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The functions of organisational behaviour

Organisational behaviour supports the development of effective performance of a company. Here, we introduce the main functions that organisational behaviour supports.

Organisational structure

One of the functions of organisational behaviour is to provide an organisational structure, which shows the hierarchical arrangement within an organisation of lines of authority, communications, rights and duties of an organisation (Business Dictionary 2019).

The information featured in an organisational structure includes the title of each manager’s position, who is accountable to whom, and who has authority for each area.

Organisational structure facilitates definition of authority, power and status of employees in an organisation.


Leadership can be defined as the action of leading a group of people or an organisation, or the ability to do both. It is considered as a social process influencing the behaviour of others.

However, leadership may depend on the type of relationships that exist between the leaders and their followers. For instance, both leader and subordinates need to understand the basis of power the leader has and possibly the leadership style they are using. So, organisational behaviour supports the formulation of groups to achieve a goal.

Initiatives for motivation

Motivation is a general expression used in diverse approaches; it can be defined as a deed or practice of providing a motive that steers people in accomplishing their jobs and achieving the required objectives (Buchbinder and Shanks 2011).

Put simply, motivation is what causes people to behave as they do. Unlike other functions, motivation has a direct link to human behaviour, meaning it is the people who are to change their perception to embrace a change in an organisation.

Conflict management

Organisational conflict can be described as a state of discord between individuals or groups of individuals working together. It can be caused by a variety of factors stemming from the actual or perceived opposition of needs, values, and interests of those individuals or groups of individuals.

Conflict management is important in organisational behaviour for preventing long-term disagreements between individuals or among groups of people in an organisation.

Change management

Individuals, groups, situations and businesses undergo change at some point. This could be planned or unplanned.

A quote commonly attributed to Darwin says:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

(Megginson 1963: 4)

Managing change is an important aspect of running a business. There are many definitions of the term ‘change management’. In this short course, we define it as:

The discipline that guides how we prepare, equip and support individuals to successfully adopt change in order to drive organizational success and outcomes.

(Prosci 2015)

Your task

Undertake a literature review to explore three more functions of organisational behaviour. A literature review looks at what has already been published on the topic you are researching, which includes scholarly articles, books, research papers, etc. It provides a comprehensive summary, recapping the important information for each source.

Share your review, which should provide an overview of sources you have explored, with other learners in the comments.


Buchbinder, S.B., and Shanks, N.H. (2011) Introduction to Health Care Management. Jones & Bartlett Publishers

Business Dictionary (2019) Organizational structure [online]. available from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/organizational-structure.html [22 July 2019]

Megginson, L.C. (1963) ‘Lessons from Europe for American Business’. Southwestern Social Science Quarterly 44 (1), 3-13

Prosci (2015) What is Change Management? [online]. available from https://www.prosci.com/change-management/what-is-change-management [22 July 2019]

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This article is from the free online course:

Organisational Behaviour in Construction: An Introduction

Coventry University