Human Resources

Jobs in Organizational Behavior Management

Jobs in Organizational Behavior Management
Ultimately, a greater understanding of organizational behavior leads to better organizational leadership and improved outcomes for the company. Image from
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Marc Beschler October 31, 2022

Organizational behavior management (OBM) is critical to modern business success. A multitude of career paths are available to those who pursue degree programs or certifications related to behavior analysis and organizational development.

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“The behavior of individuals is the tool with which the organization achieves its target.” This quote, from Herbert A. Simon’s book Administrative Behavior, neatly summarizes the aims of organizational behavior, helping explain why this 1947 work remains a classic of the field.

Getting a group of people to operate as one entity is an often-overwhelming challenge. Every association, from manufacturing to healthcare to religion, must coerce disparate individuals with different desires and goals to pursue a common end. As Simon observed, “Decision-making processes are aimed at finding courses of action that are feasible or satisfactory in the light of multiple goals and constraints.” Devising those processes among the chief objectives of organizational behavior professionals.

In this article, we’ll discuss what organizational behavior is, the discipline of organizational behavior management (OBM), and the sorts of jobs you’ll find in organizational management should you choose to follow this career path. We’ll explore:

  • What is organizational behavior?
  • Organizational behavior careers
  • Studying organizational behavior management

What is organizational behavior?

Organizational behavior is a relatively new field in business administration studies. Put simply, it is the study of ways in which people behave in structured professional settings. Its goals include improving efficiency, increasing productivity and spurring innovation. Melding anthropology, psychology, and sociology, the field provides insight into employee workplace perceptions, attitudes (before and after being hired), and behaviors they exhibit as a result of these perceptions and attitudes.

The field encompasses three levels: micro, meso, and macro.

The micro level deals with individuals and the implications of everything they bring into an organization, such as:

  • Diversity: Heightened awareness of how people’s differences impact organizational performance has drawn more attention to this issue, broadening awareness beyond gender, ethnicity, and age to include also religion, sexual orientation, and gender identification.
  • Personal attitudes: Every employee brings in their own values and biases that can potentially affect their perceptions and interactions within the organization.
  • Engagement: The degree to which people feel engaged with their organization similarly affects their performance. Motivation and job satisfaction can give employees a sense of belonging and appreciation, thus inspiring dedication to the company. This can cement healthy, productive labor relations.
  • Emotional intelligence/emotional labor: Some may feel it’s best to leave personal feelings at the workplace door, but that isn’t how people necessarily function. Recognizing that the work environment stirs personal feelings and helping harness those feelings as a way of developing problem-solving and organizational skills is both sensible and productive.

Similarly, using change management to ease employees into structural or operational modifications is crucial. Change management at its best further reinforces the idea that participation is valued and encouraged.

The meso level of the study expands the scope to the behavior of groups, including:

  • Forming teams: Human resource management means knowing how best to utilize the talent available to you, including bringing the right individuals together to accomplish a particular task. Acknowledging complementary talents and finding ways to bring those talents together facilitates communication for a broader range of ideas. Human resource management is also about ensuring that various teams work toward the same goal as set out in the organization’s strategic planning.
  • Group coherence: Bringing individual team members—often with disparate attitudes and values—together to benefit the core mission of the organization is one of the key tenets of organizational development. This means creating a consistent and dependable tone leading to effective management of potential conflicts, efficient group decision-making, and greater confidence in initiatives that could improve a project.
  • Leadership development: Effective project management hinges, in part, on fostering the talents of direct reports and making room for natural leadership skills to arise. This is a self-feeding process. Those who show leadership skills encourage their co-workers to hone their own skills, all in service of established goals.

Finally, the macro level addresses the organization as a whole. This means studying the ways in which an organization’s fundamental design affects employee attitudes and work performance. This applies to hierarchical structure, emotional atmosphere, overall company culture, and even the physical work space.

Ultimately, a greater understanding of organizational behavior leads to better organizational leadership and improved outcomes for the company.


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Organizational behavior careers

Understanding organizational behavior requires multiple management skills, including emotional intelligence and a capacity for behavior analysis. Putting that understanding into practice requires facility for performance management, communication skills, and talent management. If this skill set matches your own, a job in organizational behavior management within your chosen industry may be a good fit for you. Let’s take a look at some of the organizational behavior management jobs available today.

Organizational effectiveness specialist

An organizational effectiveness specialist (OES) examines the various ways in which a company utilizes its human resources. By understanding a company’s parts, they seek to create a more cohesive whole. This is done through enhanced communication, acknowledging the concerns and contributions of all internal and external stakeholders involved in organizational functions. Through the use of cross-functional teams, performance gaps can be pinpointed and filled while overlaps between departments can be eliminated, thus greatly increasing overall efficiency.

Change management is then implemented to ensure that no one is left behind when new initiatives are released. An OES cultivates strong relationships within the organization. They provide invaluable input when mapping out the future of a project or of the organization as a whole. The median annual salary for an OES in the US is about $77,000 per year.

Organizational change management consultant

Organizational change management consultants (OCMC) help streamline organizational design. They take assessments with the leaders of individual departments to determine what is missing, what is extraneous, how to bring about any necessary changes, and how to aid adaptation of those changes. Changes are often accomplished through the use of planned sessions to help employees understand the hows and whys of any new structural design or initiative. The median annual salary for an OCMC in the US is about $130,000 per year.

Human resources manager

Human resource managers (HRM) are present from day one, when a company’s administrative functions are first established. This foundational understanding allows them to make better decisions regarding hiring and placement. The median annual salary for an HRM in the US is about $112,000 per year.

Training and development manager

Recognizing performance gaps exist is only half the battle. Filling those gaps is where a training and development manager (TDM) shines. TDMs are responsible for creating, designing, and implementing programs that reinforce employee understanding of organizational goals. This helps employees hone their skills for increased efficiency. TDMs also set budgets for training, determining resource allocation and assessing and updating programs to ensure they remain relevant. They are also responsible for assembling teams of training and development specialists to lead these programs. The median annual salary for a TDM in the US is about $128,000 per year.

Performance manager

Much like a human resource manager, a performance manager (PM) is there from day one. Their goal is to design a system in which organizational goals and employee roles are as transparent as possible. A PM can set up the company’s operational structure so that evaluations become less necessary and less frequent. They establish benchmarks for employees, giving all levels of the organization—capital, management and labor—a clear and consistent set of guidelines by which to measure the progress of the project. PMs must also be sufficiently attuned to the inner workings of the company. This allows them to know when performance targets have changed and adjustments to the operational structure need to be made. The median annual salary for a PM in the US is about $66,000 per year.

Market researcher

Internal analysis of a company’s employees’ behavior has tremendous value, but it would all be in vain if its product doesn’t sell. Any successful company must have a solid understanding of public demand for a good or service. A market researcher (MR) interprets data to suggest the proper structural design for a company in order to maximize both operational efficiency and product potential. MRs use their talent for predicting trends within the marketplace to make strategic decisions that anticipate an organization’s future needs. The median annual salary for an MR in the US is about $65,000 per year.

Studying organizational behavior management

Many institutions offer opportunities to study OBM these days. You can earn your bachelor’s or master’s degree, obtain a certification, or take stand-alone courses. The route you choose depends on your overall interest in the topic and the job type you plan to pursue. This field of study can easily complement your other interests, as a grasp of OBM is useful for getting work in many private sector industries, as well as in government.

OBM courses include:
-Behavior Analysis
-Behavior-Based Safety
-Conditioning Principles and Organizational Applications
-Conflict Management
-Ethics in Behavioral Research
-Performance Management
-Psychology of Work
-Research Methods
-Systems Analysis

(Last Updated on February 26, 2024)

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About the Editor

Tom Meltzer spent over 20 years writing and teaching for The Princeton Review, where he was lead author of the company's popular guide to colleges, before joining Noodle.

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