Human Relations Movement Elton Mayo

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The Human Relations Movement

Unlike scientific management that emphasized the technical aspects of work, the human relations movement emphasizes the importance of the human element. Elton Mayo conducted studies that revealed in additional to technical aspects; motivation is critical for improving productivity. This movement understands workers in terms of psychology rather than interchangeable parts, and examines the effects of motivation and social relations on productivity.

(Elton Mayo 1927)
The human relations movement began in Illinois with the work of Elton Mayo in 1927. The Hawthorne Studies were initially begun aimed at determining the optimal level of lighting to get maximum output from workers. When these studies produced confusing results, the researchers realized that human factors must be affecting productivity. This was the first time that researchers recognized that, psychological and sociological factors affected their productivity.

The experiments began at Hawthorne, Illinois, Western Electric Company. They studied the relationship between the intensity of illumination at work and the output of workers.  No direct relations were found because many psychological factors interfered.  To control them, researchers asked six girls to work in a test room; to be subject to changes in working conditions; and record their comments as their output was measured. No one supervised the girls; instead, a test room observer. Their productive capacities were measured for 2 weeks before the test-room study began. First 5 weeks no changes at work were made to see the effect of being transferred. Then a pay system was introduced so that their earnings were proportion to their efforts so they centered their financial interests on the study. 8 weeks later, two 5-minute rest pauses were introduced. Then they were given light lunch in the rest pauses. Then they made the workday end thirty minutes earlier, and later on the workday ended an hour earlier. The...
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