We explain what organizational behavior is, what are the various variables that define it and its main characteristics.

What is organizational behavior?

Organizational behavior refers to the behavior of individuals within an organization of which they are part. But it is also the interdisciplinary science that studies the way in which the behavior of individuals is affected by other people, by the group and by the environment within organizations (mainly companies ).

To do this, he studies various variables using behavioral sciences : psychology , anthropology , sociology , political science , etc. Various factors and variables that affect behavior at the personal, group and organizational levels are analyzed. Understanding the cause of these behaviors can increase effectiveness as well as resolve conflicts.

Organizational behavior characteristics :

  1. goals

  • Describe . How people behave under certain conditions.
  • Understand. What is the reason for this behavior.
  • Predict. How certain employees will behave.
  • Control. The behavior, at least partially.

  1. Dependent variables

Dependent variables

They are the variables that are affected by independent variables. The most used in the analysis are:

  • Productivity . It refers to the extent to which an organization achieves its goals (effectiveness) at low cost (efficiency).
  • Absenteeism Factor that affects costs and reduces the possibility of achieving goals.
  • Work satisfaction. The degree of conformity of the workers with respect to their tasks, their remuneration and the context in which they work.

  1. Independent variables

They are the supposed causes of changes in the dependent variables. They are observed at three different levels:

  • Individual level. All the characteristics of a person at the time of the study: values , attitudes, personality , age, gender, marital status, seniority in the company, abilities (intellectual and physical)
  • Group level. The way people behave in contact with others. They include leadership, negotiation skills and conflict management, added to the specific characteristics of the group.
  • Organizational level. Structure and administration of human resources .

  1. Individual level

The data that allows us to understand the factors that affect individual behavior in general can be obtained from the information in the personal file of each employee.

  • Perception . Each person interprets the world around him from his own subjectivity. Furthermore, the characteristics of an object and the situation in which it is perceived affect perception.
  • Values. Each person has values about what is morally correct or not (content of value) that for him has a greater or lesser importance at a certain moment in his life (intensity of value).
  • Attitudes. They are usually associated with some value, since they are the evaluative response that we have to a situation, person or object. The most important in the workplace are: job satisfaction , job participation and commitment to the organization.
  • Personality. They are the characteristics that identify each person. These characteristics determine the way in which each individual adapts or responds to the environment, both from emotional responses and rational choices in relation to their goals .
  • Learning. It is the process by which the experience generates a relatively permanent change in the behavior of the individual. However, learning also depends on certain skills.
  • Aspirations and needs. There are usually several, but some will be a priority, and these allow the behavior of the individual to be anticipated.

  1. Group level

Group level

A group is a group of people who are related to each other by ties or common interests . What they have in common (they can be values, beliefs, ideologies, goals, perceptions, etc.) makes their behavior relatively predictable. The structure of a group affects the expected behavior of its members. Formality implies defining the authority of a leader, establishing norms and policies, deciding the constitution of the group.

  • Formal groups. Tasks are assigned within a structure that defines them. Desirable behaviors are directed toward the goals of the organization. Examples of formal groups: command group, task group and temporary (or ad hoc) groups.
  • Informal groups. Unstructured alliances that can also occur in the work environment but are not determined by the organization. For example, interest or friendship groups.

  1. Organizational level

In an organization the activities necessary to achieve a common objective can be divided . In organizations there are interest groups (directors, managers , employees, unions, etc.) who are expected to make contributions, for which they are offered incentives and rewards. In other words, there is a reciprocal relationship between interest groups and the organization.

  1. Conceptual systems

In addition to analyzing the three levels internal to the organization, organizational behavior must be understood as the interaction of three independent conceptual systems:

  • The physical and technological environment of the place
  • The social environment
  • The personal system of the members of the organization

  1. Systems external to the organization

Systems external to the organization

Each organization is situated in a social context called the institutional system and can use technological means offered by the environment, which is called the technical system. Both affect behavior within each institution, despite being external to it.

  1. Motivation

From the study of all the aspects that affect behavior within the organization, devices can be designed that allow activating motivation both at the individual level and at the group level. The "motivators" are the actions that are oriented towards a continuous enrichment of the task, developing the aptitudes of individuals and groups.

  1. Organizational culture

In each organization there is a series of values and norms that are transmitted through all its hierarchies . However, organizational culture also includes the set of experiences, beliefs and attitudes shared by the members of the organization, which affects both internal (between groups and members) and external (with other organizations) interactions. Organizational behavior allows evaluating the changes that are necessary either in the organizational culture or in the way it is transmitted.

The above content published at Collaborative Research Group is for informational and educational purposes only and has been developed by referring reliable sources and recommendations from technology experts. We do not have any contact with official entities nor do we intend to replace the information that they emit.


Luke is passionate about fostering student involvement and connection. He studied psychology for his major and likes learning about the past. Luke aims to specialize in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. .

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