Organizational behavior studies the impact individuals, groups, and structures have on human behavior within organizations. It is an interdisciplinary field that includes sociology, psychology, communication, and management. Organizational behavior complements organizational theory, which focuses on organizational and intra-organizational topics, and complements human resource studies, which is more focused on everyday business practices (Figure 1).
Organizational studies encompass the study of organizations from multiple perspectives, methods, and levels of analysis. "Micro" organizational behavior refers to individual and group dynamics in organizations. "Macro" strategic management and organizational theory studies whole organizations and industries, especially how they adapt, and the strategies, structures, and contingencies that guide them. Along with those two levels of analysis, some scholars add categories of "Meso" scale structures, involving power, culture, and the networks of individuals in organizations, and "Field" level analysis which studies how entire populations of organizations interact.
Many factors come into play whenever people interact in organizations. Modern organizational studies attempt to understand and model these factors. Organizational studies seek to control, predict, and explain. Organizational behavior can play a major role in organizational development, enhancing overall organizational performance, as well as also enhancing individual and group performance, satisfaction, and commitment.
Computer simulation is prominent in organizational studies and strategic management. Organizational behavior scholars use computer simulation to understand how organizations and firms operate. Researchers have also applied computer simulation to understanding organizational behavior at the Micro level, focusing on individual and interpersonal cognition and behavior, such as how people think and act when working together in teams. The strategy researchers tend to use involves testing normative theories of organizational performance, but many organizational theorists focus on descriptive theories. Both those schools of thought use computational models to verify and extend theories. Research using computer simulation has been inspired by methods from biological modeling, ecology, theoretical physics and thermodynamics, chaos theory, and complexity theory, since similar techniques have been fruitful in those subjects.
The systems framework is also fundamental to organizational theory because organizations are complex, dynamic, goal-oriented processes. A systemic view on organizations is interdisciplinary: transcending the perspectives of individual disciplines and integrating them based on the ideological framework of systems theory. The systems approach gives primacy to the interrelationships, not the elements, of a system. New properties of the system emerge from these dynamic interrelationships. In recent years, systems thinking has been developed to provide holistic techniques for studying systems to supplement the traditional, yet more reductive, methods.