Strategic Management: Formulation and Implementation

Behavioral School

 The behavioral school has had a profound influence on management. Typical behavioral school topics include motivation, communication, leadership, organizational politics, and employee behavior. This approach was stimulated by a number of writers and theoretical movements. Particularly, two branches contributed to the behavioral school: the human relation movement and the behavioral science approach..

The Human Relations Movement

The human relations movement grew from the Hawthorne studies. A group of Harvard researchers, headed by Elton Mayo, conducted a series of experiments on worker productivity in 1924 at the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric Company in Illinois.  These experiments have come to be know as the Hawthorne studies.

The Harvard researches suggested that the way people were treated had an important impact on performance; individual and social processes played a major role in shaping worker attitudes and behavior. Therefore, management must recognize the importance worker's needs for recognition and social satisfaction. Mayo termed this concept of the social man: individuals are motivated by social needs and good on-the-job relationships and respond better to work-group pressure that to management control activities.

Two of the best-known contributors who helped advance the human relations movement were Abraham Maslow and Douglas McGregor.

Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) , a practicing psychologist, observed that his patients are motivated by a sequence of needs, including monetary incentives, social acceptance, and others. He generalized his work and suggested a hierarchy of needs.  Maslow's theory of "hierarchical needs" was a primary factor in the increased attention that managers began to give to the work of academic theorists.

Douglas McGregor (1906-1970) advanced two beliefs for managers about human behavior- Theory X and Theory YTheory X takes a relative pessimistic and negative view of workers. Theory Y represents the assumptions that human relations advocates make. The point of Theory Y is that organizations can take advantage of the imagination and intellect of all its employees.

Behavioral Sciences Approach

Organizational behavior acknowledges that behavior is much more complex than human relations realized. Systematic research is the basis for this approach.  This research draws from psychology, sociology, anthropology, economies, and medicine. All of the remaining chapters of this thesis contain research findings and applications that can be attributed to the behavioral sciences approach to the study of management.