The Nature and Scope of the Organizational Behavior

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What is the nature and scope of the subject of the Organizational Behaviour?

The Nature:

Different leading authorities in the field of ‘the Organizational Behaviour' have defined the nature and scope of this subject in different terms. There is no unanimity of opinion in the matter. However, students of an introductory course in the subject need not be bogged down by this multiplicity of views. Following discussion is enough to understand the basic nature and scope of this discipline.

The Organizational Behaviour personified has a nature, just as any human being has a peculiar nature or the psychological tendency. It is a science, art and philosophy by nature. So, it follows that the subject of the Organizational Behaviour is a science, art and philosophy, too.

It is a science because it follows the scientific methods of the observation, the collection of the data, the hypothesis, the theory and the model building ever open to the scientific scrutiny in terms of the relationship among variables under the study and the validity of such a relationship.

It is an art, since it involves quite a subjective approach, too in terms of the skilful organization of the field studies, the collection of the data and the interpretation of the results by human beings who generally are more subjective than objective in their approach.

It's a philosophy, too, in terms of ever trying to philosophize the questions of human beings and  the organization's relationship in the behavioural terms. It tries to frame postulations as to what, why, how, and where a particular kind of human behaviour takes place in an organization in a particular corner of the globe or the universe along with the other relevant aspects like its impact or effects?

Finally, it of course inter alia is interdisciplinary, flexible, dynamic, friendly and far-reaching, too.

The Scope:

The scope, ambit, sphere or area of the subject of the Organizational Behaviour is quite vast both in the temporal and the spatial terms, besides the applicability. The Universal Integrated Cubical Temporal - Spatial - Applicability Scope model illustrates it aptly. The given cube can easily be sliced into 90 pieces (3 Temporal faces x 6 Spatial faces x 5 Applicability faces ). Each slice represents one face each of the Temporal - Spatial - Applicability Scope. Thus, we may elaborate the scope of the subject in 90 different ways.

For example, let us cut the slice with 3 following faces: the Future, the Philosophical and the Asthenospheric. This slice means that the Organizational Behaviour can be studied from the point of view of the philosophical questions related to the use of the Asthenospheric resources at any given point of time in the Future.

A complete and detailed exposition of all the above mentioned 90 integrated slices is beyond the scope of this paper/article. So, we may attempt the following brief description of the various facets of the scope of this challenging dynamic subject:

(1) The Temporal Aspect/Scope:

With an emphasis on the current contemporary situation, it includes in its ambit the scope of going back into the times.

For instance, the ills of many countries today have their roots in the past organizational behaviours as reflected in the geographical economic spatial patterns like during the great age of discovery, 30 million young people aged 15-35 years were removed from Africa by the superior organized European human syndicates during the Slave Trade Era which weakened the African human organizations and depleted the human resources of that continent.

It caused a lack of the suitable human organizations  like the business/political, etc. in Africa whereas the slave trading nation-States like the U.K., Spain, etc. flourished and built up the enormous monetary and capital assets which helped them later to kick start and sustain the economic/political development in their own countries.

This led to the spatial variation in the business/economic/political development in that bygone era. But, its repercussions are still felt in Africa where the business/economic/political development has quite been low due to the bequeathing of no appropriate business/economic/political development by their preceding generations.

Thus, one may divide the temporal aspect into the following broad categories:

  • 1. Ancient
  • 2. Medieval
  • 3. Great Age of discovery
  • 4. 19th century
  • 5. 20thcentury
  • 6. Contemporary
  • 7. Recent
  • 8. Present
  • 9.

(2). The Spatial Aspect/Scope:

The Organizational Behaviour has enormous spatial scope which includes the following aspects/points:

•1. The Vertical:

The Spatial locations right from the ocean bed to the mountain top and the related organizational behaviour fall under this. It includes the aspects like the asthenospheric, the lithospheric, the atmospheric and the galactic.

For example, there is a lot of the extra-terrestrial scope. With the opening up of the extra -terrestrial scope, the organizational behaviour shall have to take into consideration the business/economic/ political organizational behaviour in the outer space like the Moon, the Mars, etc.

The experiments carried out on the human beings in groups to study their behaviour aboard the spacecrafts fall within the spatial scope of the organizational behaviour. 

•2. The Horizontal:

It includes a study of the organizational behavioural aspects in a horizontal direction in terms of the phenomena like the lithosphere, the hydrosphere, the biosphere, etc.

(a). The Continental Scope:

It includes the studies of the human beings of all the continents/islands in the organizational behavioural terms and their interactions.

(b) The Hemispheric Scope:

The organizational behaviour may be studied in terms of the human beings in the eastern, the western, the northern and the southern hemispheres.

(i)  The Organizational Behavioural Activities Scope:

•a. The Production:

It includes the studies of the production of all kinds of the organizational behaviour at all levels from the local to the international.   

•b. The Exchange:

It includes the value addition to each organizational product, good, service created by the specialized behavioural services provided at each level of the handling, including the packaging, the promotion, the financing, and the merchandizing of the organizational product.

•c. The Consumption:

It includes both the pattern of the organizational behaviour consumption and the spatial aspects of the organizational consumer behaviour.

•d. The Developmental Scope:

It includes a study of the spatial variation in terms of the organizational behaviour development, i.e., the different categories of countries like the more developed and the less developed countries.

(ii) The Other Aspects/Scope:

(a) The Integrative Scope:

It includes a study of the spatial variation in the organizational behaviour in terms of an integrated approach to all the spheres, i.e., the Lithosphere, the Atmosphere, the Hydrosphere and the Biosphere. It includes the studies of the underground spatial aspects like the asthenosphere, sial, sima, mantle, core so as to determine their influence on the organizational behaviour.

(b) The Global Scope:

It has the global scope because of the variations in the level and interdependencies that exist in the international organizational behavioural development. The whole earth has become a global system with shrinking business/economic/political distance. So much that even a person in the most remote business/geographical/economic/political areas of the world now participates in an organizational behavioural system that is less the local and the regional and more the national and the international in scope.

(c) The Theoretical Scope:

It has enormous theoretical scope. The theories are used in so far as possible to explain as to why the why organizational behaviour happens, i.e., the classical conditioning theory, the operant conditioning theory and  the Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory are the excellent examples.

It includes the concepts in the analytical work like the Total Quality Management (TQM).

(d) The Interdisciplinary Scope:

It takes help of the other subjects like the sociology, the mathematics, the economics, the agriculture, the climate, the mathematics, etc., to gauge the effects on the variation in the organizational behaviour, of the factors like the social influence in terms of the peer pressure, the climate and the economy of a nation-State, macro forces associated with the transition of the world polity from an authoritarian to a democratic base, the international political system and the multinational corporations, etc.

(e) The Methodological/ Approaches Scope:

Broadly speaking, the following are the "15 Golden" or the main methods of/ways of/approaches to the study of the "Organizational Behaviour" and any other sub-discipline in the field of the Management or any other subject:

1. The Descriptive, Analytical, Prescriptive:

It can be studied by describing/analyzing/prescribing the human behaviour in organizational settings.

2. The Empirical (inductive)/Normative (deductive)/Optimiser/Satificer:

The organizational behaviour can be studied in terms of generalizing the human behaviour in one setting to all the organizational settings or in terms of deducing the general organizational behavioural from all the organizational settings. The organizational behaviour can be studied in terms of the optimizer-approach where all the human behaviour in an organization is seen as organized to seek the optimum/maximum possible output/desired objectives.

The organizational behaviour can be studied in the sense of a satisficer-model where all the human behaviour in an organization is seen as organized to seek the mere satisfaction of both the employee and employer instead of the optimum/maximum output objectives.

3. The Deterministic(environmental/natural, human, nature-human):

The organizational behaviour can be seen as a product only determined by the circumstances, only the nature/environment or the human beings or a combination of both the nature and the nurture.

4. The Subjective/Artistic, Objective/Scientific:

The organizational behaviour can be studied in a subjective/artistic way or the objective/scientific manner.

5. The Holistic/Whole/Homogeneitic, Isolationist/Parts/Heterogeneitic/Choreal, Particularitic:

The organizational behaviour can be studied in terms of the particular parts or the whole homogeneity.

6. The Systems, Systematic:

The organizational behaviour can be studied as a system consisting of the sub-systems or a single systematic sequence.

7. The Political: Socialist, Capitalist, Communist, Democratic, Fascist, Liberal, Neo-liberal, Neo-conservative:

The organizational behaviour can be studied in terms of the various political policies existing in an organization.

8. The Activity, Principle:

The organizational behaviour can be studied as an activity like the interaction amongst the organization members or in terms of some principle like - ‘man is a social animal.'

9. The Quantitative/Mathematical, Qualitative/Behavioural/Humanistic:

The organizational behaviour can be studied in terms of the statistical/mathematical results  or simply in terms of the descriptive qualitative behaviour.

10. The Temporal , Spatial , Spatial-Temporal:

The organizational behaviour can be studied temporally, spatially or spatially-temporally.

11. The Philosophical, Theoretical, Practical/Applicability:

The organizational behaviour can be studied in terms of the various theories and the philosophical postulations. It can be studied in terms of its use in the real-life organizational situations.

12. The Ecological/Environmental/Consequential, Interdisciplinary:

The organizational behaviour can be studied in terms of its impact on the ecology/environment. It can be studied in terms of its relations with other subjects like the sociology, the geography, etc.

13. The Gender, Racial:

The organizational behaviour can be studied in terms of the gender and racial issues, i.e., how the male organizational behaviour is different than the female organizational behaviour, etc.

14. The Civilian, Military:

The organizational behaviour can be studied in terms of the civilian and the military settings.

15. The Economics, Geographical , Economic-Geographical:

The organizational behaviour can be studied in terms of the different business, economics, geographical/economic-geographical settings, too.

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