Psychology is a very young scientific field, yet it has achieved in such a short length of time immeasurable feats incomparable to only a few of the other scientific disciplines. One of its modern developments includes the establishment of an equally comprehensive sub-discipline: industrial and organizational psychology where the focus of study is the application of principles and concepts in psychology to the industries/workplace and all forms of organizations. The concept of organizational behavior is examined and studied in various contexts (Druckman et al, 1979).
Organizational Behavior Defined
What is organizational behavior and how is it studied and applied? Organizational behavior is actually a complex and dynamic mechanism. It includes the application and integration of theoretical perspectives from the social and behavioral sciences to shed light on how and why individuals behave in a variety of ways in organizations. Included in the study are the ways the individuals carry out their tasks, the structure, design and operation of human persons in simple and complex organizational set-ups.
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It is defined as “the study and application of knowledge about how people, individuals, and groups act in organizations” (Mangelsdorff, 2007). This is accomplished utilizing the systems approach or systems model. The latter is meant as interpreting people and organizational relationships in reference to the whole individual, “whole group, whole organization, and whole social system” (Knoster et al. , 2000). The objective is developing improved and enhanced relationships by attaining individual aims, organizational goals and social aspirations (Mangelsdorff, 2007).
Specifically, any student who pursues the study of the concepts involved in the matter will examine how individuals work in groups; acquire insights into human strengths and interpersonal relationships. Intertwined in the study is to delve into theories or principles of motivation of personnel, effective leadership with the goal of formulating a sound thinking and values of management and leadership. Moreover, organizational behavior investigates scientific data and utilizes a variety of research traditions to further understand how individuals work and function efficiently in diverse forms of structures (Shortell et al. , 2000)
The concepts that are pursued by a typical student of organizational behavior include the following: the evolution and organizational and management theories; the rich historical background of management, organizational theories and the development of management thought, are adequately covered in this particular aspect (Robbins,1997).
Referring to another dimension of the subject which is that of Individual Behavior and dynamics – the student explores individual performance, individual differences, focus on personality tests, the various motivational paradigms, reinforcement and rewards and, generational values, among others (Revans, 1987).
Where group behavior is concerned, an enthusiast investigates and benefits from the study of organizational change strategies, group dynamics, work teams and communication, the nuances of conflict, negotiation and intergroup behavior, the workings of power and politics in organizations, leadership and theories dwelling on the subject and even military leadership (Mangelsdorff, 2007)
Organizational behavior, when scrutinized closely, thus far covers a lot of topics. It embraces the understanding of structure, design of the organization itself.
It also includes the study of the work design, policies and practices of the human resource, job design, and decision making as an organization. Furthermore, it also examines the organizational culture, its dynamics where change is aimed to be implemented (Revans, 1982) The elements of organizational behavior lean upon management’s plan and philosophy, vision and objectives. Basing on this foundation springs the organizational culture where the formal and informal types of organization and the social environment are best understood (Knoster et al., 2000).
Significant contributions to organizational behavior in the study of group behavior in organizations have been made by Psychologists, Sociologists, Anthropologists, Political, and scientists. In a recent study entitled (Laughlin et al, (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology) "Groups Perform Better than the Best Individuals on Letters-to-Numbers Problems: Effects of Group Size", it illustrates that the joint labors of groups may be valuable in improving and enhancing problem-solving skills. Read about Evolution of Job Design
This kind of research and many others demonstrate that the immeasurable resources and models-data-utilized in the study of organizational behavior come from discipline of psychology. Case studies made (e. g. The Andes Survivors, Failed Everest expedition, Heaven’s gate, Jonestown Massacre Incident, and many others) effectively capture the dynamics of group behavior in specific settings (Forsythe, DR, 2006). Furthermore, tracing the historical background of organizational behavior, we notice such contributions as Taylorism (known as FW Taylor) model, the Hawthorne effect, development of psychology (Freud etc.) and a host of others in the humanistic movement onwards who have shared their expertise. The more recent input which had influenced much towards organizational behavior is the work of Lewin (circa 1943, 1951). Others who followed him who became prominent were Bion (1961) and Tuckman (1965). If one scans and studies any resource pertaining this subject many if not all of them are attributed works made from psychological persuasion. Therefore it is without doubt that group behavior in the field of organization behavior can be traced from significant contributions of psychology.
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