Human relations theory - Essay Example

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Mainly,the Human relations theory in organization and management has been attributed to Elton Mayo. Mayo's major theoretical stand point, according to Wood,is that " in the absence of an explicit understanding of the determinants of co-operative effort,rapid technological and scientific advance tends to be associated with increased social disorganization." …
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Download file to see previous pages Mainly, the Human relations theory in organization and management has been attributed to Elton Mayo. Mayo's major theoretical stand point, according to Wood (2004, p.35),is that " in the absence of an explicit understanding of the determinants of co-operative effort, rapid technological and scientific advance tends to be associated with increased social disorganization." Wood (2004, p.36) has added that "by social disorganization, Mayo means, a disruption (loosening, weakening, impoverishment etc.) in the social ties, codes and established routines."Wood (2004, p.36) has further clarified this position of Mayo by dileneating that these social ties, codes and routines are the factors that "regulates the relations of individuals to one another in a group and they foster a strong identification of the individual to the group." So, when these are disrupted, as predicted by Mayo, the "essential conditions for cooperative efforts among individuals and groups" are destroyed.(Wood, 2004, p.36)Mayo (1975, p.32))also has observed that when these elements are present, the act as an atmosphere where "non logical bases for co-operation" are present and from which, "rational bases for cooperation can also emerge". When the kind of social disorganization as observed by Mayo (1975, p.31) happens, "obsessive thinking" replaces "rational thinking." According to Mayo (1975, p.32), obsessive people are "those who have not been trained for co-operative effort." The rational people, on the other hand, have "explicit skills of communication required by the adaptive society (Wood, 2004, p.36).Mayo has analysed that as for obsessive people, there is no turning back unless they learn the skills to relate to others, modern societies without understanding of the importance of cooperative efforts and with rapid technological and scientific growth, also have no way to return from chaos (Mayo, 1975, p.33).

Mayo has not put forth any magic solutions to this problem. He has instead suggested some indepth and longterm measures. One such measure is to observe the relations within a group, develop these observations into a systematic social science study, just like physical sciences and then incorporating sociology with psychological thought by an involved researcher (not a detached one) (Mayo, 1975, p.113).

The Hawthorne experiments conducted by Mayo was a major milestone in the study of industrial behaviour (Mayo, 1975, p.60). He conducted an interview based research in Western Electric Company, Chicago, to analyse the development of employee attitudes and how that influences the outcome. He was searching for an optimal situation which could bring about highest productivity.

Hawthorne experiment findings included observations like, "an individual's identity is strongly associated with his or her group' an individual's affiliation or sense of belonging to the group can be more important to him or her than monetary rewards' groups can be formal or informal'both can exercise a strong influence on individuals at work'(and) managers and supervisors would do well to take this group behaviour into account when seeking to extract the maximum amount of work from their subordinates" (Campbell and Craig, p.16). This was part of Mayo's efforts to develop a new approach which he named, "clinical sociology." (Mayo, 1975, 65-70). In this way, Mayo wanted to add sociology to the group of natural sciences.

A second experiment, named, 'relay assembly test room' was conducted by Mayo, in which a group of women, whose work was to assembly telephone relays, were subjected to various changes in their conditions of work, payment, rest pauses etc. (Crowther &Green, 2004,p.35). And he found that workers' productivity depended less on their objective conditions and more on "communicating with them well, helping them become involved in the organization and making them feel wanted and important (Crowther &Green, 2004,p.35).

This experiment was a major breakthrough in management studies. From his studies, Mayo inferred that "every social group ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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