The Five Anchors of Organizational Behavior

by Sharon O'Toole; Updated September 26, 2017
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Organizational behavior is the study of how individuals and groups behave and interact within organizations. These behaviors affect the way groups and teams are formed, what is considered important or unimportant, and how work environments are managed. Behavioral factors have a strong effect on the efficiency of the organization and on job satisfaction. Research into organizational behavior is guided by five driving principles or anchors.

The Multidisciplinary Anchor

Organizational behavior is a discipline and within it theories and models of behavior are developed. However, researchers in this discipline must also scan a variety of other disciplines and draw from them relevant information and ideas. Some these disciplines include psychology, anthropology, sociology. communications and technology.

The Systematic Research Anchor

Researchers in the field of organizational behavior rely on scientific method in conducting studies. The systematic research anchor dictates that organizations collect information and data in a detailed and systematic way and that statements and assumptions be tested in quantitative ways.

The Contingency Anchor

Different actions and decisions may have different consequences in different settings. The contingency anchor requires an awareness that no single solution will work in every situation and that organizational solutions to problems need to take the specifics of a given situation into account. There is a need to evaluate specific situations and select a solution that fits the situation to which it is to be applied.

The Multiple Levels of Analysis Anchor

This anchor dictates that solutions be evaluated from the perspectives of various organizational levels including that of individuals, of functional teams or departments, of executives and of the company as a whole. Many solutions when applied affect several or all levels of the organization. Analysis of the effects at various levels is critical to success.

The Open System Anchor

Organizations do not exist in a vacuum. The organization and the environment in which it exists are interconnected. The open systems anchor supports a view of the organization that includes its external environment including such factors as the culture in which it is located, the needs of investors, the state of the economy, the political environment and regulatory requirements. It also supports the internal view of items such as communication systems, marketing needs, work processes and the interactions of various subgroups.

About the Author

Based in Boise Idaho, Sharon O’Toole has over 20 years experience writing for business and industry. She has worked in the areas of education, technology and publishing. She holds an editing certification, expert level, conferred by Expert Rating Global Certifications and a Master’s degree from Leicester University, UK.

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