Human Relation vs Human Resources

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Discuss the difference between human relations theory and human resources development and the implications which each strategy has for issues of socialisation and performance control. Which of these theories appears to be most consistent with the behaviour of contemporary managers?

There are so many fallacies for instance the term of ‘human relations’ and ‘human resources’ where the contemporary organisation unseen the differences between this two approaches. Both human relations and human resources manager might use the same kind of organisational behaviour but for very different reasons (Miller 2009). Human relations approach emphasize on productivity where the management advocates better on treatment of subordinates in belief that it will lead to greater productivity. According to Miller (2006), the human relation management pay little attention to the individual needs of employees, to nonfinancial rewards in the workplace, or to the prevalence of social interaction in organisations. On the other hand, human resource approach pays more attention on workers’ feeling where theorists recognise that individuals in organisation have feelings that must be considered and also acknowledge that individual labour is an important ingredient for meeting the organisational goal (Miller 2006). Some of the theoretical approaches that could be brought into discussion of the differences between human relations and human resources are from well-known scholars such as Elton Mayo, Abraham Maslow, Fredrick Herzberg, Rensis Likert as well as Robert Blake (Miller 2009).

Elton Mayo as the founder of the human relations movement in industry brought an altogether different point of view to bear upon the problem (Mukhi, Hampton & Barnwell 1992). Mayo has brought forward through the Hawthorne studies which investigate the effects of employee morale and group pressure towards their job engagement. Mayo examined the impact of work conditions on employee productivity by using experiments to examine the physical and environmental influences at the workplace (e.g. brightness of lights, humidity) and later, moved into the psychological aspects (e.g. breaks, group pressure, working hours, managerial leadership) and their impact on employee motivation as it applies to productivity (Miller 2006). According to Honour and Mainwaring (1982, p.74), studies found that workers are more motivated in their job when greater attention was being paid towards their social needs as a results increase productivity. The social needs include provision of financial assistance, freedom of work, fringe benefits as well as other services and obligations carried out for and on behalf of the workers. Mayo rejected influence of working conditions and financial reward as Mayo mentioned attention paid to workers increased productivity which also known as the Hawthorne studies (Miller 2006).

However, the Hawthorne studies had exposed many inadequacies in its approach hence led to various revised study approaches towards personnel problems in many organisations (Wood 2004). Other scholars do not support Mayo’s studies as Mayo has rejected the influence of working conditions and financial incentives in relation to performance control. Abraham Maslow is one of the scholars that do not support Mayo’s studies as Maslow has brought about the importance of fulfilling the employee’s string of needs. Maslow developed his Hierarchy of Needs over a period of many years as a general theory of human motivation (Miller 2006). Maslow was the first researcher to suggest that motivation was the product of human beings striving to satisfy a sequence of needs, in an ascending order which are physiological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualisation (Forster 2005, p.164). Worker will try to archive all the Hierarchy of Needs, therefore after one need is satisfied, the next highest need increases in importance and consequently this proves that individual’s needs can play a vital role in...
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