Organizational behavior is concerned with developing people skills. Therefore, the goals of organizational behavior are to help us to explain, predict, and control human behavior.
When we seek answers to why an individual or a group of individuals did something, we are pursuing the explanation objective. It is probably the least important of the three goals from a management perspective because it occurs after the fact. Yet, if we are to understand a phenomenon, we must begin by trying to explain it. We can then use this understanding to determine a cause. For example, if a member of valued employees resign, we undoubtedly want to know why in order to determine if it could have been prevented. Employees quit their jobs for many reasons. However if the explanation for a high quit-rate is inadequate pay or boring jobs, managers often can take actions that will correct this situation in the future.
The goal of prediction focuses on future events to determine what outcomes will result from a given action. A manager of a small factory who attempts to assess how employees will respond to the installation of new robotic equipment is engaging in a predictive exercise. On the basis of a knowledge of organizational behavior, the manager can predict certain behavioral responses to the change. Of course, there are various ways to implement a major change, so the manager is likely to assess employee responses to several change interventions. In this way, the manager can anticipate which appraoches will generate the least degree of employee resistance and use that information in making his or her dicision.
The most controversial goal is using organizational behavior knowledge to control behavior. For example, when a manager asks "What can I do to make an employee put out more effort on his job?" that...