Definition of Organizational Behavior

Organizational behavior studies the impact individuals, groups, and structures have on human behavior within organizations. It is an interdisciplinary field that includes sociology, psychology, communication, and management. Organizational behavior complements organizational theory, which focuses on organizational and intra-organizational topics, and complements human-resource studies, which is more focused on everyday business practices.
“Organisational behaviour is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups and structure have on behaviour within the organisations for the purpose of applying such knowledge toward improving an organization’s effectiveness.”—Stephens P. Robbins.


In short, organisational behaviour revolves around two fundamental components:

  1. The nature of the man.
  2. The nature of the organisation.

Organisational behaviour is the basis of human resource management and development. The former is concept oriented whereas the latter is concerned with the technology of human development. The variables influencing human development are scientifically studied under organisational behaviour.

Characteristics of Organisational Behavior:

  1. Behavioural Approach to Management:

Organisational behaviour is that part of whole management which represents the behavioural approach to management. Organisational behaviour has emerged as a distinct field of study because of the importance of human behaviour in organisations.

  1. Cause and Effect Relationship:

Human behaviour is generally taken in terms of cause and effect relationship and not in philosophical terms. It helps in predicting the behaviour of individuals. It provides generalizations that managers can use to anticipate the effect of certain activities on human behaviour.

  1. Organisational Behaviour is a Branch of Social Sciences:

Organisational behaviour is heavily influenced by several other social sciences viz. psychology, sociology and anthropology. It draws a rich array of research from these disciplines.

  1. Three Levels of Analysis:

Organisational behaviour encompasses the study of three levels of analysis namely individual behaviour, inter-individual behaviour and the behaviour of organisations themselves. The field of organisational behaviour embraces all these levels as being complementary to each other.

  1. A Science as well as an Art:

Organisational behaviour is a science as well as an art. The systematic knowledge about human behaviour is a science and the application of behavioural knowledge and skills is an art. Organisational behaviour is not an exact science because it cannot exactly predict the behaviour of people in organisations. At best a manager can generalize to a limited extent and in many cases, he has to act on the basis of partial information.

  1. A Body of Theory, Research and Application:

Organisational behaviour consists of a body of theory, research and application which helps in understanding the human behaviour in organisation. All these techniques help the managers to solve human problems in organisations.

  1. Beneficial to both Organisation and Individuals:

Organisational behaviour creates an atmosphere whereby both organisation and individuals are benefitted by each other. A reasonable climate is created so that employees may get much needed satisfaction and the organisation may attain its objectives.

  1. Rational Thinking:

Organisational behaviour provides a rational thinking about people and their behaviour. The major objective of organisational behaviour is to explain and predict human behaviour in organisations, so that result yielding situations can be created.

Nature of Organisational Behavior:

Organisational behaviour in the study of human behaviour in the organisations. Whenever an individual joins an organisation he brings with him unique set of personal characteristics, experiences from other organisations and a personal background. At the first stage organisational behaviour must look at the unique perspective that each individual brings to the work setting.

The second stage of organisational behaviour is to study the dynamics of how the incoming individuals interact with the broader organisation. No individual can work in isolation. He comes into contact with other individuals and the organisation in a variety of ways. The individual who joins a new organisation has to come into contact with the co-workers, managers, formal policies and procedures of the organisation etc.

Over the time, he is affected by his work experience and the organisation as well as his personal experiences and maturity. On the other hand, the organisation is also affected by the presence or absence of the individual. Thus, it is essential that OB must study the ways in which the individuals and organisation interact with each other.

The organisational behaviour must be studied from the perspective of the organisation itself because an organisation exists before a particular individual joins in and continues to exist after he or she has left the organisation. Thus, OB is the study of human behaviour in the organisation, the individual-organisation interaction and the organisation itself. And these factors are influenced by the external environment in which the individuals and the organisation exist.

Thus, we can say that we cannot study individual behaviour completely without learning something about the organisation. On the other hand, we cannot study the organisations without studying the behaviour of the individuals working in it. This is because the organisation influences and is influenced by the people working in it. Moreover, both the individuals and the organisation are influenced by the external environment. Thus, the field of organisational behaviour is a complex field. It seeks to throw light on the entire canvas of human factor in the organisations which will include the causes and effects of such behaviour.


Individual behavior can be defined as a mix of responses to external and internal stimuli. It is the way a person reacts in different situations and the way someone expresses different emotions like anger, happiness, love, etc.


On the basis of these elements, psychologist Kurt Lewin stated the Field theory and outlined the behavior framework. This psychological theory studies the patterns of interaction between an individual and the environment. The theory is expressed using the formula

B = F(P,E)

where, B – Behavior, F – Behavior Function, P – Person, and E – Environment around the person.

Causes of Individual Behavior

Certain individual characteristics are responsible for the way a person behaves in daily life situations as well as reacts to any emergency situations. These characteristics are categorized as −

  • Inherited characteristics
  • Learned characteristics


Inherited Characteristics

The features individuals acquire from their parents or from our forefathers are the inherited characteristics. In other words, the gifted features an individual possesses by birth is considered as inherited characteristics.


Learned Characteristics

Nobody learns everything by birth. First our school is our home, then our society followed by our educational institutions. The characteristics an individual acquires by observing, practicing and learning from others and the surroundings is known as learned characteristics.

It consists of the following features −

  • Perception− Result of different senses like feeling, hearing etc.
  • Values− Influences perception of a situation, decision making process.
  • Personality− Patterns of thinking, feeling, understanding and behaving.
  • Attitude− Positive or negative attitude like expressing one’s thought.



  1. Write a short note on nature of Organisation Behavior?
  2. Explain in brief – Organisation behavior as a dynamic system.

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