What exactly is meant by the term “organizational behavior”? And why should it be studied? Answers to these two fundamental questions will help you better appreciate organizational behavior the field can be of value to you in the future.
Organizational behavior (OB) is the study of human behavior in organizational settings, of the interface between human behavior and the organization, and of the organization itself. Although we can focus on any one of these three areas, we must also remember that all three are ultimately necessary for a comprehensive understanding of organizational behavior.
Each individual brings to an organization a unique set of personal characteristics and a unique personal background and set of experiences from other organizations. Therefore, in considering the people who work in their organizations, managers must look at the unique perspective each individual brings to the work setting.
But individuals do not work in isolation. They come in contact with other people and with the organization in a variety of ways. Points of contact include managers, coworkers, the formal policies and procedures of the organization, and various changes implemented by the organization. In addition, over time, individuals change, as a function of personal experiences and maturity as well as through work experiences and organizational developments.
An organization, of course, exists before a particular person joins it and continues to exist after he or she leaves. Thus, the organization itself represents a crucial third perspective from which to view organizational behavior.
OB also helps companies perform well. A mounting body of evidence shows that an emphasis on the softer side of business positively influences bottom line results. By listening to employees, recognizing their work, building trust, and behaving ethically, managers have boosted performance.