Start free practice test →

If you, like me a few years ago, don’t know where to start from as you prepare for your DSST Organization Behavior (OB) test, worry no more for you are in the right place.

Organization Behavior, or OB as most students like to call it, simply means the way people relate or interact within a group or an organization. Studying for my Organization Behavior exams made me realize that it’s is not such a wet blanket, unlike some courses that are just oppressively bland, it’s not pointless either because it’s an exam, not a trivia. At the bare minimum, the course provides the little excitement you need to power your studies.

Organizational Behavior
Study Guide

organisational behavior dsst

Think of this test as recognition of your knowledge in Organization Behavior. You are expected to be at least as knowledgeable as a student taking Organization Behavior in a College or a University.

Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think when you prepare properly, as I am going to show you.

This exam splits into five main bits:

  • Organizational Behavior Overview – 10%

    This is the most natural part. The test at this level will be on your general understanding of Organization behavior as a field of study. A little reading will go a long way as most of the things here are no-brainers, particularly if you studied business studies at the lower levels; maybe in high school. Always make sure to remember the keywords for precise definitions. For example, you may have to define Organization Behavior, which is merely the study of how people relate/ interact within a group. The important keywords here to remember will include study (because it’s a field of study), people (because it’s concerned with the behavior of people, not pets or pet influencers), interaction or relationship between these people who together are called a group or an organization. The slightly trickier part is the test of your knowledge in fundamental concepts where you may encounter terms like; Individual differences, perception, a whole person, human dignity, holistic concept and a couple more concepts. Knowledge of the origin of Organization Behavior will also be tested here. Your understanding of the scientific approaches used in Organization Behavior that is to; Gather information, generate a hypothesis, test hypothesis, and the conclusion, as well as the research designs used in Organization Behavior such as; experiments, case, and survey. Knowledge of methods used to collect data such as questionnaires will also make it easier to realize the 10% in this bit.

  • Individual Processes and Characteristics – 30%

    This is another painless section, child’s play even, all you have to do is read well enough, then demonstrate that you understand possible reasons that could affect an employee’s actions. We are talking about the perceptual processes; ability to receive, select, organize then interpret. The employee’s personality, how it affects his/her behavior, as well as the factors that influence their personality, in terms of learned or inherited characteristics, traits, personality attributes, and perception. Attitudes and emotions such as love, surprise, joy, sadness, anger, and fear in terms of their impact or lack thereof on staff behavior. The learning process and how it’s affected by factors such as environment, motivation, mental group, and practice. How motivation powered by needs, drives or incentives positively or otherwise can affect employee behavior. Without forgetting the relationship between employee behavior, work stress, and its components.

  • Interpersonal and Group Processes – 30%

    This is the wet blanket that we still have to wring and dry, after all, this is an exam, not a trivia. The truth is that it’s not half as boring. You will be expected to demonstrate your knowledge of group dynamics address the stages of group development; the forming, storming, norming and performing. Impact of Group behavior and different levels of conflict at; Interpersonal level, intragroup, intergroup or intrapersonal level and the various methods that can be used to manage conflict. How Leadership and influence from within or outside the organization influence employee behavior, and how employees behave in response to different leadership styles. You will also be tested on your understanding of the impact of power and politics on staff Behavior. A proper understanding of the communication process/model and it’s elements such as the sender/encoder, medium, recipient/decoder and noise can also determine whether or not you scoop the entire 30%.

  • Organizational Processes and Characteristics – 15%

    This section is meant to examine: Your knowledge of procedures, that are undertaken in the organization on a regular basis such as decision making, including the different models of decision making, the steps involved and your ability to demonstrate how employees behave in response to these processes. Your understanding of organizational structure, design and its different elements such as; specialization, departmentalization, centralization/ decentralization, and span of control and how they change or fail to change the behavior of the organization’s members. Knowledge of organizational culture and it’s relationship to employee behavior and the three levels of organizational culture; assumptions, values, and artifacts.

  • Change and Development Processes – 15%

    This is the most demanding chunk of the exam. It’s no match for an informed mind though. Read well enough and you will cut through it like a hot knife on butter. Expect to be evaluated on Organization Behavior process and analysis through different models such as S-R model, S-O-B-C, S-O-B-A and S-O-R model. Concepts of change, application and techniques of change and will require thinking about reasons for change such as technology, globalization, market environment, organization growth, and of course how the employees behave in reaction to these changes, as well as the best way to plan for and implement these changes, with minimal resistance and maximum cooperation from the employees.

Organizational Behavior
Practice Quiz

I recommend trying out our sample questions below, just to jog your mind with the added benefit of rating yourself.

Plus it’s a great way to study, especially if you research the answers in detail.

All test questions are in a multiple-choice format, with one correct answer and three incorrect options. The following are samples of the types of questions that may appear on the exam.

Please do keep in mind that we can’t guarantee the accuracy of this quiz, so we do recommend you also run through a full-length practice exam.  We’ll recommend some good options in the resources section at the bottom of this page.

Question 1: When did Organization Behavior begin?

(A) Agrarian Revolution
(B) Industrial Revolution
(C) American Revolution
(D) None of the above

The correct answer is Industrial Revolution (B).

Organization behavior began around the time of the industrial revolution because there was a pressing need to increase employee productivity in the rapidly expanding industries.

This made people like Fredrick W Taylor conduct numerous experiments and come up with scientific management ultimately leading to Organization Behavior as we know it today.

Question 2: Which of the following is not a step in Organization Behavior’s scientific method?

(A) Collection of information
(B) Creation of a hypothesis
(C) Automatic perception
(D) Draw conclusion

Automatic perception (C) is the correct answer.

Organization Behavior’s scientific method has four steps these are; a collection of information, creation/generation of a hypothesis, testing of the hypothesis and a draw to conclusion/review of the hypothesis.

Obviously, automatic perception doesn’t appear in these steps.

Automatic perception is one of the four characteristics of a perceptual process that include; Automatic perception, Selective perception, Conceptual perception and Creative perception.

Automatic perception simply means our senses collecting information subconsciously without us thinking about it (think of our senses in autopilot mode). For example when you smell dust in the air.

Question 3: Which type of leadership feature is recommended for organizations that intend to inspire staff?

(A) Charisma
(B) Vision
(C) Motivation
(D) Autocratic

The correct answer is Charisma (A).

Charismatic leaders are supposed to be; visionary, sensitive to staff needs, be able to appeal to the employees’ emotions in terms of their moral compass or the greater good, they align teammates to a common clear purpose while at the same time winning their confidence and collaboration.

This is the kind of a leader you need if you intend to inspire employees.

Question 4: Which kind of personality trait would you go for when recruiting an employee who should be motivated, organized and punctual to work.

(A) Extraversion
(B) Agreeableness
(C) Conscientiousness
(D) Openness to Experience

Conscientiousness (C).

Different personalities come with different traits; An openness to experience kind of personality is inclined towards creativity, uniqueness and is curious.

Expect an extrovert person to be outgoing, talkative and to get conversations flowing with anyone.

Think of an agreeable person as trusting and easy to befriend.

A Conscientious person will be self-aware, organized and responsible. It’s now easy to see why, this is the kind of personality you would be looking for if you need someone who is motivated, organized and punctual to work.

Question 5: According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs which is the most necessary need?

(A) Sense of belonging and being loved
(B) Safety
(C) Self-actualization
(D) Physical needs

Physical needs (D).

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs start with the most basic needs that he called (1)Physical needs(think; air, food, water, warmth, shelter and sex),then (2)Safety( think of safety from injury, diseases and financial insecurity), (3)Love and Belonging ( You guessed it right these are social needs; friends, groups, and family including your better half),(4) Esteem needs (Things like self-respect and self-confidence that can be achieved through appreciation and respect from other people), (5) Self Actualization ( This is the desire to grow and achieve full potential).

Evidently, the most necessary needs will be at the physical level of needs because nobody can do without food, water, and air.

Question 6: Which option below will ensure an organization’s staff member can still access medical cover following work termination that is involuntary?

(D) Department of Labor

COBRA (B). Not the reptile

This is a tricky one.

COBRA is an abbreviation for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.

It’s a federal law passed in 1985.

COBRA is meant to extend your health insurance cover beyond a job loss, by guaranteeing you the right to health coverage for a predetermined period from the day you lose that job usually up to 18 months.

Question 7: Einstein was a great and an influential scientist whose work was respected and recognized by scientists of his time as well as modern scientists throughout the world. Which kind of power did he exert on fellow scientists?

(A) Referent
(B) Expert
(C) Legitimate
(D) Reward

Expert Power (B).

From the name, it’s easy to tell Expert power results from outstanding performance in a field or industry.
The example above demonstrates a man (Einstein) who earned influence in his field (science) because of his expertise (science genius).

The other options are also forms of power and are attained in the ways shown below;

Reward power is yielded by a leader who rewards his teammates/subordinates through methods like promotions or pay rise.

Legitimate power originates from formal authority arising from a specific management position or title.

Referent power results from loyalty, admiration, and trust of the employees/subjects earned by a charismatic leader.

Question 8: Bill is a unit manager in charge of 12 employees. Some of his team members occasionally came to work late. He decided to publicly recognize and give daily rewards to each punctual member of his team.When all the team members come to work early he provides a bigger reward that benefits the whole team. Bill’s team is now the most punctual in the organization. This is an example of?

(A) Shaping
(B) None of these
(C) Classical conditioning
(D) Operant conditioning

Classical Conditioning (C).

Remember when you were a kid probably a preteen? You worked harder in school when your parents promised to buy you a bicycle or a play station if you perform well.

Classical conditioning happens when there is a relationship between an employee’s response and a stimulus/stimuli, or when a neutral stimulus is substituted with an actual stimulus.

The example in the question shows a clear relationship between the employees’ punctuality and the introduction of a rewarding system.

The other related option is operant conditioning; when an employee associates certain actions with consequences. Similar to the speed ticket you are given each time you drive above the speed limit.

Question 9: Which is the right order of phases when effectively creating a change within an organization?

(A) Changing, Unfreezing, Refreezing
(B) Unfreezing, Refreezing, Changing
(C) None of this options is true
(D) Unfreezing, Changing, Refreezing

Unfreezing, Changing, Refreezing (D). An easy one. 🙂

Change is created in three phases; Unfreezing (disabling the existing mindset and battling human defense mechanism against change), Changing (when the actual transition happens and comes with some confusion) then Refreezing (people adapt to the new changes, the change becomes standard/normal and is now imprinted into their mindset).

Question 10: John is the branch manager of a multinational firm. He is officially in charge of authorizing all transactions going through his branch; from customers, suppliers and the headquarters. He has been traveling a lot recently, so he allowed the team leaders(smaller unit managers) to oversee some of the transactions on his behalf. What do we call this style of leadership?

(A) Participating
(B) Delegating
(C) Telling
(D) Selling

Delegating (B).

Leaders who consult and discuss with their workers before making a decision use the selling style of leadership.

Those who closely supervise their subordinates while giving them detailed instructions use the telling style.

The participating style is used by leaders who consult and encourage groups/teams to make decisions.

The delegating style is applied by a leader who gives tasks then allows workers to function on their own, with minimal supervision, especially in high readiness industries.

The example in the question depicts a leader who allows his subordinates to perform tasks including some of his supervisory roles on their own. Evidently displaying delegating style of leadership.

Question 11: When groups form they go through several phases. Which is the right order?

(A) Forming, Storming, Norming, Conforming
(B) Storming, Norming, Forming, Conforming
(C) Unfreezing, Changing, Refreezing
(D) Automatic, Selective, Contextual, Creative

Forming, Storming, Norming, Conforming (A).

When groups are created they go through several phases Forming (people meet), then Storming ( they struggle to get rid of different personality conflicts), Norming (They develop a stronger union), Conforming ( issues between members are addressed).

The other options are unrelated.

Unfreezing, Changing and Refreezing are phases of creating a change.

Automatic, Selective, Contextual, Creative are characteristics of a perception process.

More DSST Study Resources

Are you at the beginning of your study process, or just looking for a couple more practice questions to finish prepping for your exam? In either case, you can find some of my favorite resources below. Some of the links below are affiliate (Amazon for instance), which means they’ll pay us a few bucks for every purchase through the link. Feel free to use those links if you want to support the site, but you can also just Google the title or pick the book up at your local library.

Official DSST Practice Test: Ok, so the DSST website isn’t the most inviting, but it will give you the best approximation of the real exam experience. Also, the official practice test is quite affordable (currently just $5 per practice exam).

DANTES Study Guide – DSST Organizational Behavior: Textbooks are great as far as they go, but I’d generally recommend you opt for this exam guide instead. It tends to cut through the confusion and help you accelerate your learning process.

InstantCert Academy: Another website with a very dated design, but as ancient as it looks, this is actually an incredibly valuable resource. Basically, you get a massive set of flashcards that you can use to learn Org Behavior and to really solidify that knowledge so you’re ready for the exam.

Plenty of other resources exist – just do a quick internet search – but these are a fantastic start, and probably all you really need. I’ve personally done some exams with just InstantCert and the official practice test.

Congrats on starting your DSST study journey! Study hard, earn credit, and most of all remember to have fun.