5 Main Models of Organizational Behavior (OB) [+Pros/Cons]

Organizational Behavior Models (OB)

OB helps to understand and influence people’s behavior in an organization’s settings and helps to generate strategies for management. Models of organizational behavior are used to assume best practices.

There are different models that let us understand how organizational behavior works. These models of OB give possible explanations to the manager on behavior, interaction, and actions of employees such as how and why they do in workplace settings.

The main models of organizational behavior are:

Autocratic Model

The autocratic model of OB is a model which is based on formal authority, strength, and power. The power is vested only in the top management. Thus, it is also called an authoritarian model.

The autocratic model is the first model of organizational behavior. The practice of this model was found in OB when OB started to gain existence.

In an organization following an autocratic model all the decisions, plans, and policies made right remain to the top manager. The lower-level employees have to follow instructions given by top management. They must have to follow if not they are likely to be punished or fired.

In this model, the concerns of lower-level employees are ignored, and not taken into consideration. One way of communication is there the line of authority is only from top to bottom. This model was best for the traditional nature of organizations but today its practice is found less.

The advantages and disadvantages of the autocratic model are:


  • Easy to implement.
  • Work is completed quickly.
  • Decision-making is quick.


  • Employees’ (lower-level) concerns are not taken.
  • Low employee satisfaction.
  • Low employee morale.
  • Not fit for modern organizations.

Custodial Model

The custodial model of OB assumes employees stay longer and devote their best when they are getting paid fair. This model focuses on retaining quality talent and increasing motivation, and productivity by giving employees various economic and non-economic benefits.

The custodial model thinks job security, fair pay, bonuses, paid vacations, rewards, etc. are the effective means to keep employees in the organization.

It is obvious that the main motive of working employees is to earn, they want to earn longer and require a secure job. This model ensures it, motivates employees and later it increases the productivity of the organization.

This model thinks a fair payment system increases the motivation and productivity of the organization. Yes, it does but this model does not concern the psychology of the employees. The pros and cons of the custodial model are:


  • Employee motivation.
  • Greater contribution of employees.
  • Satisfied employees.
  • Quality talent is retained.


  • It ignores the psychology of employees.
  • Not all employees may not be satisfied with material benefits some may want praise, recognition, and name.

Supportive Model

The supportive model is based on the leadership orientation of management. Here, supportive means encouraging employees.

This model is not like models autocratic and custodial. It focuses on the psychology, motivation, and enthusiasm of employees. Here, the manager is not a dictator or only a money provider rather the manager is a strong supporter to encourage employees to do better.

This model assumes that employees are to some extent self-motivated they need support from managers to bring out their best performance. As such, a supportive model seeks to build a closer connection between managers and employees.

A healthy working environment, manager support, better relationships, harmony, effective communication, etc. are essential to bringing out the best in the supportive model. By this model, employees get a chance to contribute more as compared to what they contribute in their day-to-day functions.

The advantages and disadvantages of the supportive model of OB are:


  • Better relationship between managers and employees.
  • Harmoney and productivity in the organization.
  • Employees’ ideas are valued.
  • Employee motivation, morale, and satisfaction.


  • This model might not best fit employees who just come to work and get paid.
  • Managers have to give more time and effort to supporting employees.

Collegial Model

Collegial means shared responsibility among groups of colleagues. The collegial model of organizational behavior focuses on promoting teamwork in the organization.

Under this model, all organization’s members are team members, no one is superior to anyone, no one is a subordinate, all are equal, and collective efforts are means to achieve desired goals.

Here, the manager works as a team member and also as a coach. His task is to promote teamwork and ensure good team performance. He regularly promotes teamwork and monitors results.

This model assumes teamwork is better than individual work and it has the potential to get better results. Since managers and employees work in a team their relationships become stronger, employees participate in important meetings, their ideas are valued, there seems respect for each other, and a harmonized working environment is created.

This model best fit for organizations seeking to achieve competitive advantages as it is the pool of diverse talents and skills directed to achieve common goals. Pros and cons of the collegial model:


  • Teamwork.
  • Better relationship.
  • Harmonized working environment.
  • Effective to achieve competitive advantage.


  • There is a chance of conflict among team members.
  • All team members may not contribute their full efforts.
  • Chances of role conflicts.

System Model

The system model talks about the organization’s structure, culture, team environment, and consisting policies. This model views the organization as a system. And, every member of the organization should work in a system.

A system has its own input, processing, and output. It assumes individuals have different goals, talents, and potential and aims to strike a balance between individual and organizational goals.

Members of the organization managers and employees devote their interest to serving the organization to achieve its goals. By the system model, all employees and managers should have a stake in the organization and come to an agreement to achieve common goals.

Positive aspects of the system model are all work in a system, a healthy work environment, good communication, value to employees & community, etc. Ignoring this model causes the organization to face social issues such as complaints from society, reduced customer stake, etc.


All these models are designed to get better results from organizational behavior practices. They have their own ways of influencing humans and organizational performance. A manager should first consider his organization and employee types and apply these OB practices.

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