Behaviouralism is one of the most important development in Political Science in the twentieth century. It is also considered a new or modern approach to the study of political science. Though the term ‘behaviouralism’ was frequently used by the Americans in the First Great War and afterward, yet its systematic approach started when an American Journalist, Franck Kent wrote a book under the title ‘Political Behaviour’ in 1928.
However, Kent confined the use of this term only to news correspondents who should report the things which actually happen and not the way they are supposed to happen. However, Herbert Tingston wrote a book in 1937 under the title ‘Political Behaviour’ studies in election Statistics’. It goes to the credit of Tingston that he widely used it in Political Science.
However, the utility of studying the political behaviour had started in U.S.A. in the beginning of twentieth century when Graham Wallas and A.F. Bentley advocated strongly on the study of actual phenomena of politics in 1908. Graham Wallas holds that politics without the study of psychology of the individual is meaningless. Because behaviour plays an important role in political phenomena, therefore. Bentley advocated the significance of the role of the groups.
In other words, he advocated the study of the individual as a member of the groups. He advocated his ideas through various conferences of Political Science held in 1923, 1924 and 1925. In his presidential address to the American Political Science Association in 1925, Mr. Merrium said: “Someday, we may take another angle of approach than the formal as other sciences do, and begin to look at political behavioural as one of the essential objects of enquiry.”
During the next decade under Merrium’s leadership of the Political Science department of Chicago University, some professors of the Political Science like Harold Laswell or graduates like V.O. Key. David Truman. Herbert Simon and Gabriel Almond began to emphasise, strongly the behavioural approach to Political Science. At the Cornell University also G.E.C. Catlin was also advocating similar views.
During the Second World War, the trend was checked. However, alter it Behavioural Revolution entered the field of Political Science. After the Second World War the political scientists came under the influence of important sociologists like Mosca. Max Weber, Talcott Parsons, Robert Merton etc. They realised the urgent need to resolve the social problems created by the World War II: This could not be done without studying the bahaviour of the persons concerned with the problems. This provided the ideal climate for political behaviouralism to develop.
Besides that many scholars like Harold D. Laswell, David Easton. Gabriel A. Almond, David Truman, Powell Herbert Simon, Harold F. Gosnell, V.O. Key etc. joined hands to give a fillip to this movement because they were fully dissatisfied with the achievements of conventional Political Science.
They produced many laudable research works on this subject. Not only that but the various committees set up the American Political Science Association on ‘Political behaviour’ and ‘comparative politics’ did a commendable work in bringing behavioural revolution. This helped the political behaviouralism to flourish in no time. The period of about twenty years after the end of the Second World War witnessed the rapid growth of Behavioural revolution in politics.
Now-a-days it has become so important that without it, the study of different political problems confronting the various nations is considered incomplete. Therefore now the political problems are to be studied in depth from a new angle.