Understanding The background of organisational behaviour


The term originated in the early of 60's (20th century), when several lines of scientific disciplines involved in explaining the processes that occur in the organisation, between organisations, as well as between the external and internal environment combined into a single entity. In spite of the increasing theorisation of organisational behaviour, it is actively used in practice. Businessmen mocked the concepts such as a group work or enrichment work for decades, as long as the consultants began to sell these ideas under the guise of a new tendency called "compressed production." In the beginning they mocked "discussion of organisational culture", but accepted these theories when consultants began to submit them under the label "organisational advantage, organisational skills." Sometimes, the practitioners faced to different problems and became "the gullible victims" of the organisational fashion, the same ideas and researches. For example, the enthusiasm for "organisational excellence" mostly meant that people had never tried to assimilate and apply the standard concepts of organisational behaviour, which were known by at least thirty years before.

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Organisational behaviour is a systematic and scientific analysis of individuals, groups and organisations in order to understand, predict and improve the individual performance and functioning of the organisation (i.e., based on personality). Organisational behaviour is a study of people and groups in the organisation. This is an academic discipline, which helps managers to make effective decisions when working with people in a complex dynamic environment. It combines concepts and theories related to individuals, groups, organisations in general. In accordance with the latter definition I can distinguish three levels of behaviour problems:


Group and


Richard Pettinger proves the fact that organisational behaviour is concerned with: "the purposes for which organisations are created; the behaviour of individuals, and an understanding of the pressures and influences that cause them to act and react in particular ways; the qualities that individuals bring to particular situations; the creation of groups, collections of people brought together for given purposes; the background and context within which activities take place; relationships and interactions with the wider environment with other organisations and groups; the management and ordering of the whole and its parts into productive and effective work relationships." (Pettinger (2000) page 4).

Organisational behaviour is a systematic study and practical application of knowledge about how people (individuals and groups) interact within the organisation.

According to Simms, Price & Ervin the main purposes of organisational theorists are "to revitalize organisational theory and develop a better conceptualisation of organisational life." (Simms, Price and Ervin (1994) page 121).

Jablin and Putnam admit that "an organisational theorist should carefully consider levels assumptions being made in theory, and is concerned to help managers and administrators." (Jablin and Putnam (2000) page 146).

The main approaches to the study of organisational behaviour

There are two basic approaches:

Trial and error method, based on the accumulation of life experiences to find effective behaviours.

Using special techniques and methods of related disciplines. This approach involves the mastery of theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

It is important for a manager to combine both approaches. There are the following techniques in the study of organisational behaviour: surveys, including interviews, questionnaires, testing. Collection and analysis of information (based on the study of documents). Observation and experiment.

Characteristics of organisational behaviour

Organisational behaviour manifests itself in the following forms, aspects, events: the installation, values, preferences, inclinations of individuals, formed in the mind; behaviour of individuals with regard to physical objects in case of unexpected information and social contacts, behaviour groups, teams and other groups, characterised by communicating face to face; conduct organisational units such as divisions, departments, companies or large concerns; the behaviour of an interconnected group of organisations; conduct the internal and external environment company, such as the evolution of technology, markets, competition, government regulation, etc.

Types of theories of organisational behaviour

The types of theories of organisational behaviour can be divided into two criteria. The first criterion is the existent foundations for an explanation. The main goals of theories are to explain the causes of events, forms and development, they can be distinguished according to the type of reasons that they offer. According to the first criterion, the first class of theories in the field of organisational behaviour consists of pragmatic theories. They explain the organisational life in the view of events, forms and changes. This is a case of "what the organisation is" explained by its ability to meet the requirements or the use of internal and external environment. Each time when "what the organisation is" explained by the adequacy of its objectives, context and external environment and strategy, and through the adequacy of its profitability, productivity and efficiency of such a context and external environment - it is a pragmatic theory.

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Such a theory is always based on the type of behaviour that is rational (in the conscious evolution of the different outcomes and courses of action) or by the trial and error method aimed at maximizing the satisfaction or pragmatic aspirations and ambitions. However, the form utility can change. This contradiction draws attention to the firm's behavioural theory, which is one of the cornerstones of organisational behaviour.

The second class of theories is the institutional theory. Institutions are relatively stable, and typed examples or models in the social structure of society or in networks of social interaction. In the institutional theories, usefulness of the organisational structure is a secondary thing. Things are made with the help of a certain way because institutionalised norms or rules offer the course of an action in the explicit or implicit form. Legality of specific institutions, including all models of behaviour can be separated from its practical and relative usefulness. Some people can be pragmatics all the time, most people are pragmatists from time to time, but they cannot be pragmatics at all times. Usually, pragmatic direction can exist only because they are embedded in environment with a small number of institutions.

The third direction is the cultural studies theory. It appeals to values, preferences, significant symbols and mental programs in the broad sense. This is a programming on a level of the individual's consciousness, which has a sense. In this approach, the utility also is secondary, but it suddenly appears as a function of the mentioned preferences and values. Cultural studies focuses on the fact that the utilities vary depending on the class of factors and that these classes differ depending on differences in the socialisation process. Supporters of this theory are also inclined to the fact that the institutions are units, which add up to the individual mental programs. Despite the fact that this, in principle, does not contradict the concepts of utility and institutionalisation, the proponents of the culturological theory repeated again and again about their relative importance in terms of culture. Different people behave differently in the same organisational environment. A man always has freedom to choose behaviour patterns: to accept or not to accept the organisational forms and norms of behaviour. The specialists describe four models of organisational behaviour.

The first model of organisational behaviour is a devoted and disciplined member of the organisation. He fully accepts all the organisational values and norms of behaviour. In this case a man tries to behave in a way that his actions do not contradict with the interests of the organisation. He sincerely tries to be disciplined, to carry out his duties in accordance with accepted norms of the organisation and behaviour patterns. Therefore, the results of his actions largely depend on his personal capacities and abilities and how correctly determine the content of his role and functions in the organisation.

The second model of organisational behaviour is a timeserver. A person does not accept values of the organisation, but tries to behave completely following the norms and behaviour patterns of the organisation. Such a person could be described as a timeserver. He does everything right and by the rules, but it should not be considered a reliable member of the organisation, as though he is a good and executive employee, however, he can leave the organisation at any time or make the steps, which can contrary to the interests of the organisation, but correspond with his own interests. For example, a person can easily leave the firm, as soon as he will be offered better conditions. The timeservers are the most common type of behaviour among the staff of any organisation.

The third model of organisational behaviour is an eccentric. People accept the organisation's goals, but do not accept existing traditions and norms of behaviour. In this case, a person can generate a lot of difficulties in relationships with colleagues and leaders. He looks like "rara avis" in the team. However, if the leadership of the organisation finds the courage to abandon well-established rules of conduct for individual employees and give them freedom to choose behaviour patterns that they can find their place in the organisation and bring it the significant benefit. This type of the model includes a lot of talented and creative people, who can generate new ideas and original solutions.

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The fourth model is a rebel. The individual does not accept any ethics or values of the organisation. This is an open rebel, who always comes into conflict with the organisational environment and creates a conflict. The "rebels" by their behaviour create a lot of problems that significantly load the organisation's life with obstacles, and even cause it harm. However, it would be wrong to assume that this type of organisational behaviour is absolutely unacceptable, and people who behave in this way, do not need the organisation. In spite of all inconveniences they create, there are a lot of talented individuals among them, whose presence bring the great benefit to the organisation. For example, there is a special program "Free employee" in IBM. Leaders select employees from the notorious "rebels" (it is around 50 employees in IBM). Then, these workers receive full freedom of actions for five years with one aim - always shake the system of the organisation from top to bottom.

Motivation in organisations

The motivation of internal or external forces towards a person, which provoke enthusiasm and resistance to chase a certain course of actions. According to Baron and Greenberg "Although motivation is a broad and complex concept, organisational scientists have agreed on its basic characteristics. Drawing from various social sciences, we define motivation as the set of processes that arouse, direct, and maintain human behaviour toward attaining some goal" (Baron and Greenberg (2008) page 248).

Ian Brooks in his book "Organisational Behaviour: Individuals, Groups and Organisation" noted that "All organisations exist in a complex and usually dynamic environment. The "business" environment comprises an array of forces which both influence an organisation and are framed by the organisation. These forces may be categorised. One such typology is the PEST model, where the environment is thought to comprise political, economic, social and technological forces. If we add legal, ecological and competitive processes to this we have included most aspects of the external environment. It can be argued that organisations behave in response to environmental forces and, in turn, their behaviour, or strategy, influences their environment." (Brooks (2006) page 3).

In addition, the human factor plays a crucial role in the organisation. One of the main problems of organizational behaviour is the problem of execution. The practice of human resource management and staff, of course, is a very important element of the organisational context. Employees' knowledge and skills, their professional competence, state of mind, attitude to their duties, productivity and effort, socialisation and career - all these qualities are closely connected with the organisational structures and practices. Consequently, there are very close relationships between the theory of personnel management, research and organisational behaviour, their fields coincide in many respects. Organisational phenomena can usually be explained only if the explanation takes into account the human factor, and vice versa.

Langton and Robbins affirm that "…a field of study that investigates how individuals, groups and structure affect and are affected by behaviour within organisations, for the purpose of applying such knowledge toward improving an organisation's effectiveness." (Langton and Robbins (2006) page 3).

To sum up the above-stated information I can draw a conclusion that I described the theme about organisational behaviour, analyzed and explored the aspects of organisational behaviour theory and its application in practice.

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