Where Organizational Behavior Is Studied
Academic programs focusing on organizational behavior are found in business schools as well as at schools of social work and psychology. These programs draw from the fields of anthropology, ethnography, and leadership studies, and use quantitative, qualitative, and computer models as methods to explore and test ideas.
Depending on the program, one can study specific topics within organizational behavior or broader fields within it. Specific topics covered include cognition, decision-making, learning, motivation, negotiation, impressions, group process, stereotyping, and power and influence. The broader study areas include social systems, the dynamics of change, markets, relationships between organizations and their environments, how social movements influence markets, and the power of social networks.
Real World Examples of Organizational Behavior
Findings from organizational behavior research are used by executives and human relations professionals to better understand a business’s culture, how that culture helps or hinders productivity and employee retention, and how to evaluate candidates’ skills and personality during the hiring process.
Organizational behavior theories inform real-world evaluation and management of groups of people. There are a number of components:
- Personality plays a large role in the way a person interacts with groups and produces work. Understanding a candidate’s personality, either through tests or through conversation, helps determine whether they are a good fit for an organization.
- Leadership, what it looks like and where it comes from, is a rich topic of debate and study within the field of organizational behavior. Leadership can be broad, focused, centralized or de-centralized, decision-oriented, intrinsic in a person’s personality, or simply a result of a position of authority.
- Power, authority, and politics all operate inter-dependently in a workplace. Understanding the appropriate ways these elements are exhibited and used, as agreed upon by workplace rules and ethical guidelines, are key components to running a cohesive business.