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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Definitions of OB - Foundations of Organizational Behaviour


• A consciously coordinated social unit, composed of a group of people, which functions on a relatively continuous basis to achieve a common goal or set of goals.

• Manufacturing units, service firms and MNC‟s are organizations, it also includes schools, hospitals, churches, military units, retail stores, police departments, volunteer organizations, start-ups, and local, state and federal government agencies.

• Organizations can be located in the public sector or the private sector, they can be unionized or not, they can be publicly traded or they can be privately held. If they are publicly traded, senior managers typically are responsible to a board of directors, which may or may not take an active role in the how the firm is run. The managers themselves may or may not own shares of the firm. If the firm is privately held, it may be run by the owners, or the managers report to the owners.

Organizational Behaviour (OB)

Organizational behaviour (OB) is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups, and structure have on behaviour within an organization, then applies that knowledge to make organizations work more effectively (Robbins, 2003).

In recent times, we notice the following changes in the organizational set up:

1. Demise of traditional hierarchical structure
2. Emergence of workforce with different expectations form organizations
3. Advancement of information technology
4. Increasing importance on empowerment and teamwork
5. Concern for work-life balance

Buchanan and Huczynski (1997) have defined Organizations as:
“Social arrangements, constructed by people who can also change them. Organizations can be repressive and stifling, but they can also be designed to provide opportunities for self-fulfilment and individual expression. The point is that human consequences depend on how organizations are designed and run.”

Barnard (1938) defined Organizations:
“As system of co-operative activities – and their co-ordination requires something intangible and personal that is largely a matter of personal relationships”. There are a number of definitions that we can draw on to illuminate and deepen our understanding of the concept of organizational behavior.

According to Pugh, (1971):
OB is concerned with „„the study of the structure, functioning and performance of organizations, and the behavior of groups and individuals within them”.

Ivancevich and Matteson, (1998) in their book Organizational Behavior and Management:

They opine that OB is about „„the study of human behavior, attitudes and performance within an organizational setting; drawing on theory, methods, and principles from such disciplines as psychology, sociology, and cultural anthropology to learn about individual perception, values, learning capabilities, and actions while working with groups and within the total organization; analyzing the external environment‟s effect on the organization and its human resources, missions, objectives and strategies”.

What emerges from these definitions is a view of OB as:

1. A way of thinking
2. An interdisciplinary field
3. Having a distinctly humanistic outlook
4. Performance oriented
5. Seeing the external environment as critical
6. Using scientific method
7. Having an applications orientation

Organizational Behavior emphasizes on intellectual capital as represented by the sum total of knowledge, expertise, and dedication of an organizations workforce. It recognizes that even in the age of high technology, people are the indispensable human resources whose knowledge and performance advance the organizations purpose, mission, and strategies. Only through human efforts can the great advantages be realized from other material resources of organizations, such as, technology, information, raw materials, and money.

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