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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.
Diagram of Schein's organizational behavior model, which underlines the three central components of an organization's culture.
Different Types of Organizational Behavior
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. Some scholars also include the 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.
Topics in Organizational Behavior
Organizational behavior is particularly relevant in the field of management due to the fact that it encompasses many of the issues managers face on a daily basis. Concepts such as leadership, decision making, team building, motivation, and job satisfaction are all facets of organizational behavior and responsibilities of management. Understanding not only how to delegate tasks and organize resources but also how to analyze behavior and motivate productivity is critical for success in management.
Organizational behavior also deals heavily in culture. Company or corporate culture is difficult to define but is extremely relevant to how organizations behave. A Wall Street stock-trading company, for example, will have a dramatically different work culture than an academic department at a university. Understanding and defining these work cultures and the behavioral implications they embed organizationally is also a central topic in organizational behavior.
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