Organizational behavior is the study of how people think, feel and act in organizations and similarly, how they are affected by the activities within organizations. OB is interested in the behavior of people embedded in specific contexts of organizational systems. Within this definition, there are three important levels of analysis that guide the field: the individual, the team, and the organization. Not surprisingly, OB has much in common with social psychology; however, the context of application the organizational environment is much more defined than it is in social psychology.
The first level of analysis within OB is that of the organizational actor as an independent decision maker or leader. The second level of analysis considers the organizational actor as a team member. A final level of analysis is that of the organization in which actors are embedded.
- One well developed and highly influential area of research is individual decision making, which is inspired by the seminal work of Kahneman and Tversdy in 1979. Another important area of OB research is procedural justice people’s reaction to events based on their perceptions of the fairness of relevant processes and outcomes as well as the behavioral consequences that follow.
- Inside OB, groups are evaluate at several levels, including the nature of the intrateam relationships (also referred to as group dynamics) as well as the relationship between the team and the rest of the organization (commonly referred to as social networks).
- The area of OB that is most different from traditional social psychology deals with the organizational actor as fully embedded within the organization. Here the focus is still on the individual, but the context within which he or she operates, that constrains and enables the individual’s actions, is brought into much sharper focus.