Is Organizational Behavior (OB) a Science?

Organizational Behavior (OB) is an applied behavioral science that draws from other fields like psychology, sociology, and anthropology (Robbins & Judge, 2019). OB is based on research that eliminates guesswork and it allows managers to put into practice what is learned in the field using evidence-based management (Scandura, 2018). Organizational Behavior is a science that translates theory or research into recommendations for managers to apply to their jobs (Scandura, 2018). One good example of OB research is Project Oxygen by Google about the need for managers at Google (Scandura, 2018). Engineers thought that they did not need managers because they were self-motivated workers and they did their work (Scandura, 2018). However, it was proved that managers are a necessity in an organization after conducting two years of research (Scandura, 2018).

Even though OB is a science, in my experience, most managers are going with their “gut feelings” over any evidence. If the “gut feelings” work, it could be considered an art. Furthermore, some creativity and intuition are necessary to solve problems that arise in the workplace. This could be considered part of the art side of OB. Nevertheless, seeing OB as science allows managers to predict, explain, and control most of the issues they could face in the workplace. In addition, based on my experience a lot of managers do not have proper training in management or even in basic statistics to know that correlation does not imply causation.

One of the jobs I had as a software developer was at a company that had an IT manager with little knowledge of management and IT. He was one of the first hires and eventually evolved into becoming an IT manager when the company grew. 

Every problem that was raised to this person was faced with “We talk about this later”, “I will let you know”, or “I will talk to my boss” who was the owner of the company. Therefore, the group of developers had a hard time being productive because we felt our voices were never heard. He was a good person, but he was not trained or had the communication skills to deal with the team’s problems. Also, as he was not prepared, he felt that he did not have the authority to make decisions on the fly worried that he could be fired.

In conclusion, Organizational Behavior is a science. However, most managers will follow their guts to make decisions about the personnel and how they should perform in the company.


Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2019). Organizational behavior (18th ed.). Pearson.

Scandura, T. A. (2018). Essentials of Organizational Behavior: An Evidence-Based Approach (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks :|Sage Publications,|C.

Teylor Feliz
Teylor Feliz

Teylor is a seasoned generalist that enjoys learning new things. He has over 20 years of experience wearing different hats that include software engineer, UX designer, full-stack developer, web designer, data analyst, database administrator, and others. He is the founder of Haketi, a small firm that provides services in design, development, and consulting.

Over the last ten years, he has taught hundreds of students at an undergraduate and graduate levels. He loves teaching and mentoring new designers and developers to navigate the rapid changing field of UX design and engineering.

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