In order to understand organisational behaviour, one must develop an understanding of the term organisation. According to Robbins and Barnwell an organisation is ‘a consciously coordinated social entity, with a relatively identifiable boundary, that functions on a relatively continuous basis in order to achieve a common goal or set of goals’ (2002, p. 6). In the broad spectrum of the term organisation, one may see that they ‘exist to achieve goals and objectives’ (Forrest and Johnstone 2004, p. 10). For example the health organisation Nepean Hospital can be seen as an organisation, because all its members (employees) work in a consciously coordinated social entity, in order to perform the continuous function to achieve the common goal, of providing health for the general public.
Organisational behaviour is the study of what the people who make up an organisation think, feel and do in and around organisations. It explores individual emotions and behaviour, team dynamics and the systems and structures of organisations. Organisational behaviour seeks to provide an understanding of the factors necessary for managers to create an organisation that is more ‘effective’ than its competitors. Through a study of organisational behaviour managers may attempt to develop organisational citizenship within its employees. According to Robbins, Millett and Waters-Marsh organisational behaviour is ‘a field of study that investigates the impact that individuals, groups and structure have on behaviour within organisations for the purpose of applying such knowledge towards improving an organisation’s effectiveness’ (2004, p. p.).
This concept attempts to understand three specific determinants of organisational behaviour: individuals, groups and structure (Robbins et al 2004, p.9). In the organisation Nepean Hospital the mission statement is ‘to improve health outcomes of the general public’ (Sydney Western Area Health Service Mission Statement 2005) and all three of these determinants of organisational behaviour may be seen. The individual employees may include the nurses, doctors, wardspersons, ward clerks, cleaners, managers, and staff specialists. The groups may include the medical teams, neurosurgical, renal, medical emergency teams, groups of nurses, nurses and wardspersons.
The structure, in this case is a matrix design. According to Montgomery the matrix design ‘includes both a vertical and a horizontal chain of command’ (2002, p. 271). Thus, the Nurse Unit Manager has her own direct senior, in her own vertical line of command; however, concerning ‘infection control,’ ‘public health,’ ‘mental health’ or ‘drug and alcohol’ issues the directors of these areas are also her ‘direct’ senior (from the side). This design is helpful as the expert on each subject is near to hand, yet the day to day individual service delivery to clients is the responsibility of the Nurse Manager and his or her staff.
By developing an understanding of organisational behaviour, managers of organisations are better equipped and capable of managing people so that they physically want to do all that they can to further increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation.