• Course Introduction

        • Time: 48 hours
        • Free Certificate
        There is no shortage of quotes in which inspirational business leaders describe the sources of their success. Their reasons are often diverse, but almost everyone comes back to the same thing: people. The people are the company; they create success. Even so, there is more to successful business leadership than managing human capital since you must also have a suitable structure and culture at your firm. Imagine the U.S. military: it boasts some of the best-trained soldiers in the world, but that talent would be wasted without a structure designed to appropriately deploy forces. In other words, the military would not be as successful without streamlined organizational behavior. Organizational behavior (OB) is the study of how people interact in organizations. These interactions are governed by a number of factors, including your personal life, the personality of your boss or your boss' boss, a direct report, the team you have been assigned to, or the direction that the top of the organization has given to you. OB researchers carefully monitor these dynamics within an organization because any time there is friction, money is lost. A certain level of friction is to be expected (and often even desired), but most of the friction that occurs within an organization is counterproductive and detrimental to the bottom line. In this course, you will study the factors that have the greatest impact on organizational behavior. From managing individuals and understanding group dynamics to managing conflict and initiating change, organizational behavior affects everyone in a firm.

        This course will cover five major OB areas, including managing individuals, managing groups, power and politics, conflict management, and organizational change. Before delving into more rigorous materials, it is important to understand what an organization is and the history of organizational behavior as a discipline. In taking this into consideration, this course will begin with a look at the basics of an organization.

        • Course Syllabus

          First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

        • Unit 1: Organizations in Business

          Let's start with the basics in considering the following question: what is an organization? An organization is a collection of individuals arranged in a particular way and embedded in an ever-changing environment to achieve a common goal. In this introductory unit, you will learn about organizations in business, focusing on how the individual plays a role in the organization's success. You must understand what influences individual behavior before you can study how individuals interact with organizations. As in psychology and sociology, the person is the focus of organizational behavior. Because sciences like psychology and sociology are older, more established fields of study than organizational behavior, we will look at them to better understand the purpose and applications of OB. This unit will provide you with an introduction to OB, including the history and emerging trends of OB. In addition, we will identify the micro-level factors that contribute to our understanding of the OB field. You will also learn about how OB is connected with other sciences. Finally, we will examine how to evaluate research in OB properly.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

        • Unit 2: Managing Individuals, Personalities, and Motivation

          Organizational behavior focuses on how individuals interact within a firm. As you know, different incentives motivate and influence individuals; some people strive for success or social status, others like to keep busy, and others are focused on simply making money. These are significant differences to consider if you are at the helm of a business, as they may influence how you motivate your workforce.

          This unit will explore individual personalities and what inspires people to want to succeed in the workplace. You will learn the tools used to identify these traits and recognize that certain traits, such as the ability to handle stress, are more desirable than others in a work setting. Note that different organizations will value traits differently. For example, perhaps your organization values a sense of humor more! Knowing these traits and how to identify them in people will greatly enhance the success of a business.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 15 hours.

        • Unit 3: Managing Groups and Teams

          Is there a difference between a group and a team? Certainly! For example, groups can exist without having a specific goal in mind, or they can have a goal that fluctuates or changes to adapt to the group's needs. A book club is a group. However, the people in that book club are not part of your team.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 8 hours.

        • Unit 4: Leadership, Influence, and Leveraging Power

          Power is a popular topic because it is so easily misused. We all have some power over others, whether earned through a promotion or as a reflection of knowledge and experience. This unit may change your understanding of power and teach you that there is nothing wrong with using power appropriately. In fact, as an employee, you are expected to use the power you have within an organization as you were likely employed for just that reason. Power comes in many forms, but it is almost always used to influence.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 9 hours.

        • Unit 5: Conflict Management and Negotiations

          Conflict is good as long as it is productive. Insulting someone is not productive, but a healthy debate is the foundation of democracy and is valuable in business. Successful organizations encourage healthy conflict; it forces people to defend opinions and allows for a free flow of ideas. Of course, managers must prevent these conflicts from getting out of hand.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 6 hours.

        • Unit 6: Organizational Culture, Diversity, and Managing Change

          Change is a surprisingly difficult process for firms. When two large companies merge, it can take a couple of years to reorganize and many more years before the two respective cultures truly merge. This transition process can be especially challenging if the cultures are very different. For example, suppose a bank from the south purchases a bank based in the northeast. In that case, the two different banking styles could wreak havoc within the organization, as the southern company may rely on customer service and slow growth. In contrast, the northern bank may prefer an aggressive strategy. Such mergers happen regularly, and OB specialists are involved in the process from the start.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 7 hours.

        • Study Guide

          This study guide will help you get ready for the final exam. It discusses the key topics in each unit, walks through the learning outcomes, and lists important vocabulary. It is not meant to replace the course materials!

        • Course Feedback Survey

          Please take a few minutes to give us feedback about this course. We appreciate your feedback, whether you completed the whole course or even just a few resources. Your feedback will help us make our courses better, and we use your feedback each time we make updates to our courses.

          If you come across any urgent problems, email contact@saylor.org.

        • Certificate Final Exam

          Take this exam if you want to earn a free Course Completion Certificate.

          To receive a free Course Completion Certificate, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on this final exam. Your grade for the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt.

          Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.

        • Saylor Direct Credit

          Take this exam if you want to earn college credit for this course. This course is eligible for college credit through Saylor Academy's Saylor Direct Credit Program.

          The Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam requires a proctoring fee of $5. To pass this course and earn a Credly Badge and official transcript, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on the Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam. Your grade for this exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again a maximum of 3 times, with a 14-day waiting period between each attempt.

          We are partnering with SmarterProctoring to help make the proctoring fee more affordable. We will be recording you, your screen, and the audio in your room during the exam. This is an automated proctoring service, but no decisions are automated; recordings are only viewed by our staff with the purpose of making sure it is you taking the exam and verifying any questions about exam integrity. We understand that there are challenges with learning at home - we won't invalidate your exam just because your child ran into the room!


          1. Desktop Computer
          2. Chrome (v74+)
          3. Webcam + Microphone
          4. 1mbps+ Internet Connection

          Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a Credly Badge and can request an official transcript.