Successfully managing other people – be they competitors or co-workers – requires an understanding of their thoughts, feelings, attitudes, motivations, and determinants of behavior. Developing an accurate understanding of these factors, however, can be difficult to achieve because intuitions are often misguided and unstructured experience can be a poor teacher. This course is intended to address this development by providing the scientific knowledge of human thought and behavior that is critical for successfully managing others, and also for successfully managing ourselves.
Using a combination of lectures, discussions, and group activities, the course offers an introduction to theory and research in the behavioral sciences. Its primary goal is to develop conceptual frameworks that help students to understand and manage effectively their own complicated work settings.
The course is organized into two main sections: (1) the individual, and (2) the organization. The first half of the course is concerned with issues related to individual behavior, such as how people form impressions of others and attribute causes of behavior, how prior beliefs including stereotypes shape perceptions, what motivates individuals, and what factors foster and inhibit creativity and problem-solving. The second half of the course turns to people’s behavior in the context of a larger enterprise. It addresses how organizations can successfully coordinate the actions of their members. Topics in this section include effective group decision-making, persuading others, and building an effective organizational culture.