Taking a good online course alongside my regular classes really helps me self-study. But finding the right course, especially one that goes well with your college syllabus, can be a tricky job. As a MOOC enthusiast, I wanted to take a good course on Organizational Behavior that would cover my college syllabus. And what could be better than me sharing my findings with you?
Why Organizational Behavior?
I’m a 4th year Civil Engineering student from India, studying at Meghnad Saha Institute of Technology (MSIT). My college comes under Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (MAKAUT), and I have the subject “Human Resource Development and Organizational Behaviour” in my syllabus.
Organizational Behavior is a popular and widely applied subject that deals with how people behave in an organization. I really wanted to learn it from top institutions, and not from plain YouTube tutorials or any run-off-the-mill websites.
So here’s a glimpse into my Organizational Behavior syllabus:
As you can see, there’s a lot to cover, and finding one course that fits everything is difficult. And some of the topics are common to my Soft Skills syllabus too, as I’ve shown below.
As a writer at Class Central, I quickly opened our catalog and combed through a list of nearly 150 courses on Organizational Behavior. Here’s a quick look at the three courses I found most relevant to my syllabus. Click on them to jump straight to my reviews!
If you’re looking for a crisp and concise course, then this one’s for you! Everything is simple and to-the-point. What I liked most about this course is that information is presented neatly, along with superior video editing and clear visuals. No boring lectures, no fuzzy videos. You don’t have to spend a lot of time wrapping your head around long explanations. If you have less time on your hands but want to cover your syllabus, then say no more!
The short videos will keep you hooked, along with readings and graded and ungraded quizzes. The course materials are spread out in 6 weeks or modules. Each week requires around 2.5 hours to complete.
In Week 1, you’ll understand the different attributes of people that impact their work. Some of these include personalities, values, attitudes and perception. Realizing individual differences is important for creating a happier and more productive work environment. You’ll recognize yourself as a leader and how you can produce the best results through your decisions. Knowing the psychology of people at work is key to understanding others better.
Week 2 talks about diversity. Your workplace can have different kinds of people. Channeling these differences in the right direction will provide immense benefits for your organization. Diversity goes way deeper than just about gender, age or nationality. It’s about the way people think and act. The more inclusive an organization, the better its outcomes.
After that, in Week 3, you’ll learn how motivation shapes the way people work. As you might realize yourself, we work better if we’re motivated. You’ll take a look at the different motivation theories developed through the ages. But is motivation only about monetary rewards? How does punishment affect our work? You’ll be surprised to find out the answers.
Next up is conflict and emotion in Week 4. Any group or organization will have conflicts. People will have different opinions and may not agree with each other. But conflicts aren’t always negative. The right kinds of conflicts actually help an organization be more innovative. You’ll also see how emotions play a more important role in our work than you might think.
Week 5 is all about teamwork. While some people favor teamwork, some believe that teams can be problematic. The distribution of workload might be uneven, and there can be conflicts and tension. You’ll learn about the factors that contribute to effective teamwork, and how you can design an efficient team.
Finally, in Week 6, you’ll take a look at being a global leader. As workplaces are becoming more and more global, it’s important to understand and take advantage of the cultural differences among people for the benefit of the organization. You’ll learn from industry experts how to develop cross-cultural leadership skills to lead multinational teams.
This course focuses more on theory readings than video lectures. Videos are short and simple, offering only the main idea behind the concepts. Most of the material is concentrated in its readings, which I believe should cover a good part of your syllabus. This is actually quite helpful if you’re studying for an exam, as you can simply go through the readings and don’t have to watch the whole lecture every time.
There are ample practice quizzes and graded assignments throughout the course. The course is taught through 4 modules. Each module has a workload of around 4 hours.
You’ll begin the course by asking yourself why you want to be a leader. You’ll learn about some of the elements that enhance work results such as attitudes and satisfaction, organizational commitment, job performance, organizational citizenship behavior and counterproductive work behavior.
You’ll understand the outcomes of leadership, in what ways you can influence your followers, and how job satisfaction affects performance. Strategies such as job specialization, job rotation, enlargement, Herzberg theory, job characteristic, empowerment and enrichment that are necessary for achieving better results are also covered.
After that, you’ll decide what kind of a leader you want to be. You’ll learn the different personalities and values of people and how they affect work. Some strategies such as attribution, big five, structure of personality, values, trait profile of a leader, introversion and leadership, behavioral approaches and contingency approaches are also explained. You’ll also take a look at the different styles of leadership and when to use them.
Next is persuasion and influence. You’ll understand what power is and how it affects your work. You’ll take a look at the various sources of power, how to develop it, how it may lead to corruption, and identify organizational politics. You’ll also learn how to persuade and influence people, what the principles of persuasion are, and how you can persuade others without manipulation.
You’ll end the course by learning how to motivate and inspire others. You’ll see what motivates people, how to apply incentives, and understand the different motivation theories. Finally, you’ll learn the impact of emotions and stress on a worker. Stress can be both good and bad, and how to create workplaces where stress can lead to positive outcomes.
The third and final course on my list is International Leadership and Organizational Behavior, offered by Università Bocconi on Coursera.
I must mention beforehand that this course is longer and more elaborate than the previous two. But what’s good is that the instructor doesn’t merely read out his script – he actually sits with his students and discusses the topics like in a real classroom. So you’ll feel more like his student than a MOOC learner while taking this course. This course is inclined more towards leadership, but still covers the other topics too.
If you have time and want to learn the concepts in-depth, then don’t hesitate to take this course. There’s also a good amount of reading which will definitely help with your classes. There are 6 weeks in this course, with one graded quiz in each week. Each module will take around 3.5 hours to complete.
In Week 1, you’ll understand the basic concepts of leadership and look at leadership from an international point of view. Intercultural leadership can lead to different problems and even opportunities if utilized correctly. Developing an international mindset can help you become a better leader in a diverse workplace.
Next, in Week 2, you’ll take a look at how culture affects work. People from different cultural backgrounds can have different perspectives and opinions. As an international leader, it’s important to develop cultural intelligence in order to handle people and manage the team effectively.
Communication is the basis in any organization, and you’ll cover that in Week 3. In an international context, there can be a lot of communication barriers. Communication in organizations needs to be productive and respectful so that everyone can understand and respond effectively. For a leader, communication is essential for building good relationships with others.
Next up is motivation in Week 4. Everybody needs motivation in order to perform well. People from different cultural backgrounds have different foundations of motivation. There is no one-size-fits-all motivation capsule that works universally. Understanding the different motivation theories can help international leaders adapt the correct technique in intercultural contexts.
You’ll move on to networking in Week 5. In any organization, several professional relationships exist among its members. Leaders need to have interdependent relationships with followers. You’ll learn about the different types of social networks, how they grow and how they influence your professional development.
Finally, you’ll learn about managing conflicts in Week 6. Conflicts are common in any organization. But if channeled correctly, they can be of immense benefit to the organization. You’ll learn about conflict styles and conflict management systems, and understand how to handle ethical dilemmas.
Each course is great in its own way. I’ve chosen the courses in such a way that most of the topics from my syllabus are covered in the most interactive and informative way. They might contain some topics that are not in the syllabus, but it doesn’t hurt to learn more!