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What Are the Different Types of Organizational Behavior Theory?

Organizational Behavior Theory is a fascinating lens through which to view workplace dynamics. It encompasses various models, including the classical, human relations, systems, and contingency theories, each offering unique insights into how individuals and groups interact within a business setting. Understanding these theories can transform management practices. How might they reshape your approach to leadership? Continue reading to find out.
Osmand Vitez
Osmand Vitez

Organizational behavior theory usually represents concepts that help a company create better management practices. In some cases, these theories can mean the creation of a structure in the business; in other cases, it may be training personnel for different activities. The most common types of organizational behavior include classical, contingency, and systems, among others. The first theory takes on the management practices of a firm, the second looks at managing conflict in an organization, and the last represents a theory of interrelated systems. A company can use one theory or transition to another, if it so desires, so long as the new behavior increases the business’s operational efficiency.

Classic organizational behavior theory typically includes four parts, though newer forms of this theory may include more parts. These are: finding the best way to complete tasks, matching the best employee to each task, supervising workers closely while using rewards and punishment for motivation, and using management planning and control in the company. Each part is important to every activity in a business, with the end result of this management being improved effectiveness and efficiency. This classical theory may also fall under the moniker scientific management theory. This theory is also very strenuous to complete when compared to other theories of organizational behavior.

The contingency organizational behavior theory understands that conflict is unavoidable, though usually manageable.
The contingency organizational behavior theory understands that conflict is unavoidable, though usually manageable.

In most companies, conflict is not seen as beneficial, and most upper-level executives look for ways to avoid it. The contingency organizational behavior theory, however, understands that conflict is unavoidable, though it is usually manageable. Therefore, owners and executives must find ways to manage and control conflict among workers, departments, and outside groups. Companies that engage in this organizational theory often give more managerial control to lower-level managers and supervisors. This allows for the control of conflict at lower levels without micromanagement from upper-level executives.

Systems organizational behavior theory looks at companies as individual yet interrelated pieces of a much larger operation. If the management team of the company changes just one aspect of a department, it may cause reverberations that echo through other departments. Under this theory, it is important to understand that a dynamic equilibrium must exist in order for the company to continue operating efficiently. Additionally, some nonlinear relationships may exist among variables that add even more complexity to the overall organization. These additional variables — along with those already known — can make it difficult to control an entity that runs under the systems organizational behavior theory.

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Discussion Comments


What are the different types of business strategic behavior? Please help.


@MikeMason-- Organizations within the same industries work together to develop strategies and to make structural changes as circumstances in the industry change.


I'm studying this theory in class right now. Organizational behavior theory is mainly about how individuals interact within organizations. But accordingly to my instructor, it can also refer to the interaction between organizations, such as in a industry.

But what does organizational behavior theory explain in this interaction?


I think that many organizations don't know how to manage conflict at all.

I've worked with four different organizations until now. I agree that conflict is inevitable in a work environment and there was conflict in each of the organizations I worked in. However, conflict was not dealt with correctly. In fact, most of the time, it was not dealt with at all. This of course would make it difficult for people to their job.

Conflict stops communication and an organization that doesn't communicate cannot be successful at what they do. I think that all organizations, the managers and employees need to receive some kind of training, such as seminars, in organizational behavior theory to learn to deal with conflict at work.

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    • The contingency organizational behavior theory understands that conflict is unavoidable, though usually manageable.
      By: Rido
      The contingency organizational behavior theory understands that conflict is unavoidable, though usually manageable.