What is the best way to manage an organization? Scientific management, training groups, wellness programs, and organizational culture are only small part of the many managerial approaches managers have tried to implement in order to make more effective the workings of companies. Where does a manager begin to implement all these concepts and ideas? Probably the best place is with an understanding of the principles of organizational behavior.
There are significant practical benefits to understanding the principles of organizational behavior. For instance, the development of a personal leadership style can be guided by knowledge of the results of studies that have attempted to relate leadership style to situational requirements. The choice of a problem-solving strategy or the selection of an appropriate employee appraisal format can be influenced by additional knowledge of the results of studies in the associated topic areas. Particularly in the area of performance improvement, there are numerous benefits to be gained by applying the knowledge that has been gathered in the field of organizational behavior.
Attracting and developing talented individuals are two critically important issues to the survival and prosperity of an undertaking. Emphasis on the human element often distinguishes the most successful ones when it comes to organizational performance. This occurs because all serious competitors in a given industry are likely to have nearly the same level of technical sophistication. Thus, other input factors being equal, organizations that have talented and dedicated employees tend to be more effective. Furthermore, within a given industry, the variability on human dimensions across organizations is likely to be greater than the variability on technical dimensions. Consequently, we can argue that the most important element to an organization’s welfare and the most neglected because of its less tangible nature is the human behavioral element.
As an illustration of how crucial the human element is to organizational success, consider the various professional sports teams. All of them have the same equipment and facilities like a stadium, trainers, practice facilities, and equipment. Further, each team has the same number of members and essentially the same structure. Therefore, what differs one team from another is largely traceable to the human element: the talent and efforts of the players and coaches, the ability of managers to develop their players’ skills and competences, and the ability of the coaches and players to motivate themselves to high levels of accomplishment.
The second reason for studying organizational behavior is the personal fulfillment we gain from understanding our fellow humans. Understanding others may also lead to greater self-knowledge and self-insight. Such personal growth is an aspect of education that is often cited as the greatest benefit of studying the liberal arts and sciences. Some may question the practical value of this feature in the business world. But it can, in fact, make a difference when it comes to advancing beyond an entry-level position. Entry-level hiring is largely based on education and technical competency, such as certification in specialized areas. Promotions, however, are normally based on more than technical knowledge and skills. They are often motivated by demonstrated ability to communicate and work effectively with superiors, peers, and subordinates. In summary, knowledge of organizational behavior may not be a “union card” that helps you to be hired, but it will be invaluable to you once you have that first job and seek advancement.
The third goal of organizational behavior is to gather knowledge about people in work settings. At a minimum, the field aims to gather knowledge for its own sake. As evidenced by the progress of many “pure science” fields, such as physics, space research, and chemistry, the practical use of certain findings may not be apparent for years. A similar process occurs in the field of organizational behavior. Although some organizational behavior findings may not have yet practical applications, they are undoubtedly valuable additions to human knowledge.