Follet's work was the link between classical theory that focused on organization to behavioral theory that studied the human being with a focus on his values and rationality in working of an organization. Human relations approach which came next focused on relationship between people working in an organization.

Features of Behavioral Approach:
  1. Descriptive, analytical not prescriptive. It believed behavior of individuals of an organization can be studies to develop generalized statements.
  2. Focus on informal relations, communication patterns in organization.
  3. Focus on motivation, leadership, decision making, power, authority.
  4. Inter-disciplinary.

Main characteristics:
  1. Pays attention to individual, his relationship to administration.
  2. Focus on both formal, informal organizations.
  3. Focus on means of communication as administration is considered as aggregate of human relations.
  4. Focus on theory of legitimacy i.e. why people feel they must obey orders.

Significance of behavioral style:
  1. Hypothesis were tested in cross cultural, cross national context to check validity. Thus boosting comparative public administration.
  2. Highlighted inadequacies of classical theories.
  3. Scientific methodology was boosted.
  4. Proved administration can be influenced by human sentiment, perception, environment.
  5. Shifted focus from structures to people. Focus on communication and informal organizations too.

C.I.Bernard carried out experimental study to find out about human behavior. He proposed the idea of a formal and informal organization. Formal organization is created when 2/more people are willing to cooperate, communicate with each other for winning a goal.

Thus an organization has rules designed to anticipate and shape behavior in direction of goals and has formal status, structure with clearly marked lines of communication.

Thus elements of an organization are:
  1. Communication
  2. Willingness to cooperate
  3. Common goal.

Those who have positive willingness are more than negative willingness then only an organization remains. The commitment of individual fluctuates causing unstable conditions in organization.

Informal organization is a natural system. Its the aggregate of personal contacts and interactions and associate groupings of the people. Informal leads to formal. both coexist together. Formal are vitalized by informal who have functions like:

  1. Communication of intangible facts, opinions, suspicions
  2. Maintaining willingness to serve , self discipline group, minimize excessive clicks of political influence.
  3. Maintenance of feeling of personal integrity, respect, choice. It preserves personality of individuals against certain effects of formal organization which tend to disintegrate personality.

Theory of Contribution - Satisfaction

Employee provides service to the organization and organization provides incentives to the employee. The organization survives as long as it has the capacity to provide effective inducements. Thus he rejected economic incentives only. Proportion of incentives depends on situation, times and individuals.

Specific incentives General incentives
material compatibility with associates
non material viz distinction adaptation of working condition
good work environment enlarged participation in course of events
pride of workmanship condition for communicating with others
ideal benefactions - sense of adequacy, patriotism, aesthetic / religious feelings.

Theory of Acceptance of Authority

Authority is the character of communication in a formal organization by virtue of which a member of organization determines what he does or doesn't do as far as the organization is concerned. Employee accepts orders if they are in his zone of indifference. This zone has three levels: Unacceptable, neutral, acceptable. The size of this zone depends on the contribution - satisfaction equilibrium. He will accept order if:

  1. He understands it
  2. Communication isn't consistent with organization purpose
  3. Communication is compatible with his personal interest as a whole
  4. He is mentally able to comply with it.

Since communication plays an important role in maintaining authority in an organization, he gave certain principles of communication.

  1. infinite channels for communication.
  2. direct and short lines of communication
  3. everyone should have formal channel of communication
  4. communication centers should have competent people.
  5. authenticate all communication
  6. line of communication must not be interrupted
  7. Formal lines of communication must usually be used.

Functions of the Executive

  1. Establish , maintain systems of communication in organization. Define organizational position and maintain personnel system.
  2. Securing essential efforts and services from subordinates by motivating them to exert themselves for organization.
  3. Policy formulation.


  1. Theory doesn't state how it can be extended to different types of organizations.
  2. Doesn't deal with organizations of top management.
  3. Doesn't deal with process of formulating goals or choice of purpose in changing world.
  4. Definition of authority is only valid in capitalist society not feudal or under-developed societies. Also didn't deal with influence of socialization, family structure or education process on authority.
  5. Doesn't deal with how individuals get committed to an organization, how such commitment is strengthened or creative development of an individual.

Chris Argyris' Immaturity - Maturity Theory

It is called Personality model i.e. 7 steps to convert people from immature to mature. Organizations have to provide environment for this to happen. An employee initially is an immature one like a child who needs to be guided , but an organization to be effective must turn him from matured employee who is active, independent, self controlled.

  1. Infant passivity to adult activity
  2. Dependence towards relative independence
  3. Limited behavior towards many differentiated behavior.
  4. Erratic, shallow interest to deep interests.
  5. Short term to long term perspective.
  6. Subordinate social position to superordinate.
  7. lack of self awareness to self awareness.

Conflict between needs of mature person and classical organization

Formal organizations turn employees into passive, dependent and short term oriented. This is because formal structures have specialized units with supervisors. This leads to employees in them having limited goals, interests.An individual can put his full potential to work only when he is assured of satisfaction once challenge is met. So management must aim to develop his potential fully and encourage open interpersonal communication. Management should encourage sharing feelings as this shall reduce tensions, conflicts.

Fusion process theory is needed i.e. individuals and organizations both seek each other to achieve their goals, this is simultaneous process.

Solutions to Remove conflicts:

  1. Matrix structure to organization rather than formal one. In such structure superior subordinate relationship is ignored and self disciplined individuals are seen.
  2. Participative and realistic leadership.
  3. Double loop style i.e. learn from others and influence them too.
  4. Teams created around experience not power.

McGregor Theory X and Y

Assumption management holds about controlling its human resources determines the whole character of the enterprise. Management holds two different assumptions which are opposite.

Theory X --> Classical approach, work centered

Theory Y --> Behavioral approach i.e. people centered.

Theory X Theory Y
Humans dislike work, people have to be coerced, controlled, directed, threatened to put efforts. Average human doesn't dislike work but depending on conditions work may be satisfactory or punishment
Average human prefers to be directed , has no ambition, avoids responsibility, wants security. if he is committed to goals man shall exercise self control, self direction
Central principle is control, direction, authority satisfaction of ego, self actualization is the main motivation for work
manager job becomes tough as he has to spend more time on supervision giving him less time for planning, policy making. human learn to accept responsibility
If management is hard then it leads to unionism, sabotage, antagonism. But if management is soft it abdicates itself to purchase harmony. create conditions that enable workers to achieve their goals by directing efforts towards success in enterprise.

Managerial Functions:

  1. Subordinates can't participate in goal setting in X but can in Y.
  2. Downward communication in X and bidirectional in Y.
  3. Leadership is autocratic in X and participative in Y.
  4. Supervision in X is close and general in Y.
  5. Control is external in X and internal in Y.
  6. Appraisal is fault finding in X and problem solving in Y.

Rensis Likert's Theory on Managerial Styles

Application of managerial strategy for effective use of human resources in an organization. This was mainly concerned with managerial efficiency for achieving organizations goals.

Types of Managerial styles:

  1. Exploitative Authoritative: Rigid hierarchy and dominant supervisors.
  2. Benevolent Authoritative: Superiors take decisions but allow subordinates to give inputs. Harsh penalty if failure.
  3. Consultative: Superiors take subordinates inputs before decisions. Communication bidirectional but rewards , motivations present.
  4. Participative Group: Subordinates take guidance of superiors and take decisions at work. Communication is bidirectional. This approach was most successful due to participation of subordinates in management of affairs.

Critics of behavioral approach:

  1. No adequate conceptual framework to explain organization phenomenon.
  2. Delinked organization from ecology and environment.
  3. Organization was delinked from political environment.
  4. Value free and neutral.
  5. General definition of organization not enough to make working better or help in improving decision making.
  6. Idealistic view of human behavior is used by rationality and authority.