Why Study OB?


Organizational Success Factors

Suppose you are an investment analyst trying to evaluate the long-term profitability of a company. What are some of the observable factors you might consider in making a judgement?

All of these are important, but they are mostly about the present. Just because their technology is good today doesn't mean it will always be good. There are a lot of makers of vacuum tubes that can attest to that. Financial strength is basically a measure of the company's past success.

What determines whether the company will continue to develop sought-after products, will continue to develop cutting edge technology, will continue to make the right guesses about which way the market is going to go, will continue to make sound investments, is the people and the organizational culture and structure.


Personal Success Factors

When you first get a job, it is usually because of your technical skills. By "technical" I don't mathematical or computer. I mean the nuts and bolts of your profession. For example, if you get a job as an artist, it's because you can paint (or sculpt or whatever). If you get a job as a marketing researcher, it's because you (appear to) know about marketing research methods, such as survey construction, sampling, and statistics.

Now, some people stay in technical positions all their lives. But others move on to manage people. Their technical skills don't matter as much anymore (especially since technology keeps changing). What does matter is their ability to manage people. And that's what O.B. is about. Ten years out of school, the one business course that manager say they wish they had paid more attention to is Organizational Behavior.

Another important aspect of OB is the understanding that it gives you of organizational structure and process. Understanding how organizations really work, is key to rising to the top levels of management. Most people who work in organizations come to understand the politics and issues in their own departments. But they don't get much opportunity (and often don't even think about) what happens in the rest of the organization. People trained in organizational behavior have the jump on those people, because they already understand a great deal about what makes organizations tick. Hence, their presentations, their political moves, their organizational initiatives are all in better tune with the organization as a whole, and are more apt to be admired by people higher in the organization.


Revised: September 05, 1997 Go to Home Page