The organizations in which people work have an effect on their thoughts, feelings and actions. These thoughts, feelings and actions in turn affect the organization itself. Organizational behavior studies the mechanisms governing these interactions, seeking to identify and foster behaviors conductive to the survival and effectiveness of the organization.
Understanding organizational behavior can shed light on the factors that can foster or hamper job satisfaction, such as physical settings, organizational rewards and punishments or work-group characteristics. Job satisfaction in turn can foster higher productivity and reduced turnover, while providing more leverage for the recruitment of top talent.
Finding the Right People
A ship with all sails and no anchors would flounder, one with all anchors and no sails would not get anywhere. Organizational behavior can be helpful for finding the right mix of talents and working styles required for achievement of the task at hand. This can assist in deciding who to include in a team or task force, as well as in deciding who to promote to a leadership position, or even the ideal profile for new hires.
As organizations grow larger, it may become difficult to keep a sense of common purpose and unity of direction. Organizational behavior is useful for understanding and designing the communication channels and leadership structures that can reinforce organizational culture. As rapidly evolving business environments force organizations to adapt, entering, for example, into global markets or utilizing virtual workforces, organizational behavior can assist in maintaining a clear identity without losing flexibility and adaptability.
Leadership and Conflict Resolution
Playing by the book and not making waves may be fine for some organizations, but the command-and-control mentality of the manufacturing age may become counterproductive in the knowledge market. Organizational behavior can assist in fostering leadership, proactivity and creative problem solving. When creativity is allowed, divergence of opinions is unavoidable, but organizational behavior can provide the leadership and the arbitrage dynamics required for turning conflicts into constructive idea exchanges.