Albert Bandura's social learning theory suggests that observation and modeling play a primary role in how and why people learn. Bandura's theory goes beyond the perception of learning being the result of direct experience with the environment. Learning, according to Bandura, can occur simply by observing others' behavior.
He explains in his 1977 book Social Learning Theory, "most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions, this coded information serves as a guide for action."
Social learning can be used effectively in the workplace to observe and model productive behaviors. However, social learning does not occur passively. Attention, retention, reproduction, and motivation are required in order to benefit from social learning practices.