Thursday, August 19, 2010

Human Relations School (Elton Mayo and others)

Human relations theory is also known as Humanistic Theory, social –Economic Theory and Neo-classical Theory.

Neoclassical theorists recognized the importance of individual or group behavior and emphasized human relations. Based on the Hawthorne experiments, the neoclassical approach emphasized social or human relationships among the operators, researchers and supervisors (Roethlisberger and Dickson, 1943). It was argued that these considerations were more consequential in determining productivity than mere changes in working conditions. Productivity increases were achieved as a result of high morale, which was influenced by the amount of individual, personal and intimate attention workers received.

Principles of the Neoclassical Approach

The classical approach stressed the formal organization. It was mechanistic and ignored major aspects of human nature. In contrast, the neoclassical approach introduced an informal organization structure and emphasized the following principles:

· The individual an individual is not a mechanical tool but a distinct social being, with aspirations beyond mere fulfillment of a few economic and security works. Individuals differ from each other in pursuing these desires. Thus, an individual should be recognized as interacting with social and economic factors.

· The work group the neoclassical approach highlighted the social facets of work groups or informal organizations that operate within a formal organization. The concept of 'group' and its synergistic benefits were considered important.

· Participative management Participative management or decision making permits workers to participate in the decision making process. This was a new form of management to ensure increases in productivity.

Note the difference between Taylor's 'scientific management' - which focuses on work - and the neoclassical approach - which focuses on workers.


From the work of group dynamics developed by Kurt Lewin, still in its early booster of the Theory of Human Relations with the release of the book of Chester Barnard, and later studies of George Homans Sabre institutional sociology Group, culminating in the book by Herbert Simon on administrative behavior, a new configuration comes to dominate the administrative theory. The behavioral approach marks the strongest emphasis on the behavioral sciences in management theory and the pursuit of democratic and flexible solutions to organizational problems. The behavioral approach grew out of behavioral science, particularly organizational psychology.

The behavioral sciences have toasted the administrative theory with a variety of conclusions about the nature and characteristics of human beings, namely:

1. The human being is endowed with a social animal needs. Among these needs emerge gregarious needs, i.e., tends to develop cooperative and interdependent relationships that lead to living in groups or social organizations,

2. Man is an animal endowed with a psychic system, i.e., is able to organize their perceptions in an integrated manner that allows a perceptual and cognitive organization common to all human beings,

3. Human being has the ability to articulate language with abstract reasoning, in other words, has communication skills

4. Man is an animal with a willingness to learn, i.e. to change their behavior and attitudes toward higher standards and effective;

5. Human being has his goal-oriented behavior, very complex and changeable. Hence the importance of understanding the goals of basic human society in order to clearly understand their behavior

6. Humans characterized pair a dual pattern of behavior: both can cooperate to compete with others. Cooperates when their individual goals can only be achieved through the joint efforts and collective responsibility when their goals are pursued and contested by others. The conflict becomes a virtual part of all aspects of human life.

A Behavioral Theory of the Administration has its greatest exponents in Herbert A. Simon, Chester Barnard, Douglas McGregor, Chris Argyris and Likert Rensis. Strictly within the field of human motivation are emphasized Abraham Maslow, Frederick Herzberg and David McClelland.

ORIGINS OF BEHAVIORAL THEORY The origins of the Behavioral Theory of Directors are as follows:

1. The fierce opposition of the Theory of Human Relations (with its strong emphasis on the people) in relation to classical theory (with its strong emphasis on the tasks and organizational structure) walked slowly to a second stage: a Behavioral Theory. This now represents a new attempt to synthesize the theory of formal organization with the focus of human relations.

2. A Behavioral Theory is, at bottom, an offshoot of the Theory of Human Relations, with which it shares some fundamental concepts, using them as starting points or reference and recasting them deeply. It also rejects the naive and romantic conceptions of the Theory of Human Relations.

3. A Behavioral Theory criticizes the Classical Theory, the theory of formal organization, the general principles of management, the concept of formal authority, and the position of the rigid and mechanistic classical authors.

4. With the Behavioral Theory came the incorporation of Sociology of Bureaucracy, broadening the field of management theory. Also with regard to the Theory of Bureaucracy, the Behavior al Theory proves to be much criticism especially with regard to the "machine model" that one adopts as a representative of the organization.

5. In 1947 the United States comes a book that marks the beginning of the Behavioral Theory in Administration: The Administrative Behavior, Herbert A. Simon. This book, which achieved great effect, constitutes an indiscriminate attack the principles of the Classical Theory and acceptance - with necessary repairs and fixes - the main ideas of the Theory of Human Relations. The book is also the beginning of the so called Theory of Decisions.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs Maslow, a psychologist and an American consultant presented a theory of motivation, according to which human needs are organized and arranged in levels, a hierarchy of importance and influence. This hierarchy of need s can be visualized as a pyramid. At the base of the pyramid are the most primitive needs (physiological needs) and people. The authors the top, needs more refined (the need for se lf-realization), each with the following meanings:

1. Physiological needs: they are the lowest of all human needs, but of vital importance. At this level is the need for food, rest, shelter, sex, etc... The physiological needs are linked to the survival of the individual and the preservation of the species. They are instinctual needs, which are born with the individual. Are the most pressing of al l human needs: When some of these needs are not met, it strongly dominates the direction of behavior? A person with an empty stomach has no greater concern than food. But when you eat regularly and adequately, hunger remains an important motivation. When all human needs are unmet, the greater motivation is the satisfaction of physiological needs, and the individual's behavior is intended to find relief from the pressure that produce these needs saber body.

2. Safety Needs: They are the second level of human needs. Are the needs of security and stability, for protection against the threat or deprivation, to escape danger? Arise in the behavior when the physiological needs are relatively satisfied. When the individual is dominated by security needs, your body is strongly oriented towards the search for satisfaction of that need. Security needs are of great importance in human behavior, since every employee is always in a dependent relationship with the company, in which arbitrary administrative actions may cause uncertainty or insecurity in the employee about their job retention. If these actions or decisions reflect discrimination or favoritism or any administrative policy unpredictable and can become powerful activators of insecurity at all levels of the company.

3. Social needs: the behavior arise when the lower needs (physiological and safety) are relatively satisfied. Among the social needs is the need of association, participation, acceptance from peers, and exchange of friendship, affection and love. When social needs are not adequately met, the individual becomes resistant, antagonistic and even hostile about the people around you. In our society, the frustration of needs for love and affection leads to a lack of social adjustment and loneliness.

4. Needs of self-esteem: the needs are related to the way t he individual sees and evaluates. Involve self-assessment, self-confidence, the need for social approval and respect, status, prestige and respect, of confidence before the world, independence and autonomy. The satisfaction of these needs leads to feelings of self-confidence, value, power, prestige, power, capability and utility. Their frustration may produce feelings of inferiority, weakness, dependence and helplessness which, in turn, can lead to discouragement or compensatory activities.

5. Need for self-realization: human needs are higher and those at the top of the hierarchy. Are the needs of each person performs their own potential and self-development continually. This tendency usually expresses itself through the impulse of the person taking up ever more of what is and to become all that it can be. Finally, these requirements take the form and terms vary greatly from person to person. There intensity or expression are also extremely varied, according to individual differences among people.

The theory of Maslow's hierarchy of needs assumes the following:

1. Only when a lower level needs are satisfied or adequately answered is that the immediate higher level emerges in behavior. In other words, when a lower level need is satisfied, it ceases to be motivating, providing opportunity for a higher level can develop.

2. Not everyone can get to the top of the pyramid of needs. Some people - thanks to the circumstances of life - come to care greatly i n need of self-realization, others parked on the needs of esteem, even in other social needs, while many others are occupied exclusively with physiological and safety needs, they cannot respond to them appropriately. They are called "excluded."

3. When lower needs are reasonably satisfied, the needs located at the highest levels begin to dominate the behavior. However, while some lower-level need no longer be satisfied, she returns to dominate behavior while generating tension in the body. The need for more important or more urgent monopolizes the individual automatically organize the mobilization of the various faculties of the body to meet it.

4. Each person always has more than one motivation. All levels work together in the body, dominating the higher needs of the lowest, provided the y are sufficiently satisfied or satisfied. Every need is closely related to the state of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of other needs. Its effect saber body i s always global and set and never isolated.

5. Any motivated behavior is like a channel through which many basic needs may be expressed or met together.

6. Any possibility of frustration or frustration of satisfaction of certain needs is considered a psychological threat. This threat is what produces the general emergency reactions in human behavior. Several researches have not come to scientifically confirm Maslow's theory and some even overturned.

However, Maslow's theory i s sufficiently well structured to offer a framework and useful for guiding the action of the business executive.

Contribution of Chris Argyris

Chris Argyris in his book Personality and development (1957) deals with the relationship between individual and organisation and criticizes the classical theory of organisation. His contribution to the growth of behavioral approach

Immaturity / Maturity Theory

According to Argyris, seven changes should take place in the personality of individuals if they are to develop into mature people over the years.

  • First, individuals move from a passive state as infants to a state of increasing activity as adults.
  • Second, individuals develop from a state of dependency upon others as infants to a state of relative independence as adults.
  • Third, individuals behave in only a few ways as infants, but as adults they are capable of behaving in many ways.
  • Fourth, individuals have erratic, casual, and shallow interests as infants but develop deeper and stronger interests as adults.
  • Fifth, the time perspective of children is very short, involving only the present, but as they mature, their time perspective increases to include the past and the future.
  • Sixth, individuals as infants are subordinate to everyone, but they move to equal or superior positions with others as adults.
  • Seventh, as children, individuals lack an awareness of a "self," but as adults they are not only aware of, but they are able to control "self."

Argyris postulates that these changes reside on a continuum and that the "healthy" personality develops along the continuum from "immaturity" to "maturity.

Contribution of Douglas McGregor
Theory X and Theory Y

Douglas McGregor in his book, "The Human Side of Enterprise" published in 1960 has examined theories on behavior of individuals at work, and he has formulated two models which he calls Theory X and Theory Y.

Theory X Assumptions

The average human being has an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if he can.

  • Because of their dislike for work, most people must be controlled and threatened before they will work hard enough.
  • The average human prefers to be directed, dislikes responsibility, is unambiguous, and desires security above everything.
  • These assumptions lie behind most organizational principles today, and give rise both to "tough" management with punishments and tight controls, and "soft" management which aims at harmony at work.
  • Both these are "wrong" because man needs more than financial rewards at work; he also needs some deeper higher order motivation - the opportunity to fulfill himself.
  • Theory X managers do not give their staff this opportunity so that the employees behave in the expected fashion.

Theory Y Assumptions

  • The expenditure of physical and mental effort in work is as natural as play or rest.
  • Control and punishment are not the only ways to make people work, man will direct himself if he is committed to the aims of the organization.
  • If a job is satisfying, then the result will be commitment to the organization.
  • The average man learns, under proper conditions, not only to accept but to seek responsibility.
  • Imagination, creativity, and ingenuity can be used to solve work problems by a large number of employees.
  • Under the conditions of modern industrial life, the intellectual potentialities of the average man are only partially utilized.

Comments on Theory X and Theory Y Assumptions

These assumptions are based on social science research which has been carried out, and demonstrate the potential which is present in man and which organizations should recognize in order to become more effective.

McGregor sees these two theories as two quite separate attitudes. Theory Y is difficult to put into practice on the shop floor in large mass production operations, but it can be used initially in the managing of managers and professionals.

In "The Human Side of Enterprise" McGregor shows how Theory Y affects the management of promotions and salaries and the development of effective managers. McGregor also sees Theory Y as conducive to participative problem solving.

It is part of the manager's job to exercise authority, and there are cases in which this is the only method of achieving the desired results because subordinates do not agree that the ends are desirable.

McGregor realizes that some of the theories he has put forward are unrealizable in practice, but wants managers to put into operation the basic assumption that:

  • Staff will contribute more to the organization if they are treated as responsible and valued employees.

Contribution of Rensis Likert

Management Systems and Styles

Dr. Rensis Likert has conducted much research on human behavior within organizations, particularly in the industrial situation.

He has examined different types of organizations and leadership styles, and he asserts that to achieve maximum profitability, good labor relations and high productivity, every organization must make optimum use of their human assets.

The form of the organization which will make greatest use of the human capacity, Likert contends, is;

  • Highly effective work groups linked together in an overlapping pattern by other similarly effective groups.

Organizations at present have widely varying types of management style and Likert has identified four main systems:

Management Styles

The exploitive - authoritative system, where decisions are imposed on subordinates, where motivation is characterized by threats, where high levels of management have great responsibilities but lower levels have virtually none, where there is very little communication and no joint teamwork.

The benevolent - authoritative system, where leadership is by a condescending form of master-servant trust, where motivation is mainly by rewards, where managerial personnel feel responsibility but lower levels do not, where there is little communication and relatively little teamwork.

The consultative system, where leadership is by superiors who have substantial but not complete trust in their subordinates, where motivation is by rewards and some involvement, where a high proportion of personnel, especially those at the higher levels feel responsibility for achieving organization goals, where there is some communication (both vertical and horizontal) and a moderate amount of teamwork.

The participative - group system, which is the optimum solution, where leadership is by superiors who have; complete confidence in their subordinates, where motivation is by economic rewards based on goals which have been set in participation, where personnel at all levels feel real responsibility for the organizational goals, where there is much communication, and a substantial amount of cooperative teamwork.

This fourth system is the one which is the ideal for the profit oriented and human-concerned organization, and Likert says (The Human Organization, McGraw Hill, 1967) that all organizations should adopt this system. Clearly, the changes involved may be painful and long-winded, but it is necessary if one is to achieve the maximum rewards for the organization.

To convert an organization, four main features of effective management must be put into practice:

Features of Effective Management

  • The motivation to work must be fostered by modern principles and techniques, and not by the old system of rewards and threats.
  • Employees must be seen as people who have their own needs, desires and values and their self-worth must be maintained or enhanced.
  • An organization of tightly knit and highly effective work groups must be built up which are committed to achieving the objectives of the organization.
  • Supportive relationships must exist within each work group. These are characterized not by actual support, but by mutual respect.

The work groups which form the nuclei of the participative group system are characterized by the group dynamics:

  • Members are skilled in leadership and membership roles for easy interaction.
  • The group has existed long enough to have developed a well established relaxed working relationship.
  • The members of the group are loyal to it and to each other since they have a high degree of mutual trust.
  • The norms, values and goals of the group are an expression of the values and needs of its members.
  • The members perform a "linking-pin" function and try to keep the goals of the different groups to which they belong in harmony with each other


The systems approach views organization as a system composed of interconnected - and thus mutually dependent - sub-systems. These sub-systems can have their own sub-sub-systems. A system can be perceived as composed of some components, functions and processes (Albrecht, 1983). Thus, the organization consists of the following three basic elements (Bakke, 1959):

(i) COMPONENTS There are five basic, interdependent parts of the organizing system, namely:

· the individual,
· the formal and informal organization,
· patterns of behavior emerging from role demands of the organization,
· role comprehension of the individual, and
· the physical environment in which individuals work.

(ii) LINKING PROCESSES the different components of an organization are required to operate in an organized and correlated manner. The interaction between them is contingent upon the linking processes, which consist of communication, balance and decision making.

· Communication is a means for eliciting action, exerting control and effecting coordination to link decision centres in the system in a composite form.

· Balance is the equilibrium between different parts of the system so that they keep a harmoniously structured relationship with one another.

· Decision analysis is also considered to be a linking process in the systems approach. Decisions may be to produce or participate in the system. Decision to produce depends upon the attitude of the individual and the demands of the organization. Decision to participate refers to the individual's decisions to engross them in the organization process. That depends on what they get and what they are expected to do in participative decision making.

(iii) GOALS OF ORGANIZATION the goals of an organization may be growth, stability and interaction. Interaction implies how best the members of an organization can interact with one another to their mutual advantage.


Organisation falls in the category of open social systems.

The various sub-systems of an organisation are explained below:

1. Technical sub-system is concerned with mechanical process, that is, conversion of inputs into outputs.

2. Supportive sub-system supports the Organizational activities like procurement of raw material advertisement, and so on

3. Maintenance sub-system ensures the necessary inputs of human skills.

4. Adaptive sub-system helps the organisation to respond to environment changes like planning units.

5. Psycho-social sub system represents the dynamics of human behavior and interpersonal relations.

6. Structural sub-system is concerned with the formal relations in the organisations, that is, it defines job and positions.

7. Management sub-system integrates different sub-systems together to regulate internal as well as external relations.


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