Introduction

If this is your first encounter with the subject of organizational behavior, you are likely wondering what it is and why it is important. The answer is that organizations play a central role in our lives. You were probably physically born in one kind of organization (a hospital), as well as into another kind of organization (your family). Since birth, who you are as a person has most likely been shaped by many organizations, from the schools you attended to the sports and voluntary organizations in which you participated.

Now, as a student and active participant in the workforce, you will discover that organizations will influence and shape your life more than ever. If you haven’t already had the experience, in the near future you'll likely be responsible for managing people within an organization. As a manager, you’ll do a better job if you understand how organizations influence people and how people influence organizations. Such an understanding is vital to your ability to thrive and even survive in the world of work. You can operate a car without understanding how it works, but it's hard to run an organization without knowing its structure and function. The nature of the organization is the central theme of this course.

Throughout this course, you will be introduced to the basic theories and elements of organizational behavior. To further apply what is learned, we will approach organizational behavior from an international perspective and provide a number of real-world examples. We begin this topic by describing the main characteristics of organizational behavior and consider its importance as a field of study. Following a general review of the historical and theoretical foundations of organizational behavior, we outline the primary research procedures used by practitioners within the field.