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Human Relation Theories

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Human Relation Theories

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  • Jan. 2009
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Mary Parker Follett advocated for a human relations emphasis equal to a mechanical or operational emphasis in management. Her work contrasted with the "scientific management" of Frederick W. Taylor (1856-1915) and evolved by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, which stressed time and motion studies. Mary Parker Follett stressed the interactions of management and workers. She looks at management and leadership holistically, presaging modern systems approaches; she identifies a leader as "someone who sees the whole rather than the particular." Follett was one of the first (and for a long time, one of the few) to integrate the idea of organizational conflict into management theory, and is sometimes considered the "mother of conflict resolution." In a 1924 essay, "Power," she coined the words "power-over" and "power-with" to differentiate coercive power from participative decision-making, showing how "power-with" can be greater than "power-over." "Do we not see now," she observed, "that while there are many ways of gaining an external, an arbitrary power —- through brute strength, through manipulation, through diplomacy —- genuine power is always that which inheres in the situation?" Mary Parker Follett died in 1933 on a visit to Boston. After her death, her papers and speeches were compiled and published in 1942 in Dynamic Administration, and in 1995, Pauline Graham edited a compilation of her writing in Mary Parker Follett: Prophet of Management. The New State was reissued in a new edition in 1998 with helpful additional material. Elton Mayo was an Australian interested in employee motivation and commitment and the relationship between workers and management. Mayo’s best known work was the Hawthorne Study in the Western Electrical Company in the USA, and the development of the “human relations” approach to management. The Western Electrical Company Study

In the Western Electrical Company study, Elton Mayo observed that worker productivity depended less on lighting...