Behavioural Theory: Contribution of Elton Mayo

Behavioural Theory was formed on the basis of classical theory. The behavioural theory assumes that social and psychological features of an employee on individual basis and as a part of a work group needs to be given prime importance.

Points highlighting the features of behavioural theory are as follows:

  1. As management is all about getting things done by people; managers in an organization should try and comprehend the importance of human behaviour in order to achieve efficient and desired results.
  2. In this approach, prominence is given to increase productivity through developing human relations and motivating the employees.
  3. The core concepts of behavioural approach are leadership, motivation, participative management, communication and group dynamics.

Behavioural Theory

Main contributors to the behavioural science approach are Elton Mayo (Hawthrone study), Douglas McGregor (theory X and theory Y), Maslow (Need hierarchy), Herzberg (Motivation-hygiene theory and job enrichment), Black and Mounton (Managerial grid), Bennis (Organizational development), Likert (management systems and linking pin model), Fiedler (contingency model of ledership styles), Argyris (Immaturity-maturity theory, integration of individual and organizational goals and pattern of A B analysis), Sayles (interpersonal behaviour) and Tannenbaum and others(continuum approach of leadership).

Human relations approach can be further extended to the “behavioural science approach” or “human resource approach”. Various researches have used several research methods for understanding the human behaviour, some being simple while others being complex in nature. Elton Mayo conducted research by using simple methods. However, Abraham Maslow, Douglas Mcgregor and other researchers used research techniques that were complex in nature. All these researches were called as “behavioral Scientists”. This theory signifies the different attitudes, behaviour and functions of individuals and groups in various organizations.

Contribution of Elton Mayo: Hawthorne Experiments

Based on his well-known Hawthorne experiments, Mayo’s management theories grew from his observations of employee productivity levels under varying environmental conditions. His experiments drew a number of conclusions about the real source of employee motivation, laying the groundwork for later approaches to team building and group dynamics. Mayo management theory states that employees are motivated far more by relational factors such as attention and camaraderie than by monetary rewards or environmental factors such as lighting, humidity, etc.

Elton Mayo developed a matrix which he used to illustrate the likelihood that a given team would be successful. His matrix demonstrates the role that varying combinations of group norms and group cohesiveness play in team effectiveness.