Organizational Behaviour (OB) | History, Definition, Nature, Models, Scopes

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What is Organizational Behaviour (OB)?

So basically we can say that it is the study of how people/individuals behave in groups and basically its principles are used to make businesses run more effectively and in a smooth way.

It analyzes organizational structure as well as design issues. Consider how an organizational chart influences how individuals act. In addition to organizational reorganization challenges. For example, how corporations/businesses handle unexpected events.

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Organizational behaviour also contributes to the creation of a suitable workplace environment for employees. And it also defines how an organization operates, where it fits into a specific industry, and what its future holds. Human resources staff/supervisors and other professionals use OB to improve communication, productivity, and worker relationships.


Before the 1700s, the Industrial Revolution kept the beginning of large-scale businesses with factories employing many workers. Fast forward to modern times. And organizational behaviour has become an important field of study for businesses, and surrounding topics. Like organizational culture, communication, motivation, and leadership.

Over the years, the concept of organizational behaviour has developed to include a more wide approach. Basically to understand how organizations function. The development of performance-based investigating as a guiding principle has helped to maintain consistency in the field.

However, organizations face new challenges and realities that require constant adaptation. Organizational policies and practices can persist even when they are no longer effective. So skills and norms of inquiry must be developed to ensure organizations evolve.

In essence, organizational behaviour is a product of several forces that interact and adapt to govern the evolution of an organization over the period. As such, the study of organizational behaviour is critical for organizations to remain relevant and successful.


According to L. M. Prasad, he said that “Organisational behaviour can be defined as the study and application of knowledge about human behaviour related to other elements of an organisation such as structure, technology and social systems.”


So K Aswathappa says that “Organizational Behaviour is the study of human behaviour in an organisational setting, of the interface between human behaviour and organisation and of the organisation itself.”


Stephen P. Robbins, “Organizational Behaviour is a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups and structures have on behaviour within organisations for the purpose of applying such knowledge towards improving an organisation’s effectiveness.”


Fred Luthans says that “Organizational Behaviour is directly concerned with the understanding, prediction and control of human behaviour in organisations.”


John Newstram and Keith Devis both said that “Organisational behaviour is the study and application of knowledge about how people as individuals and as groups act within organisations. It strives to identify ways in which people can act more effectively.”


Some definitions highlight the importance of people in the workplace as they make the place. So such definitions realise that individuals have the power to shape the culture, climate, and productivity of their organizations.

Other definitions link OB with management theory and highlight how the field has developed from various management theories. These definitions underline the importance of understanding. That is how different management theories have contributed to the evolution of OB as a unique field.

Some definitions focus on the impact of cultural differences on OB. So these concepts acknowledge that organizational behaviour varies between cultures. And understanding how cultural differences affect human behaviour.

Whatever definition you use, OB is a multidisciplinary field that relies on theories/concepts from psychology, sociology, economics, and other disciplines. It involves understanding the behaviour of individuals, groups, and organizations. As well as how these elements interact with one another.


  • Organizational behaviour is a multidisciplinary approach to studying human behaviour at work, integrating knowledge from psychology, sociology, and anthropology.
  • It is important, as it helps businesses operate more effectively by examining how people interact within groups.

  • Its fundamental concepts revolve around the nature of people and organizations. Such as individual differences, perception, motivation, learning, attitude formation and change, group dynamics and conflict resolution.

  • OB applies a humanistic approach towards people working in the organization by dealing with their thinking and feeling.

Explanation of how organizational behavior is an interdisciplinary field definepedia

OB covers three main levels of analysis: micro (individuals), meso (groups), and macro (the organization). By looking at these different levels, we can gain a better understanding of how people interact with each other and how organizations function as a whole.

When it comes to managing the right people. It is important to use the right tools in the right cases. This is known as a contingency approach, which means using OB concepts and tools that are situationally appropriate. Effective managers manage favour this approach because it takes into account the unique cases of each situation.

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in OB, there are plenty of opportunities for broad interdisciplinary training. Programs like Stanford’s PhD Program in Organizational Behavior provide a great foundation for understanding workplace dynamics from both psychological and sociological perspectives.

5 Models of organizational behaviour

Autocratic Model

In this model, the leader has complete control and makes all the decisions. It’s a very top-down approach, and there’s not much room for employee input. This model can be effective in certain situations, but it can also lead to resentment and low employee morale.

Autocratic leadership is an authoritarian model in which leaders have absolute control. Examples of autocratic leadership include Leona Helmsley, Elon Musk, Howell Raines, Martha Stewart and leaders in the aerospace industry, fire departments and hospitals. So autocratic leaders are often strict managers, commanding speakers and perfectionists who exercise strict control over their teams.

Custodial Model

This model prioritizes employee well-being by offering favourable working conditions, perks, and job stability. The employer takes care of the employee, and in turn, expects loyalty and commitment. This model can be effective in stable situations, but it can also promote complacency and a lack of innovation.

The custodial model of organizational behaviour is based on the concept of providing economic security for employees through wages and other benefits. This model has a managerial direction of using money. To benefit employees and employees are orient towards economic resources. It is distinct from the supportive model, which is based on the leadership orientation of management and encourages employees.

Supportive Model

It all comes down to creating a positive work atmosphere that promotes cooperation, communication, and engagement. Leaders in this model are more like coaches or mentors, and they work to empower their employees. This model can lead to higher employee satisfaction, productivity, and innovation.

The supportive model of organizational behaviour is based on the leadership orientation of management and encourages employees. So it is distinct from the autocratic model, which has a managerial orientation of authority. And employees are orient towards obedience and discipline.

Collegial Model

It is all about collaboration and teamwork. Employees work together as equals, and everyone’s input is value. The leader in this model is more of a facilitator, and there’s a focus on creating a shared vision and mission. This model can promote high levels of creativity and invention, but it might be difficult to execute in some industries.

The collegial model of organizational behaviour is based on teamwork and cooperation, with the manager acting as a guide. Power is shared among team members and the overall environment and corporate culture need to be align with this model. It is distinct from the autocratic model, which has a managerial orientation of authority. And employees are oriented towards obedience and discipline.

System Model

This model takes into account the overall structure and team environment, recognizing that individuals have different goals, talents, and potential. The goal is to establish a cohesive structure that allows individuals to effectively collaborate toward a common goal.

The system model of organizational behaviour is based on trust and self-motivation and is the foundation of positive corporate cultures. It attempts to develop feelings of mutual trust between employees and management, where performance is driven through an integrate approach, corporate culture, and shared goals.

An example of this model in practice is LinkedIn, which has a great work environment due to its focus on trust and self-motivation. This model contrasts with the autocratic and custodial models which are rooted in power and authority or economic resources, respectively.

Scopes of Organizational Behaviour

Individual behaviour

This aspect of organizational behavior examines how an individual behaves within an organizational setting. It includes studying the individual’s personality, values, attitudes, perception, motivation, and job satisfaction.

Individual behaviour in organizational behaviour is the study of how individuals respond to external and internal stimuli. It includes the study of learning, perception, creativity, motivation, personality, turnover, task performance and evaluation, coordinated behaviour, deviant work behaviour, ethics, and cognition.

Emotions such as happiness, rudeness, love, and wrath, as well as individual attributes such as age and gender, all influence human behaviour. These individual behaviours can have an effect on group dynamics and the organization as a whole.

Knowing why a person is unsatisfied with their employment, for example, can assist businesses in creating a more positive work atmosphere and increasing productivity.

Inter-individual behaviour

This aspect of organizational behaviour examines how individuals interact with each other within an organization. It includes studying communication patterns, conflict resolution, and leadership styles. Understanding inter-individual behaviour is critical to creating a harmonious work environment.

Inter-individual behavior in organizational behaviour is the study of communication between employees, understanding people’s leadership qualities, group dynamics, group conflicts, power and politics. It is studied at the group level of analysis alongside intra- and intergroup conflict and cohesion, leadership, power, and other group dynamics.

It is part of organizational behaviour which studies both individual and group performance and action within an enterprise. Organizational behaviour is important as it helps businesses operate more effectively by understanding how people interact within groups.

For instance, a leader who uses an authoritarian leadership style may create conflict among team members who prefer a more collaborative approach.

Group behaviour

This aspect of organizational behaviour examines how a group of individuals behaves within an organization. It includes studying team dynamics, group cohesion, and group decision-making processes.

Group behaviour in organizational behaviour is the study of how two or more interacting and interdependent individuals come together to achieve particular objectives. Basically, it is important to determine the link between the organizational and its structure.

Group behaviour can be divided into formal and informal groups, with formal groups being systematic and conscious groupings of people in an organization. So to better achieve its targets, informal groups are based on shared interests, values, and beliefs.

Understanding how teams make decisions, for example, can help firms make better decisions and enhance overall performance.

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