How Do I Keep up with Trends in Organizational Behavior?

Helen Akers

The task of keeping up with trends in organizational behavior can prove to be somewhat difficult for business leaders. Organizational behavior trends tend to involve changes in business culture, technology, company structure, management perspective, and marketing. Potential methods of keeping current with organizational culture theory and business practices are observing competitor activity, researching changes in technology, reading organizational behavior literature, and networking with members of professional organizations.

Businessman giving a thumbs-up
Businessman giving a thumbs-up

Seeking out and reading literature on trends in organizational behavior can be one of the best ways to stay informed about changes. There are several industry publications, online article databases, and websites dedicated to the study of business culture and how trends in the workplace affect organizations. For example, the entrance of Generation Y into the workforce caused many organizations to change the way job responsibilities, rewards and expectations are structured.

Another way to monitor trends in organizational behavior is to observe what other businesses are doing. This can be accomplished by researching current articles about business culture, attending trade conferences or lectures, and networking. Business managers can also actively seek the feedback of their front line employees, who may hear of trends and business practices before they are studied or published in academic journals. In addition to seeking out employee feedback about changes they've observed from other companies, business managers can also survey the attitudes and perceptions of their employees.

A good portion of workplace behavior is influenced by generational perceptions, culture, organizational structure and management tactics. It can also be affected and shaped by changes in technology and market needs. Business leaders can often predict and monitor workplace behavior changes by learning about and adopting new technology. For example, in the mid-1990s the growth of private Internet use in industrialized nations changed the business models of many corporations and even made some business platforms possible.

Technology use and growth can also change the way communication and task completion take place. Freelance, contract work, and telecommuting were all made possible by exploiting hi-speed Internet service, voice over IP (VOIP) phone service, enterprise project management software, and video conferencing. Trends in organizational behavior do not necessarily emerge solely from technology, but are driven by a combination of underlying attitudes and technical capability.

Marketing strategies can have a major influence over trends in organizational behavior. For example, concerns about cost efficiency and competitive advantage can drive changes in organizational structure, such as vertical integration. This structure gives companies with multiple operations more control over their own manufacturing and distribution networks. Business culture trends can stem from a need to better serve the needs of the market, while increasing profit margins.

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