The Human Relations Theory of organization came in to existence in 1930s as a reaction to the classical approach to organizational analysis. This is because the classical theorists neglected the human factor in the organization. The Classical theorists took a mechanical view of organization and underemphasized the sociopsychological aspects of individual’s behaviour in organization. It is this critical failure of the classical theory that gave birth to the human relations approach. Human relations theory is also known by various names like Humanistic Theory, Neoclassical Theory, etc. Elton Mayo, an American Sociologist is the founder of the Human Relations Theory. The other writers who contributed to the growth of this theory are William Dickson, North Whitehead, W. Lloyd, and L. J. Henderson, among many others. The Hawthorne Experiment (1924-1932) conducted in the Western Electric Company at Hawthorne near Chicago by the Harvard Business School under the leadership of Elton Mayo formed the basis for the rise of the Human Relations Theory of Organization. Features
Human Relations Theory has three elements or features. They are, the Individual, the Informal Organization, and Participative Management. * The Individual: The Theory recognizes the importance of emotions and perceptions of individuals. It holds the view that the level of workers’ production and organizational output is determined by the human relations at work and not so much by the physical and economic conditions of work. * Informal Organizations: The Human Relations Theory emphasizes the informal organizations. According to Hicks and Gullet, “ The informal shadow organization that exists within the structure of the formal organization is emphasized. Attention is focused on the social aspects of man whose overriding need is seen as a desire to belong, to be accepted by and stand well in his work group.” * Participative Management: Human Relations Theory advocates the style of participative management. In other words, the manager should consult the work groups and their informal leaders before introducing a change of programme. This participative management is meritorious because it permits the workers to influence the decisions that affect them, develops a sense of participation in the group, makes the working environment more pleasant, prevents the alienation of workers from the management, facilitates the acceptance of organizational goals by the workers, and above all, results in higher productivity. -------------------------------------------------
George Elton Mayo stressed the following:
1. Natural groups, in which social aspects take precedence over functional organizational structures. 2. Upwards communication, by which communication is two way, from worker to chief executive, as well as vice versa. 3. Cohesive and good leadership is needed to communicate goals and to ensure effective and coherent decision making. It has become a concern of many companies to improve the job-oriented interpersonal skills of employees. The teaching of these skills to employees is referred to as "soft skills" training. Companies need their employees to be able to successfully communicate and convey information, to be able to interpret others' emotions, to be open to others' feelings, and to be able to solve conflicts and arrive at resolutions. By acquiring these skills, the employees, those in management positions, and the customer can maintain more compatible relationships. Arguments against Mayo's involvement in human relations
Elton Mayo's work is considered by various academics to be the counterpoint of Taylorism and scientific management. Taylorism founded by F W Taylor, sought to apply science to the management of employees in the workplace in order to gain economic efficiency through labour productivity. Elton Mayo's work has been widely attributed to the discovery the 'social person',...