Organizational behaviour has emerged as a separate field of study. The nature it has acquired is identified as follows :

1. A Separate Field of Study and not a Discipline Only

By definition, a discipline is an accepted science that is based on a theoretical foundation. But, O.B. has a multi-interdisciplinary orientation and is, thus, not based on a specific theoretical background. Therefore, it is better reasonable to call O.B. a separate field of study rather than a discipline only.

2. An Interdisciplinary Approach

Organizational behaviour is essentially an interdisciplinary approach to study human behaviour at work. It tries to integrate the relevant knowledge drawn from related disciplines like psychology, sociology and anthropology to make them applicable for studying and analysing organizational behaviour.

3. An Applied Science

The very nature of O.B. is applied. What O.B. basically does is the application of various researches to solve the organizational problems related to human behaviour. The basic line of difference between pure science and O.B. is that while the former concentrates of fundamental researches, the latter concentrates on applied researches. O.B. involves both applied research and its application in organizational analysis. Hence, O.B. can be called both science as well as art.

4. A Normative Science

Organizational Behaviour is a normative science also. While the positive science discusses only cause effect relationship, O.B. prescribes how the findings of applied researches can be applied to socially accepted organizational goals. Thus, O.B. deals with what is accepted by individuals and society engaged in an organization. Yes, it is not that O.B. is not normative at all. In fact, O.B. is normative as well that is well underscored by the proliferation of management theories.

5. A Humanistic and Optimistic Approach

Organizational Behaviour applies humanistic approach towards people working in the organization. It, deals with the thinking and feeling of human beings. O.B. is based on the belief that people have an innate desire to be independent, creative and productive. It also realizes that people working in the organization can and will actualize these potentials if they are given proper conditions and environment. Environment affects performance or workers working in an organization.

6. A Total System Approach

The system approach is one that integrates all the variables, affecting organizational functioning. The systems approach has been developed by the behavioural scientists to analyse human behaviour in view of his/her socio-psychological framework. Man's socio-psychological framework makes man a complex one and the systems approach tries to study his/her complexity and find solution to it.

Scope of Organizational Behaviour

The three internal organizational elements viz., people, technology and structure and the fourth element, i.e., external social systems may be taken as the scope of O.B.

1. People

The people constitute the internal social system of the organization. They consist of individuals and groups. Groups may be large or small, formal or informal, official or unofficial. They are dynamic. They form, change and disband. Human organization changes everyday. Today, it is not the same as it was yesterday. It may change further in the coming days. People are living, thinking and feeling being who created the organization and try to achieve the objectives and goals. Thus, organizations exist to serve the people and not the people exist to serve the organization.

2. Structure

Structure defines the sole relationship of people in an organization. Different people in an organization are given different roles and they have certain relationship with others. It leads to division of labour so that people can perform their duties or work to accomplish the organizational goal. Thus, everybody cannot be an accountant or a clerk. Work is complex and different duties are to be performed by different people. Some may be accountant, others may be managers, clerks, peons or workers. All are so related to each other to accomplish the goal in a co-ordinated manner. Thus, structure relates to power and duties. One has the authority and others have a duty to obey him.

3. Technology

Technology imparts the physical and economic conditions within which people work. With their bare hands people can do nothing so they are given assistance of buildings, machines, tools, processes and resources. The nature of technology depends very much on the nature of the organization and influences the work or working conditions. Thus, technology brings effectiveness and at the same restricts people in various ways.

4. Social System

Social system provides external environment which the organization operates. A single organization cannot exist also. It is a part of the whole. One organization cannot give everything and therefore, there are many other organizations. All these organizations influence each other. It influences the attitudes of people, their working conditions and above all provides competition for resources and power.

O.B. is the study of human behaviour at work in organizations. Accordingly, the scope of O.B. includes the study of individuals, groups and organization/structure. Let us briefly reflect on what aspects each of these three cover.


Organizations are the associations of individuals. Individuals differ in many respects. The study of individuals, therefore, includes aspects such as personality, perception, attitudes, values, job satisfaction, learning and motivation.

Groups of Individuals

Groups include aspects such as group dynamics, group conflicts, communication, leadership, power and politics and the like.

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