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What Are the Goals of Organizational Behavior?

Managers who apply organizational behavior to their business usually start by simply studying employees.
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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 16 September 2014
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Many companies strive to understand the behavior of their employees, so they often study the turnover rate, productivity and employee attitudes before making any changes. One of the main goals of organizational behavior (OB) is to explain the behavior of employees to determine why they act the way they do. Another objective is to predict how they will act before they do anything, which often makes it easier for managers to plan their next step. Additionally, those who use this business theory may seek to control the behavior of their employees to fix any issues.

Those who apply organizational behavior to their business usually start by simply studying employees. They may look at their overall attitudes and habits to determine what may need to change. Some concrete details they may gather include facts about productivity, turnover rates and absenteeism, all of which can tell a lot about employee attitudes. Once they collect some observations, they can satisfy one of the goals of organizational behavior, which is to explain the attitude of employees.

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Once an explanation is obtained through observation, those in charge of studying workplace behavior may try to predict how employees will react to a change. This may be useful when deciding whether to introduce a new concept to the workplace. If a manager is not sure how employees may react to a major change, then he might make a few smaller modifications to gauge employee reaction. Then, based on his findings, he can usually predict how workers will react to a bigger change within the company. This may help prevent employee resistance to modifications at work, because the manager may be able to present the change to workers in a different way or avoid it altogether.

Another of the goals of organizational behavior is the ability to control how employees act. This usually only comes after observing them and successfully predicting their behavior, and it often controversial, because many believe it is not ethical to use observation to control people. One example is a manager noticing that, based on the explanation and prediction steps, certain employees may work harder when particular rewards are offered. This may lead the manager to begin offering the rewards in question for as long as he desires increased productivity from employees. The more noticeable the results are, the more likely he is to continue attempting to control employee actions through one of the most controversial goals of organizational behavior.

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Ana1234
Post 3

@pastanaga- It really does depend on the company though. I'm sure the big convenience stores take organizational behavior into account and they certainly don't try to do what is best for their employees.

Most of them do their utmost to shave every last cent off of their bottom line and they use this kind of data to do it.

pastanaga
Post 2

@Mor - I actually think the opposite tends to be true. When companies look at this kind of data and make the right choices, they figure out pretty quickly they are better off treating employees well and keeping them, than treating them badly and having to rehire new ones every few months.

We live in a world where a lot of jobs are highly specialized, particularly the kinds of jobs where people are bothering with organizational behavior. They want good, skilled people who will be assets to the company and once they have those people they don't want to lose them.

I think in most cases gathering organizational behavior is a good thing and results in good things for both the company and the employees.

Mor
Post 1

I think the danger with this kind of behavior is that you can start to think of your employees as being a homogeneous mass rather than a group of individuals who might not always act the way you expect them to act.

Worse, I suspect that all kinds of bad practices on behalf of the company can be excused by this kind of justification, where they will, for example, work out that it saves money to only hire people part time so they can't get insurance.

It's probably not always bad, but I think there should be ethical guidelines in place before making decisions based on this kind of data.

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