The field of organizational behavior relies on a set of basic beliefs or knowledge structures. These conceptual anchors represent the principles on which OB knowledge is developed and refined.
The below diagram represents the anchors of organizational behavior:
1. Multidisciplinary Anchor
Organizational behavior is anchored around the idea that the field should develop from knowledge in other disciplines, not just from its own isolated research base. For instance, psychological research has aided our understanding of individual and interpersonal behavior. Sociologists have contributed to our knowledge of team dynamics, organizational socialization, organizational power, and other aspects of the social system. OB knowledge has also benefited from knowledge in emerging fields such as communications, marketing, and information systems. Some OB experts have recently argued that the field suffers from a “trade deficit”—importing far more knowledge from other disciplines than is exported to other disciplines. Although this may be a concern, organizational behavior has thrived through its diversity of knowledge from other fields of study.
2. Systemic Research Anchor
A critical feature of OB knowledge is that it should be based on systematic research, which typically involves forming research questions, systematically collecting data, and testing hypotheses against those data.
When research is founded on theory and conducted systematically, we can be more confident that the results are meaningful and useful for practice. This is known as evidence-based management — making decisions and taking actions based on research evidence.
3. Contingency Anchor
People and their work environments are complex, and the field of organizational behavior recognizes this by stating that a particular action may have different consequences in different situations. In other words, no single solution is best in all circumstances. Of course, it would be so much simpler if we could rely on “one best way” theories, in which a particular concept or practice has the same results in every situation. OB experts do search for simpler theories, but they also remain skeptical about “surefire” recommendations; an exception is somewhere around the corner.
4. Multiple level of analysis anchor
The individual level includes the characteristics and behaviors of employees as well as the thought processes that are attributed to them, such as motivation, perceptions, personalities, attitudes, and values. The team level of analysis looks at the way people interact. This includes team dynamics, communication, power, organizational politics, conflict, and leadership. At the organizational level, we focus on how people structure their working relationships and on how organizations interact with their environments.
Organizational Behavior – McShane | Von Glinow