Organizational behaviour is the way individuals are motivated and act within an organisation, as well as the way those individuals act with each other. Social sciences influencing the study of organizational behaviour include psychology and sociology. Many factors within an organisation can influence organizational behaviour. Some of the more significant factors are people, structure, technology and environment.
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The people within an organisation are one of the primary influences on the overall organizational behaviour within a company. The interactions between individual employees is, in fact, one of the primary areas of study within the field of organizational behaviour. Various personal characteristics that may influence organizational behaviour include the education level of employees, their backgrounds, abilities and beliefs.
The structure of a company refers to the organisation of individuals in various roles and the relationships, both formal and informal, between those roles. For example, some companies have rigid hierarchies that define the relationship between managers and employees, while others have more collaborative, egalitarian systems in place. The number of levels in an organisation also influences the company's organizational behaviour. For example, in a company with many levels between entry-level employees and top management, entry-level employees may feel they have less of a stake in their organisation or that their opinions are valued less than in a company in which there are relatively few levels between top and bottom.
The use of technology is an often overlooked component of organizational behaviour. For example, employees within a company may exhibit the organizational behaviour of communicating primarily via e-mail, while employees in another company may make it a habit to walk down the hall to others' offices to speak face-to-face. Technology also affects organizational behaviour in that it allows companies to increasingly allow employees to work from home, resulting in less bonding among employees. At the same time, the use of technology can bring together people separated geographically through the use of teleconferencing, for example.
The environmental influences on organizational behaviour can come from both internal and external sources. A company engaged in a highly regulated business may have a strict and structured culture due to the need to conform to certain laws and regulations from the company's external environment. The internal environment of a company also affects organizational behaviour. For example, a struggling company will often have a different organizational behaviour than a successful and growing business.
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