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Organizational Behavior

Understanding Organizational Behavior

Whether you are at school preparing for a very important class project or at work strategizing to meet your department’s sales quota for the month, it is always worth noting that even with rigorous preparation and planning, attainment of the desired result is still not guaranteed if the importance of every individual’s role is taken for granted. It is the people who create every milestone of an organization. (Hunt, Osborn, Schermerhorn & Uhl-Bien, 2012).1

An organization does well in achieving its goals when it is made up of competent individuals who are committed to performing their work with utmost quality. Commitment to one’s work, however, is not something that the big bosses can simply impose upon their people, nor is it something that new members of the organization can learn while still in training. It is something that each member becomes willing to give when they know that they are in a win-win situation with the organization. Each person contributes his/her time, skills and expertise, as individuals and as members of teams, to pursue a common goal, and in return expects that all the hard work will also be reciprocated by the organization through incentives and due recognition. Thus, the challenge to organizational success is not just about hiring the right people, rather it is keeping them motivated and committed to work not just for personal gains but also for the growth of the organization. Simply stated, there must be goal congruence between the people and the organization. To achieve such, each and everyone’s needs, capabilities, and aspirations must be given value and attention. Moreover, according to Hunt el al. (2012)1, time and effort must also be devoted to the understanding of the dynamics of human behavior in organizations.

What is an Organization?

An organization is a collection of people working together in a division of labor for a common purpose (Hunt et al., 2012).1

What is Organizational Behavior?


Organizational Culture


is a shared set of beliefs and values within an organization


Organizational Climate

represents shared perceptions of members regarding what the organization is like in terms of management policies and practices


Workforce Diversity



(Hunt et al., 2012)1

describes how people differ on attribures such as age, race, ethnicity, gender, physical ability and sexual orientation


With the complexities brought about by the changing environment within and outside the organization, more and more challenges pose a threat not only to its success and continuity but also to the work satisfaction of its people. Dissatisifed employees could lead to poor performance, thus making it more difficult to achieve organizational goals. With these in mind, gaining an understanding of organizational behavior is of great help in providing better perspectives for handling challenges in the workplace.

Organizational behavior, or simply OB is the study of human behavior in organizations. It is an academic discipline devoted to understanding individual and group behavior, interpersonal processes, and organizational dynamics. Learning OB can be both beneficial to the organization as a whole and to every member that comprises it. Its ultimate goal is to improve the performance of people, groups, and organizations, and to improve the quality of worklife overall (Hunt et al., 2012).1

Behaviors in an organization may vary due to differences in internal and external factors affecting the organizations. Examples of internal factors are the diversity in its workforce, as well as the organization’s culture and climate influenced by its vision, mission and objectives; its organizational structure or hierarchy, and leadeship style. Examples of external factors are regulatory forces, politics, globalization, technology, competition and many others.

Despite the differences in behavior from one organization to another, the study of OB draws its generalizations from conducted researches with the use of scientific methods. Organizational behavior began to emerge as a scientific discipline as a result of the Hawthorne studies. McGregor and Maslow led the human relations movement that grew from those studies. Though a separate discipline in itself, OB has its ties in many other discplinary bodies of knowledge such behavioral sciences, which include psychologysociology and anthropology; and social sciences such as economics and political science (Moorehead & Griffin, n.d.).2

 Quick Ideas


the scientific study of the human mind and mental states, and of human and animal behavior.



the study of the origin, development, and structure of human societies and the behavior of individual people and groups in society


the study of humankind in all its aspects, especially human culture or human development.

It differs from sociology in taking a more historical and comparative approach



the study of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services


Political Science

the study of political organizations and institutions, especially governments

Source: Encarta, 2009.3

OB uses a contingency approach. It acknowledges the fact that there is no single best way to handle different situations and the people involved in such. Such approach involves practices and decision-making tailor-made to fit specific management situations.

Importance of Studying OB

For students who will become future employees, and eventually future bosses, having knowledge of what organizational behavior is all about and what it is for will help them be more efficient and effective in the workplace.

In looking for a future organization to work for, those who have studied OB will have the upper hand of understanding the importance of knowing or familiarizing first with the essentail facts about the organization before actually applying for a position. Essential facts include knowing its history, vision, mission, objectives, the organization’s heads or leaders and other people that comprise it.  Another important consideration is also making sure that your personal values and principles in life are also aligned or at least not in conflict with that of the organization’s goals and means of achieiving those goals. Moreover, the ideal organization to work for is one which values its employees by providing incentives, good working conditions, and effective management and leadership style. It must be able to allow its employees to grow as individuals and as professionals. Take note that job satisfaction does not come from good salary compensation alone but with the overall experience as an individual and as a member of the organization. Job satisfaction motivates employees to work hard and perform at their best.

OB is just as useful to members of the organization holding managerial positions as it is to their subordinates. In studying OB, managers will be able to better understand ways and means to maximize the potential of its people. It is important for managers to have good relations with their staff and be able to know their personal goals, aspirations and the things that motivate them. Managers can use these as driving forces to make their staff work enthusiastically for the organization.

For business organizations, for example, apart from good marketing, OB now plays a vital role in keeping up with tight competition and maintaining or expanding its market reach. Rapid changes have been happening due to technological advancements and globalizations and in response, people’s needs and wants rapidly change as well. Hence, OB does not only teach ways of how to properly deal with people within the organization but also it provides useful insights to keep satisfied external stakeholders such as customers, government, creditors and investors. For these reasons, it cannot be denied that people are indeed basic building blocks of organizational success (Hunt et al., 2012).1


1. Hunt, Osborn, Schermerhorn & Uhl-Bien.(2012). Organizational Behavior (12th ed.). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

2. Microsoft Encarta. (2009).

3. Moorehead & Griffin. (n.d.). Organizational Behavior (6th ed.). Retrieved on November 4, 2015 from

To learn more about organizational behaviour, students can refer to the following textbooks:

Organizational Behavior, 12th edition by John R. Schermerhorn, Mary Uhl-Bien, Richard N. Osborn and James G. Hunt from John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

This is a very good reference as the book provides the following:

  1. Detailed yet simple explanations about the subject with illustrations
  2. Definition of terms used in the text
  3. Case studies that students can work on
  4. Chapter summaries
  5. Chapter tests/quizzes

If you or your school library does not have a copy of the book, you can watch/subscribe to Michael Nugent’s Youtube channel as he explains all chapters of the said book. Click on this link for Chapter 1: Introduction to Organizational Behavior.

Organizational Behavior, Sixth Edition by Gregory Moorhead and Ricky W. Griffin.

If you do not have a copy of this book, you may want to visit this link for chapter summaries of the book. This link also includes case studies that students may try to work on to test how much they have understood the concepts discussed in each chapter. Here is another useful link to learn more about the Hawthorne studies as mentioned in this article. A downloadable case study on Organizational Behavior by Bobby Medlin can be found at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith for future reference in case the students are required to make a case study analysis in class.

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