Towards Explaining and Practicing Behavior

Organizational behavior (OD)>The study of the actions of people at work:

Although it is concerned with the general area of behavior that is, the actions of people – organizations behavior (OB) is concerned specifically with the actions of people at work.

One of the challenges of understanding organizational behavior is that it addresses some issues that are not obvious. Like an iceberg, a lot of organizational behavior is not visible to the naked eye. What we tend to see when we look at organizations are their formal aspects – strategies, objectives, policies and procedures, structure, technology, formal authority and chains of command. But just under the surface lie informal elements that managers need to understand. OB provides managers with considerable insight into these important but hidden aspects of the organization.

What is the focus of organizational behavior?

Organizational behavior focuses primarily on two major areas. First, OB looks at individual behavior. Based predominantly on contributions from psychologists this area includes such things as personality, perception, learning and motivation. Second, OB is concerned with group behavior, which includes norms, roles, team building, and conflict. Our knowledge about groups comes basically from work of sociologists and social psychologists. Unfortunately, the behavior of a group of employees cannot be understood by merely summing up the actions of the individuals because individuals in groups behave differently than individuals acting alone. You see difference when individuals engage in some risk taking behavior, such as bungee jumping. The individuals might never engage in such behavior if they were acting alone. Put them together, add peer pressure, and they act differently. Therefore because employees in an organization are both individuals and members of groups, we need to study them at two levels. This, article provides the foundation for understanding individuals and group behavior.

What are the goals of organizations behavior?

The goals of OB are to explain and to predict behavior. Why do managers need this skill? Simply, in order to manage their employees ‘behavior’. We know that a manager’s success depends on getting things done through other people. The manager needs to be able to explain why employees engage in some behaviors rather than others and to predict how employees will respond to various actions the manager might take.

The employee behaviors are specifically concerned about employee productivity, absenteeism and turnover. The importance of productivity is obvious. Managers are concerned with the quantity and quality of output of each employee. But absence and turnover specially in high rates can adversely affect this output. That’s because when an employee isn’t at work, he or she can’t be productive. Furthermore, high turnover rates increase costs and often to less experienced individuals performing the tasks.

Organizational citizenship: Behavior that is not directly part of an employee’s formal job description.

There’s a fourth type of behavior that is becoming important in determining employees performance. It’s called organizational citizenship. Organizational citizenship is behavior that is not directly part of an employee’s formal job description. Rather, it’s those behaviors that promote the effective functioning of the organization. For example, positive employee citizenship might include helping others on one’s work team, volunteering for extra job activities, avoiding unnecessary conflicts, or making constructive statements about one work group and the overall organization.

In addition to these behaviors we will look at job satisfaction. Although job satisfaction is not a behavior – it’s an attitude —it is an outcome with which many managers are concerned. An employee’s attitude may be linked to his or her productivity, absenteeism, and turnover. An understanding of employee personality, perception and learning can help us to predict and explain employee productivity, absence and turnover rates, and job satisfaction.