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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Summary - Introduction and Foundations of Organizational Behaviour

Organizational behavior (OB) is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups, and structure have on behavior within an organization, then applies that knowledge to make organizations work more effectively. Specifically, OB focuses on how to improve productivity, reduce absenteeism and turnover, and increase employee citizenship and job satisfaction. An organization consists of people and so it is also a social system.

The field of organizational behavior (OB) draws primarily from the behavioral science disciplines of psychology, social psychology, and cultural anthropology. The areas on which OB focuses are individuals who will often be working within groups, which themselves work within organizations, as well as all the interrelationships between them. Some of the specific themes embraced by OB are personality theory, attitudes and values, motivation and learning, interpersonal behavior, group dynamics, leadership and teamwork, organizational structure and design, decision-making, power, conflict, and negotiation. OB is an interdisciplinary field, it has distinctly humanistic outlook, it is performance oriented, it considers external environment as critical, it uses scientific method and it has an applications orientation.

The three broad levels of analysis are at individual level, group level and organizational level. Further to this, Wood (1997) provides a useful model for exploring behavioral events. He suggests that different levels of analysis can be applied when examining the significance of an organizational issue. He proposes eight, namely: individual, team, inter-group, organizational, inter-organizational, societal, international, and global.

A large number of people have contributed to the growth of OB as a discipline. Some of the most important works have been done by Adam Smith, Frederick Taylor, Henri Fayol, Max Weber, Mary parker Follet, Abraham Maslow, B. F. Skinner, to name a few. Organizational behavior is an applied behavioral science that is built upon contributions from a number of behavioral disciplines. The main areas are psychology, sociology, social psychology, anthropology, and political science.

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