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Organisational Behaviour

Organisational Behaviour- Meaning, Definition, Nature, Scope

Organisational behaviour: Meaning

Organisational behaviour (O.B.) is the study of individual behaviour in isolation, when in group and as a part of an organisation. The study of individual behaviour only, would be incomplete because behaviour is affected by the people surrounding us as well as by the organisation, in which we work. Studying only individuals or only organisations would be of no use. It is essential to study both simultaneously. Personality, perception, learning, attitude, family background, training, motivation, job satisfaction, performance appraisal, leadership effectiveness, norms, values and ethics are the factors which affect the individual behaviour. Group dynamics, communication, organisational environment, individual and organisational culture affect group behaviour. Organisational structure, power & politics, status, relation with juniors & seniors, conflicts and culture affect the individual behaviour in the organisation.

These various factors relate to different disciplines including psychology, sociology, social psychology, political science, anthropology, etc. Study about individual behaviour, group behaviour and organisations give the inferences about how different people react to different situations. It guides regarding the motivation styles and the leadership styles to be adopted for different persons. Due to the individual differences, diverse leadership styles, incentive schemes, motivators, communication styles should be applied.

Thus, Study of organisational behaviour helps in studying:

  1. Why people behave in a particular way?
  2. Why one person is more effective than the other?
  3. Why one group is more effective than the other?
  4. Why one person is more effective in one organisation as compared to the other organisations?

The study of above things gives sound knowledge about human behaviour and this knowledge can be applied in shaping the behaviour and taking various decisions related to policy making in human resource management.

Definitions of Organisational behaviour

In words of Stephen P. Robbins, “OB is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups and structures have on behaviour within organisations for the purpose of applying such knowledge towards improving an organisation’s effectiveness.”

According to L. M. Prasad, “Organisational behaviour can be defined as the study and application of knowledge about human behaviour related to other elements of an organisation such as structure, technology and social systems.”

In words of K Aswathappa, “OB is the study of human behaviour in organisational setting, of the interface between human behaviour and organisation and of the organisation itself.”

According to Davis and Newstram, “Organisational behaviour is the study and application of knowledge about how people act within organisations.”

According to Fred Luthans, “Behaviour is directly concerned with the understanding, prediction and control of human behaviour in organisations.”

In words of John Newstram and Keith Devis, “Organisational behaviour is the study and application of knowledge about how people as individuals and as groups act within organisations. It strives to identify ways in which people can act more effectively.”

Nature of Organisational behaviour (O.B.)

The nature it has acquired is identified as follows:

  1. A Separate Field of Study and Not a Discipline Only:

    By definition, a discipline is an accepted science that is based on a theoretical foundation. But, O.B. has a multi- interdisciplinary orientation and is, thus, not based on a specific theoretical background. Therefore, it is better reasonable to call O.B. a separate field of study rather than a discipline only.

  2. An Interdisciplinary Approach:

    Organizational behaviour is essentially an interdisciplinary approach to study human behaviour at work. It tries to integrate the relevant knowledge drawn from related disciplines like psychology, sociology and anthropology to make them applicable for studying and analysing organizational behaviour.

  3. An Applied Science:

    The very nature of O.B. is applied. What O.B. basically does is the application of various researches to solve the organizational problems related to human behaviour. The basic line of difference between pure science and O.B. is that while the former concentrates of fundamental researches, the latter concentrates on applied researches. O.B. involves both applied research and its application in organizational analysis. Hence, O.B. can be called both science as well as art.

  4. A Normative Science:

    Organizational Behaviour is a normative science also. While the positive science discusses only cause effect relationship, O.B. prescribes how the findings of applied researches can be applied to socially accepted organizational goals. Thus, O.B. deals with what is accepted by individuals and society engaged in an organization. Yes, it is not that O.B. is not normative at all. In fact, O.B. is normative as well that is well underscored by the proliferation of management theories.

  5. A Humanistic and Optimistic Approach:

    Organizational Behaviour applies humanistic approach towards people working in the organization. It, deals with the thinking and feeling of human beings. O.B. is based on the belief that people have an innate desire to be independent, creative and productive. It also realizes that people working in the organization can and will actualise these potentials if they are given proper conditions and environment. Environment affects performance or workers working in an organization.

  6. A Total System Approach:

    The system approach is one that integrates all the variables, affecting organizational functioning. The systems approach has been developed by the behavioural scientists to analyse human behaviour in view of his/her socio-psychological framework. Man’s socio-psychological framework makes man a complex one and the systems approach tries to study his/her complexity and find solution to it.

Scope of Organisational Behaviour

The scope of the organizational behavior is as under:

The field of the organizational behavior does not depend upon deductions based on gut feelings but attempts to gather information regarding an issue in a scientific manner under controlled conditions. It uses information and interprets the findings so that the behavior of an individual and group can be canalized as desired.

Large number of psychologists, social scientists and academicians has carried out research on various issues related to organization behavior. Employee performance and job satisfaction are determinants of accomplishment of individual and organizational goals.

Organizations have been set up to fulfill needs of the people. In today’s competitive world, the organizations have to be growth-oriented. This is possible when productivity is ensured with respect to quantity of product to be produced with zero error quality. Employee absenteeism and turnover has a negative impact on productivity.

Employee who absents frequently cannot contribute towards productivity and growth of the organization. In the same manner, employee turnover causes increased cost of production. Job satisfaction is a major factor to analyze performance of an individual towards his work. Satisfied workers are productive workers who contribute towards building an appropriate work culture in an organization.

Organizations are composed of number of individuals working independently or collectively in teams, and number of such teams makes a department and number of such departments makes an organization. It is a formal structure and all departments have to function in a coordinated manner to achieve the organizational objective.

It is therefore important for all employees to possess a positive attitude towards work. They need to function in a congenial atmosphere and accomplish assigned goals. It is also important for managers to develop an appropriate work culture. Use of authority, delegation of certain powers to subordinates, division of labor, efficient communication.

Benchmarking, re-engineering, job re-design and empowerment are some of the important factors so that an organization can function as well-oiled machine. This is not only applicable to manufacturing organizations but also to service and social organizations.

Importance/Significance of Organisational Behaviour

O.B. is the study and application of knowledge about predicting, understanding, and controlling the behaviour in the organizational setting. It is of great importance for any organization in today’s scenario. The vast changes in the organizational set up and the world economy, as well as the growing concern about the stakeholders have increased the scope of the study of OB. Therefore, the vital role played by OB can be discussed as follows:

  1. Attaining Organizational Effectiveness:

    Refers to a process that acts as an indicator or a scorecard for an organization’s performance. The analysis of performance can be done from individual and organizational perspectives.

  2. Sustaining Changes in Business Environment:

    Refers to the need of an organization to accept the changes occurring in the business environment. The dynamic external environment increases the importance of O.B. as a field of study, because it affects the internal environment as well, thus, forcing an organization to accept changes as survival strategy.

  3. Balancing Increase in Capitalism:

    Refers to the economic system that is represented by private ownership of capital and means of production. The features of capitalism make the study of O.B. very important because of increasing monopolists and capital-intensive industries.

  4. Surviving Intense Competition:

    Requires great efforts on part of an organization. You should note that an organization can face fierce competition by adopting various policies, such as capturing market share and developing human resource. The study of OB helps the organization to develop the human resource by moulding their behavior for the benefits of organization.

  5. Managing Global Influences:

    Refers to controlling the effects of privatization, liberalization, and globalization on organizations. Global influences make the workforce of an organization more diverse in nature, thus makes the study of OB more important.

  6. Fulfilling Human Needs:

    Refers to managing and enhancing the skills of employees.

For developing these skills, a manager must be capable of:

  1. Understanding human aspirations
  2. Building coordination among employees
  3. Imparting timely training to employees
  4. Motivating them so that they willingly utilize their abilities towards attainment of organizational goals
  5. Communicating the goals successfully to employees so that they would know what is expected of them
  6. Introducing new and innovative ideas

Employees also expect the organization to understand their needs and provide them with right impetus to grow both financially and professionally. Thus, knowledge of OB helps the management to understand and fulfill these needs of employees.

  1. Managing the Complexity in the Structure of Organizations:

    Refers to controlling the complexity that may arise in the organizational structure due to dynamic business environment. As an organization grows, its structure becomes complex because its command chain expands, the scope of authority becomes multifaceted, and the responsibilities of employees keep changing.

  2. Managing the Presence of Labour Unions:

    Refers to monitoring and controlling the activities of labour unions. These unions persuade the management of an organization to give importance to human relations. Therefore, organizations lay emphasis on the study of OB to take care of human aspects.

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