Importance of Understanding Human Behavior in the Workplace

Are we naturally motivated when we do our job, or are we just pursuing responsibilities that are imposed to us in the workplace? These are the questions that we have to consider to fully understand our capacity in the work environment, and ultimately, our behavior that shapes our very approach in our dealings in the workplace. Moreover, these are the thoughts that we would have to be thinking in times that we feel productivity at work is in question. However, in recent times, scholars, specifically theorists, argue that psychology is presently functioning within organizations themselves. Predominantly, the managers of the organization work around the style that theoretically defines human behavior in the workplace to fully understand the thought processes of their employees, thus ensuring the success of the organization.

It is vastly important to understand the trends in human behavior in the workplace. This is considered to be true for many organizations not just to justify economic pursuits but to develop a culture in the organization that continuously seeks growth. This understanding consequently leads to several layers of advantages for the organization. Theoretically, understanding human behavior highlights the culture of motivation of the organization as the underpinning in which organizations need to adjust to. Also, understanding human behavior increases level of productivity and develops employees’ skills and talents All these are perceived to be very important factors of success for an organization.

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According to Douglas McGregor, there is a two-fold theoretical framework that confers human behavior in the light of motivation. This theory argues that there are two absolute facets that could ultimately describe human behavior, which therefore aids the professional approaches to the workforce, and which consequently brings about necessary outputs in the company.

Theory X, as coined by McGregor, defines human behavior in the workplace to be in a total aversion of the responsibilities entailed by the job. In this theory, imposition of responsibility is highly discouraged and the concept of punishment is very much dominant. Another theory, however, is the Theory Y in which it is described as the total opposite of the former. People, in theory Y, are deemed highly responsible and motivated in any circumstances. This theory might seem to be very ideal; however, this behavior accordingly implies that satisfaction in the work exerted by employees limit the expansion of their aptitude which brings about the undesirable concept of stagnancy within the workplace.  With both these theories taken into consideration, this kind of approach to understanding human behavior, considering motivation as the primary measuring tool for success, is highly important in the workplace as the motivation is perceived to be the very foundation of success. Therefore, in this line of thinking, we should consider motivation as the primary instigator of all things wanted within every organization; these are productivity and development.

An instance of the effect of the organization’s belief system towards motivation is evident in companies where there is an elaborate system of reward. Organizations with such system clearly depict human behavior to be in a state of aversion towards ones responsibilities. This system of reward makes up for the dislike and is intended to promote development within the company. There are, however, some societal sectors that foster the pursuit of ones passion to bring about the needed productivity. This, however, is deemed to be promoting stagnancy and thus does not elevate standards. One example of this is manifested in jobs that include a great deal of artistry. In this line of work, passion fuels the motivation needed to push oneself to high levels of productivity. However, there may seem to be hindrances to the advancement as ones craft in artistry may be very stagnant due to the contentment that is caused by continuous motivation. This is why it is deemed necessary for artists to have a stable support system that would advise them directions which they need to go through to achieve the success needed. This kind of assessment illustrates the significance of being fully aware of the human behavior in the workplace.

Aside from motivation as the defining core principle of human behavior, several other premises are integrated to justify that awareness of ones behavior in the workplace is indeed very important. One of the premises is that understanding behavior brings about an increase to the level of productivity. A personal experience on this is when in times of work, I assess myself on my behavior towards timing. I always believe that in doing work, time is very essential in increasing productivity. This means that time spent on a certain task should be spent with high level of alertness and inspiration. For example, when doing something that requires creativity, I always see to it that I have the right timing, otherwise, the time spent in doing the said responsibility will only lead to mediocrity, or  even worse, substandard output.

Another premise is that understanding human behavior provides venues to develop the skills and talents of the workforce. A personal experience that would relate to this belief is when I am doing tasks which are out of my expertise. My behavior suddenly alters on cases when tasks are out of the league. In understanding my full capacity, I take an assessment of myself and know the limitations I have. Thereafter I see to it that I do the task well by learning methods that are foreign to my expertise and that are needed to be learned so that I can deliver. This consequently provides me with new skills that develop my aptitude.

In conclusion, there is an immense calling for an organization to understand human behavior in the workplace because it is the top-most capital of familiarizing itself with the necessary changes in the organization; elevating levels of productivity and promoting development of skills. Moreover, this is specifically intended in bringing about the adjustments needed which is diversified with the levels of motivational culture of the organization.


  • Hollway, W. (1991). Work Psychology and Organizational Behaviour: Managing the Individual at Work. SAGE.
  • McGregor, D. (). Human Relations Contributors: Theory X, Theory Y. Retrieved December 21, 2008, from

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Importance of Understanding Human Behavior in the Workplace. (2016, Oct 17). Retrieved from