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“Why People Behave the Way they do” Review the Article and write a 1000 Word Essay on your understanding of the article. Please include how you will use this information to help you in the future. APA bibliography is required. At least 2 source citations are needed.


Why People Behave the Way They Do

Understanding how people behave can sometimes be difficult. One way in which to demystify the concept of human behavior is to evaluate views expressed in various publications. This essay sets out to review one of these publications, an article titled “A Leader’s Guide to Why People Behave the Way They Do”. This article puts forward behavioral theories, models, and concepts explaining the way people behave under various circumstances. It provides insights into the relationship between leadership failure in organizations and individual behavior. It also evaluates the defense mechanismsthat people employ in their day-to-day interactions with the aim of influencing others.

To begin with, the article attempts to describe the origin of behavioral patterns among human beings. According to the author, human behavior manifests itself even before birth. Clawson (2008) provides an example of the fetus to illustrate this argument. He points out that during the first nine months of existence, the human is an integral component of another individual. However, immediately after birth, feelings start to develop, such that the baby gradually gains awareness of attributes such as affection, care, concern, and dependability. Babies expect those who are around them to take care of all their emotional and physiological needs. When these attributes are perceived either negatively or positively by the child, certain effects emerge that cause the child to question the comfort and safety of the world he/she has been brought into. Following the development of negative perceptions, certain “holes” begin to form in the child’s personality. With time, they cause him/her to question his/her role and place in society. This problem occurs mainly because of the absence of motherly love. According to Klein(1964), a psychological effect arises whenever negative responses outmatch positive ones. This view supports Clawson’s (2008) idea of “holes” in a child’s personality.

Additionally, the author argues that the resulting “holes” tend to have a major role in shaping an individual’s life. For example, they determine the activities that an individual will be indulging in during adulthood.Although most people strive to fill in these holes in their lives, their efforts end up being fruitless. Instead of facilitating the achievement of the desired goal, the efforts lead to frustration and emotional pain(Miller,1997).According to Sheehy (1984), no amount of money, prizes, or awards can fill these “holes”. Upon realizing this, individuals often let go of the absurd desire to make up for the attention and affection that they did not receive as infants. Doing so allows them to accept themselves and their role in the world.

            Moreover, the article presents a compelling argument on genetic inheritance. Clawson (2008) points out that children inherit both physical and emotional traits from their parents. In his view, these traits are engraved in the children’s DNA make-up and they are partly responsible for their behavior. Majority of business leaders fail to pay attention to hereditary aspects of human behavior, leading to massive organizational failures (Clawson, 2008). To yield the desired output, leaders should adopt a type of leadership that accommodates all aspects of human behavior (Clawson, 2008).

            Furthermore, the author provides meaningful insights into the frameworks and models that can facilitate a better understanding of human behavior. He supports the use of a model that incorporates the role of genes, memes, emotions, and thoughts in comprehending people’s behavioral traits, known as the Rational-Emotive-Behavior model (Clawson, 2008). This emotive approach is based on the work of Ellis (1997) who has made immense contribution to the study of human behavior. Its efficiency rests on the inculcation of key concepts and attributes such as events, human assumptions, and the role of judgment in determining human behavior. Moreover, it promotes the view that emotions play a big part in the behavior of every individual. Whenever human judgment reflects a positive correlation between assumptions and observations, the individual exudes pride, satisfaction, happiness, and a deep sense of achievement.

Meanwhile, there is a difference between who an individual is and who he/she wants to be. This situation has been explained effectively in the Rational-Emotive-Behavior model (Clawson, 2008). The objective of this contradiction is to enhance protection from physical pain that may occur due to dissatisfaction with one’s abilities. Some of the mechanisms that people use to address this contradiction are healthy, but others may lead to negative effects. For instance,in an attempt to gain acceptance from others, many people tend to achieve excellence through an overly aggressive manner. This approach may be counterproductive because it drives individuals into neglecting other aspects of their lives and relationships. According to the author, the healthiest defense mechanisms include humor, altruism, and anticipation. Clawson (2008) also advises people to avoid dangerous strategies such as passive-aggressive behavior and the tendency to project feelings onto others.

            In as much as the article has tried to account for the varied reasons behind individual behavior, there are some areas I think were poorly addressed by the author. Firstly,he has presented complex behavioral models whose essential attributes are difficult to comprehend and apply in day-to-day activities. Moreover, the author wrongly assumes that it is possible to integrate values, feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and judgments in efforts aimed at influencing behavior while still addressing the role of genes. My rebuttal is based on the view that human genes, especially those that constitute emotional traits, are the greatest determinants of personal behavior. These are genetic components imprinted on someone’s genetic composition; therefore, no one has control over them. In addition to this, people are often forced to behave in a certain way by their circumstances. It is human nature for behavior to be influenced by the pursuit of one’s best interests. This argument is further supported by the reflex actions that the human body initiates in response to certain situations. For example, when one perceives a situation to be life-threatening, his/her body prompts him/her to either run towards safety or to confront the threat. In such situations, the idea of feelings and pre-determined judgment does not apply.

            At the same time, the author has provided too much information on the topic. Although the objective is to explain everything elaborately, too much information easily distracts the reader from the theme of the article. Thus, some people may find it confusing particularly in terms of the conflicting ideologies presented. The author should have simplified his work by providing fewer examples that are directly related to the topic.

            Nevertheless, the article is an excellent source of information on human behavior. It has helped me to understand why humans behave as they do and the perspectives that one should embrace to become a better leader. In future, I will use these ideas to improve the way I relate with employees as a leader. Instead of judging them as disposable resources and rebuking them for poor performance, I will always encourage them to work harder. I have learned that by so doing, the employees will feel appreciated, and my relationship with them will improve. Consequently, I will be able to nurture their talents, interests, and abilities in an organizational context.


Clawson, J. (2008). A leader’s guide to why people behave the way they do. Social Science Research Network, 3, 1-28.

Ellis, A. & Harper, R. (1997). A guide to rational living. Hollywood, CA: Melvin Powers Wilshire Book Company.

Klein, M. (1964). Love, hate and reparation. New York, NY: Norton.

Miller, A. (1997). The drama of the gifted. New York; NY: Basic Books.

Sheehy, G. (1984). Necessary passages. New York: NY: Bantam.

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