Absolutes in organizational behavior


There are few, if any, simple and universal principles that explain organizational behavior. There are laws in the physical sciences—chemistry, astronomy ,physics—that are consistent and apply in a wide range of situations. They allow scientists to generalize about the pull of gravity or to confidently send astronauts into space to repair satellites .But as one noted behavioral researchers aptly concluded ,God gave all the easy problems to the physicists. Humans beings are complex. Because they are not alike, our ability to make simple ,accurate ,and sweeping generalizations is limited. Two people often act very differently in the same situation ,and the same person’s behavior changes in different situations .For instances, not everyone is motivated by money, and you behave differently at church on Sunday than you did at the beer party the night before.

That doesn’t mean, of course ,that we can’t offer reasonably accurate explanations of human behavior or make valid predictions. It does mean, however, that OB concepts must reflect situational, or contingency, conditions. We can say that x leads to you, but only under conditions specified in z(the contingency variables).The science of OB has developed by using general concepts and then altering their application to the particular situation .So, for example, OB scholars would avoid stating that effective leader should always seek the ideas of their followers before making a decision. Rather, we shall find that in some situations a participative style is clearly superior, but, in other situations, an autocratic decision style is more effective .In other words, the effectiveness of a particular leadership style is contingent upon the situation in which it is used.

As you proceed through this text, you’ll encounter a wealth of research-based theories about how people behave in organizations .But don’t expect to find a lot of straightforward cause-and-effect relationships. There aren’t many !Organizational behavior theories mirror the subject matter with which they deal. People are complex and complicated, and so too must be the theories developed to explain their functions.