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The word Disciplines appears in a bubble in the centre of the screen. The words Anthropology, Sociology and Psychology are connected to this bubble in the style of a mind map.

Disciplines that contribute to organisational behaviour

There are different disciplines that influence our study and understanding of behaviour in organisations.

Many scholars argue that disciplines such as economics, political and social sciences contribute to our understanding of OB, but they overlap (Mullins 2016). It is widely accepted that anthropology, sociology and psychology are the three main disciplines that have made an important contribution to our understanding of OB.


The use of psychology focuses on psychological and organisational research and theory to find ways to enhance organisational effectiveness. The use of this discipline examines the lives of employees at work in an attempt to measure, explain and sometimes change the behaviour of employees within the organisation.


While psychology focuses on the individual, sociology studies people in relation to their social environment or culture. It focuses on group behaviour in organisations, group dynamics, organisational culture, communication, power, conflict, structures and how order is maintained within these groups.


The use of anthropology focuses on the study of societies to learn about human beings, their cultures, environments and activities. It enables us to understand differences in fundamental values, attitudes and behaviour between people in different countries and within different organisations.

Your task

Sometimes we find ourselves working with people – bosses, peers and other employees – who may have been born and raised in different countries and cultures. Their behaviour, communication style and motivation may be slightly different from our own. For example, what motivates you may not motivate them; or you may view your communication style as straightforward and open, while others may find it uncomfortable and threatening. To work effectively with people from a variety of countries and cultures, you need to understand how their culture, geography and religion has shaped them and how you might adapt your management style.

Having read the above scenario, what do you think are the disciplines that would contribute to our understanding of working with people from different cultures and countries?


Mullins, L. (2016) Management and Organisational Behaviour. 11th edn. Harlow: Pearson Education

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This article is from the free online course:

An Introduction to Organisational Behaviour: How to Understand Your People

Coventry University