"Organisational behaviour" is an academic field of study that looks at the way that individuals and groups act within an organisation. It also assesses the impact their actions have on the effectiveness of the organisation and considers how to apply knowledge about organisational behaviour to the practical management of people. The academic study of organisational behaviour is based on five fundamental conceptual ideas or anchors.
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Researchers in the field of organisational behaviour draw on knowledge from other disciplines as well as just looking at research into organisational behaviour and management. For example, they look to the study of psychology to get an understanding of individuals' motivations, thoughts, and actions. The field of sociology yields knowledge of group dynamics. There is also more relevant knowledge emerging from fields such as marketing and communications.
Systematic research anchor
Organisational behaviour is a science that uses systematic scientific research methods. This involves developing research questions, collecting data and testing hypotheses. This anchor is particularly important because it is easy to think you can rely on common sense and experience in dealing with people. The scientific study of organisational behaviour allows managers and leaders to make decisions based on empirical evidence.
This anchor reflects the truth that an action may have different consequences in different situations. Organisations are complex, and what works in one set of circumstances may not work in another. Before making decisions, managers must take into account factors such as the individual involved, organisational culture, and the environment in which the organisation is operating.
Multiple levels of analysis anchor
Organisational events are studied at three common levels of analysis. At the individual level, researchers ask what drives individual behaviour, and look at things such as motivation, perception and personality. At the group level, they look at the dynamics that occur within groups and teams. At the organisation system level, they ask how the structure and culture of the organisation shape both individuals and groups.
Open systems anchor
Organisations are viewed as systems, not as isolated bodies. That is, they are sets of interdependent parts that work together as well as continually interact with other organisations. They are permanently in a state of adjustment to external factors such as the environment, competitors, technological developments and the economy.
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