13 Limitations of Behaviouralism Approach to Study of Politics

The Limitations of Behaviouralism Approach to the Study of Politics are given below:

1. Behavioural approach is not a very set and definite approach:

It represents several different views with a common cause or with a similar focus. Big differences and divisions among the behaviouralists have made the behavioural approach highly complex and confusing.

2. Difficulties in the study of human behaviour:


Human behaviour as the object of study is always bound to be problematic and even fruitless.

3. All aspects of human behaviour do not admit empirical methods:

All aspects of human behaviour cannot be observed and stated in empirical generalisations.

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4. Politics can lose its autonomous status:

Behavioural Approach can make Politics dependent upon other social sciences, particularly Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology.

5. Study of facts without study of values is neither possible nor desirable:

Behavioural advocacy of study of facts and not values is neither possible nor desirable, and nor even can it be useful. Value-free Politics is not acceptable.

6. Big differences among the behaviouralists reflect its weakness:


The big diversities and differences among the behavioural political scientists reduce it to a collection of several views, both related and unrelated from one another. Behavioural Approach failed to be a set and definite approach. It in fact, represented several different views with some common core/focus.

7. A biased approach:

Behaviouralism reflects a bias in favour of liberal democratic systems since empirical research can be really possible only in such political systems.

8. Behaviouralist have made simple things complex:

In their passion for ‘Scientism’ the behaviouralists have been guilty of creating a ridiculous complicated jargon. They have been getting involved in hair-splitting.

9. Limitations of use of scientific methods in Politics:

Scientific methods, particularly as used in natural sciences, cannot be applied to social sciences, including Political Science.

10. Behaviouralists obsession with Methods and techniques:


Behaviouralists remained obsessed with methods and techniques. They failed to concentrate upon the study of the real substance of politics.

11. Value-neutealism is short-sighted:

The ‘value-neutralism’ preached and practised by the behaviouralists made it a less-relevant if not non-relevant theory of human political behaviour.

12. Study of history Law and philosophy is useful and necessary:

No study of human behaviour in politics can be possible and complete without a study of the law, constitution, institutions and history of institutions.

13. Little progress in scientific theory-building:

The behaviouralists failed to make a real headway towards the professed objective of theory-building. They remained lost in trivial research and failed to come to grips with the brute realities of politics.

On the basis of all these points Behaviouralist Approach got subjected to severe criticism, particularly by the proponents of ‘traditional’ political scientists. Scholars like Leo Strauss, Voegelin and several others strongly criticised Beltaviouralist’s empiricism and value-neutralism involving the study of facts to the exclusion of values.