Heinz Eulau has regarded almost and segments of Political Science as susceptible to behaviouristic treatment. But Mulford Q. Sibley has vividly discussed the limitations of behaviouralism. Behaviouralists, according to Sibley, regard themselves as value-neutral, but forget that their personality, limitations of knowledge, sources available with them, biases and prejudices and so on deeply influence their studies.
These variables influence their choice of subjects, even methodology, and techniques. Leo Strauss remarks that pre-scientific and post-scientific knowledge play a key role respectively before and after their undertaking of behavioural studies. Polanqi has further observed that at all levels, knowledge is deeply coloured by personal participation of the individual.
As soon as one starts undertaking a behavioural venture, several limitations begin to appear, such as:
(i) Human behaviour can be explained only under the given assumptions and the controlled situations;
(ii) Similar human behaviour can be repeated only under identical circumstances;
(iii) It is difficult to develop concepts having similar meanings both for the observer and the observed, sometimes, concepts, not obtained by behavioural means, are applied and used,
(iv) That facts, values, and observer or the behaviouralist are closely related. Even science has its own values. Karl Popper, Louis Althusser and others have vividly written about value-laden and scientific aspects of science.
However these values do not tell upon the process or procedure of scientific method. The behaviouralist as an observer conducts his studies with a particular framework or mental make-up which often is not behaviourally derived. Often his framework separates him from the prevailing milieu. As such, his findings may appear out of context, or can be related to actual politics only by non-behavioural means. There are many factors contributing to policymaking to the political actors which the studies might not have kept into consideration.
The behaviouralist is also unable to help in making a choice regarding ultimate values. His predictions and other statements are often conditional and contingent, expressed in terms of ‘if… then’, or ‘either … or’. Such predictions are rarely usable or dependable in normal social life.
Behavioural studies tend to neglect the role and impact of history, type of prevailing ideology and culture, geography, hierarchy of values and others. Sibley has suggested that their purist view must be enlightened on the basis of basic values and non-scientific judgements of history. Unless we know the past, one cannot understand the present, and further look into the future.