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Why Should Managers Study Behavioral Management Theory?

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 success. 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. Instead, it analyzes employees as integral elements who can significantly increase the profitability of a business’s services or end products. This focus on the connections between human behavior, motivation and productivity underly the emphasis modern business leaders place on improving company culture and the employee experience.

The Importance of Studying Human Behavior

As behavioral management theory grew in popularity, it became apparent that it is critical for skilled managers to understand their labor force if their organizations were to flourish. Managers need 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.

The importance of employee-centric approaches to management was further reinforced as circumstances surrounding the pandemic accelerated a dramatic shift toward remote and hybrid work models. Managing employees in remote environments — and times of crisis — poses numerous challenges for all involved, necessitating excellent communication, empathy and a commitment to employee safety and well-being.

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 and your employees.

A nuanced understanding of how human behavior functions within an organization is also central to establishing a business’s goals and nurturing a workforce that can work effectively as a team to reach them. This helps create the cohesion and shared values that form the culture of an organization.

The significance of company culture was highlighted by the widespread shift in employee priorities during the pandemic, resulting in an unprecedented number of workers quitting and changing jobs. It became apparent that many workers value a company’s culture, treatment of the workforce and work-life balance over strictly financial, productivity-based incentives. Thus, improving company culture, the employee experience and employee engagement as a whole has become central to everything from talent acquisition and retention to productivity and innovation.

MBA Programs and Human Behavior

Many quality MBA programs like the online MBA with a Concentration in Management from Southeastern Oklahoma State University are now offering courses in human behavior. Studying and 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 and improve engagement. Southeastern’s online MBA gives students the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of how to direct human behavior and motivate workers to improve a company’s bottom line.

Learn more about Southeastern’s online MBA with a Concentration in Management program.

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