Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the Coventry University's online course, An Introduction to Organisational Behaviour: How to Understand Your People. Join the course to learn more.
A semi circle segmented into rings. At the centre is the individual, on the next segment is Group, then Organisation and then finally on the outer segment, Environment.

Influences on behaviour in organisations

In the previous step, we looked at the disciplines that contribute to the field of OB; however, there are also a number of interrelated variables and dimensions that influence behaviour at work.

These include the individual, the group, the organisation and the environment (Mullins 2016).

The individual

The individual’s behaviours and responses in any situation, whether they are acting in a group or in isolation, has an influence and impact on the organisation. If these behaviours are positive it could lead to enhanced performance, effectiveness and productivity. On the other hand, if they are negative it could lead to conflict, damage and issues around misbehaviour at work.

The group

Groups and teams exist in all workplaces and are important for the performance and effectiveness of any organisation. Individual employees in groups exert an influence over each other and group pressure can have a significant impact on the behaviour and performance of individual employees.

The organisation

The formal structure of an organisation could define and influence the ways in which individuals and groups interact. Organisational processes are informed by leadership, management patterns and technology. This, in turn, has a direct impact on how individuals and teams perform activities to achieve organisational aims.

The environment

The organisation and the people who work for them are part of a bigger external environment and this affects the organisation (eg through advances in technology, changes in the law, political unrest, globalisation). This increased pace of change within the external environment places increasing demands on the organisation to adapt.

Your task

Imagine that a manager is in the middle of an important morning meeting. Suddenly, she receives an email to say that she needs to get to the car park immediately as someone has hit her car. She rushes out of the office and finds her colleague and two security staff next to the car. Her colleague apologises profusely and offers £120 for repairs, but this amount will not cover the damage. Her colleague refuses to give their insurance details as the insurance premium would increase due to the claim. After some debate, the colleague promises to send their car insurance details by midday but doesn’t. They then refuse to communicate with the manager in the office and over email.

Now imagine you are facing this challenge. Consider what might be the impact of the above scenario on the different influences of behaviour that were introduced in this step (individual, group, organisation and environment)?

Then, join the discussion to share your views with your fellow learners. Be sure to support your views with a brief rationale.


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

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

An Introduction to Organisational Behaviour: How to Understand Your People

Coventry University