Behavioral Approach

Behavioral Approach is the most important approach in the study of management and administration that has emerged during 20th century. The group which has the greatest influence in the growth and development of this new field, consisted of Chester Brrnard, J. G. March, Herbert Simon, Douglas McGregor, Abraham Maslow, Rensis Likert, Warren Bennis, etc. Behaviorist’s empirical investigation based on systematic and detailed observation in organizations supported by findings of social sciences of human behavior, provided the basis for building uniformities and concepts, which could be utilized by managers for improved practises, instead of relying on personal experience which was often based on insufficient foundation in fact.

The ultimate end of the organization behavior is to understand, explain, and predict human behavior in the same sense in which scientists understand, explain and predict the behavior of physical forces or biological factors. Hence behavioral science is concerned with seeking knowledge about the human behavior in order to enhance understanding of why people behave as they do, especially in relation to their interaction with other in organization. This should enable management to make human life in the working place more meaningful, or rewarding and more enjoyable. However, this is more phase of synthesis (combining of separate parts or elements) rather than anti-thesis. Thus, while the traditional or classical theory of organization was task-centered and the humanistic or neo-classical theory was employee-centered, the new theory or behavioral approach seeks a reconciliation or synthesis of these two approach, i.e. administration is both structure and the people working in it.
Behavioral Approach

Scope of Behavioral Approach

The implementation function involves management’s responsibility for the actual performance of organizational tasks or work by the human elements for facilitating the implementation include structural arrangements, plus behavioral (people) and communication (information) concepts designed to develop and sustain employee cooperation and satisfaction in performing organizational tasks. By the way of introduction, these arrangements and concepts typically includes: 
  • Structural: Making the job more interesting, giving the employee more responsibility. Decreasing control from above. 
  • Behavioral: Behavior is a manner of acting. It refers to a person’s conduct in carrying out specified activities. Providing more job status. Giving the employee a chance to make decision. Allowing him to assist in leading others.
  • Communication: Listening to his problems seriously. Helping him to interact with his fellow workers. Dealing with him openly. 
  • Methodology: The behavioral science approach involves the use of social and psychological concepts and knowledge to influence, motivate and coordinate the human element in achieving performance in the work place. For example, a manner might do the following to get an employee to prefer a task.
  • Personality: Personality of a human being is a complex combination physical and mental attributes, values, attitudes, beliefs, tastes, ambition, interest and habit.
  • Influence: Set an example, make suggestion. 
  • Motivation: Use praise, offer promotion.
  • Coordinate: Provide formal instruction, offer assistance. 
The know-how and methodology to attain employee satisfaction have come from various fields including industrial and social psychology, sociology and anthropology, supplemented by the practice of management itself. Psychology, the science of human nature and behavior, studies the human mind, its mental state and its processes. Industrial and social psychology are specialized branches of this discipline that deal with the study of human behavior in an industrial and in a purely social setting respectively. Sociology is the science of origin, development, organization and functioning of human society, including its fundamental laws of social relation. Anthropology is the science that deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, racial characteristics and social customs and beliefs of mankind. 

It should be apparent that understanding man’s action in an organizational setting is no simple task. Although it may be easy to see that it is essential to have satisfied employees, it is not easy to know just what and how to satisfy them. The behavioral science discipline has emerged as an interdisciplinary effort directed at gaining a better understanding of human behavior in organizations, as governed by satisfaction of man’s needs and wants and by his innate (posed by birth) social, psychological and anthropological traits (distinguish quality). 

Purpose/ Objectives of Behavioral Approach 

The overall purpose of the behavioral science is to induce (persuade or influence) performance by the human element and thereby achieve individual and group satisfaction and organizational productivity. The satisfaction performance relationship is complex and is affected by a number of different factors. Earlier economic rewards in the form of ways were viewed or considered as the primary satisfier of most employees, but the behavioral science view that employees are also satisfied and motivated by other type of things such as good working conditions, an interested boss, association with fellow employees, an impressive title, or personal accomplishment. Thus, the major encouraging impetus has been to stress the creation of an atmosphere or environment of achievement and fulfillment of all members of the organization which is an enlargement of the view of the early management about satisfaction and performance. 

Pre-requisites or Characteristics of Behavioral Approach 

1. Organizational-equilibrium or steady-state: The organization has been described as a system in equilibrium, which receives contribution in the form of (money) effort, time, skill, expertise etc. and offers inducement in return for these contribution. These inducement include the organizational goal itself, conservation and growth of the organization) and incentives unrelated to these two key issues in any organization is about two interests i.e. employer interest and employees interest.

Employer seeks (try to find or obtain) to achieve more with the least cost of rewards and incentives. Whereas employees always seek to receive more rewards and benefits from the management. In this regard, the need of organizational equilibrium is inevitable. To Herbert Simon and Chester Barnard ‘organizational-equilibrium’ means balance between what the individual contributes to the organization in the form of energy, skill and loyalty and what he receives in return by the ways of recognition, pay and security. March calls for the same “the general theory of organizational equilibrium.” 

2. Group Dynamics: Power or force that produce change, action or effects. (Dynamics in the science is the study or interplay of force or motion – branch of physics dealing with movement and force). This is the field of inquiry that deals with the development of small groups, interactions among group members, and group and inter-group behavior, the basic assumption underlying the study of group dynamics are; 
  • Groups are inevitable and ubiquitous (present everywhere and every time).
  • Groups mobilize powerful forces that produce effects of almost importance to individuals.
  • Groups may produce good or bad consequences from groups can be deliberately enhanced.
Group: A group is two or more persons who are interacting with one another in such a manner that each person influences and is influenced by each other in a fundamental characteristics of group.

Secondly, people should possess influencing power to each other or group members are mutually dependent with respect to the attainment of one or more common goals. 

Dynamics: Power or forces that produce movement or a force that produce change, action or effects. 

Group Dynamics is concerned with the interaction and forces among group members in a social situation. Group dynamic deals with dynamics of members of formal groups in the organization, which is usually small in size. 

3. Authority and Leadership: Authority (power-coercive-power, legitimate power, reward power, expert power) is only one of the number of forms of influences. Its distinguishing characteristics are that it does not seek to convince the subordinate, but only to obtain his acquiescence (acceptance without protest). In actual exercise, of course, authority is usually liberally admixed with suggestion and persuasion. An important function of authority is to permit a decision to be made and carried out, even when agreement cannot be reached. Perhaps this arbitrary aspects of authority has been over emphasized however, in discussions of the concept. In any case, the arbitrary element in authority is limited to the “area of acceptance” of the subordinate. 

Another consequences or dimension implication of the group theory is that authority springs from the group than from the top-down. An understanding of this social process helps the administrators to understand resistance to formal authority in the form of slowdown of work, in punctuality and absenteeism. The organized resistance to orders from above is essentially a social phenomenon and called for technological skill of motivation and leadership. It calls for a type of supervision in which leadership replaces compulsion. 

4. Organization as a social system: According to behaviorist organizations are composed of large groups or hierarchies, which are an aggregation of many small groups, both formal and informal. It is a complex organization, in which the informality of the small face to face groups is only a part of total organizational picture. Hence, organization is therefore, be viewed as a social institution. So, instead of viewing organization as a hierarchy of jobs or body of informal group relationships, it is now a social institution living in a cultural environment of its own. 

Features of Behavioral Approach

The silent features of behavioral approach may be summarized as follows: 
  1. Behavioral approach seeks to focus directly on the actual behavior of individuals and groups in administrative organizations. It concentrates on the study of the various factors that influence the behavior of the people within organization.
  2. The behaviorists characterize the organization as social system. As a social system, an organization consists of the formal structure, individuals (part of the society), groups and the informal interpersonal and inter-group relationships. They therefore, lay emphasis on the study of the informal social organization that always develops with the framework of the formal organization.
  3. The behaviorists conceive of administration as a study embracing many discipline, especially sociology and psychology, social and industrial psychology and anthropology. They employ the methods and techniques of the above mentioned social sciences with a view to understand the way people really act within the organization.
  4. The major areas of study in which the behaviorist are interested include the role of the individual, leadership in organization, group dynamics, organizational equilibrium and organization as a social system, motivation and satisfaction.
  5. Behavioral approach is descriptive and factual and therefore empirical. It aims at increasing the scientific content of the study of public administration. It has shifted the emphasis from formal legal administrative structures to the people and their behavior in administrative organization. In other words, it has revealed the truth that the conduct of administration is greatly influenced by human sentiments, perception and the environment in which administration operates. It may be noted that behavioral approach and classical approach are complementary rather than contradictory. Administration is both structure and the people working in it.

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