Behavioural Science Approach to Management (2023)

Behavioural Science Approach to Management (1)

Behavioural Science Approach to Management: this article provides a practical explanation of the Behavioural Science Approach to Management. Its origins can be found in the study of behavioural sciences (such as psychology, industrial psychology, sociology, anthropology, etc.). The goal is to use theories from these sciences to create effective organisational change.

What is the Behavioural Science Approach to management?

The behavioural science approach to management or Behavioural Science Approach of management is focused on the psychological and sociological processes (attitude, motivations, and group dynamics) that influence employee performance. While the classic approach is focused on the work done by employees, the Behavioural Science Approach to management focuses on the employees themselves.

Many of the theories in the behavioural perspective have been included in the behavioural science approach of management. The Hawthorne studies, for instance, use the scientific method and are considered to be part of the behavioural science approach.

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Behavioural Science Approach to management within the area of business management is a specific application of this field and uses several specific types of behavioural observations. This includes concepts such as information processing, relationships, motivation, and organisational development.

Behavioural science approaches cover two broad categories: Neural – information sciences and social – relational sciences.

Information processing sciences focus on information processing of stimuli from the social environment by cognitive entities in order to take part in decision making, social judgement, and social perception for individual performance and the survival or organisms in a social environment.

These relate to psychology, cognitive sciences, psychobiology, neural networks, social cognition, social psychology, semantic networks, ethology, and social neurosciences.

Relational sciences are about relations, interaction, communication networks, associations and relational strategies or the dynamics between organisms or cognitive entities within a social system. These relate to fields such as sociological social psychology, social networks, dynamic network analyses, the agent-based model, and microsimulation.

Why the Behavioural Science Approach to management?

Behavioural Science Approach to management was developed as a response to consider the behaviour and motivation of employees. This led to changes in management, from a production focus (classic leadership theory) to a leadership style focused on the human needs of the employees, work-related satisfaction and proper working conditions.

Management is the efficient use of means, materials, capital, and human resources to achieve specific objectives and SMART goals. The management methods based on behavioural sciences are:

Organisational design

An effective organisational design is important. The organisation must be set up in such a way that the set goals can be achieved. The technology that is being used must regularly be updated.

Personnel management

Human resources are the most important resources an organisation has. The right methods for selection, training, motivation, role assignment, incentives, and opportunities for professional growth must be safeguarded

Communication

Communication between different levels is important for the functioning of the system. Insufficient information in the communication system results in: Slow reporting of events, slow delivery of products, and reduced efficiency of organisational performance.

Information systems

An efficient information system is important to manage all data. The information system plays an important role in monitoring and evaluation.

Management by Objectives (MBO)

Here the goals are established for each unit and subunit of the system. Plans to achieve these objectives are created and implemented.

Getting started

Using the theories, you can create effective organisational change. Behavioural Science Approach to management is based on the basic principles of the human relationships approach.

(Video) Behavioural science approach and its contributors (Maslow, Herzberg, McClelland, Likert)

Here follow the most important advantages of the Behavioural Science Approach to management:

Behavioural Science Approach to Management (2)

Study of human behaviour is most important for management success

Despite the development of many approaches for management studies, the behavioural science approach is very important. It focuses on a study of human behaviour; it determines the success/failure of management.

Contribution to management

The behavioural science approach has made an important contribution to management in the areas of group dynamics, motivation, communication, and leadership.

Foundation of organisational behaviour

The behavioural science approach forms the foundation of a new management discipline called organisational behaviour. Examples of interesting concepts of organisational behaviour are: informal groups, attitudes, personality, perception, individual and group behaviour.

The following steps help you to create effective organisational change:

Behavioural science approach embrace the principle that behaviour is the result of interaction between people and their environment. The environment consists of a variety of factors. A considered analysis of behaviour must take into account the individual’s current environment.

A ‘behavioural approach’ involves manipulating the environment in such a way that the likelihood of the goal behaviour is adjusted in the desired direction. In order to increase that likelihood, the reinforcement principle is applied. In order to decrease that likelihood, the punishment principle is applied. In order to eliminate behaviour, the extinction principle is used.

Examples of behavioural management in organisations are:

Reinforcement

Your employer has run into difficulty finding sufficient workers for a particular day. It announces a new policy of paying more to workers who volunteer to work on that particular day. This leads to employees showing initiative by discussing with each other who will be working on that day.

The environment change was the new policy. The reinforcement was the offer to pay more.

Punishment

A credit card company is faced with an increase of late payments. They announce that new costs for late payment will be increased to the maximum limit allowed. It results in a reduction of late payments.

The environment change was the change in fees for late payment. The punishment was paying a higher fee.

Extinction

Your dog was barking at the door to be let inside. People you were having over quickly opened the door to let the dog in. You don’t agree and start a policy of ignoring the barking and only opening the door when she looks you/them in the eyes and sits. As a result, the dog eventually stops barking under these conditions.

The change in the environment was opening the door in response to barking. Because when the dog barked, the door never opened again, there was no reinforcement. As a result she stopped barking. New behaviour was learned and reinforced

To summarise

The behavioural science approach broadly speaking is about understanding individual and group dynamics to initiate meaningful organisational development. The study of human behaviour in the context of organisational change is an integral part of enabling organisations to grow, adapt, and gain a competitive edge.

The simplest definition of behavioural science is that it studies human behaviour. For people working in digital marketing, behavioural science is a way to predict the future. You can use behavioural science by looking at how people behaved in the past. That way you’ll understand how people will behave in the future.

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Now it’s your turn

What do you think? Do you recognise the explanation about the behavioural science approach, or do you have anything to add? In which scenarios do you think this method will be effective? What do you believe are success factors that contribute to the practical application of this theory?

(Video) Educ 114 - Behavioral Science Approach

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  1. Gravetter, F.J. en Forzano, L.B. (2014) Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences: A Research-Based Experiential Approach
  2. Hayes, S. C., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Biglan, A. (2016). The Wiley handbook of contextual behavioral science. R. D. Zettle (Ed.). Chichester: Wiley Blackwell
  3. Lomax, R. G. (2000). Statistical concepts: A second course for education and the behavioral sciences. Routledge.
  4. Stangor, C. (2014) Research Methods for the Behavioral Sciences: 4th Edition
  5. Tannenbaum, R., Weschler, I., & Massarik, F. (2013). Leadership and Organization (RLE: Organizations): A Behavioral Science Approach. Routledge.

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Published on: 06/03/2020 | Last update: 18/02/2022

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FAQs

What is the behavioral science approach to management? ›

What is Behavioral Science Theory of Management? Behavioral Science Theory combines elements of psychology, sociology, and anthropology to provide a scientific basis for understanding employee behavior. It examines why employees are motivated by specific factors, such as social needs, conflicts, and self-actualization.

Why is studying behavioral science approach in management important? ›

Study of human behaviour is most important for management success. Despite the development of many approaches for management studies, the behavioural science approach is very important. It focuses on a study of human behaviour; it determines the success/failure of management.

What are the 3 behavioral sciences? ›

Several disciplines fall under the broad label of behavioral science, including: Anthropology. Behavioral economics. Cognitive psychology.

What is the importance of behavioural science? ›

The goal of the behavioral and social sciences is to better understand human behaviors and apply this understanding to improving the quality of life for people. Because so many behaviors have an impact on health, social and behavioral sciences are an important component of studying individual and group health.

Who is the founder of behavioural science approach to management? ›

Behavioural Science Approach is an extension of the Human Relations Approach. Elton Mayo and his team used simple research methods. However, researchers, like Abraham Maslow, Douglas McGregor, etc., used more complex research methods. Thus are called "Behavioural scientists."

How does behavioral science improve the workplace? ›

Factors such as time pressure, value, risk or motivation form a critical part of many workplace behaviours, especially those that are hazardous or risky. Using behavioural science principles, it is possible to discover how humans make choices that lead to risky behaviours.

How does behavioural science help to improve the workplace? ›

Behavioural science builds an understanding of how people react psychologically and respond behaviourally to interventions, environments and stimuli. In a work context, an understanding of behavioural science can help develop HR management, reward systems, and effective organisation performance.

What are the advantages of behavioural approach? ›

An obvious advantage of behaviorism is its ability to define behavior clearly and to measure changes in behavior. According to the law of parsimony, the fewer assumptions a theory makes, the better and the more credible it is.

What are the 5 behavioral sciences? ›

These applied disciplines of behavioral science include: organizational behavior, operations research, consumer behavior, health, and media psychology.

What is the meaning of behavioural science? ›

behavioral science, any of various disciplines dealing with the subject of human actions, usually including the fields of sociology, social and cultural anthropology, psychology, and behavioral aspects of biology, economics, geography, law, psychiatry, and political science.

What is considered behavioral science? ›

What is behavioral science? Behavioral science, also known as behavioral economics and looks at the subject of human actions. It encapsulates multiple fields of study, including cognitive-neuroscience, psychology and economics as well as the behavioral aspects of biology, law, psychiatry and political science.

How do companies use behavioral science? ›

Increasingly, over the past two decades, companies have used the insights of behavioral science to reduce bias in boardrooms, improve strategic decision making, provide benefits for customers, enhance the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and avoid making bad bets on major acquisitions or investments.

What is applied behavioural science in organizational development? ›

Organization development is known as both a field of applied behavioral science focused on understanding and managing organizational change and as a field of scientific study and inquiry. It is interdisciplinary in nature and draws on sociology, psychology, and theories of motivation, learning, and personality.

What are the factors that influence behavior change? ›

What factors can affect behaviour?
  • physical factors - age, health, illness, pain, influence of a substance or medication.
  • personal and emotional factors - personality, beliefs, expectations, emotions, mental health.
  • life experiences - family, culture, friends, life events.
  • what the person needs and wants.

What are your expectations from the behavioural science course? ›

teach you to question what you hear, and assess it accordingly. help you apply what you've learnt effectively and with integrity. give you the knowledge and skills to be an excellent communicator.

What are the elements of behavioral approach? ›

This approach focuses on the nature of work, and the degree to which it will satisfy the human need to show skills and expertise. To get better employee performance, communication, motivation, participative management, leadership and group dynamics are integrated in this approach.

What is the focus of theories from the behavioral sciences? ›

More specifically, behavioral science theories identify several attributes of individuals and their surroundings that are causally related to behavior, and, thus, theories can guide practitioners' selection of psychological, behavioral, social and environmental targets for intervention.

How the social and behavioral sciences can contribute to improving well being? ›

Social and behavioral sciences help illuminate public health concerns, and therefore can play a critical role in achieving public health goals. By applying behavioral science to public health challenges, those in the field can more successfully reduce health inequities, prevent disease, and promote health.

How does personality affect the workplace? ›

Personality will affect whether people are hired, promoted, derailed, will help others, be seen as a leader, and so on.” Gaining an understanding of different personality traits can help workers grow and managers engage more effectively with their employees.

How is behavioural science important in communication field? ›

Behavioral science provides insights into the cognitive biases and nuances of human behavior, which can be leveraged for your communications strategy to learn more about the experiences and contexts that influence audience behavior.

Why do people behave differently in the workplace? ›

Some of the reasons why people behave diffrently in a working environment are: Difference in social status. People who have high social class in a certain working environment tend to behave differently from those of low social status. Upbringing.

What is behavioral science in Marketing? ›

About Behavioral Science

In market research, behavioral science is used to understand the why behind decisions people make.

What is the difference between psychology and behavioral science? ›

While behavior science is the study of the interactions between human beings, psychology more specifically looks at the science behind human behavior and mental processes. Behavioral science examples include the fields of psychology, anthropology, philosophy, religious studies, and more.

What are the limitations of Behavioural approach? ›

Criticisms/ Limitations of Behaviouralism

Behavioural approach is not a very set and definite approach. Difficulties in the study of Human behaviour. All aspects of human behaviour do not admit empirical methods. Politics can lose its autonomous status.

What is the behavioral approach to leadership? ›

The behavioral leadership theory focuses on how leaders behave, and assumes that these traits can be copied by other leaders. Sometimes called the style theory, it suggests that leaders aren't born successful, but can be created based on learnable behavior.

What is the main idea of the behavioral perspective? ›

According to the behavioral perspective, the way we behave and learn can be explained through our interactions with the environment. Our actions are always responses to stimuli, which either occur naturally or because of a learned response.

What is an example of behavioral approach? ›

A common example of behaviorism is positive reinforcement. A student gets a small treat if they get 100% on their spelling test. In the future, students work hard and study for their test in order to get the reward.

What is the meaning of behavioural science? ›

behavioral science, any of various disciplines dealing with the subject of human actions, usually including the fields of sociology, social and cultural anthropology, psychology, and behavioral aspects of biology, economics, geography, law, psychiatry, and political science.

What is an example of behavioral management? ›

Companies that offer daycare for children of employees engage in behavioral management. The idea is that if employees know their children are nearby and are well cared for, work can proceed with fewer distractions.

What is behavioural science in organizational development? ›

Behavioural science builds an understanding of how people react psychologically and respond behaviourally to interventions, environments and stimuli. In a work context, an understanding of behavioural science can help develop HR management, reward systems, and effective organisation performance.

What is the aim of behavioural approach? ›

The Behavioral Approach. Human behavior is learned, thus all behavior can be unlearned and newbehaviors learned in its place. Behaviorism is concerned primarily with theobservable and measurable aspects of human behavior. Therefore when behaviorsbecome unacceptable, they can be unlearned.

How is the behavioral approach used today? ›

Behaviorist principles are sometimes used today to treat mental health challenges, such as phobias or PTSD; exposure therapy, for example, aims to weaken conditioned responses to certain feared stimuli. Applied behavior analysis (ABA), a therapy used to treat autism, is based on behaviorist principles.

What are the types of behavioral approach? ›

  • Classical Conditioning.
  • Operant Conditioning.
  • Stimulus Generalization.
  • Extinction.
  • Behavior Modification.
  • Contingency Theory.
  • Responsiveness.
  • Cognitive Learning (S‐S Learning)

What are the 5 behavioral sciences? ›

These applied disciplines of behavioral science include: organizational behavior, operations research, consumer behavior, health, and media psychology.

Which of these are behavioral sciences? ›

Behavioral Sciences is an interdisciplinary program encompassing the disciplines of anthropology, psychology, and sociology.

Which research is used in behavioural science? ›

Typical research methods include one-on-one cognitive testing, focus groups, debriefings, expert review, behavior coding and split ballot field experiments.

What is behavioral management and its importance? ›

Behaviour management is vitally important within the classroom. It is not just about punishing unwanted behaviour or even rewarding desired behaviour. Rather it is about having strategies in place to support children to behave in ways that help them gain the most from their schooling.

What are the elements of behavioral approach? ›

This approach focuses on the nature of work, and the degree to which it will satisfy the human need to show skills and expertise. To get better employee performance, communication, motivation, participative management, leadership and group dynamics are integrated in this approach.

What are the advantages of behavioural approach? ›

An obvious advantage of behaviorism is its ability to define behavior clearly and to measure changes in behavior. According to the law of parsimony, the fewer assumptions a theory makes, the better and the more credible it is.

How does behavioral science improve the workplace? ›

Factors such as time pressure, value, risk or motivation form a critical part of many workplace behaviours, especially those that are hazardous or risky. Using behavioural science principles, it is possible to discover how humans make choices that lead to risky behaviours.

How do companies use behavioral science? ›

Increasingly, over the past two decades, companies have used the insights of behavioral science to reduce bias in boardrooms, improve strategic decision making, provide benefits for customers, enhance the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and avoid making bad bets on major acquisitions or investments.

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