Humanistic Era Reflection Paper

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Holly M. Sharp
4-5: Humanistic Era Reflection Paper
MGMT435 – F1WW (FA10)
Professor Melinda Short
20 Oct 10
Humanistic Era starts to have more of a focus on an individual’s behavior. The transition from the Classical Era to the Humanistic Era is highly dependent on changes in society, politics, and economic depression going on around that time. The Humanistic Era is made up of two main perspectives: The Human Relations Perspective and the Social Person Perspective. During the Humanistic Era’s Human Relations Perspective, companies began to be aware of their role in a larger perspective and environment. Managers also began to understand a need to balance social needs of their staff with the economic needs of their company. Behavioral scientists brought attention to the fact that an employee may have a desire for a paycheck, but they also have an equal desire for group inclusion and taking part in the success of a company. There were many great contributors to the Human Relations Perspective. George Elton Mayo is known as the founder of the Human Relations Movement, and is well known for his research on the Hawthorne Studies. The Hawthorne Studies were the beginning point for a dramatic change in how organizations and managers began to not view workers as machines, but began to view the role of human behavior as dynamic. In 1931, one company went on record saying the following about the outcome of the Hawthorne Studies: “Upon analysis, only one thing seemed to show a continuous relationship with this improved output. This was the mental attitude of the workers. From their conversations with each other and their comments to the test observers, it was not only clear this area of employee reactions and feelings was a fruitful field for industrial research (Gautschi, 1989).” There were many other great contributors to this perspective. There was Mary Parker Follet who recognized what she called integration, which can be explained as the motivating factors of both the group and individual. She advocated that an organization needs to view their relationship with their staff of “power with” and not “power over”. Then there was Chester Barnard who was one of the first to examine the idea of the cooperative system. This suggests that an organization should strive to match their organizational goals with those goals of the individuals working for them. (Wren & Bedeian, 2009) Another contributor to the Human Relations Perspective was Abraham Maslow. Maslow is one of the more well known behavioral theorists, and his contribution to the Humanistic Era would be his Hierarchy of Needs theory. This theory states that an individual has 5 levels of needs (physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization). He felt each need of hierarchy had to be met before moving onto satisfying the next need. There was also a theorist by the name Douglas McGregor. His theory was known as Theory X and Theory Y. McGregor believed there were two groups of people, X and Y. X people are people with little ambition, don’t like their job, avoid responsibility, etc. Y people are people who want to do the right thing, be self-directed and achieve the organizations goals. This theory states the role of management is to direct the efforts of the workers, motivate them, and control their actions and to recognize and achieve their positive attributes (Shafritz & Ott, 2001). Lastly, there was Hugo Munsterberg who was noted as the father of industrial psychology. He has been credited for starting one of the first personnel departments (Wren & Bedeian, 2009). Next there was the Social Person Perspective of the Humanistic Era. The Social Person Perspective was the result of historical events that took place from about the 1930’s to the 1950’s. During this time period is when “Personnel” changed into “Human Resource Management (HRM)”. Management began to strategically focus...
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