Organizational Studies as an Academic Discipline

Description of Discipline / Subject Matter

Organization involves the application of knowledge to study and investigate the actions of people within organizations. The organizational study belongs to the same group of disciplines as organizational psychology which also aims at investigating the behavior of workers in an organization. Additionally, the field of organizational studies is related to human resources and management. Surhone et al (TEXTBOOK: 2009, p. 26) agree with the above observation by asserting that the field of organizational studies is fragmented with origins in psychology, sociology, and economics.

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It’s therefore correct to conclude that the field of organization studies is a detailed study of organizations from different perspectives through the use of advanced methodologies and high-level analysis. In many cases, organizational studies involve an analysis of organizations through modern, postmodern, and symbolic perspectives (REPORT: MOE Ontario, 2002, p. 17).

Through the above perspectives, the macro and microelements of organizational actions, behavior, and management of an organization theory are examined to determine the interaction that exists among organizations’ populations. It involves an in-depth look at the organizational group and individual dynamics, organization management, and theory as well as organizational cultures, power distribution, and individual networks. In a nutshell, the main objective of organizational studies is to better understand organizational theory through the conceptualization of actions in organizations.

Sub-disciplines of organization studies

Organizational studies as earlier said include many fields of study which aim at examining the actions of people in organizations. The sub-disciplines include psychology or cognitive science, business administration, public policy and administration, human resources, and labor and industrial relations.

Psychology and cognitive science in organizational studies involve the study of organizational employees’ social psychology and personality psychology. Additionally, there is an employment of psychometric tests that are meant to take measurements and statistics on the mental capabilities of an organization’s employees (TEXTBOOK: Ozbilgin, 2006, p.87).

Business administration on the other hand involves the study of organizational behavior; both individual and corporate as well as the application of organizational theory in the corporate setting. Furthermore, the management function of administration is studying under the business administration discipline of organizational studies. Another bit of or business administration that is of interest to organizational studies scholars is organizational change and development. Through it, organizational actions concerning change and development of new applications and practices are examined.

Organizational studies also involve the study of human resources and how changes and new developments affect the functioning of human resource management. Other fields that are of interest to the study of organizational studies include education and technology. Technology in particular is important because of the ripple effect it has on organizational actions hence change in behavior.

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Key concepts in organizational studies

Many scholars have studies organizational studies over the years and have as a result compiled key concepts critical to the discipline. They include strategy, leadership, decision making, organizational diversity, innovation, and organizational learning, and teamwork. This section will however concentrate on leadership and teamwork.

According to WOBS (REORT: 2001, p. 32), modern organizations have increasingly recognized and employed teams as a basic organizing unit. A team in organizational studies is defined as a group of people assigned common roles and functions and aware of the interdependence among other organizational teams for the delivery of corporate objectives. Of particular importance, organizational studies seek to investigate the effect of motivation, cognitive, and social processes in a group setting and how they relate to actions taken by group members.

On the same note, organizational studies investigate the effect of motivational, social, and cognitive processes that are affected by the organization’s style of leadership. More precisely, the fusion of leadership and team concepts in organization studies is of more importance to the development of the discipline. Through this concept, different leadership styles are explored, and especially their effect on teamwork as far as the tenets of organization studies are concerned is analyzed (TEXTBOOK: Surhone et al, 2009, p. 73).


There are numerous theories and models used to explain phenomena in organization studies. Most of the theories stem from other disciplines that have a direct relationship with organizational studies such as sociology, human resource, and industrial psychology. They include management theories, leadership theories, and decision-making theories. More specifically, however, organizational studies use theories such as contingency theory, human relations theory organizational culture theory, economic sociology theory, agency theory, scientific management theory, and the theory of the managerial role. This section will have a slight look at the theory of the managerial role by Henry Mintzberg.

Mintzberg observed the activities of different CEO’s of different organizations in both private and semi-public organizations and subsequently theorized his findings. According to the theory, there are six characteristics of a manager’s job that influence his/her actions.

They include managerial processes, activities, actions, relationships, and involvement in the execution of work. According to Mintzberg, managerial roles were a collection of functions that a manager played in his/her respective organization. According to Henry, managers act as figureheads, leaders, disseminators, entrepreneurs, disturbance handlers, negotiators, monitors, and liaison actors. Through the above roles managers influence both organizational and individual activities.


M.O.E Ontario. (2002). Organizational studies: organizational behavior and human interactions. NY: John Willey & Sons.

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Ozbilgin, M. (2006). Relational perspectives in organizational studies: a research. London: McMillan Publishers.

Surhone, L. et al. (2009). Organizational Studies: Organization Design. NY: Springer Verlag.

WOBS. (2001). Organizational studies: critical perspectives on business, Volume 3. NJ: Infobase Publishers.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Organizational Studies as an Academic Discipline." January 24, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Organizational Studies as an Academic Discipline'. 24 January.

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