5 Organizational Behavior Research Topics

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organizational behavior research topics

Topics for Master’s in Organizational Behavior Research

  • Artificial Intelligence and Reducing Bias
  • Effective Use of Contractors
  • Office Design and Productivity
  • Globalization and Corporate Culture
  • Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

Organizational behavior is best defined as the study of human behavior in the workplace.  Organizational behavior is closely related to human resources management and industrial-organizational psychology.   Pursuing a Master’s in Organization Behavior usually requires a thesis.  A thesis is an extended piece of original research on an important topic in the field.

The best organizational behavior research topics are sufficiently narrow.  A narrow focus is important so that one can feasibly read the majority of existing research on the topic.  Then they can build on that to create an original contribution. Writing about the generic qualities of a good leader is too broad of a topic to tackle.  Instead, a narrower focus might be on the factors accounting for the success of three leaders in small manufacturing firms in a single industry. Here are five research topics in organizational behavior to consider.

Related Resource: 50 Most Affordable Master’s in Organizational Behavior Degree Programs

1. Artificial Intelligence and Reducing Bias

Bias in recruitment and promotion is seen as increasingly problematic for companies. According to a recent article in Forbes, more companies are turning to AI.  Artificial intelligence has the potential to reduce bias and increase diversity within an organization.  Within this exciting new field, there are plenty of unique organizational topicsOrganizational behavior essay topics might include:

  • case studies of implementation in individual companies
  • analysis of specific technologies
  • meta-studies examining the existing literature in the field

2. Effective Use of Contractors

A growing number of tasks are being outsourced to contractors.  An organization’s overall productivity depends on the effective use of contractors and freelancers working alongside permanent staff. Under this rubric, organizational behavior research paper topics might include the study of contractors in a specific organization or an investigation of how multiple companies in a single industry use contractors in an attempt to understand best practices. Other topics in organizational behavior might include:

  • The role of contractors in different organizational structures
  • The impact of contractors on organizational behavior in the workplace
  • The challenges of contract workers in a global business environment
  • Does organizational structure influence the productivity of contract workers?

Related Resource: What is Workforce Diversity?

3. Office Design and Productivity

There is much enthusiasm for open offices and other forms of innovative workspace design.  It is important to analyze how design factors impact productivity. Organizational behavior topics might include:

  • An ethnographic study by closely observing workers in a particular setting and documenting how their environment affects their workflow and interactions with colleagues
  • A comparison of similar companies that have different physical workspace designs

4. Globalization and Corporate Culture

Globalization and cultural diversity present ongoing challenges in organizational behavior and many potential areas of investigation. One could compare and contrast how cultural differences affect employee behavior in two similar organizations in different countries.  One could also study how staff from one culture need to learn how to interact with members of a different culture. Other OB research topics could include:

  • The ways effective behaviors from other cultures could improve productivity in American firms
  • The effects of organizational culture change in a global business environment
  • Employee mental health in international business
  • Organizational change and development strategies used in global business
  • The different ways globalization has changed organizational behavior

5. Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

One trending topic in organizational behavior is how corporate ethics and social responsibility can help:

  • attract the right employees
  • retain and promote the right employees
  • improve the morale of employees

Another related topic is the use of the behavioral concept of the “nudge” to create more ethical behavior.

Other organizational development topics include:

  • an investigation of fair treatment of a diverse workforce
  • environmentally responsible practices
  • the impact of ethical leadership in criminal justice agencies on officer behavior

The right choice of a topic can enhance one’s career opportunities.  A quality piece of writing can attract the interest of potential employers. Publishing a revised thesis in a journal or expanding it into a book signals expertise.  This can make a potential employee stand out from a crowd of applicants. Overall, one’s research project for a Master’s in Organizational Behavior can have a positive effect on obtaining jobs or promotions.

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