There are a number of theories which have attempted to explain human behavior and its impact on social as well as work life. These theories have tried to explain how human behavior shapes a person’s personality. One of the important theories is the Behavioral Theory or Behaviorism. This theory depends on the premise that all kinds of human behaviors are basically acquired via conditioning. The behavioral theories originated in the first part of the 20th century and were promoted by eminent psychologists like John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner. These behavioral techniques are in use even today to facilitate the learning process of individuals and learn new behavior in various circumstances. (“Major Theories of Human Behavior”, n. d.) This theory, put forward by Watson, was a departure from other prevailing theories of the time and advocated the exclusion of introspection and consciousness and laid more stress on determinism than on freewill. Watson’s theory also came to known as “stimulation-response theory”.
Benjamin Skinner was Watson’s protégé who advanced his theories with the help of further research. According to behaviorists, the results of past experiences conditions human behavior and ultimately shape his future behavior. These past experiences may be categorized into “unconditioned stimuli” and “conditioned stimuli”. Ivan Pavlov’s famous experiments using a dog justified this theory. The behavioral theories, including the stimulus/response theory in particular, have significant relevance in many organizations today. Many human resource activities use this technique to modify employee behavior. For instance, one particular company trains drivers to be vigilant while backing by using verbal caution by a trainer as well as a warning buzzer. After several verbal warnings during each backing activity, the trainee driver becomes so conditioned to be alert that he responds to the buzzer even when the trainer... [continues]
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