Dr. I. Chaneta
Faculty of Commerce
University of Zimbabwe
Organizational Behavior is the study and application of knowledge about how people, individuals, and groups act in organizations. It does this by taking a system approach. That is, it interprets people-organization relationships in terms of the whole person, whole group, whole organization, and whole social system. Its purpose is to build better relationships by achieving human objectives, organizational objectives, and social objectives.
Mullins (2005) defines organizational behavior as the study and understanding of individual and group behavior and patterns of structure in order to help improve organizational performance and effectiveness. Cole (1998) states that organizational behavior is a term applied to the systematic study of the behavior of individuals within work groups, including an analysis of the nature of groups, the development of structures between and within groups and the process of implementing change.
The definitions indicate that the principal issues addressed by organizational behavior are: -
• Individual behavior and performance at work;
• The nature and working of people in groups;
• The nature of social structures and organization design at work; • The processes involved in adapting behavior to meet changing conditions.
Journal of Comprehensive Research, Volume 8, Page 14
The are parameters within which a number of interrelated dimensions can be identified i.e. the individual, the group, the organization and the environment which collectively influence behavior in work organizations. The Individual
Organizations are made up of their individual members. The individual is a central feature of organizational behavior and a necessary part of any behavioral situation, whether acting in isolation or as part of a group. Where the needs of the individual and the demands of the organization are incompatible, this can result in frustration and conflict. It is the task of management to integrate the individual and the organization, and to provide a working environment which permits the satisfaction of individual needs as well as the attainment of organizational goals. The Group
Groups exist in all organizations and are essential to works and performance. The organization comprises groups of people and almost everyone in an organization will be a member of one or more groups. Informal groups arise from the social needs of people within the organization. People in groups influence each other in many ways, and groups may develop their own hierarchies and leaders. Group pressures can have a major influence over the behavior and performance of individual members. An understanding of group structure and behavior complements knowledge of individual behavior and adds a further dimension to organizational behavior. .
APPROACHES TO ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR
There are different approaches to the understanding of human behavior in organizations. They present a number of alternative pathways for the study of subject and level of analysis. It is possible, for example, to adopt a psychological approach with the main emphasis on the individuals of which the organization is comprised.
It is also possible to adopt a sociological approach concerned with a broader emphasis on human behavior in society.
The study of behavior can be viewed in terms of three main disciplines - psychology, sociology and anthropology. All three disciplines have made an important contribution to the field of organizational behavior.
Psychologists are concerned, broadly speaking, with the study of human behavior, with traits of the individual and membership of small social groups. The main focus of attention is on the individual as a whole person, or what can be termed the ‘personality system’, including, for example, perception,...