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Why Should Managers Study Human Behavior?

What Is Behavioral Management Theory?

Understanding what drives your employees can give your company a competitive edge

While it may seem obvious in this day and age that a company’s treatment and understanding of its employees is instrumental to its success, it was not until the late 19th century and beginning of the 20th century that behavioral theorists really began to focus on how an employee’s behavior and motivation play a vital part in increasing an organization’s productivity.

Known as behavioral management theory, this field of research looks at how the attitudes and actions of a company’s workforce can directly influence its prosperity. Today, there are few who would dispute that a firm’s ability to thrive is inextricably linked to its employees’ levels of commitment, unity and satisfaction. This human-behavior-centered approach to corporate success takes the focus away from the methods of production and instead analyzes employees as integral elements who can significantly increase the profitability of a business’s services or end products.

The Importance of Studying Human Behavior

As behavioral management theory grew in popularity, it became apparent that it was critical for skilled managers to understand their labor force if their organizations were to flourish. Managers needed to understand how their employees’ satisfaction levels and senses of loyalty could affect their work ethics — and therefore overall productivity. No longer was it enough to see employees as small parts of a complex production process. Employees became a valuable resource that could work with managers and senior executives to promote an organization’s development.

If you are thinking of taking Master of Business Administration (MBA) courses or enrolling in an online MBA program with an eye to a leadership role, it is likely that your success will depend on an in-depth understanding of what drives the people who work in your company. If you can understand what motivates an employee, you can use this knowledge to direct individual or group behaviors and attitudes to the benefit of your business.

A nuanced understanding of how human behavior functions within an organization is central to establishing a business’s goals and nurturing a workforce that can work effectively as a team to reach them.

MBA Programs and Human Behavior

Many MBA courses and online MBA programs are now offering courses in human behavior. Understanding what drives your employees can give your company a competitive edge because a satisfied employee is a more productive employee. When an organization understands its staff, it can set better goals and get its workforce to function at peak efficiency.

Good managers can directly influence an employee’s satisfaction and motivation. An MBA course in human behavior offers students a variety of perspectives on how the actions and attitudes of staff members, both as a group and as individuals, can influence an organization’s productivity and profitability. A sophisticated understanding of human behavior helps managers effectively harness employee motivation.

Some online MBA programs, including the one at Southeastern Oklahoma State University (SOSU), offer courses in human behavior. The program at SOSU gives students the opportunity to develop in-depth understanding of how to direct human behavior and motivate workers to improve a company’s bottom line.

Learn more about the SOSU online MBA in Management program.


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