The most recommended organizational behavior books

Who picked these books? Meet our 46 experts.

46 authors created a book list connected to organizational behavior, and here are their favorite organizational behavior books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of organizational behavior book?

Loading...
Loading...

Book cover of Bring Your Human to Work: 10 Surefire Ways to Design a Workplace That Is Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World

Bruno R. Cignacco Author Of The Art of Compassionate Business: Main Principles for the Human-Oriented Enterprise

From my list on conscious business.

Who am I?

As a consultant, author, and researcher, for several years I have been very passionate about the study of companies that are very successful in the marketplace, but that are also human-oriented. In other words, I am very interested in companies that are profitable, but at the same time, are kind, compassionate, and caring with their main stakeholders. I like that these companies continually aim to foster robust long-term relationships with these stakeholders, and look for win-win agreements with them. What I love about these companies is that they focus on the quantitative aspects of business (e.g., profitability, growth, etc.) but also in its qualitative aspects (empathy, support, gratitude, generosity, etc.).

Bruno's book list on conscious business

Bruno R. Cignacco Why did Bruno love this book?

I really like this book because it provides the reader with very actionable ways to develop a more human-oriented workplace. I found interesting the way this book thoroughly dissects relevant themes related to the work environment, such as: the importance of an authentic voice, employee wellness, the significance of sustainable actions, and the value of giving back, among others. It is very useful that this book includes several examples of companies to illustrate these topics. I found it valuable that each relevant theme discussed in this book is accompanied by a human action plan, with very practical suggestions.  

By Erica Keswin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bring Your Human to Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The secret to business success? Get REAL and be HUMAN!

As human beings, we are built to connect and form relationships. So, it should be no surprise that relationships must also translate into the workplace, where we spend most of our time! Companies that recognize this will retain the most productive, creative, and loyal employees, and invariably seize the competitive edge.

The most successful leaders are those who actively form quality relationships with their employees, who honor fundamental human qualities-authenticity, openness, and basic politeness-and apply them day in and day out. Paying attention and genuinely caring about the effects people…


Book cover of I-deals: Idiosyncratic Deals Employees Bargain for Themselves

Carol T. Kulik Author Of Human Resources for the Non-HR Manager

From my list on making work a better place to be.

Who am I?

The average person spends over 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime – that’s roughly one quarter to one third of a person’s life. I’m an academic researcher who studies work. I know how to design workplaces that are good for organizations (high productivity) and the people who work in them (high employee well-being). But if we leave it all up to senior management, we won’t generate positive changes fast enough. There’s a robust body of evidence that we can all use to make our local workplaces more supportive, inclusive, and fulfilling. I’m on a mission to make the world a better place, one workplace at a time. 

Carol's book list on making work a better place to be

Carol T. Kulik Why did Carol love this book?

When I read this book for the first time, my reaction was “wow.”

Professor Rousseau helped me to appreciate that everything (really, everything!) related to work was malleable and negotiable. We can all be more proactive in co-designing our own work arrangements, so that we can be happier people and deliver better value to our families, employers, and communities.

I say “negotiable” but the book is not motivated by self-interest. The book focuses on idiosyncratic deals that help employees to leverage their unique strengths, so that everyone (including managers and coworkers) benefit from employee i-deals.

Professor Rousseau’s recommendations are firmly anchored in empirical evidence, so her advice to employees is spot-on.  

By Denise Rousseau,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I-deals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Employees with valuable skills and a sense of their own worth can make their jobs, pay, perks, and career opportunities different from those of their coworkers in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Work at home arrangements, flexible hours, special projects - personally negotiated arrangements like these can be a valuable source of flexibility and personal satisfaction, but at the risk of creating inequality and resentment by other employees. This book shows how such individual arrangements can be made fair and acceptable to coworkers, and beneficial to both the employee and the employer. Written by the world's leading expert on the subject,…


Book cover of Between Samaritans and States: The Political Ethics of Humanitarian INGOs

Lucia M. Rafanelli Author Of Promoting Justice Across Borders: The Ethics of Reform Intervention

From my list on Political theory books on what makes a just world.

Who am I?

To me, political and moral questions have always seemed intertwined. My career as a political theorist is dedicated to using philosophical argument to untangle the moral questions surrounding real-world politics. I am especially interested in ethics and international affairs, including the ethics of intervention, what a just world order would look like, and how our understandings of familiar ideals—like justice, democracy, and equality—would change if we thought they were not only meant to be pursued within each nation-state, but also globally, by humanity as a whole. As faculty in Political Science and International Affairs at The George Washington University, I explore these issues with colleagues and students alike.

Lucia's book list on Political theory books on what makes a just world

Lucia M. Rafanelli Why did Lucia love this book?

This book illuminates the wrenching moral problems humanitarian international NGOs (like Oxfam and Save the Children) face.

How should NGOs balance their responsibilities to aid those who depend on them with their responsibilities to avoid entrenching that dependency? How should they react when the resources they provide are siphoned off by malicious third parties and used to fuel conflict? Given that NGOs are not democratically elected, can their power over aid recipients be justified?

Rubenstein addresses questions like these, drawing on her expertise as an ethicist and several months of fieldwork. I left this book thinking there were no easy answers to the questions Rubenstein raised—but with a much clearer understanding of the moral considerations I would need to account for if I wanted to answer them for myself.

By Jennifer C. Rubenstein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Between Samaritans and States as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book provides the first book-length, English-language account of the political ethics of large-scale, Western-based humanitarian INGOs, such as Oxfam, CARE, and Doctors Without Borders. These INGOs are often either celebrated as 'do-gooding machines' or maligned as incompetents 'on the road to hell'. In contrast, this book suggests the picture is more complicated.

Drawing on political theory, philosophy, and ethics, along with original fieldwork, this book shows that while humanitarian INGOs are often perceived as non-governmental and apolitical, they are in fact sometimes somewhat governmental, highly political, and often 'second-best' actors. As a result, they face four central ethical predicaments:…


Book cover of Humor, Seriously: Why Humor Is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life (and How Anyone Can Harness It. Even You.)

Anne H. Janzer Author Of 33 Ways Not to Screw Up Your Business Emails

From my list on for boosting business writing skills.

Who am I?

After spending years as a freelance writer and content marketer, I turned my attention to exploring the inner workings of why writing works and how it fails. I’m an unabashed nonfiction geek on a mission to help people make a positive impact with their words—whether they’re writing emails, blog posts, or nonfiction books. 

Anne's book list on for boosting business writing skills

Anne H. Janzer Why did Anne love this book?

Why include a book about humor in a business writing list? Because it can make a major impact on the business environment. This book shares research about how humor influences behavior, affects negotiations, and strengthens bonds. That’s all relevant to the workplace!

You’ll find advice here that might inspire you to infuse a little levity into your emails. And, as you might expect, the book itself is entertaining to read.

By Jennifer Aaker, Naomi Bagdonas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Humor, Seriously as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WALL STREET JOURNAL, LOS ANGELES TIMES, AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER • Anyone—even you!—can learn how to harness the power of humor in business (and life), based on the popular class at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
 
Don’t miss the authors’ TED Talk, “Why great leaders take humor seriously,” online now.

“The ultimate guide to using the magical power of funny as a tool for leadership and a force for good.”—Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of When and Drive

We are living through a period of unprecedented uncertainty and upheaval in both our personal and professional lives.…


Book cover of Novations: Strategies for Career Management

Jon Younger Author Of Agile Talent: How to Source and Manage Outside Experts

From my list on talent management.

Who am I?

The future of talent management is now. I’m a teacher, consultant, and board member who is deeply interested in the social and economic impact of the freelance revolution. Millions of people around the world are now working for themselves as independent professionals or “solopreneurs”. Millions more are taking on freelance assignments to augment their income or increase their expertise and experience. Technology makes it possible for professionals in many fields to work remotely and free themselves from the limitations of their local economy. These benefits organizations by offering greater access to talent and gives professionals greater access to opportunity. 

Jon's book list on talent management

Jon Younger Why did Jon love this book?

Gene Dalton and Paul Thompson changed the way we think about career development through their research and what they called the four stages of development. It has influenced career development and talent management practices in companies around the world. Deeply accessible and practical, the four stages are fully described and the book is rich in application tools, methods and best practices.

By Paul H. Thompson, Gene W. Dalton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Novations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1 HARDCOVER BOOK WITH DUST COVER


Book cover of The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA

Janet Vertesi Author Of Shaping Science: Organizations, Decisions, and Culture on NASA's Teams

From my list on NASA and space exploration, from a human perspective.

Who am I?

Also known as “Margaret Mead among the Starfleet,” I’m a Princeton professor who has been embedded with NASA missions for two decades as a social scientist. I’ve observed missions to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, and beyond; consulted with NASA as a sociological expert; and written two books, with a third on the way. Growing up, I always loved science and technology, but not just for the ideas: for the people behind the findings, the passion they bring to their work, and the ways in which culture and politics play a role in how science gets done. Writing about this, I hope to humanize science and make it accessible for everyday readers.

Janet's book list on NASA and space exploration, from a human perspective

Janet Vertesi Why did Janet love this book?

What happens when a sociologist who studies white-collar crime and deviant behavior in corporations turns to one of the biggest technological catastrophes of the twentieth century?

Hauntingly, Vaughan finds that there were no evil masterminds, greedy administrators, or risk-taking rebels behind the Challenger launch after all—just a group of highly talented engineers doing their jobs.

I enjoyed her thick description of the routine checks, risk analyses, and exacting reviews that go into engineering a space shuttle, but they’re also deeply unsettling: because she shows us that the certainty that comes from our everyday activities can lead us all astray.

A masterpiece of historical sociology, rigorously documented down to the last detail, this classic changed how I think about the role organizations can easily play in producing disasters.

By Diane Vaughan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Challenger Launch Decision as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986, millions of Americans became bound together in a single, historic moment. Many still vividly remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the tragedy. Diane Vaughan recreates the steps leading up to that fateful decision, contradicting conventional interpretations to prove that what occurred at NASA was not skullduggery or misconduct but a disastrous mistake. Why did NASA managers, who not only had all the information prior to the launch but also were warned against it, decide to proceed? In retelling how the decision unfolded…


Book cover of Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well

Lawrence E. Susskind Author Of Good for You, Great for Me: Finding the Trading Zone and Winning at Win-Win Negotiation

From my list on negotiating for mutual advantage.

Who am I?

I am a Professor at MIT and co-founder of both the inter-university Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the not-for-profit Consensus Building Institute that provides help in resolving some of the most complex resource management disputes around the world. I have been teaching negotiation and dispute resolution, doing research about the circumstances under which various negotiation strategies do and don’t work, and offering online training for more than four decades. Given the many negotiations I've observed, I’m convinced that negotiating for mutual advantage is the way to go -- avoid unnecessary conflict, get what you want in all kinds of negotiating situations, and walk away with good working relationships and a solid reputation.

Lawrence's book list on negotiating for mutual advantage

Lawrence E. Susskind Why did Lawrence love this book?

Doug and Sheila start with the assumption that we all want to learn and grow, but at the same time, we also want to be accepted just as we are. That means, we don’t want to be on the receiving end of evaluations, advice, criticism, or coaching that highlight our flaws. Most of us believe that feedback is essential for ensuring healthy relationships and ensuring our professional development, but as they point out, “we dread it and often dismiss it.” They see feedback as a step in the larger process of negotiation. When I try to convince you of something, I need to offer not just a demand, but an argument or evidence that makes sense to you and backs up what I’m saying.

Doug and Sheila have suggestions for how to avoid the traps (“triggers,” they call them) that get in the way of our accepting or even seeking…

By Sheila Heen, Douglas Stone,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Thanks for the Feedback as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The coauthors of the New York Times-bestselling Difficult Conversations take on the toughest topic of all: how we see ourselves

Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen have spent the past fifteen years working with corporations, nonprofits, governments, and families to determine what helps us learn and what gets in our way. In Thanks for the Feedback, they explain why receiving feedback is so crucial yet so challenging, offering a simple framework and powerful tools to help us take on life's blizzard of offhand comments, annual evaluations, and unsolicited input with curiosity and grace. They blend the latest insights from neuroscience and…


Book cover of Empty Labor: Idleness and Workplace Resistance

Yiannis Gabriel Author Of Return to Meaning: A Social Science with Something to Say

From my list on reigniting meaningful social sciences.

Who am I?

I am a Greek social psychologist and have spent much of my academic career studying myths and stories in social life - stories, even when inaccurate or wrong, serve to create meaning, a fragile and valuable resource, especially in these post-truth times. At the same time, I believe that we must not lose sight of the distinctions between story and fact, fantasy and reality, truth and fiction. I am greatly concerned that the social sciences today, as shaped by the academic publishing game, are preoccupied with trivia and act as black holes into which meaning disappears. I strongly believe that it is our responsibility to restore the meaningfulness of academic research.

Yiannis' book list on reigniting meaningful social sciences

Yiannis Gabriel Why did Yiannis love this book?

This is an old-fashioned sociology book that shows what can be done with some sociological imagination. Many of us do entirely meaningless work and get paid for it, and what is more, we know that we do. And yet, we pay a high price for it. How to avoid doing empty labour and rediscover the meaning of serious academic work.

By Roland Paulsen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Empty Labor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

While most people work ever-longer hours, international statistics suggest that the average time spent on non-work activities per employee is around two hours a day. How is this possible, and what are the reasons behind employees withdrawing from work? In this thought-provoking book, Roland Paulsen examines organizational misbehavior, specifically the phenomenon of 'empty labor', defined as the time during which employees engage in private activities during the working day. This study explores a variety of explanations, from under-employment to workplace resistance. Building on a rich selection of interview material and extensive empirical research, it uses both qualitative and quantitative data…


Book cover of Who Really Matters: The Core Group Theory of Power, Privilege, and Success

Eve Poole Author Of Leadersmithing: Revealing the Trade Secrets of Leadership

From my list on what you really need to know about leadership.

Who am I?

It is shocking how many leaders suffer from imposter syndrome, and how little practical advice is out there about how to help. It’s been my mission to identify not only precisely what leaders need to be able to do well, but also how can they learn these things in the most efficient and durable way. Leadersmithing sets out a practical path to mastery and provides the toolkit leaders will really need. After I wrote it, I took on some senior leadership roles of my own. Even before Covid I had stress-tested the wisdom of this book, and post-covid I am even more confident that this leadership book really helps.

Eve's book list on what you really need to know about leadership

Eve Poole Why did Eve love this book?

Kleiner’s Core Group Theory was an aha moment for me, because it teaches senior leaders how to use their power well. The theory explains how top leaders act on their organisations like a magnet on iron filings: the slightest clue or cue they give ripples out, and is amplified and copied by everyone that follows them. This makes it crucial that leaders are careful about even the smallest behavioral choice they make: their priorities, who they pay attention to, the jokes they make – all of these will be seen as role model behaviors and replicated by those trying to impress. There is no such thing as off-stage for a leader.

By Art Kleiner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Who Really Matters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When corporate leaders announce, with seeming sincerity that they make their decisions on behalf of their shareholders, their words are taken at face value. But as recent news stories prove, this imperative is routinely violated.

In Who Really Matters Art Kleiner argues that the dissonance between a declared mission and actual operation can be seen in both large and small organistions. All organisations have one motive in common: everything they do - choosing which projects to back, who to promote, where to spend the money is affected by the perceived wants and needs of a core group of key people.…


Book cover of Quick Confidence: Be Authentic, Boost Connections, and Make Bold Bets on Yourself

Todd Dewett Author Of Dancing with Monsters: A Tale About Leadership, Success, and Overcoming Fears

From my list on how people skills support great leadership.

Who am I?

I’m fascinated by the relationships component of leadership. I’ve worked for major service firms, taught MBAs for years, advised many teams and organizations, and educated millions via my courses on LinkedIn Learning. When I look at performance, I see the same issues popping up over and over: people issues! You can know a lot about how to run a team operationally or how to roll out a change step by step – but it’s all for nothing if you don’t know how to positively relate to and lead others. Communication, motivation, empathy, etc. – these are the essential people skills required to allow you to actually add value with your business knowledge.  

Todd's book list on how people skills support great leadership

Todd Dewett Why did Todd love this book?

I am a big fan of this book! Selena uses a voice that is warm, positive, and personal to share her ideas. 

From building confidence, to interacting with others, and dealing with challenges and setbacks, this is a career “must read.” It’s ostensibly about confidence, but really, it’s way more. I was an organizational behavior for years teaching MBA students, and this has all of the topical coverage you’d want to convey in any course related to leadership and career success. 

But instead of being boring like a textbook, it stays focused on crisp actionable advice for improving how you think, interact, and achieve. Not to mention, her use of short examples and anecdotes makes it a fast fun read too. Highly recommended.

By Selena Rezvani,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Quick Confidence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hands-on, bite-sized strategies for improving your confidence

In Quick Confidence: Be Authentic, Create Connections and Make Bold Bets On Yourself, best-selling author and renowned leadership speaker Selena Rezvani delivers an effective and eye-opening new approach to building confidence and presence for professionals. In the book, the author walks you through-and helps you leap over-the 9 most common obstacles that stand in the way of building authentic confidence. She offers digestible actions, behaviors, and exercises you can use to change the way you think and the way you present yourself to others.

Relying on sound, scientifically validated data, the book helps…