Understanding organizational behavior is important for everyone involved in an organization, not just the leadership and management teams. By gaining and understanding this knowledge each employee should be able to realize how their individual actions contribute to the big picture of the company. In order to understand this there are some key concepts and terminology that must be explained to make the learning process more manageable.
What is organizational behavior? According to Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn (2005, p. 3) it "is the study of individuals and groups in organizations." OB, as organizational behavior is called in short, is multidisciplinary. This means it does not only understand the individuals and groups of an organization but how interpersonal processes and dynamics relate to organizational behavior.
OB has four basic keys of scientific foundation. First, it is an "interdisciplinary body of knowledge" (2005, p.4), meaning it encompasses both behavioral and social sciences. Second, it uses scientific methods such as field studies, meta-analysis, survey studies, case studies, and laboratory studies. Third, it has a focus on applications that can produce measurable improvements of the organization as well as the performance of the people working in the company. Fourth is contingency thinking, meaning there is more than one "best" way to achieve a specific, desired outcome.
Organizational Culture and Diversity
The culture of an organization along with the diversity within the organization can speak volumes as to how a company operates, not to mention the level of satisfaction that employees of the company possess. As stated by Schermerhorn, Hunt, & Osborn (2005, p. 9), "Organizational culture is the shared beliefs and values that influence the behavior of organizational members" and "Workforce diversity involves differences based on gender, race and ethnicity, age, able-bodiedness, and sexual orientation."
Every organization will have a culture in some form or fashion, be it a good culture or a bad culture. Culture of an organization is driven from the upper-management team all the way down to the lowest employees of a company and can typically be derived from a vision and mission statement of a company. When the upper-management team takes the time to come up with and clearly convey the beliefs and values of the company they will be rewarded with strong company cultures; conversely they will have a very negative culture if they do not. Southwest Airlines, for example, has an extremely strong, positive, fun company culture which is very much driven from upper-management members, namely President Colleen Barrett, and this culture is carried on by virtually every employee of the airline. Outsiders easily notice this very powerful culture because it always leaves an excellent, positive impression of the company.
Workforce diversity is a key element of OB and should be a priority of...