Three Levels of Influence

Learning Outcomes

  • Differentiate between the three levels of influence

If you have ever held a job, taken a class, or participated in an organized activity, you have seen levels of influence. The three levels of influence are the individual, the group, and the organization. The three levels are interconnected so it is critical to understand each one.

The Individual

people sitting at tables in a professional work spaceThe individual level includes each individual person within an organization. Each individual acts differently which affects group dynamics and the organization as a whole. If there are a lot of happy and efficient individuals, the work environment will be an efficient and productive one. However, if there are a lot of negative and disgruntled individuals, it can create a toxic environment.

It is impossible for a company to study each individual employee’s behavior, however, it is important for a company to create guidelines and expectations that will attract employees with desirable behaviors. For example, a company may hire employees based on their personality or how they answer behavioral based interview questions. At the same time, companies can help influence individual behavior. They do this by creating a code of conduct, establishing policy and procedure guidelines, and by developing incentives and consequences.

The Group

The group level includes any groups within an organization. Groups can range in size from a couple people working together, to a large group with dozens or hundreds of members. As we just discussed, individuals can affect a group and a group can affect an organization. And at the same time, a group can affect individuals and an organization can affect a group. Imagine organizational behavior as a large spider web over each organization. The spider web connects each level of influence with the two others, creating a pathway between each one.

The Organization

Finally, the organization level incorporates the organization as a whole. In case you haven’t picked up on the trend, it’s important to point out that the organization impacts the individual and group behavior and that individual and group behavior impacts an organization.

Practice Question

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