7 junio, 2024

Behavior theory: what it is, origins, characteristics, advantages

What is Behavior Theory?

The behavior theory, also known as Behavioral Theory of Administration, is one that refers to all those behaviors of people within an organization. In other words, its focus is focused on the habits of each individual within a company.

Said theory arises in opposition to the classic theories of administration, which did not have the person as their main axis, but other organizational elements. This is due to the fact that behavioral theory aims to emphasize the individual behaviors of workers.

Thanks to the emergence of this theory, organizations were able to take a different course than other previous philosophies. This allowed companies to have a different perspective on how to do and plan their internal activities and, above all, strengthen human relations within the company.

The Behaviorist Theory of Administration has long been a model to be followed by organizations of all kinds around the world, since its approach and concepts can be applied to any economic and administrative sector.

Origins of Behavior Theory

Behavior Theory has its beginnings at the end of the 40s in the United States, when a new administrative model focused on strengthening human relations and as a central element within organizations was implemented.

Thus, classical theories that focused on other types of components that did not have the human aspect as the main factor were left aside.

At the time, human relations, such as communication or interaction between employees, customers and bosses, were not prioritized, but rather they gave importance to the structure of the company and the execution of tasks and functions.

The emergence of a theory like this, which focused on people and what revolves around them, was initially strongly rejected due to the formulas with which companies were previously managed. Over time, the Theory of Behavior forced companies to change their way of thinking and performing their functions.

Main authors of the Behavior Theory

Within the creation of this new organizational model, different authors were present who directly influenced its creation, based on behavior. The most significant authors are:

Herbert Alexander (1916-2001)

He was one of the greatest exponents in terms of the formulation of the Theory of behavior, since within his studies he placed special emphasis on the fact that people were the ones who should make efficient decisions for the benefit of organizations.

Chester Barnard (1886-1961)

As an entrepreneur and a student of organization and management theories, Chester Barnard focused on the ability of people to join forces to achieve a common goal. By taking this to the business field, he was able to propose models based on cooperation between individuals to achieve a specific objective.

Douglas McGregor (1906-1964)

This American economist was characterized by studying motivation in people and what stimulated them to carry out their work activities. He developed Theory X and Y, which focuses on these motivational practices.

Rensis Likert (1903-1981)

He was an American organizational psychologist who created what was called the Likert scale, which had as its objective to know different human behaviors based on the answers given by people to certain questions. This was also used to determine psychological components in people.

Characteristics and principles of Behavior Theory

It focuses on human relationships and behaviors within an organization, thus strengthening cooperation between people for the benefit of companies. Increases productivity within companies by encouraging coordinated and joint tasks, taking into account individual behaviors. In this way, the different functions can be carried out more efficiently. Emphasizes motivation as a stimulus for people to carry out their tasks, proposing rewards for meeting goals and objectives. This also increases productivity. Additionally, the decision-making of each person is encouraged in order to collectively benefit the organization. That is, by highlighting individual behavior, emphasis is placed on the decision-making process. This theory has as its fundamental principle that people carry out their tasks and functions to the best of their ability. This is due to the fact that individuals are given greater importance and their motivation is sought.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Behavior Theory

The model proposed by the Theory of Behavior has brought great benefits to companies since its formulation, but there are also some disadvantages, as will be seen below:


By seeking to improve company productivity and job performance, individuals are rewarded to keep them motivated. There is much greater communication and interaction between people, which produces great satisfaction among employees. There is greater collaboration and coordination of tasks in order to carry out organizational activities effectively and efficiently. There are individualities so you cannot treat all people in the same way, thus allowing some to stand out more than others. Achievements are rewarded and shortcomings are punished, in order to achieve greater motivation and therefore improve productivity. It makes workers feel more and more useful and necessary, since it makes them the main axis of organizational production.


Some studies have shown that this model can cause anxiety in workers and some health problems. This is important, since the model must guarantee the emotional stability of people. Many times it can generate rejection by workers to face new challenges and tasks. There may also be low self-esteem of some workers when they see that others stand out more in certain tasks or functions. Many times the interaction between people within the organization can trigger conflicts or problems that must be resolved by senior managers, in order not to affect the company’s objectives.


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