Employees bring their own backgrounds to the workplace, where they must learn the rules for expected behavior. How employees act has a lasting impact on your company. Their behavior creates impressions on customers, fellow employees, business partners, regulatory agencies and suppliers. Improve your small business by focusing on the forms of organizational behavior that you want to change and to maintain.

What is Organizational Behavior?

Organizational behavior describes the behaviors and attitudes of employees and the organization as a whole. Your company's behavior does not just lie in the specific norms for individual and group behavior and the degree to which those norms are followed. It also matters what actual behavior patterns achieve for your small business in terms of employee performance and commitment to the organization. For example, you might wonder whether employee implementation of customer service policies is producing customer satisfaction.

Group Structures

Your company contains various group structures, such as a leadership group and employee work teams, that represent the organizational culture. Each group has different rules for membership, internal procedures and expectations for behavior. A typical group also exhibits patterns of decision-making and values that leaders model for group members. A company can have competing groups internally, such as a tight management culture and a fragmented employee culture battling for control of policy-making.

External Influences

Managers and workers do not come to work and interact in a vacuum. They are constantly encountering people from the outside world, including customers and other stakeholders, who also influence their behavior. It could be helpful to view your company as an open system. Your staff receive input from the outside world, yet they must achieve some form of equilibrium in the workplace environment. They must reconcile external influences with what they know of your expectations for behavior.

Owner Influence

You have an ability as a small-business owner to change the patterns of behavior of individuals and groups. You want the kinds of behavior that employees exhibit to maximize their contribution to the organization. For example, you want front-line staff behaviors to wed customers to your brand, so they become repeat buyers. Do this by using the workings of the organizational culture to communicate new expectations to your staff. Examples of workings are control systems, organizational structures and routines. Some small-business owners do what big companies do: they shake things up, such as improving an internal system of quality control by bringing in outside analysts or changing the company structure to put employees in more effective groups.