Picture this: you've finished the first week at the big corporate job you worked so hard to get. Your mind is racing as you recall all of the people you met throughout the organization, and you can't help but think about the different personalities, the juggling of meetings and schedules, and the complex power dynamics.

Smiling business partners shaking hands in an office.

An organization is similar to a big puzzle, consisting of various people, structures, and cultures.

The field of organizational behavior helps make sense of that puzzle by looking at things like communication, motivation, and leadership styles.

Should you study organizational behavior?

Lisa Simpson meets Jane Goodall in a forest. Jane says,

If you’re curious about what makes workplaces tick and want to make a positive impact on how organizations function, you should definitely check out organizational behavior!

Are you interested in:

  • Understanding why teams click (or clash)? 

  • Figuring out what motivates people? 

  • Becoming a pro at navigating office dynamics? 

  • Leading a team, department, or company? 

  • Entrepreneurship? 

If so, organizational behavior may be right up your alley!


Sarah, a team leader has noticed a decrease in team motivation and collaboration. Sarah wants to address these issues to improve team dynamics and productivity. What elements of organizational behavior should she implement? Select all that apply:

What is organizational behavior?

Everything that happens within an organization is influenced by its culture. That's where organizational behavior comes in! Organizational behavior is the study of interactions between people and groups within an organizational setting.

Recognizing the characteristics of organizational behavior equips leaders with the skills to effectively manage teams, conflicts, and interactions.

In a nutshell, organizational behavior is about understanding why workplaces are the way they are and how they can be even better!

The Oxi Clean guy saying

Organizational behavior doesn't benefit only leaders. Employees can use this knowledge to better understand their own behaviors, beliefs, and performance, as well as those of their colleagues, along with:

  • Increasing job satisfaction

  • Strengthening management, collaboration, and teamwork skills

  • Improving decision-making skills

  • Helping teams achieve optimal performance

Take a look at this video for an explanation of the Hawthorne Effect and how it pertains to organizational behavior.

What will you learn?

Studying organizational behavior provides insight into various aspects of workplace dynamics and human behavior within organizations. You can expect to learn about:

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Things that influence individual behavior in organizations, such as personality, attitudes, perception, and motivation.

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Learn about team formation, decision-making processes, and conflict resolution within organizational contexts.

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Organizational culture

Examine the concept of organizational culture, its components, and how it shapes behavior, values, and norms within an organization.

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Organizational effectiveness

Learn strategies for improving organizational effectiveness, including organizational change, diversity management, and fostering a positive work environment.

How to succeed when studying organizational behavior

  • Actively engage in case studies, group projects, and class debates to reinforce organizational behavior ideas and theories.

  • Look for opportunities to apply organizational behavior concepts in real-world scenarios, whether through internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer work.

    Erin from The Office standing up at her desk and excitedly pumping her fist.

  • Network with experts in the field of organizational behavior through networking events, professional associations, and online forums to gain insights and opportunities for career advancement. It’s all about connections!

  • To deepen your understanding of organizational behavior, embrace different points of view in your studies and your relationships with others.

  • Set goalswith measurable steps and milestones. Assess and reflect on them frequently to help keep stay on track.


Imagine you’re in your first year studying organizational behavior (OB). The courses are mostly theory and you want to get more hands-on experience, but you have limited time and money. What can you do? Select all that apply:

Critical skills for a career in organizational behavior

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Critical thinking skills are important so you can evaluate information objectively, make informed decisions, and anticipate the potential impact of actions on organizational dynamics.

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Strong problem-solving skills are important for analyzing complex situations, identifying root causes of organizational challenges, and develop innovative solutions.

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Effective communication is important to adequately convey ideas, influence others, and facilitate constructive dialogue within teams and across organizational levels.

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Adaptability skills help you navigate change, thrive in dynamic environments, and adjust strategies in response to evolving organizational needs.

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Emotional intelligence is essential, as it helps you understand and manage your emotions and those of others, foster empathy, and build strong interpersonal relationships.

Career paths you can follow after your degree

Jobs in organizational behavior can be found in practically every sector where an organization employs more than one person.

Check out the career paths available with an organizational behavior degree!

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Human resource specialists are responsible for recruitment, employee relations, and training and development. Aspects of organizational behavior are used to identify the skills, abilities, and traits that are essential for a job.

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Learning and development managers design and deliver training programs to enhance employee skills, knowledge, and performance based on organizational behavior principles.

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Change management consultants assist organizations in managing transitions and organizational change processes effectively while considering the impact on individuals and teams.

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Diversity and inclusion managers develop and implement initiatives to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within organizations, fostering a positive and inclusive work environment.

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Employee engagement specialists use organizational behavior when developing strategies to improve employee engagement, satisfaction, and motivation. These methods may include recognition programs and career development opportunities. 

Take Action

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If you think a degree in organizational behavior is right for you: 


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