As a professional in organizational behavior (OB), you will be responsible for studying how people interact in groups. Organizational behavior typically is applied by skilled professionals with the idea of creating business organizations that are more efficient. Organizational behavior professionals often will use their skills in the human resources area of many organizations.
Findings from organizational behavior are frequently used by company executives and/or human resource professionals to better grasp the culture of the business and how that culture can affect employees. Understanding company culture is important to understand because it can facilitate or hinder the productivity of workers.
What Is Organizational Behavior?
Organizational behavior is concerned with studying how people in business and work situations interact, the purpose being to create a more harmonious workplace. Studying organizational behavior typically consists of the following distinct parts:
- Personality, which plays a major role in how people interact in a group and produce work. Understanding the personality types of employees through tests or conversations is useful to determine if they are a good fit for that job or organization.
- Job satisfaction, which is generally agreed to consist of interesting work, good managers and supervisors, good working conditions and a good reward and pay system.
- Leadership, which in OB is mostly concerned with what it looks like and where it comes from in an organization. Leadership can be broad, focused, decentralized or centralized.
- Power, authority and politics all operate together in the workplace.
Having a good understanding of these different parts of OB and how they interrelate can lead to better and happier employees and a more productive work environment.
As companies and organizations become more competitive, organizational behavior theory is becoming more important so organizations can learn how to solve key problems and increase productivity and efficiency. Improving the organizational behavior of a company or organization can have the following benefits:
- Boosts economic potential of the organization and generates more productivity and efficiency in the group.
- Once everyone in the organization is working together more smoothly, it can grow and become more profitable.
- Higher levels of worker satisfaction usually occur in harmonious organizations, leading to more worker productivity and retention.
One of the most important and growing job roles that use OB principles is human resources managers. Employment for these workers is going to increase by 9% by 2026, which is about as fast as average. Employment growth for HR professionals will depend in part on the individual organization and the industry. HR managers also are growing in the workforce because there is a greater need for managers who understand the more complex employment laws and regulations.
HR managers make a median salary of $106,900, and approximately one in three work more than 40 hours per week.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that there were 136,000 HR managers employed in 2016 in the following industries:
- Management of companies and enterprises: 14%
- Professional and technical services: 13%
- Manufacturing: 13%
- Government: 10%
- Healthcare and social services 9%
There are other positions where a degree in organizational behavior can be highly beneficial:
- Training and development managers
- Company executives
- Management analysts and consultants
Another career option for some professionals interested in this profession is to study industrial/organizational psychology. This involves using the principles of psychology and applying them to the workplace to improve the quality of the workplace. This field will grow by an average rate of 6% from 2016 to 2026.
As noted above, there are a variety of related positions that you could seek with an organizational behavior degree. According to Benedictine University, which offers a degree in this field, these are the types of salaries to expect:
- HR manager: $75,000 per year
- Business or management analyst: $80,000 per year
- Training and development manager: $62,000 per year
- Labor relations specialist: $54,000 per year
- Industrial organizational psychologist: $82,700
With a degree in organizational behavior or a related field, you will have the education and skills to work in many industries and for many companies. Some of the best businesses to work for in the US today with the best corporate and ethical policies driven by good organizational behavior, where you can use your skills include:
- Goldman Sachs
- Ultimate Software
- NuStar Energy
- SAS Institute
In the field of human resources, which is closely related to organizational behavior, the following companies have been rated by Workforce.com as being the best in terms of HR management:
- American Express
- General Electric
- Procter and Gamble
To get a jumpstart in this field, it is common to earn a bachelor of science in psychology with a focus on organizational behavior. This program is offered by Colorado Technical University. This type of undergraduate degree focuses on aspects of psychology so that you can understand the unique dynamics that control how personnel in a company behave.
For experienced professionals with a bachelor’s degree that want to advance their managerial career, a good option is to obtain a Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior from Benedictine University. This is an online degree that provides you with a complete understanding of core business needs, such as strategic planning, labor relations, workforce diversity, managerial accounting, change management and ethical leadership.
Many of these degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s level can be obtained mostly or entirely online. This provides you with the ability to attend a college far from where you live. It also gives you the chance to continue to work at least part time as you complete your studies. Courses include organizational behavior, analytical tools for management decisions, methods of organizational research and career and human resource planning.
The admission requirements vary for bachelor’s and master’s programs. Below are the requirements for the master’s program mentioned above:
- Official bachelor’s transcripts
- Two letters of recommendation
- Letter of intent
- 0 GPA generally is required
For Colorado Technical University’s bachelor’s program, below are the some of the required courses:
- Written Communications
- Environmental Science and Sustainability
- Academic and Career Success
- Psychology and Mass Media
- Group Dynamics
- Social Psychology
- Managerial Psychology
- Organizational Psychology
- Biological Foundations of Behavior
- The Psychology of Creativity and Ingenuity
- Analytical Reasoning and the Presentation of Data
Whether you earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in organizational behavior or a related field, this is not an inexpensive endeavor. It is recommended to look for scholarships and grants to help you to pay for your education. Below are some possibilities. Some of these scholarships are for any university and others are for specific universities. Be sure to talk to the financial aid office at your university to determine if there are other program or school specific scholarships that may be available.
- IOM National Scholarship: $500
- Joseph A Coupet Sr. Scholarship: $2000
- Lee Hakel Graduate Student Scholarship: $3000 or $3500
- Richard Metzler Scholarship: $5000
- VOMI Organizational Management Institute Scholarship: $5000
- Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology Scholarship: $3500
- George Lennox Endowed Scholarship: $2000
- Planters Bank Scholarship: $1000
- Women in Business Scholarship: $1000
- Wafa Business and Technology Scholarship: $1000
- Hazel and Walter T. Bales Scholarship: $2000
Professionals interested in a career in organizational behavior and related areas such as human resources may find these certifications valuable:
- Society of Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)
- Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
- Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
Below are some related associations and organizations that organizational behavior professionals often find useful for growing their education and career:
- Association for Psychological Science
- Society for Human Resource Management
- International Association for Human Resource Information Management
- Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
A career in organizational behavior, and/or the related fields of human resources management and industrial/organizational psychology will provide you with the skills and knowledge to help companies get the most out of their employees. This can lead to an increase in productivity, market share and profits.
- Workforce 100 – Ranking the World’s Top Companies in HR. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.workforce.com/2016/05/22/2016-workforce-100-ranking-the-worlds-top-companies-for-hr/
- Organizational Behavior. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.investopedia.com/terms/o/organizational-behavior.asp
- Why Study Organizational Theory? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-management/chapter/why-study-organizational-theory/
- HR Managers. (2015, Dec. 18). Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers.htm#tab-3
- Benedictine University. MS in Management and Organizational Behavior Career. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://online.ben.edu/programs/msmob/careers