Models of Organisational Behaviour

Models of Organisational Behaviour OB Autocratic Supportive Custodial Collegial

Table of Contents:-

  • Models of Organisational Behaviour – OB
  • Models of OB Organisational Behaviour
  • Divergent Trust Paradigms in Models of Organisational Behaviour
  • Models of organisational behaviour

Models of Organisational Behaviour – OB

Every organization creates a unique framework in which the behaviour of people takes place. This model is developed based on management’s assumptions about people and the vision of the management.

Due to the wide range of assumptions, they result in the creation of various models of organisational behaviour (OB models).

 Highlighting the importance of human factors models of organisational behaviour provides management with valuable insights into achieving organizational goals. These models serve as practical tools for understanding and improving individual behaviour within an organization, ultimately resulting in improved performance and success. Recognizing the key role of employees, these models empower managers to cultivate a positive work environment that boosts productivity, motivation, and collaboration. As a result, organizations can simplify their operations and achieve their objectives more efficiently.

Models of OB Organisational Behaviour

Models of OB: The four organisational behaviour models are individually based on key trends of thought and research, which are further described below.

There are Four models of organisational behaviour which are described below:

Models of Organisational Behaviour

The Models of Organisational Behaviour are listed below: 

  1. Autocratic Model
  2. Supportive Model
  3. Custodial Model
  4. Collegial Model

Models of organisational behaviour with examples are defined as follows:

Autocratic Model

Autocratic model of OB: The autocratic model of organisational behaviour is a model in which power, formal authority, and strength are located at the top. Decision making power in the model lies with top management and managers. Low-level employees do not have any power to participate in group decision making

Employees work for their employers, and they follow their directions. Their opinions are not taken into consideration by management under the model. In an organization following the autocratic model, the manager has the authority to order the employees to perform a specific task. 

Management considers itself as the supreme authority to tell what is to be done and what is right or wrong for the organization and thus employees must obey their orders and commands. This model results in over-dependence of employees on their bosses and management every time they are forced to go to their boss if they need any advice on what to do instead of deciding on their own, it results in reduced employee morale, poor decision-making ability, and high turnover. 

Related Article: Transactional Analysis in Organisational Behaviour

Employees begin expressing their dissatisfaction with the company at home and in society, but not within the premises. Another drawback of this model is its lack of trust in its leaders. 

Autocratic model of organizational behaviour example: Defence team, here officers hold authority and power to command obedience from the soldiers to execute the officer’s orders. 

Five major features of the autocratic model of organizational behaviour are as follows:

i) Management itself Decides Right or Wrong

The power of decision-making lies only with the top management and if the employees don’t follow their orders they may get punished. The autocratic model theory believes that only management has the power to decide what is right or wrong. Employees are assumed to be obedient and resistant to the requirements and needs of the organization. This model is similar to McGregor Theory X and Y in nature.

ii) Power Based

As per the autocratic model, the power is centralized within the management team. The person in charge has the authority to issue orders, and all employees must comply, or they will face consequences.

iii) Formal by Nature

Organisations that follow the autocratic model have a formal managerial attitude and have official authority. People are forced to follow all the instructions.

 iv) Obedient Orientation of Employees

A centralized, top-down approach to decision making marks this model. It can strain relationships between employees and lower-level managers and foster a sense of duty and respect among employees toward higher-level leaders.  This model is characterised by its focus on hierarchy and chain of command, which facilitates quick decision-making. However, it can present challenges in terms of employee engagement and empowerment.

v) Employees are Dependent on the Boss

The boss has complete power over the employees in such organizations. Thus, employees do not feel valued and part of the overall team. This leads to a low level of work productivity.

Custodial Model

The custodial model of organisational behaviour focuses on providing security to employees. Once that’s in place, employees are relieved of the indecision or chaos of the autocratic model. The focus of this model is on the job satisfaction, security, and welfare needs of the employees, thus leading the employee to depend on the organization rather than the boss.

This model fosters employee loyalty and motivation. The employees get frequent economic rewards and recognition which make them happy but it does not lead to high motivation. Employees are happy and satisfied under this model, as it provides economic benefits by way of wages and several other programs from the company.

Example of the custodial model of ob: Garments factory, because it is based on the economical resource. Here labourers perform their job for money, security and benefit, if an organization do well then employees get better benefits.

The key characteristics of custodial models of organizational behaviour are:

i) Resource Based

The custodial approach involves a careful and responsible management of an organization’s resources, especially its physical assets. To execute this strategy effectively, an organization must have the necessary economic resources. Without these resources, implementing the custodial approach successfully can be challenging and may put the organization’s assets at risk. Therefore, the availability of economic resources is of utmost importance in this management approach.

ii) Monetary Affiliations

The major focus of the management is to provide economic security to employees through the payment of salaries, wages, and financial benefits to the employees.

iii) Focuses on Employee Security

Employees’ security needs are essential to motivate them to achieve better results and performance. An organization can follow the custodial model only when it is in a good financial condition to provide timely payment of salaries, pensions, wages, and other employee benefits.

iv) Employee Dependence on the Organisation

The monetary benefits that the employees gain from this model make them dependent on the organization rather than on the employer.

v) Employee Focuses only on monetary benefits 

In a custodial environment, the employees focus only on the financial benefits that are provided by the organization and their performance becomes dependent on the rewards and remunerations that they receive. The employees feel well-maintained and contented but not essentially motivated as they sometimes feel trapped because the benefits are too good to leave. As a result, some employees do not perform well and retain low performance as they would perform under an autocratic approach.

Supportive Model

The supportive model of organisational behaviour models focuses on getting work done through proficient leadership rather than power, control, authority, and money. It believes in forming an environment that helps both the employees and the organization to develop mutually. The supportive model of OB provides the employees with a chance to take responsibility and contribute towards the goals of the organization and develop themselves. 

The supportive model of organizational behaviour differs from the custodial approach as it focuses on employees’ growth and performance rather than the employees’ financial benefits. The psychological result is that the employee develops a sense of belongingness towards the organization as they participate in its development and growth. 

Example of supportive model: A software company, because here leaders support their employees to fulfil their project or their tasks.

Three major features of supportive models of organisational behaviour are as follows:

 i) Based on Leadership

This model emphasizes good leadership rather than focusing on power and money to achieve results. The organization allows the employees to develop give their best and contribute to the organisation’s growth using effective leadership.

 ii) Leader Supports Employees

Leaders can bring out the best in their associates. They understand that employees are not lazy or resistant towards their work but improper working conditions make them so. If an opportunity is given to them, they can take responsibility for the work and make efforts to contribute and improve their performance. The management’s focus in this model is to improve the performance of employees by providing them with opportunities rather than offering benefits as done in the custodial model.

 iii) Increases Participation

A sense of belongingness towards the organization develops in the employee because an opportunity to participate is provided to employees by management.

iv) Strongly Motivated Employees

Employees in an organization with a supportive model are more directed toward work because their need for money, status, and recognition is completely fulfilled. Thus, employees work with strength and passion.

Collegial Model

The collegial model of organisational behaviour refers to a group of people sharing a common goal. The collegial model of organizational behaviour is related to teamwork. The basis of the collegial model is teamwork – everyone works as a peer. 

According to this model, the management works to develop a better team and acts as a mutual contributor and not as a boss. A manager is a ‘coach’ who guides and directs his team members to perform well rather than focusing on his performance. 

The psychological result of this approach is that the employees feel a sense of self-discipline as they own the responsibility for the work. This condition makes the employees feel that they are important and hold a place in the organization. Therefore they are inspired towards performing better in their workplace. This can be better understood with an example from the collegial model.

Example of the collegial model of ob: Social organization such as willingly blood donation organization BADHON, because here every employee works as a team and each member takes responsibility for accomplishing the organizational goal.

Features of the collegial model are given as follows:

i) Based on Employee Cooperation

In the collegial model, the management builds a sense of partnership with the employee and the employee feels his value and importance in the organization. Since the manager is also contributing to the task, the employees begin to respect their jobs as well. The manager acts as an active participant rather than an authority.

ii) Focuses on Teamwork

The management acts as a trainer and stresses teamwork. Management trains and tries to create a team spirit among the employees. 

iii) Employees Feel Responsible

When provided with trust and dignity, employees react in a very responsible manner. For example, employees produce good quality products not because they are afraid of management, termination, or the quality inspector but because they feel responsible for the organization. They feel responsible for the quality standard of their product and services which in turn will be beneficial to both the employees and the organization. This self-discipline that the collegial model inculcates in the employee’s behaviour results in a better quality of work.

iv) Employees Feel Satisfied

This type of approach serves as motivation for the employees’ self-esteem. They feel a sense of importance and self-awareness by contributing to the success of the organization. This leads to appropriate improvement in employee performance.

Divergent Trust Paradigms in Models of Organisational Behaviour

From the very beginning of civilized human society, two alternative approaches have been adopted for placing trust in people. One says, “Trust everyone unless there is contrary evidence,” while another says, “Do not trust anyone unless there is contrary evidence.” Naturally, interpersonal interactions take place differently under these two approaches.

The following description of organizations is worth noting here: “Most of our organizations tend to be arranged on the assumption that people cannot be trusted or relied on, even in tiny matters.”  However, this is just one aspect of the situation.

For example, McGregor has given theories X and Y, and each theory makes assumptions that are quite contrary to the other; Argyris has introduced the concept of the immaturity and maturity of people, which also provides two perspectives on human behaviour. Thus, OB models developed based on these assumptions would show great variations.

However, OB models that are in practice exhibit some kind of continuum between these two opposite poles, though they tend to lean towards a particular pole.

Models of organisational behaviour

The quality of organisational behaviour varies among different organizations. These differences are substantially caused by various models of organisational behaviour that influence the management’s thoughts in each organisation. Organizational behaviour models help managers adopt corporate practices that best suit their requirements.

The autocratic model is based on power. Under this model, the person who holds power can demand work from their employees. It is based on the assumption that work can only be extracted using pushing, directing, and persuading the employees.  In the custodial model, the focus is on ensuring job security and providing fringe benefits that strengthen employees’ confidence in their stability. The supportive model emphasizes leadership rather than relying on power or monetary incentives. It builds stronger relationships between the employer and employees which leads to a productive work environment. In the collegial model, employees are self-disciplined, self-satisfied, and have specific goals that motivate them to improve their performance.

Models of organisational behaviour differ not only from organisation to organisation but also from department to department within an organisation. The point is that more than one model of organisational behaviour is needed to describe all that happens in an organisation. The evolving nature of models of organisational behaviour highlights that change is a constant factor within these frameworks. As understanding of human behaviour or new social and corporate conditions evolve in everyday life, organisational behaviour models will also likely to change.


The various models of organisational behaviour are based on assumptions about human characteristics and how they can work best. Since situational variables strongly influence organizational processes, managers cannot assume that a particular model is best suited for all purposes and situations. Instead, all the models will remain in practice, each with considerable success. These models are primarily constructed upon the concept of the hierarchy of needs.

Since the need hierarchy is not similar for all employees, the same model cannot be used universally. The need hierarchy changes with the level of a person in the organization, their level of education, maturity, personality factors, and the type of work environment. Considering these factors, a particular model can be used in an organisation. Organization theorists argue that there is a trend to move towards the adoption of the supportive model because it encourages people to perform at their best. In other models, they may not find conditions conducive to giving their best performance.

This is why managers are taking numerous steps to humanize their organizations, such as encouraging participation, building morale, and so on, to make the organizations more effective.

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Frequently Asked Questions Related to Models of Organisational Behaviour

What are the different models of organisational behaviour?

There are four moles of ob – Autocratic Model, Supportive Model, Custodial Model and  Collegial Model.

What are the four models of organisational behaviour?

Various organisational behaviour models have emerged during the last 100 years, but four are essential to our understanding of frameworks organisations operate out of. These are the Autocratic, Supportive, Custodial, and Collegial Model.

What are the top 5 models of organizational behavior?

There are the top five models of organizational behavior. These models include the autocratic model, custodial model, supportive model, collegial model, and system model.

What is supportive model?

The supportive model of organizational behavior focuses on creating a positive work environment where both employees and the organization mutually support each other.

What is autocratic model?

In the autocratic model, the power and control are in the hands of a single leader or a small group of leaders at the top of the organizational structure. This model follows a top-down approach to decision-making. All decisions are made by the leaders alone without consulting anyone in the organization, and everyone has to follow the decision made by the leader, whether they like it or not.

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