in understanding human behavior. Similarly human behavior can be understood at the level of inter-personal interaction. Such inter-personal interaction is normally in paired relationship. Organizational behavior provides means for understanding these inter-personal relationships in the organization.

2. Group Level
Organization Behavior has studied the group behavior. It has studied, how the group interacts with each other? How they work? What types of task the groups are performing? How does leadership influence to the group etc. OB studies the impact of social and psychological group behavior factors upon the behavior and performance of groups at the group level. Organization consists of group, teams that work together in full co-operation and co-ordination of each other. OB at group level focuses upon group interaction among members. It is highly concerned with social psychology theories working in a group as it studies.
  • Group dynamics: Factor that stimulates the group such as role, status, norms, size, composition etc. 
  • Group performance: Various task and assignment to be performed in group. 
  • Leadership: Ability to influence the group family. 
  • Management of power and politics, conflicts and stress in a team. 
Organization behavior also focuses an individual at the group level. We know that each member of the group affects the behavior of other members and, in turn, is affected by them. The group also determines the nature and patterns of reinforcement the members receive in the course of their interaction with one another. In understanding group behavior, the factors that should be analyzed are group norms, group cohesion, and group decision making. In a true sense, organizational behavior focuses on managerial knowledge of understanding group behavior which is very important for organizational morale and productivity. In other words, the organization is made up of many groups that develop a complex relationships to build its process and substance. Understanding the effect of group relationship is very essential for managers in today’s organization. Behavior provides means to understand and achieve co-operative group relationships and their activities through interaction, rotation of members among groups, avoidance of win-loss situation and focus on total group goals and objectives.

3. Organizational Level
Organization Behavior is the behavioral science. It has study the behavior of an organization as a whole. To study the organization, it applies the knowledge of behavioral science. Organization behavior has tried to analyze how the organizational structure designs technology influence to the organizational effectiveness. It tries to focus the relationship between organization and environmental factor that directly or indirectly affect organization.

OB studies the impact of sociological factors upon organizational effectiveness at organizational system level. It tries to analyze the relationship between the organization and environment and the influence of environment on organizational structure, design, culture and organizational effectiveness. The behavioral consequences of this analysis are reflected by high productivity and quality and low absence, low conflict and turnover and customer complaints.

Organizational behavior also focuses on the activities of the different nature and types of organizations. Organizational level of OB persons includes ideas or concept and meaning of organizations, ethics and values of the organizations, types of the organizations, types of the organizations, system of the organizations, environment of the organizations, policies and strategies of organizations etc. It also studies or focuses on the mission, vision, goals and objective of the organization as a whole organizational behavior also considers organizational climate and the organizational adaptation. Here, organizational climate refers to the total organizational situations affecting human behavior, organizational behavior suggests the approach to create organizational climate in totality rather than merely improving the psychological conditions or increasing employee’s satisfaction by changing isolated work process.

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