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Course Note on Organizational Behaviour Essay


According to Gary Johns, “Organisations are social inventions for accomplishing goals through group efforts”. This definition covers wide variety-of groups such as businesses, schools, hospitals, fraternal groups, religious bodies, government agencies and so on. There are three significant aspects in the above definition, which require further analysis. They are as follows: Social Inventions: The word “social” as a derivative of society basically means gathering of people. It is the people that primarily make up an organisation. Accomplishing Goals: All organisations have reasons for their existence. These reasons are the goals towards which all organisational efforts are directed.

While the primary goal .of any commercial organisation is to make money for its owners, this goal is inter-related with many other goals. Accordingly, any organisational goal must integrate in itself the personal goals of all individuals associated with the organisation. Group Effort: People, both as members of the society at large and as a part of an organisation interact with each other and are inter-dependent. Individuals in themselves have physical and intellectual limitations and these limitations can only be overcome by group efforts.


Organisational behaviour is concerned with people’s thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions in setting up a work. Understanding an individual behaviour is in itself a challenge, but understanding group behaviour in an organisational environment is a monumental managerial task.

As Nadler and Tushman put it, “Understanding one individual’s behaviour is challenging in and of itself; understanding a group that is made up of different individuals and comprehending the many relationships among those individuals is even more complex. Ultimately, the organisation’s work gets done through people, individually or collectively, on their, own or in collaboration with technology. Therefore, the management of organisational behaviour is central to the management task—a task that involves the capacity to “understand” the behaviour patterns of individuals, groups and organisations, to ”predict'” what behavioural responses will be elicited by various managerial actions and finally to use this understanding and these predictions to achieve “control”.

Organisational behaviour can then be defined as: “The study of human behaviour in organisational settings, the interface between human behaviour and the organisational context, and the organisation itself.”

The above definition has three parts—the individual behaviour, the organisation and the (interface between the two. Each individual brings to an organisation a unique set of beliefs, values, attitudes and other personal characteristics and these characteristics of all individuals must interact with each other in order to create organisational settings. The organisational behaviour is specifically concerned with work-related behaviour, which takes place in organisations.

In addition to understanding; the on-going behavioural processes involved, in ‘their own jobs, managers must understand the basic human element of their work. Organisational behaviour offers three major ways of understanding this context; people as organisations, people as resources and people as people.

Above all, organisations are people; and without people there would be no organisations. Thus, if managers are to understand the organisations in which they work, they must first understand the people who make up the organisations.

As resources, people are one of the organisation’s most valuable assets. People create the organisation, guide and direct its course, and vitalise and revitalise it. People make the decisions, solve the problems, and answer the questions. As managers increasingly recognise the value of potential contributions by their employees, it will become more and more important for managers and employees to grasp the complexities of organisational behaviour.

Finally, there is people as people – an argument derived from the simple notion of humanistic management. People spend a large part of their lives in; organisational settings, mostly as employees. They have a right to expect something in return beyond wages and benefits. They have a right to expect satisfaction and to learn new skills. An understanding of organisational behaviour can help the manager better appreciate the variety of individual needs and’ expectations.

Organisational behaviour is concerned with the characteristics and behaviours of employees in isolation; the characteristics and processes that are part of the organisation itself; ‘and the characteristics and behaviours directly resulting from people with their individual needs and motivations working within the structure of the organisation. One cannot understand an individual’s behaviour completely without learning something about that individual’s organisation. Similarly, he cannot understand how the organisation operates without; studying the people who-make it up. Thus, the organisation influences and is influenced by individuals.


The key elements in the organisational behaviour are people,, structure, technology and the environment in which the organisation operates. People: People make up the internal and social system of the organisation. They consist of individuals and groups. The groups may be big or small; formal or informal; official or unofficial. Groups are dynamic and they work in the organisation to achieve their objectives. Structure: Structure defines the formal relationships of the people in organisations. Different people in the organisation are performing different type of jobs and they need to be (elated in some structural way so that their work can be effectively co-ordinated.

Technology: Technology such as machines and work processes provide the resources with which people work and affects the tasks that they perform. The technology used has a significant influence on working relationships. It allows people to do more and work better but it also restricts’ people in various ways. Environment: All organisations operate within an external environment. It is the part of a larger system that contains many other elements such as government, family and other organisations. All of these mutually influence each other in a complex system that creates a context for a group of people.


Each individual brings to an organisation a unique set of personal characteristics, experiences from other organisation, the environment surrounding the organisation and1 they also possess a personal background. In considering the people working in an organisation, organisational behaviour must look at the unique perspective that each individual brings to the work setting.

But individuals do not work in isolation. They come in contact with other individuals and the organisation in a variety of ways. Points of contact include managers, co-workers, formal policies and procedures of the organisation, and various changes implemented by the organisation. Over time, the individual, too, changes, as a function of both the personal experiences and the organisation. The organisation is also affected by the presence and eventual absence of the individual. Clearly, the study of organisational behaviour must consider the ways in which the individual and the organisation interact.

An organisation, characteristically, exists before a particular person joins it and continues to exist after he leaves it. Thus, the organisation itself represents a crucial third perspective from which to view organisational behaviour.


The rules of work are different from the rules of play. The uniqueness of rules and the environment of organisations forces managers to study organisational behaviour in order to learn about normal and abnormal ranges of behaviour.

More specifically, organisational behaviour serves three purposes:

What causes behaviour?
Why particular antecedents cause behaviour?
Which antecedents of behaviour can be controlled directly and which are beyond control?

A more specific and formal course in organisational behaviour helps an individual to develop more refined and workable sets of assumption that is directly relevant to his work interactions. Organisational behaviour helps in predicting human behaviour in the organisational setting by drawing a clear distinction between individual behaviour and group behaviour.

Organisational behaviour does not provide solutions to all complex and different behaviour puzzles of organisations. It is only the intelligent judgement of the manager in dealing with a specific issue that can try to solve the problem. Organisational behaviour only assists in making judgements that are derived from tenable assumptions; judgement that takes into account the important variables underlying the situation; judgement that are assigned due recognition to the complexity of individual or group behaviour; judgement that explicitly takes into account the managers own goals, motives, hang-ups, blind spots and weaknesses.


Organisational behaviour offers several ideas to management as to how human factor should be properly emphasised to achieve organisational objectives. Barnard has observed that an organisation is a conscious interaction of two or more people. This suggests that since an organisation is Ihe interaction of persons, they should be given adequate importance in managing the organisation. Organisational behaviour provides opportunity to management to analyse human behaviour and prescribe means for shaping it to a particular direction.

Understanding Human Behaviour Organisational behaviour provides under­standing the human behaviour in all directions in which the human beings interact. Thus, organisational behaviour can be understood at the individual level, interpersonal level, group level and inter-group level.

Organisational behaviour helps to analyse ‘why’ and ‘how’ an individual behaves in a particular way. Human behaviour is a complex phenomenon and is affected by a large number of factors including the psychological, social and cultural implications. Organisational behaviour integrates these factors to provide* simplicity in understanding the human behaviour.

Interpersonal Level: Human behaviour can be understood at the level of interpersonal interaction. Organisational behaviour provides • means for understanding the interpersonal relationships in an organisation. Analysis of reciprocal relationships, role analysis and transactional analysis are some of the common methods, which provide such understanding. Group Level: Though people interpret anything at their individual level, they are often modified by group pressures, which then become a force in shaping human behaviour, Thus, individuals should be studied in groups also..

Research in group dynamics has contributed vitally to organisational behaviour and shows how a group behaves in its norms, cohesion, goals, procedures, communication pattern and leadership. These research results are advancing managerial knowledge of understanding group behaviour, which is very important for organisational morale and productivity. Inter-group Level: The organisation is made up of many groups that develop complex relationships to build their process and substance. Understanding the effect of group relationships is important for managers in today’s organisation. Inter-group relationship may be in the form of co-operation or competition.

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