Behavioral (behavioral) approach - Management Sociology

Behavioral (behavioral) approach

In behaviourism, attention was focused on what what leaders are doing, not on what what they are . An important difference from the concept of innate qualities was that this theory implied the possibility of training managers on specially designed programs.

The first work in the behaviorist approach is considered to be the study of K. Levine (1890-1947), R. Lippita (1914-1986) and R. White, conducted by them in 1939. In this paper, an experiment was described, the essence of which was in determining which of the styles of leadership - authoritarian, democratic or liberal/conniving - is most effective. Summarizing the data obtained during the experiment, the researchers described three types of leadership styles: authoritarian, democratic and liberal (Table 11.1).

Table 11.1

Style and characteristics of the management (manual)

Style metrics

Methods of guidance




Decision-making method

Determined by the leader himself

Discussion by the group, in which the supervisor performs the function of regulator and proofreader


Activity of subordinates

Hard and completely subordinate to the leader

The subordinates have a sufficient degree of freedom during the discussion period; the supervisor has two or more alternative execution procedures for the solution

Gender and variability in procedural terms, lack of control over execution of decisions

Form of execution of the decision, regulation of activities

Hard dictate regarding the form of execution of decisions and control up to an individual

Members of the group as a whole are free to choose the form of execution of decisions; democracy within the group as a way of self-organization

Complete lack of executive direction

Criticism and sanctions against the activities of each member of the group

The leader has the possibility of tough criticism and sanctions against subordinates; no feedback; the attitude towards a member of a group depends not on the result of the work, but on the leader

Objective attitude to the activities of each member of the group depending on the specific outcome of the work

Full spontaneity in the leader's reactions to the activities of the slaves, unpredictable possibility of implementing undetermined sanctions


Attention to accuracy and order, predictability of result

Enhancing personal commitment to work through participation in governance

Allows you to start doing as you see it, without the intervention of the manager


Individual initiative is contained

It takes a lot of time to make decisions

The group may lose meaning and direction of movement

Answering the question, which of the styles of leadership is most effective, K. Levin, R. Lippit and R. White could not find an unambiguous answer. On the one hand, under an authoritarian leader, subordinates did more work than with a democratic one. On the other hand, the employees were practically not motivated, showed less originality, friendliness, group thinking as such was absent, there was greater aggressiveness both to the leader and to other members of the group. With liberal leadership, compared with the democratic, the volume of work performed decreased, the quality of work decreased.

D. Katz, N. McCoby, N. Morse and R. Likert using a bipolar approach, based not on authoritarian and democratic leadership styles, but based on two components: focus on the work process and personal relationships in the team. The first study "Productivity, control and morality in the working environment" was conducted in 1950, to determine that more - concern for the work process or for subordinates - leads to increased productivity and, accordingly, what style of leadership is most effective. The results obtained by the researchers made it possible to conclude that managers focused on employees spent more time in actually supervising actions and less time, formulating subordinates tasks, spent on general supervision of employees, were more interested in their needs and needs, almost not punished when errors were allowed.

On the contrary, managers focused on the production process spent less time on actual control, paying attention to planning tasks, distributing them and checking the progress of their implementation by employees. Such a leader could apply penalties, punish for mistakes made and consider his team as a "production tool". While continuing to develop the theory of his colleagues, R. Laikert, in considering various types of organizations and management styles, concluded that in order to achieve maximum profitability, good labor relations and high productivity, each organization should make optimal use of human assets (reserves and resources ). In the work "Organization of people: its management and value" based on a dichotomy - orientation to production or orientation to subordinates, which served as an impetus for the identification of four basic styles of leadership: in authoritarian - excilutational-authoritarian and benevolent-authoritarian, in consultative-participating - consultative and participating.

Analyzing the work of researchers behavioral approach, you can see that, despite their statements about the discovery of new knowledge that will help determine the effective styles of leadership, in fact, all attempts made were identical. Describing the characteristics inherent in each of the leadership styles, the behaviourists used the same indicators as the basis: the method of decision making, the activity of the slaves, or the level of trust on the part of the leader, control over employees, imposing sanctions, motivation (incentive), hierarchy and communication. Moreover, every scientist recognized that in the pure form none of the management styles exist.

Taking into account the relevant conclusions, representatives of the three-dimensional quadrant model R. Blake and D. Muton, as well as E. Fleishman and E. Harris criticized the management style as bipolar model. In their opinion, two variables - authoritarianism and democratism - are not enough to describe the complex of leaders' behavior and the use of leadership styles. There must be something else - what is inside the continuum and can fully reflect all possible styles of leadership. According to R. Blake, such a two-dimensional model is nothing more than paternalism. The head structures the work of subordinates. He says what to do, and the employees obey. If employees obey, everyone does it right, they are awarded, give out bonuses, praise. If employees do not obey, they face punishment, as the head does not tolerate when he is challenged. In support of their position, R. Blake and D. Mouton argue that nothing can be more important than the fulfillment of the mission and attention to the well-being of people. It was this postulate that formed the basis for the 40-year model developed, called the Blake-Muton Management Grid. The model created by these scientists consisted of two dimensions: taking care of the production process and caring for people.

Concern for Production is the extent to which the leader emphasizes specific goals, organizational effectiveness and high productivity, deciding how best to accomplish the task. Caring for people is the extent to which a leader considers the needs of his subordinates, their interests and areas of personal development, deciding how best to accomplish the task.

The management grid is a square in which the values ​​"concern for people" are plotted on the vertical axis. on a scale of 1 to 9, and on the horizontal axis - the values ​​of "concern for production", also on a scale of 1 to 9. The scale represents the answers to 18 questions, nine of which are referred to as the "production" block. and nine to the "people" block. Each answer assumes gradation of answers from 0 to 5 (never, sometimes, always). The points scored by the manager are postponed on the axes and, thus, the leadership style is determined.

Based on this, the authors identified five possible leadership styles: low scores on both axes (primitive leadership or fear of poverty), high scores on both axes (team), low on one axis and high on the other (authoritarian leadership , or the attraction to hard-arm policy, and social leadership, or a holiday home) and average indicators for both axes (production command or medium-level management). Having described five possible styles of leadership, R. Blake and D. Mouton warned against singling out the most effective of them, saying that this or that can be applied in different situations and activities.

E. Fleishman and E. Harris in 1950 also attempted to analyze the most effective style of leadership and came to the conclusion that it is most correct to consider the conduct of the leader not in the linear plane, but in a three-dimensional space, since the head does not necessarily choose for himself only tough or only democratic methods. In accordance with this assumption, they attempted to identify their indicators, which would allow the most clear description of leadership styles. In order to determine the most accurate indicators, the researchers developed an informal guide (guide) for supervising the leaders. For several years, until 1954, scientists analyzed the behavior of 2000 people, which, according to researchers, in total, 150 different behaviors were used. The results obtained formed the basis for the development of the "Questionnaire on the description of the behavior of managers."

Analysis of the results allowed to divide the behavior of managers into two categories, later called care and initiating structure (or introduction of structure). E. Fleishman argued that these parameters should be considered as independent, and not as opposite points of some continuum.

Careful reflects the extent to which the leader acts in a friendly and supportive manner with his subordinates, maintains good interpersonal relationships within the team. Such relations are characterized by mutual trust, respect for subordinates, attention to their feelings, needs and needs.

The initiating structure reflects the extent to which the manager tries to organize a workflow: distributes work assignments, sets goals, specifies terms of implementation, indicates possible communication channels. In the course of execution, the head tries to maintain certain standards of work and monitors compliance with rules and regulations.

Apparently, "attentiveness in general, is similar to the employee orientation (R. Blake and D. Muton), whereas the "initiating structure" - with the production process orientation & quot ;.

The described types of leader's behavior and the numerous questionnaires that were conducted allowed the group of scientists under the leadership of E. Fleischman to draw conclusions that high assessments in terms of attentiveness to subordinates do not lead to an increase in the level of job satisfaction, or to an increase in productivity. On the contrary, managers and employees who focused exclusively on creating a good atmosphere and climate in the team wrote complaints more often than others and were dismissed, whereas the corresponding indicators for the structure-oriented leader were significantly higher: higher productivity, staff. However, these LBDQ descriptions in the United States of conduct descriptions of leaders have not been confirmed in other countries. The provision that the style of the quadrant is most effective has not been reflected in later studies.

Each of the leadership styles could be successful in different situations.

The United States scientist E. Starobinsky also attempted to systematize the data on leadership styles in our country and came to the conclusion that the most acceptable classification of management styles is their division into authoritarian, democratic and liberal.

Behavioral approach, within the framework of which the style of leadership was understood as individual-typical features of a stable system of the leader's impact on the collective [Zhuravlev PV et al., 20001, had wide popularity in the middle of the 20th century. A huge contribution to scientific research in the field of leadership style in the behaviorist approach can be considered numerous quantitative studies, where the conclusions in most cases, in contrast to the theory of personal qualities, were based on individual cases.

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