Scientific Management vs Human Relations

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Throughout history, there have been many different approaches of management theories. Some theories longer exist because they are no longer relevant in today’s environment, but some theories are still implemented like Scientific Management and Human Relations. Scientific management emphasizes on efficiency productivity by motivating workers with monetary rewards. Human relations emphasize on motivation of workers by both financial rewards and a range of social factors (e.g. praise, a sense of belonging, feelings of achievement and pride in one’s work).

Scientific management uses incentives to motivate workers. This idea comes from Henry Gantt who introduced the bonus system, which motivated workers to complete their daily tasks by rewarding them a handsome bonus on top of their basic pay. Scientific Management assumes the worker as a ‘Rational Economic Man’, who is motivated by nothing else but money. Employees were paid extra according to their level of output and paid bonuses for reaching targets. Human relations, on the other hand, focused also on the social welfare of the workers. Taking care of workers’ social welfare, needs, and health will increase the productivity, as Mayo saw the worker as a ‘Social Man’. That feeling of importance also meant workers were generally happier, which in turn enhanced their work output, as proven in Hawthorne study.

According to Taylor, scientific management uses stopwatch method to get standard time and standard output of work. Taylor measured the time taken to complete certain task and made it the standard time for every worker. All unnecessary movements would then be eliminated in order to achieve efficiency. This method would become the standard to be used for all jobs. Human relations, according to Mayo, believed that the importance of stable and social relationships in the work situation contributed towards productivity. It is important to improve the social interaction and relationship between the workers and managers. This situation was supported by Hawthorne studies, which proved that informal interaction between workers would increase the level of productivity. The emphasis in the Hawthorne studies was on the worker rather than on work. Hawthorne study consists of five stages (1. Illumination Stage, 2. Relay Assembly Test Room, 3. Interview Process, 4. Bank Wiring Observation Room and 5. Personnel Counseling), where each stage was conducted and keenly observed to discover what working conditions affected productivity. At the end of Hawthorne investigation it was discovered that informal groups exists in every organization. It successfully showed that having stable and informal relationships in the organization would lead to an increase in productivity.

Frank and Lilian Gilbreth introduced “one best way” of doing things. The belief that the best way to reach efficiency is by motion study. They laid down systematic rules and procedures for the efficient operation of the work. In this case, organization are said to be on formal structure with rigid rules and regulations. On the other hand, human relations, according to Mayo, believed in an informal group. His work led to an emphasis of informal communication or adequate communication system known as ‘grapevine’, particularly upwards from worker to manager. He felt that the productivity would increase if managers could make workers feel important and valued. Informal communication allowed manager to get things done using informal way of motivation and leadership.

Scientific management concerns on specialization of work. Human relations use teamwork to get things done. Hawthorne studies had proved that a group work would increase the productivity.

Scientific management viewed workers as cogs of machines. He didn’t care the welfare of the workers. Ignored the social needs of the worker, because he thought worker only motivated by money. Taylor concentrated on economics needs instead of workers’ social needs. In...
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