Disciplines in Organizational Behaviour Field

Organizational Behaviour (OB) refers to the study of human behaviour in organization. There are some important disciplines in organizational behaviour field which developed it extensively. Since, organization affects an individual and is affected by the individual, so both have to be read together. Thus, Stephen P Robbins defines ‘OB’ as a field of study that examines the influence of individuals, groups, and structure on behaviour within an organization, and then applies that knowledge to organizational betterment.

People do not work in isolation. When they join an organization, they come in contact with other people and organizations. When they get exposed to managers, co-workers, organizational policies, formal structure with their prior experience, values, culture etc., they change. The organization is also affected by individual’s presence, and ultimately by their absence. Therefore, in the study of organizational behaviour the methods should consider the ways in which individuals and organizations interact.

Important Disciplines in the Organizational Behaviour Field

There are some important disciplines in the organizational behaviour field that have developed it extensively. Due to the increase in organizational complexity, different types of knowledge are required and helped in many ways.

disciplines in organizational behaviour field
Important Disciplines in the Organizational Behaviour Field

6 Contributing Disciplines in the Organizational Behaviour Field are: –

  1. Psychology;
  2. Social Psychology;
  3. Sociology;
  4. Anthropology;
  5. Political Sciences; and
  6. Economics.


Psychology: – The word psychology comes from the Greek word ‘psyche’ which means spirit. Psychology is the science that attempts to measure, explain and sometimes change the behaviour of human beings. Modern psychology is almost universally defined as the science of behaviour that is almost identical to the science of behaviour in general. Psychology has a great influence on the field of organizational behaviour. Psychology deals with individual behaviour.


Psychology studies the behaviour of different people in different situations like normal, abnormal, social, industrial legal, childhood, adolescence, old age etc. It also studies the processes of human behaviour, such as learning, motivation, perception, individual and group decision-making – organization, group process, satisfaction, communication, selection, and pattern-making of influence in training.

It is a science, which describes the change of behavior of human and other animals. It is concerned with the more study of human behavior.

Understanding Psychological principles and its models help significantly in gaining the knowledge of determinants of individual behavior such as: –

  1. Learning;
  2. Personality;
  3. Perception;
  4. Individual decision-making;
  5. Performance appraised;
  6. Attitude measurement;
  7. Employee selected;
  8. Work design;
  9. Motivation;
  10. Emotions;
  11. Work strain; and
  12. Job satisfaction.

Social Psychology: – Social psychology is that part of psychology that integrates the concepts of psychology and sociology. In other words, social psychology studies all aspects of social behaviour and social thought – how people think about and interact with others. It deals with how people are affected by other individuals who are physically present or who are imagined to be present or even whose presence is implied. One of the areas that has attracted considerable attention from social psychology is the change in legislation to reduce its resistance and implement it successfully.

social pshycology - Disciplines in organizational behaviour

Additionally, social psychology is useful in the areas of measuring and understanding changing attitudes; communication patterns; The ways in which group activities can satisfy individual needs and group decision-making processes. It focuses on the effect people have on each other.  It is a field within psychology that blends concepts from psychology and sociology and that focuses on the impact of people on each other.

The major contributions of social psychology to OB are as follows: –

  1. Behavior change
  2. Attitude change
  3. Communication
  4. Group process
  5. Group decision-making

Sociology: – Sociology is the study of group behaviour. It can be described as an academic discipline that uses the scientific method to accumulate knowledge about the social behaviour of an individual. In other words, it studies the behaviour of people in relation to their fellow human beings.

Some of the areas within the OB that have received valuable input from sociologists include group dynamics, organizational culture, formal organization theory and structure, organizational technology, bureaucracy, communication power, conflict, and inter-group behaviour. As for managerial practice, its contributions are mainly in the areas of bureaucracy, role structure, social system theory, group dynamics, impact of industrialization on social behaviour, etc.

Sociological concepts, theories, models, and techniques help significantly to understand better the group dynamics, organizational culture, formal organization theory and structure, corporate technology, bureaucracy, communications, power, conflict, and intergroup behavior.

Most sociologists today identify the discipline by using one of the three statements, key concepts of Sociology are: –

  1. Sociology deals with human interaction arid this communication are the key influencing factor among people in social settings;
  2. Sociology is a study of plural behavior. Two or more interacting individuals constitute a plurality pattern of behavio; and
  3. Sociology is the systematic study of social systems.

Anthropology: – The word anthropology combines the Greek word ‘anthropo’ meaning man and the noun ending ‘logi’ meaning science. Thus, anthropology can be defined as the science of man. The main aim of anthropology is to acquire a better understanding of the relationship between the human being and the environment. Adaptations to surroundings constitute culture. The manner in which people view their surroundings is a part of the culture. It is also known as the ‘Science of Humanity’ which covers a wide range of studies including the evolutionary history of humans and the characteristics of different societies, cultures and human groups.

In other words, the field of anthropology studies the relationship between individuals and their environment. Groups of individuals living together form a set of shared ideas called a culture. Culture is rooted in a system of symbols shared by a group of people and reflected in their language and beliefs.

The culture of a civilization or the subculture of a defined group is transmitted by stories and myths told by the members of the group. These stories and myths help groups understand who they are and what things are important.

It is the study of society to learn human beings and their activities. The major contributions of Anthropology in the field of OB are as follows: –

  1. Comparative values
  2. Comparative attitudes
  3. Cross-culture analysis
  4. Organization environment
  5. Organization culture

Political Science: – Political science is the branch of social science that deals with politics in its theory and practice and with the analysis of various political systems and political practices. Political scientists study the behaviour of individuals and groups in the political environment. Contributions of political scientists are significant to the understanding of behavior in organizations. Political scientists study the behavior of individuals and groups within a political environment.

They contribute to understanding the dynamics of power centers, structuring of conflict and conflict resolution tactics, allocation of power and how people manipulate power for individual self-interest.

Political science - Disciplines in organizational behaviour

Specific topics of concern to political scientists include conflict resolution, group alliances, the allocation of power, and how people manipulate power for personal gain. In other words, political science helps us understand the dynamics of power and politics within organizations, as there is usually a hierarchical structure of different organizational levels of managers and subordinates.

It is the study of the behavior of individuals and group within or political environment. The main contribution of political science in the field of OB have been concerned with: –

  1. Conflict
  2. Intra-organizational policies
  3. Power

In a business field, organizations wanted to attain supremacy in their field and indulge in politicking activities to gain maximum advantages by following certain tasks like Machiavellianism, coalition formation, malpractices, etc. The knowledge of political science can be utilized in the study the behavior of employees, executives at micro as well as macro level.

Economics: – Economists study the distribution, consumption and production of goods and services. Economics contributes to the behaviour of the organization by designing structure. The organization and its structure are influenced by transaction cost economics.  The cost factor that exchanges the market is known as transaction cost economics. It identifies the extent to which the structure and size of the organization varies as a result of efforts to avoid market failures by reducing production and transaction costs within the limits of human and environmental factors.

Economics - Disciplines in organizational behaviour

Economic pressures determine the appropriate structure through either market, hybrids network structure or hierarchy to organize transactions effectively. A firm can be unselected from the market if possible, failing to settle in the best possible way. Environments are dynamic, organization must respond to change its structure. Shifts from large firm hierarchies to networks or to market relations are in terms of changing conditions of the economising function. Labour market dynamics, productivity, human resource planning and forecasting, and cost-benefit analysis are the common interests shared by economist.

So we can assume that there are various types of disciplines in organizational behaviour. They, directly and indirectly, influence the overall activities of OB.

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