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Posted on March 26th, 2012, by

In this paper I am going to describe the theme about organizational behavior and to analyze and explore the aspects of organizational behavior theory and its application in practice.


                     The background of organizational behavior

 The term originated in the early 60’s (XX century), when several lines of scientific disciplines involved in explaining the processes that occur in the organization, between organizations, as well as between the external and internal environment combined into a single entity. In spite of the increasing theorization of organizational behavior, it is actively used in practice. Businessmen mocked the concepts such as a group work or enrichment work for decades, as long as the consultants began to sell these ideas under the guise of a new tendency called compressed production. In the beginning they mocked discussion of organizational culture, but accepted these theories when consultants began to submit them under the label organizational advantage, organizational skills. Sometimes, the practitioners faced to different problems and became the gullible victims of the organizational fashion, the same ideas and researches. For example, the enthusiasm for organizational excellence mostly meant that people had never tried to assimilate and apply the standard concepts of organizational behavior, which were known by at least thirty years before.

Organizational behavior is a systematic and scientific analysis of individuals, groups and organizations in order to understand, predict and improve the individual performance and functioning of the organization (i.e., based on personality). Organizational behavior is a study of people and groups in the organization. This is an academic discipline, which helps managers to make effective decisions when working with people in a complex dynamic environment. It combines concepts and theories related to individuals, groups, organizations in general. In accordance with the latter definition I can distinguish three levels of behavior problems:

ü    Personal;

ü    Group; and

ü    Organizational.

Richard Pettinger proves the fact that organizational behavior is concerned with: the purposes for which organisations are created;  the behaviour of individuals, and an understanding of the pressures and influences that cause them to act and react in particular ways;  the qualities that individuals bring to particular situations;  the creation of groups, collections of people brought together for given purposes;  the background and context within which activities take place;  relationships and interactions with the wider environment with other organisations and groups; the management and ordering of the whole and its parts into productive and effective work relationships. (Pettinger, 2000: p. 4).

Organizational behavior is a systematic study and practical application of knowledge about how people (individuals and groups) interact within the organization.

According to Simms, Price & Ervin the main purposes of organizational theorists are to revitalize organizational theory and develop a better conceptualization of organizational life. (Simms, Price & Ervin, 1994: p.121).

Jablin & Putnam admit that an organizational theorist should carefully consider levels assumptions being made in theory, and is concerned to help managers and administrators. (Jablin & Putnam, 2000: p. 146).


  The main approaches to the study of organizational behavior

There are two basic approaches:

Trial and error method, based on the accumulation of life experiences to find effective behaviors;

Using special techniques and methods of related disciplines. This approach involves the mastery of theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

It is important for a manager to combine both approaches. There are the following techniques in the study of organizational behavior: surveys, including interviews, questionnaires, testing. Collection and analysis of information (based on the study of documents). Observation and experiment.


            Characteristics of organizational behavior

Organizational behavior manifests itself in the following forms, aspects, events: the installation, values, preferences, inclinations of individuals, formed in the mind; behavior of individuals with regard to physical objects in case of unexpected information and social contacts; behavior groups, teams and other groups, characterized by communicating face to face; conduct organizational units such as divisions, departments, companies or large concerns; the behavior of an interconnected group of organizations; conduct the internal and external environment company, such as the evolution of technology, markets, competition, government regulation, etc.


                Types of theories of organizational behavior

The types of theories of organizational behavior can be divided into two criteria. The first criterion is the existent foundations for an explanation. The main goals of theories are to explain the causes of events, forms and development, they can be distinguished according to the type of reasons that they offer. According to the first criterion, the first class of theories in the field of organizational behavior consists of pragmatic theories. They explain the organizational life in the view of events, forms and changes. This is a case of what the organization is explained by its ability to meet the requirements or the use of internal and external environment. Each time when “what the organization is explained by the adequacy of its objectives, context and external environment and strategy, and through the adequacy of its profitability, productivity and efficiency of such a context and external environment it is a pragmatic theory.

Such a theory is always based on the type of behavior that is rational (in the conscious evolution of the different outcomes and courses of action) or by the trial and error method aimed at maximizing the satisfaction or pragmatic aspirations and ambitions. However, the form utility can change. This contradiction draws attention to the firm’s behavioral theory, which is one of the cornerstones of organizational behavior.

The second class of theories is the institutional theory. Institutions are relatively stable, and typed examples or models in the social structure of society or in networks of social interaction. In the institutional theories, usefulness of the organizational structure is a secondary thing. Things are made with the help of a certain way because institutionalized norms or rules offer the course of an action in the explicit or implicit form. Legality of specific institutions, including all models of behavior can be separated from its practical and relative usefulness. Some people can be pragmatics all the time, most people are pragmatists from time to time, but they cannot be pragmatics at all times. Usually, pragmatic direction can exist only because they are embedded in environment with a small number of institutions.

The third direction is the cultural studies theory. It appeals to values, preferences, significant symbols and mental programs in the broad sense. This is a programming on a level of the individual’s consciousness, which has a sense.

In this approach, the utility also is secondary, but it suddenly appears as a function of the mentioned preferences and values. Cultural studies focuses on the fact that the utilities vary depending on the class of factors and that these classes differ depending on differences in the socialization process. Supporters of this theory are also inclined to the fact that the institutions are units, which add up to the individual mental programs. Despite the fact that this, in principle, does not contradict the concepts of utility and institutionalization, the proponents of the culturological theory repeated again and again about their relative importance in terms of culture. Different people behave differently in the same organizational environment. A man always has freedom to choose behavior patterns: to accept or not to accept the organizational forms and norms of behavior. The specialists describe four models of organizational behavior.

The first model of organizational behavior is a devoted and disciplined member of the organization. He fully accepts all the organizational values and norms of behavior. In this case a man tries to behave in a way that his actions do not contradict with the interests of the organization. He sincerely tries to be disciplined, to carry out his duties in accordance with accepted norms of the organization and behavior patterns. Therefore, the results of his actions largely depend on his personal capacities and abilities and how correctly determine the content of his role and functions in the organization.

The second model of organizational behavior is a timeserver. A person does not accept values of the organization, but tries to behave completely following the norms and behavior patterns of the organization. Such a person could be described as a timeserver. He does everything right and by the rules, but it should not be considered a reliable member of the organization, as though he is a good and executive employee, however, he can leave the organization at any time or make the steps, which can contrary to the interests of the organization, but correspond with his own interests. For example, a person can easily leave the firm, as soon as he will be offered better conditions. The timeservers are the most common type of behavior among the staff of any organization.

The third model of organizational behavior is an eccentric. People accept the organization’s goals, but do not accept existing traditions and norms of behavior. In this case, a person can generate a lot of difficulties in relationships with colleagues and leaders. He looks like rara avis in the team. However, if the leadership of the organization finds the courage to abandon well-established rules of conduct for individual employees and give them freedom to choose behavior patterns that they can find their place in the organization and bring it the significant benefit. This type of the model includes a lot of talented and creative people, who can generate new ideas and original solutions.

The fourth model is a rebel. The individual does not accept any ethics or values of the organization. This is an open rebel, who always comes into conflict with the organizational environment and creates a conflict. The rebels by their behavior create a lot of problems that significantly load the organization’s life with obstacles, and even cause it harm. However, it would be wrong to assume that this type of organizational behavior is absolutely unacceptable, and people who behave in this way, do not need the organization. In spite of all inconveniences they create, there are a lot of talented individuals among them, whose presence bring the great benefit to the organization. For example, there is a special program Free employee in IBM. Leaders select employees from the notorious rebels (it is around 50 employees in IBM). Then, these workers receive full freedom of actions for five years with one aim – always shake the system of the organization from top to bottom.


                    Motivation in organizations

The motivation of internal or external forces towards a person, which provoke enthusiasm and resistance to chase a certain course of actions. According to Baron & Greenberg Although motivation is a broad and complex concept, organizational scientists have agreed on its basic characteristics. Drawing from various social sciences, we define motivation as the set of processes that arouse, direct, and maintain human behavior toward attaining some goal (Baron & Greenberg, 2008: p. 248).

Ian Brooks in his book Organisational Behaviour: Individuals, Groups and Organisation noted that All organisanions exist in a complex and usually dynamic environment. The business environment comprises an array of forces which both influence an organization and are framed by the organization. These forces may be categorised. One such typology is the PEST model, where the environment is thought to comprise political, economic, social and technological forces. If we add legal, ecological and competitive processes to this we have included most aspects of the external environment. It can be argued that organisations behave in response to environmental forces and, in turn, their behaviour, or strategy, influences their environment. (Brooks, 2006: p. 3).

In addition, the human factor plays a crucial role in the organization. One of the main problems of organizational behavior is the problem of execution. The practice of human resource management and staff, of course, is a very important element of the organizational context. Employees’ knowledge and skills, their professional competence, state of mind, attitude to their duties, productivity and effort, socialization and career all these qualities are closely connected with the organizational structures and practices. Consequently, there are very close relationships between the theory of personnel management, research and organizational behavior, their fields coincide in many respects. Organizational phenomena can usually be explained only if the explanation takes into account the human factor, and vice versa.

Langton & Robbins affirm that a field of study that investigates how individuals, groups and structure affect and are affected by behaviour within organizations, for the purpose of applying such knowledge toward improving an organization’s effectiveness. (Langton & Robbins, 2006: p.3).

To sum up the above-stated information I can draw a conclusion that I described the theme about organizational behavior, analyzed and explored the aspects of organizational behavior theory and its application in practice.









Baron, R. & Greenberg, J. (2008). Behavior in organizations 9th edition. Pearson Education Inc., New Jersey: p.248

Brooks, I. (2006). Organisational Behaviour: Individuals, Groups and Organisation 3rd. Prentice Hall.

Jablin, F. & Putnam, L. (2000). The new handbook of organizational communication: advances in theory. p.146.

Langton, N. & Robbins, S. (2006). Fundamentals of Organizational Behavior, Third Canadian Edition. 3 pg.

Newstrom, John W. & Davis, Keith (1993). Organizational Behavior: Human Behavior at Work. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Pettinger R. (2000). Mastering Organisational Behaviour. Macmillan Academic.

Revans, R. W. (1982). The Origin and Growth of Action Learning. Hunt, England: Chatwell-Bratt, Bickley.

Simms, M., & Price, L., & Ervin, N. (1994). The professional practice of nursing administration. p.121.

Stewart, J. (1991). Managing Change Through Training and Development. London: Kogan Page.

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