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What Is Organizational Behavior? What Managers Need to Know

The study of organizational behavior comprises research into leadership, motivation and communication and how to promote effective management qualities that enrich employee satisfaction, support innovation and drive success.

“A deep understanding of organizational behavior and why it’s important can help business leaders increase the effectiveness of their workforce,” according to the consulting firm Humanyze.

In the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Management program from Henderson State University (HSU), students learn the fundamentals of organizational behavior and how to leverage this knowledge into successful management careers.

What Are the Elements of Organizational Behavior?

Successful business leaders continuously look for strategies that improve performance, increase productivity and reduce risk by enhancing the workplace experience.

Some of the elements of organizational behavior those leaders support include the following:

Leadership. Forbes describes positive leaders as those who concentrate on individuals’ strengths and abilities to develop their potential. They also are deliberate about recognizing employees’ contributions to the success of the team, department and organization. Forbes describes four styles of positive leadership qualities: the ability to inspire, motivate and stimulate intellectual growth; willingness to place employees’ needs above their own; moral beliefs, intellectual aptitude and social skills; and ethical principles, emotional intelligence and confidence. “Positive leaders are a key element for the optimal performance of individuals, groups, and organizations,” the publication notes.

Group behavior. Successful leaders use this element, sometimes known as “groupthink,” to align team members’ attitudes with their tasks. However, effective group behavior does not require individuals to think and act the same way but promotes individual creativity and innovation, sometimes by challenging leadership while not sacrificing collegiality. “Group behavior needs to be inculcated in organizations for the simple reason that employees must conform to the rules and regulations that govern organizations,” according to Management Study Guide.

Motivation. Management Study HQ (MSHQ) notes individual motivation requires specific, challenging goals. However, in setting goals, MSHQ warns that too many can force employees to neglect some while concentrating on others. Detailed feedback and re-ordering priorities help motivate employees to stay on task. “Through the motivated efforts of its employees, the organization gets the desired performance and the employees get personal satisfaction,” MSHQ concludes.

Change management. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) notes that adjusting tactics to realize overall strategic goals requires managers to prepare employees for the transition. Preparation includes communicating why the change is needed, how to accomplish it and what the result will be. Managing change can reduce employee resistance by half.

Interpersonal communication. One of the critical “soft skills” in workplace culture, interpersonal communication ranks high for career development and productivity but very low as a reality. More than 70% of employees complain that their leaders don’t spend enough time communicating plans and goals, according to Haiilo. Moreover, only half believe their managers are open with them. “When managers and leaders are unable to clearly communicate tasks, workers can quickly become frustrated and disconnected with the business goals,” according to the employee-engagement consultant.

Overall, organizational behavior focuses on the business as a social system and provides professionals at the C-suite and senior management levels with tools to inspire leadership and performance throughout their organizations.

How Do Business Leaders Gain Insights Into Organizational Behavior?

Business professionals that have an MBA with a concentration in Management, which includes an exploration of organizational behavior have an advantage in the competition for senior roles.

Graduates of the MBA program offered online by HSU, for instance, demonstrate they have the organizational behavior, strategic management and marketing skills organizations demand of their senior leaders.

In addition to the management concentration coursework, the HSU program enables participants to broaden their professional expertise and adapt to change through electives in data science, supply chain management, finance and more.

Learn more about Henderson State University’s online MBA with a concentration in Management program.

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