Organizational Behavior

What is Organizational behavior?

Let’s understand ‘organization’ and ‘behavior’ separately before combining and understanding the meaning.


The planned coordination of two or more than two peoples to achieve some common goals. A group of people destined to reach a desired course of action. The form of every human association for the attainment of a common purpose. It is a mechanism of organizing resources, process and certain procedure to achieve something in common.


A way of action that a person does. A basic activity as a unit that a person has. Behavior is a person’s personal way of doing something and it shows what type of person one is, one’s attitude, notion, style and perception.

Organizational Behavior:

Organizational behavior is related to the study of individual, group and organizational behavior. It is the study of human behavior in organizations and application of knowledge to make it more purposive, responsive and cooperative. It is also a study of the way how people behave in formal organization in given circumstances. It is the way of doing something of the people in an organization that affects the production, productivity, effectiveness, efficiency and finally the overall performance. A study, analysis and findings of thoughts, opinions, attitudes, views, behavior, ethics, culture and values of persons in an organization is organizational behavior. It is consisted of individual roles, norms and status and organizational values of human behavior. It is a human tool for human benefit. Different tools like motivation, communication, skills, conflict managements, leadership, and many more are applied in an administration; public or private.

Let’s see some of the definitions:

a)     “Organizational Behavior is a field of study that investigates the impact the individuals, groups, and structures have on behavior within organization for the purpose of applying such knowledge toward improving an organization’s effectiveness.”                                                                                 – Stephen P. Robbins

b)    “Organizational Behavior is directly concerned with the understanding, prediction and control of human behavior in organizations.”                –  Fred Luthans

c)     “The study and application of knowledge about human behavior in organizations as it relates to other systems or elements, such as, structure, technology and external social system.”                                                                                      – Keith Davis

d)    “A systematic study of the nature of organizations, how they begin, grow, develop and their effect on individual members, constituent groups, other organizations and larger institutions.”                                                                              – Joe Kelly

To sum up, organizational behavior is predicting people’s behavior, understanding people, researching for proper application of labor law, controlling their behavior and directing people’s behavior towards organizational goal. Therefore, organizational behavior is called a human tool for human benefit.


Basic assumptions of Organizational Behavior:

  • Ø Human behavior is a complex behavior and it is unpredictable.
  • Ø A man is a social being and doesn’t live alone.
  • Ø Motivated workers are more productive. Workers working under a good, cooperative and helpful manager are also more productive.
  • Ø That leadership is successful which treats others equally and respectably.
  • Ø Each individual loves challenges.
  • Ø Positive organizational conflict leads an organization forward and makes it dynamic.
  • Ø Work force and work variation are important aspects of organizational behavior.
  • Ø Organizational behavior is a practical science. It understands human by its closest, projects and shapes human behavior.
  • Ø Workers evaluate and assess the organizational behavior being practiced upon them and behave accordingly; that may be fruitful or just opposite for the organization.
  • Ø Organizational behavior emphasis to behavior as related to jobs, work, absenteeism, employment turnover, productivity, human performance and management.


Historical Evolution of the Origin of Organizational Behavior:

Human beings and organized activities have been together since long. There are many people having their contributions for the development of the concept of organizational behavior but the credit goes to three people: Adam Smith, Charles Babbage and Robert Owen.

Adam Smith is cited for his contributions to classical economic doctrines. But in The Wealth of Nations-1776, a book published by him, he argued that reaps from the division of labor/ work specialization. He gives an example of ten men working individually and together. To draw the wire, straighten it, cut, pond heads for each pin, sharpen the point and solder the head, a man can only produce ten pins a day. But if ten men work together with work division, then, they can produce 48,000 pins a day. His conclusion is; division of labor raises productivity by increasing worker’s skills and dexterity. It saves time and encourages the creation.

Similarly, Charles Babbage and Robert Owen also supported and expanded Smith’s idea. Robert argues that money spent in improving labor is one of the best investments that business executives could make. Similarly, Babbage insisted that division of labor matches people’s skills and physical abilities for higher production.

Later, the proper study of Organizational Behavior had begun in 1990s which is known as classical era.


Classical Era:

 Scientific management propounded by F.W. Taylor with his pig iron experiment on Dutch immigrant has become a milestone for the study of organizational behavior. Administrative theory, Social- Man theory and Bureaucratic theory also insisted in job specialization, authority hierarchy, formal selection of employees, training and development of workers, and improvised working conditions. Similarly, Henry Fayol, Max Weber, Chester Bernard and so on were the followers of this notion.


The Behavioral Era of 1930s:

 Personal office is the result of the application and development of organizational behavior. It gave birth to trade unionism which fought for the working conditions, housing, medicine, education, recreation, grievance redressal, record keeping and worker improvements. The Magna Carta of Labor, the birth of industrial psychology and the Hawthorne studies were also the major contributors which determined the standards, sentiments and security of the workers for their collective bargaining.


Modern Era:

 Human Relations Approach came as the Modern Era, which consisted of Behavioral approach, participatory approach, a contingency perspective and some other approaches. The main gist of these approaches was to study human behavior and to treat human as human in terms of humanity. Motivation and leadership theories offered by David McClelland, Fred Fielder, Frederick Herzberg, Abraham Maslow and other behavioral scientists during the 1960s and 1970s provided managers with still greater insights into employee behavior.


Key Elements of Organizational Behavior:

1)    People: The internal social system of organization is very dynamic in nature. People may form, change and disband the organization. The basic problem before the management is to understand the human behavior and motivate them.

2)    Structure: It defines the roles and relationship of people in an organization. Different people have different roles and relationships, which leads to division of labor. Structure relates to power and duties. It should be compatible to the organizational goals and functions.

3)    Technology: It imparts the physical and economic conditions within which people work. The nature of technology depends on the nature of the organization and influences the work or work conditions. Technology means machines, tools, process and resources.

4)    Social System: It provides external environment within which the organization operates. Organizations influence each other. It influences the attitude of people; their work conditions and provides competition for resources and power.


Nature of Organizational Behavior:

a)     Social Science: Organizational Behavior is a social science that studies people and their behavior. It involves behavioral science like psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc.

b)    Science as well as art: The systematic knowledge about human behavior proves it a science while application of this knowledge and skills clearly leans toward being an art.

c)     An inexact science: It cannot provide specific answers to specific organizational problems. The behavior of people in organization cannot be exactly as predicted.

d)    Action and goal oriented discipline: The major goal of organizational behavior is to explain and predict human behavior to achieve organizational goals. It provides a rational thinking, not an emotional feeling about people and their behavior.

e)     Integrating approach: Organizational behavior seeks to balance human and technical values at work. It attempts to develop a new socio-technical system where human dignity may be preserved with growth and development.

f)      Organizational behavior exists as multiple levels: It mainly has three behavioral levels- individual behavior, group behavior and organizational behavior. With a view to produce good result, it attempts to assimilate them all.

g)     Organizational behavior as a dynamic discipline: It focuses on changing human behavior without ignoring technical component of the organization.


Scope of Organizational Behavior:

1)    Philosophy and goals: The philosophy and goals of management and workers create the climate of an organization. Philosophy of organizational behavior is derived from both fact (behavior of man) and value (desirability of certain goals) premises. Organizational behavior attempts to harmonize the individual motives with the organizational goals.

2)    Social environment: It means association with other organizations in the society which influence each other. Organizational behavior studies the effect and interaction of different social environments.

3)    Control System: It is a must to get the best results. It is possible through communication, group process, and effective interaction behavioral aspects.

4)    Attitude and situation: Control, attitudes and situations affect each other. Change in one factor affects in the other.

5)    Inter-disciplinary approach: Psychology, Sociology, Socio-Psychology, Anthropology, Political Science, Economics, History, etc. are the inter-disciplinary approaches. All social sciences contribute to the theory and practice of organizational behavior.


Subject Matters of Organizational Behavior:

a)     Organization and organization related behavior,

b)    Behavioral and conceptual aspects of organizational behavior,

c)     Personal/ individual behavior in an organization,

d)    Individual feelings and leaning process,

e)     Individualism and its effect in an organization,

f)      Individual motivation and level of moral,

g)     Team, team-work and group-dynamics,

h)    Leadership and theories/ ways of leadership,

i)       Conflict management, stress management and crisis management in an organization,

j)       Organizational change and development,

k)     Inter-relation amongst individual, group and management in an organization,

l)       Ecological impact in an organization.


Importance of Organizational Behavior in Public Administration:

Public administration is itself an organizational behavior because public administration has a big organization which is an interaction of politics, administration and management, individual and groups and many more. Therefore, study of organizational behavior is very important in there. For the proper management of modern organizations like our administration with many roles and responsibilities, whose main aim is to provide effective public service delivery as per public demand, workers should be considered as an asset and managing organizational behavior is a must.  The importance of organizational behavior can be pointed below:

  • Ø Public administration is a complete body (hard-ware) whereas organizational behavior is its soul (soft-ware). It is a framework or skeleton to strengthen the organization.
  • Ø Organizational behavior is an air that a successful organization breathes. Organizational behavior circulates freshness to an organization in the form of group dynamics.
  • Ø Team work provides positive synergy in an organization and it is worthy than investing money. Therefore, the success of public administration depends upon organizational behavior.
  • Ø Communication in an organization is its life and communication is an important factor of organizational behavior as well.
  • Ø Leadership is also an important element of a successful organization. It plays an important role for effective and result-oriented organization. Therefore, leadership should always be able to understand the meaningfulness of organizational behavior.
  • Ø An effective data collection, analysis, decision making statistics and other elements help a person for planning, directing, controlling and organizing decisions, policies, plans and so. All these things depend upon organizational behavior.
  • Ø Organizational behavior studies human/individual roles, norms and status and organizational values in an organization and helps us to direct towards success.
  • Ø Organizational behavior and its study, practice and implementation motivates people in an organization whereas motivation is very important for organizational production and productivity to get increased.
  • Ø Organizational behavior helps one to discover problems, reasons, causes, impacts and effects and to solve them in an organization.
  • Ø Organizational behavior is a collective empirical store which is a study of psychology, social, human, political and other aspects of an individual.
  • Ø Organizational behavior is an important tool of decision making in an organization.
  • Ø Organizational behavior helps in crisis management, conflict management, stress management, etc. and enhances time management.





  • Biswajeet Pattanayak & P. K. Mishra, Reengineering Organisational Behavior, Wheeler Publishing, New Delhi, 2000
  • Fred Luthans, Organisational Behavior, Irwin/McGraw-Hill, Eight Edition, 1998
  • Joseph W. Weiss, Organisational Behavior and Change, South Western College Publishing, a division of Thomas Learning, Second Edition 2001
  • Different magazines and Internet sources



Bed Bhandari

Section Officer

Postal Services Department



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