What is Organizational Behavior? - Definition and History of the Field
- Track Progress
- 0:08 Organizational Behavior
- 0:56 Internal Perspective
- 2:06 External Perspective
- 2:39 History of Organizational Behavior
- 3:51 Lesson Summary
Organizational behavior is the study of both group and individual performance and activity within an organization. Internal and external perspectives are two theories of how organizational behavior can be viewed by companies.
Why do people behave a certain way in an organizational environment? What factors affect job performance, employee interaction, job commitment, leadership and managerial styles? Individuals have studied this very topic for decades in order to find ways of increasing organizational performance. Organizational behavior is the study of both group and individual performance and activity within an organization.
This area of study examines human behavior in a work environment and determines its impact on job structure, performance, communication, motivation, leadership, etc. Internal and external perspectives are two theories of how organizational behavior can be viewed by companies. Let's take a look at how the perspectives are different through examining Ninja Corporation.
The Ninja Corporation has two human resource managers at their headquarters. Julia and Nick have different opinions regarding how to use organizational behavioral factors to improve work conditions. Julia embraces the internal perspective and believes that employees' behavior is in large part based on their own personal feelings, interactions, thoughts and experiences.
This theory revolves around the idea that, in order to understand individuals in an organizational environment, an individual must understand the person's thoughts, feelings and personal values. Recently, a manager mentioned to Julia that she was having difficulty with motivating one of her subordinates in the sales division. Julia met with the manager and employee to see what advice she could offer in this situation.
Julia spoke with the subordinate, who revealed that he wanted to achieve his sales goals and felt that his co-workers were getting the best territories and extra feedback. Once Julia was able to uncover the subordinate's internal employment issues, she then could explain what motivational techniques would improve his performance to the manager. Her human resource coworker, Nick, had the opposite view of organizational behavior.
Nick was also a human resource manager at Ninja Corporation. He took an external perspective of organizational behavior. He believed that external events and environmental factors affected an individual's job performance and behavior. A recent example of this theory would be when Nick told numerous managers to increase their subordinate's salaries by $5,000 in order to further motivate the sales team. Organizational behavior's history is really a combination of numerous fields of study.
The Industrial Revolution brought about the need for understanding human behavior in a work environment. The first mention of analyzing work was with Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915). He viewed job tasks as a bunch of components that could be analyzed and broken down into small parts. Taylor believed you could substitute or replace individuals at any point in the labor process as you could with parts on a machine.
The second part of organizational behavior was the human relations movement. Although productivity increased during the Industrial Revolution, there was also a breaking point where workers started to become dissatisfied and unmotivated. This led to an interest in developing individual employee's human motivation.
The Western Electric (Hawthorne Works) Studies (1923-1933) uncovered how workers supported each other when a work group felt that management was trying to exploit their productivity. The studies also showed how rewards and punishments could influence worker accomplishment. The continued growth of organizational behavior grew out of numerous other influences from the fields of psychology, sociology, anthropology, engineering and management.
Organizational behavior is the study of both group and individual performance and activity within an organization. Internal and external perspectives are two theories of how organizational behavior can be viewed by companies. The internal perspective states that employees' behavior is in large part based on their own personal feelings, interactions, thoughts and experiences.
The external perspective of organizational behavior is concerned with the idea that external events and environmental factors affected an individual's job performance and behavior. The history of organizational behavior was influenced by numerous disciplines, the Industrial Revolution and the human relations movement.
Ask Our Experts
Response times may vary by topic.
Our experts can answer your question related to:
- Requirements for Different Careers
- Enrolling in College
- Transferring Credit
- And More…
Chapters in Business 107: Organizational Behavior
- 1. The Evolution of Organizational Behavior (8 lessons)
- 2. Management and Organizational Behavior (4 lessons)
- 3. Foundations of Individual Behavior (5 lessons)
- 4. Personality and Behavior in Organizations (8 lessons)
- 5. Emotions and Moods in the Workplace (6 lessons)
- 6. Attitudes and Values in the Workplace (11 lessons)
- 7. Ethics in the Workplace (8 lessons)
- 8. Perception and Attribution (8 lessons)
- 9. Learning in the Workplace (5 lessons)
- 10. Employee Motivation (18 lessons)
- 11. Individual Decision Making in Organizations (6 lessons)
- 12. Workforce Diversity (5 lessons)
- 13. Organizational Communication in Business (9 lessons)
- 14. Groups and Work Teams (12 lessons)
- 15. Group Decision Making (6 lessons)
- 16. Conflict in the Workplace (8 lessons)
- 17. Leadership in Organizational Behavior (12 lessons)
- 18. Leadership Theory in Organizational Behavior (3 lessons)
- 19. Leadership Styles in Organizational Behavior (11 lessons)
- 20. Organizational Structure and Design (14 lessons)
- 21. Job Design (10 lessons)
- 22. Organizational Culture (10 lessons)
- 23. Organizational Change and Organizational Behavior (16 lessons)
- 24. Managing Workplace Stress (4 lessons)
- 25. Career Management (4 lessons)
- 26. Global Implications of Organizational behavior (8 lessons)
People are saying…
"This just saved me about $2,000 and 1 year of my life." — Student
"I learned in 20 minutes what it took 3 months to learn in class." — Student