Behavioral school

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Behavioral school
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The precursor of the behavioral school was MP Follet. She dealt with the issues of social interaction at work, conflicts, authority and responsibility. The behavioral school itself was born during research at Hawthorne's Western Electric Company near Chicago. It was a special period for the development of industry, the time of discoveries of Planck, Einstein, which significantly changed the physics of the time, as well as the works of Pavlov and Freud became the basis for a better understanding of physiological phenomena.


The methods introduced by F. Taylor brought many profits and benefits, as well as increased labor productivity, however, employees for fear of increasing pressure on working time and productivity, which may result in overstaffing of employees, and thus redundancies. This pressure caused that some managers exploited both employees and clients. As a result, many workers joined the trade unions, thus reinforcing mutual suspicion and distrust in the executive-level relations with employees for decades.

Technological progress

Organizations by some began to be perceived as machines, whereas employees as modes in these machines increased the number of cases at work, there was a much greater number of absences and the productivity of employees began to drop drastically. An attempt was made to look for an explanation of this turn of events, the researchers concluded that factors such as the atmosphere at work or the satisfaction of employees were of considerable importance. The focus was on controlling and standardizing the behavior of all employees.


The first research was carried out by prof. Elthona Mayo, who was an outstanding psychologist of the organization. The purpose of the mentioned research was to determine factors such as lighting, length of rest breaks on employee performance. The employees were divided into two groups: experimental and immutable. The former worked in new conditions and observed changes, while constant conditions were constant. Elthon Mayo came to the following conclusions:

  1. Human work is a team activity and the person who performs it belongs in its organization to various social groups (formal and informal).
  2. People at work draw more attention to interpersonal relations and not to the type of work performed.
  3. Good, friendly relations with other people (colleagues, superiors) cause psychological states of satisfaction that significantly affect the improvement of work efficiency.
  4. Employees will work hard, if they think that management is concerned about their well-being.

The behavioral approach was very diverse and evoked controversy among many psychologists. Behaviorists are not limited to saying that the environment is controlled by a human being, but they also pay attention to the fact that its effects affect the change of the environment. The system of rewards and punishments found in the environment determines what a person strives for and avoids. Proponents of this concept have developed the so-called Behavioral engineering, or a system of methods and techniques for changing human reactions. According to it, properly manipulating the environment and mainly using the appropriate system of rewards and punishments, you can freely motivate employees and their behavior. The basic statement of the behavioral school is the sentence that the school is people. Hugo Münsterberg was the first to say that good results in organization and management can not be achieved without the elements of sociology and psychology. His work "Psychology and industrial efficiency" gave rise to the application of experimental psychology to the study of human behavior in the work process and thus achieving the same goals, i.e. to increase work efficiency, which the classical methods aimed at, but in a completely different way. He formulated the thesis that work efficiency can be raised in various ways:

  • finding the best employee for a given job, whose features distinguish him as the best performer of a given activity
  • by creating the best possible work - ideal psychological conditions
  • by exerting a psychological influence, which is called the "best possible effect" on employee motivation.

Another representative of the behavioral approach was Mary Parker Follet, representing the classical school, but noticing the behavioral aspects. She expressed the view that employees can be more effective by harmonizing mutual relations between employees and managers. Abraham Maslow formulated the concept of the hierarchy of needs, according to which man satisfies the most basic aspects and then the needs of a higher order:

  • First level - physiological needs - wages and safe and pleasant working conditions
  • The second level - the need for security - pension programs and healthcare systems, a guarantee of longer employment and emphasizing the importance of a career inside the company
  • Third level - the need for affiliation - organization of work that allows interaction with colleagues, social and sports facilities, social events organized outside of work
  • Fourth level - need of respect (ego) - Creating workstations that give opportunities for achievement, autonomy and personal control, work strengthening the employee's identity, feedback and employee recognition (e.g. employee of the month)
  • The fifth level - the need for self-realization - inducing the employee to full realization, the work becomes the main way of self-realization of the employee.