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Behavioral Management Theory
As management research continued in the 20th century, questions began to come up regarding the interactions and motivations of the individual within organizations. Management principles developed during the classical period were simply not useful in dealing with many management situations and could not explain the behavior of individual employees. In short, classical theory ignored employee motivation and behavior. As a result, the behavioral school was a natural outgrowth of this revolutionary management experiment. The behavioral management theory is often called the human relations movement because it addresses the human dimension of work. Behavioral theorists believed that a better understanding of human behavior at work, such as motivation, conflict, expectations, and group dynamics, improved productivity. The theorists who contributed to this school viewed employees as individuals, resources, and assets to be developed and worked with — not as machines, as in the past. Several individuals and experiments contributed to this theory. Elton Mayo's contributions came as part of the Hawthorne studies, a series of experiments that rigorously applied classical management theory only to reveal its shortcomings. The Hawthorne experiments consisted of two studies conducted at the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company in Chicago from 1924 to 1932. The first study was conducted by a group of engineers seeking to determine the relationship of lighting levels to worker productivity. Surprisingly enough, they discovered that worker productivity increased as the lighting levels decreased — that is, until the employees were unable to see what they were doing, after which performance naturally declined. A few years later, a second group of experiments began. Harvard researchers Mayo and F. J. Roethlisberger supervised a group of five women in a bank wiring room. They gave the women special privileges, such as the right to leave their workstations without permission, take rest periods, enjoy free lunches, and have variations in pay levels and workdays. This experiment also resulted in significantly increased rates of productivity. In this case, Mayo and Roethlisberger concluded that the increase in productivity resulted from the supervisory arrangement rather than the changes in lighting or other associated worker benefits. Because the experimenters became the primary supervisors of the employees, the intense interest they displayed for the workers was the basis for the increased motivation and resulting productivity. Essentially, the experimenters became a part of the study and influenced its outcome. This is the origin of the term Hawthorne effect, which describes the special attention researchers give to a study's subjects and the impact that attention has on the study's findings.

the Theory Y manager assumes that employees are not only trustworthy and capable of assuming responsibility. After the need is satisfied. On the other hand. Abraham Maslow. He believed that two basic kinds of managers exist. and incapable of assuming responsibility. and freedom from fear. has a negative view of employees and assumes that they are lazy. into this category. An individual must develop self-confidence and wants to achieve status. developed one of the most widely recognized need theories. An important aspect of McGregor's idea was his belief that managers who hold either set of assumptions can create self-fulfilling prophecies — that through their behavior. protection. the Theory X manager. shifting the focus to the role of individuals in an organization's performance. Assuming that all the previous needs in the hierarchy are satisfied. Esteem needs. a practicing psychologist. reputation. and glory. they become primary motivators. The individual strives to establish meaningful relationships with significant others. Maslow broke down the needs hierarchy into five specific areas: • • • • • Physiological needs. This principle of human motivation helped revolutionize theories and practices of management. One type. Otherwise. A normal state exists for an individual to have all these needs generally satisfied. Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory helped managers visualize employee motivation. After the physical and safety needs are satisfied and are no longer motivators. fame. Douglas McGregor was heavily influenced by both the Hawthorne studies and Maslow. from the lowest to highest. stability. however. Needs can be classified according to a hierarchical structure of importance. these theorists discovered that people worked for inner satisfaction and not materialistic rewards. Self-actualization needs. untrustworthy. it is no longer is a motivator. such as food and drink. . a theory of motivation based upon a consideration of human needs . an individual feels a need to find himself. Belonging and love needs. As a group. the need for belonging and love emerges as a primary motivator. Human behavior is purposeful and is motivated by the need for satisfaction. Maslow grouped all physical needs necessary for maintaining basic human well-being.The general conclusion from the Hawthorne studies was that human relations and the social needs of workers are crucial aspects of business management. His theory of human needs had three assumptions: • • • Human needs are never completely satisfied. these managers create situations where subordinates act in ways that confirm the manager's original expectations. but also have high levels of motivation. These needs include the need for basic security. Safety needs.

people. In 1924. humidity) would have an impact on productivity. People were moving to the cities in greater numbers. and Abraham Maslow were writers who addressed this issue by contending that increased worker satisfaction would lead to better performance.php?id_article=1593 Behavioral Management Theory During the 1920s and 1930s. Their ideas did not have wide circulation. Culturally and socially the United States was undergoing change.' Mayo worked with Fritz Roethlisberger. Women were given the right to vote.com/article. Illinois. a research team launched an experiment at the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric Company in Cicero. Initially. Several prominent theorists began to direct their attention to the human element in the workplace.http://en. noise. William Dickson. Rapid economic growth was giving people the opportunity to spend money on leisure and household items their parents could only dream about. and the first minimum-wage legislation had been passed. the United States was experiencing another force of upheaval not unlike that caused by the Industrial Revolution. Prior to the stock market collapse of 1929. a genuine sense of optimism had swept the country.. however. Mary Parker Follett.g. As a result. and work were being transformed. the researchers would record the level of output and compare it with the output of the control group. . As various features of the physical surroundings were altered in the second room. unions were now organized and were playing an integral role in politics and the economy. an Australian psychologist who joined the Harvard Business School faculty in 1926. One group was to be the control group. The second group would perform their tasks under changing physical conditions. thus evolved behavioral management theory. Their experiment was designed to identify factors other than fatigue that would diminish worker productivity. Though more limited in scope. light. and values and attitudes toward government. until they were asked to assist in a research project that had apparently failed. Douglas McGregor. Elton Mayo.articlesgratuits. and others to formulate theories concerning the factors that increased human motivation and satisfaction which were later to become the foundations of the human relations movement in management. working in a room where no change in the physical surroundings would be made. it was believed that physical surroundings (e. families. Chris Argyris. Testing was conducted by selecting two groups of women who would perform an assembly operation. with each group in a separate room. It was their belief that a greater concern by management for the work conditions of the employee would generate higher levels of satisfaction. many of the techniques applied by the classical theorists to the workplace no longer seemed to work effectively. it had similar ramifications on the way people work and on the way managers manage those who work. Convinced that economic incentives only partially explained individual motivation and satisfaction. Elton Mayo One prominent pioneer of the behavioral school was Elton Mayo (1880 1949).

many of the women reported that they were more satisfied with their jobs than before the experiments began. Again. the Hawthorne study suggested that workers were not so much driven by pay and working conditions as by psychological wants and desires which could be satisfied by belonging to a work group. This outcome. Mayo and his colleagues realized that an important contribution to the study and practice of management had evolved from a seemingly failed experiment. Instead. Much to their surprise. What made this finding even more difficult to interpret was that the control group was also increasing its output without any alteration in the physical surroundings. the Hawthorne study opened the study of management to a whole new arena of ideas from the social sciences that had previously been ignored. The support received from their supervisors and the opportunity to make decisions about their job contributed to this motivation. the light was dimmed. Illumination was increased in stages. suggesting that a worker is not simply an extension of the machinery. Thus.One such alteration of the physical surroundings was the level of lighting. now they felt they were part of an important group. they learned through interviews and observation that an "emotional chain reaction" was causing the increase in productivity?" Having been singled out to be participants in the experiment. That is. In 1927. output by the women increased again. First. Second. as an unintended contribution to research methodology. and the researchers recorded an increase in output as well. recognition by superiors made workers feel that they were making a unique and important contribution to the organization. . The Hawthorne experiment was a turning point in the study of management. To further test their hypothesis. Indeed. No longer did they feel that they were isolated individuals in the plant. Even when the light level was reduced to the point where it resembled moonlight. is exemplified by subjects behaving differently because of the active participation of the Hawthorne researchers in the experiment. After several years of intensive study. And. the researcher can influence the outcome of the experiment by being too closely involved with the subjects who are participating in the experiment. giving workers responsibility for decisions concerning the task. they concluded that financial incentives did not influence productivity since output went up in both groups though only the experimental group received more pay. referred to as the Hawthorne effect in research methodology. the experiments led to a rethinking of field research practices. As the results of the study became known among theorists and practitioners alike. whether as individuals or in a group. productivity went up in both groups. Mayo and his team were called in to assist in the interpretation of the results and to conduct further experiments as needed. Increased output was also obtained when the researchers expanded the length of the workday and eliminated rest periods. was a stimulus to treat the task as more important. First. an outpouring of research was conducted based on many theories and discoveries made in psychology. the women developed a group pride that motivated them to increase their performance. Mayo and his colleagues began to piece together what was happening. And finally. One such experiment was to alter supervisory authority so that the women could determine on their own when they would take a rest break. output increased. Another was to increase the salary of the women in the experimental group while the women in the control group would keep the same pay.

His Theory Y assumptions are that workers Can enjoy their work under favorable conditions and can provide valued input to the decision-making process. established numerous rules and regulations. Douglas McGregor A theorist who shared the views of Mayo and his colleagues was Douglas McGregor (19061964). according to Follett. that workers preferred to be directed by supervisors rather than assume responsibility for their tasks. McGregor felt that managers should emphasize coordination of activities by providing assistance to workers when problems are identified. greater diversity in activities. Compromise was also unsatisfactory. (3) compromise. and a desire to assume more control over their lives. a broadening of interests. the efforts of both sides to identify the solution. they develop new attitudes and behaviors that affect their life-styles. however. Follett believed the first two alternatives were undesirable as they required the threat or actual use of power. Chris Argyris Chris Argyris (1923–) also expanded on the work of the Hawthorne experiment by challenging the basic assumptions of the classical school concerning worker motivation and satisfaction. Some of these attitudes and behaviors are a movement toward independence. McGregor felt that organizations were often designed based on faulty assumptions about human behavior. As a result. Many of his ideas were developed from the belief that as people mature. McGregor developed an alternative set of assumptions which he labeled Theory Y. McGregor felt that managers were prone to design organizations that were centralized in decision making. in actuality. with a particular interest in techniques for resolving conflicts in organizations. Organizations that emphasize control are. For fear of technical and financial inefficiency.Mary Parker Follett Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933) was born near Boston and was educated at Radcliffe College and Cambridge University. Argyris argued that an overemphasis on control by managers encouraged workers to become passive and dependent and to shirk responsibility. Her successful work on committees set up to work out solutions to community problems led eventually to a concentration on the study of industrial management. Because of these assumptions. merely postponing the conflict by not addressing the issues that led to the conflict. She hypothesized that managers could resolve conflict in one of four ways: (1) one side giving in. philosophy. Rather than develop needless mechanisms of control in the organization. and that workers were more interested in monetary gains than in performing their jobs well. Those assumptions were that most workers disliked work. studying politics. economics. workers will become frustrated and dissatisfied with the workplace and will either quit their jobs or engage in behaviors that hamper the achievement of organizational goals. (2) one side forcing the other to submit. would lead to discussion and resolution of the issues that caused the conflict. Labelingjthese assumptions Theory X. McGregor felt that organizations overemphasized control mechanisms. Follett was a pragmatist who believed that conflict was neither good nor bad. With integration. treating individuals as if they were . and (4) integration. and required close supervision of subordinates. and law.

salaries do at times affect worker productivity.immature. When employees working in any .' In Maslow's theory. group processes. No longer could managers confine their attention to technical skills. Once these basic needs are satisfied. the rate of productivity increases. behavioral theory also assumed that the external environment of the organization was static. That is. F. Later studies were to dispute the belief that worker satisfaction was the prime cause of productivity.com/management/880-behavioral-managementtheory. Behavior is an important area that surely affects the working of an organization. In any organization. Roethlisberger & Mayo concluded that by all this. and subordinate-superior relationships were all identified as integral components in the practice of management. Under certain conditions. the behavioral school did not completely resolve issues concerning the nature of human motivation. Harvard researchers. At the bottom of the hierarchy are the physiological needs for food and shelter. a person moves up the ladder of needs as each level is satisfied. satisfaction was found to play an inconsequential role. However. the psychological and social dimensions of the individual only partially explain organizational outcomes and constitute only a part of the larger and more complex managerial picture http://www. Much like classical theory. Rather. relationship is termed as an important set of areas that should be handled with care in order to make every single organization an effective one. who can enjoy free lunches and can enjoy many other benefits too.J Roethlisbergers & Mayo evaluate the behavior of five women in a bank who were allowed to leave the workplace without any permission. Thus. Evaluation of the Behavioral School Contributors to the behavioral school advanced our understanding of management by emphasizing the importance of the individual within the organization—an element essentially ignored by writers of the classical school. humans are then motivated to satisfy higher-level needs for safety. social needs of individuals. they had to use people skills as well and develop an understanding of the relationship between the technical and human sides of management. causing high rates of absenteeism and turnover.html Behavioral Management Theory Behavioral management theory emerged when employee behavior and motivation was ignored at the time of classical theory. esteem. Expectations. In addition. After the Hawthorne studies. level of productivity and group behavior are important areas that should be handled carefully. particularly in industries where salaries are low. conflicts.mba-tutorials. though money may not be the primary motivator. Abraham Maslow Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) is most noted for suggesting a theory that humans are motivated by needs that exist in a hierarchy. love. and self-actualization. Because of this experiment. motivations.

With the help of this theory. we can say that behavioral management theory completely revolves around the behavior of the managers & employees. Safety Needs 3. Thus. The hierarchy depicts five major areas: 1. managers do emphasis more on the working of an organization and make sure that these all elements are present among their employees. Behavioral management theories do revolve around Abraham Maslow theory. Belonging & Love Needs 4. Physiological Needs 2.organization do enjoys free lunches or any other activities while rest of the employees do not. . In short. then conflicts do arises and thus change in the behavior emerges out. If the level of inner satisfaction of every single employee is positive then better outcomes can be expected. Esteem Needs 5. Motivation should be kept on increasing because it is the only way with the help of which you can make your organization the place where you can work and can generate effective & potential outcomes. it should be kept in mind and every employee as well as managers should be given equal chance to express their views and ideas and should be motivated at every single step. Self Actualization Needs This theory actually helps the managers to increase their motivation level too. then it will surely affect the working of an organization. behavior. For any organization. This is not healthy for any organization because if behavior of employees changes. inner satisfaction and the level of motivation really matters.

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