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Human relation theory, Elton Mayo

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HUMAN RELATIONS THEORY

This is a theory in which managers use motivational methods that are not primarily related to money for employee excellence Even though many managers continue to use money as a primary motivator, a number of changes have occurred, both in the assumptions made by managers about their employees and in the approaches used by managers to motivate employee excellence. The origin of many of these changes can be traced to a series of experiments that later became known as the Hawthorne studies.

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The HUMAN RELATION RELATIONS THEORY was founded by George Elton Mayo, the eldest son of George Gibbes Mayo who was born on the 26 December 1880 in Adelaide, Australia. was an Australian industrial psychologist, sociologist and organizational theorist.

In 1927, Elton Mayo and a group of Harvard University researchers met in Cicero, Illinois, at Western Electric Company’s Hawthorne, New Jersey plant to begin a study on the relationship between changes in physical working conditions and employee productivity. These investigations, known as the Hawthorne studies, revealed that money and job security are not the only sources of employee motivation and led to the development of the human relations approach to motivation.

By performing controlled experiments in the relay assembly section of the plant, the researchers sought answers to such questions as, “What is the effect of different intensities of light on employee output?” and “How will varying noise levels change worker productivity?” In one experiment, sufficient lighting was provided to a group of six female workers; later the amount of light was reduced. Mayo and his colleagues were baffled to discover that reducing the amount of light has almost no effect on productivity. In some cases, output actually rose.

The light intensity was then reduced to about that of moonlight, and again production increased! The researchers began looking for the reason behind this phenomenon. The research staff pulled themselves together and began looking for it. They conferred, argued, studied, and presently found it. It wasn’t in the physical production end of the factory at all. It was in the women themselves. It was an attitude, the way the women now felt about their work and their group. By segregating them into a little world of their own, by asking their help and cooperation, the investigators had given the young women a new sense of their own value. Their whole attitude changed from that of separate cogs in a machine to that of a congenial team helping the company solve a significant problem. They found stability, a place where they belonged, and work whose purpose they could clearly see. And so they worked faster and better than they ever had in their lives. The two functions of a factory had joined into one harmonious whole

The phenomenon discovered by the researchers became known as the Hawthorne effect. Employees who are chosen as subjects for scientific studies may become more productive as a result of the interest the researchers have in them. Because they feel important and appreciated, they initiate a greater incentive to excel in their work How Needs Motivate People

The Hawthorne studies revolutionized management’s approach to direction (or motivation) of employees. Before the Hawthorne investigation, most organizations had used money as the primary means of motivating workers. The importance of the Hawthorne findings lies not in denying the effect of money as a motivator, but in emphasizing the presence of a number of other sources of employee motivation. Each individual is motivated to take action designed to satisfy needs. A need is simply the lack of something useful. It reflects a gap between an individual’s actual state and their desired state. A motive is the inner state that directs the individual toward the goal of satisfying a felt need. The individual is moved (the root word for motive) to act to reduce a state of tension and return to a condition of status

The Needs Hierarchy
Psychologist Abraham H. Maslow developed a widely accepted list of human needs based on these important assumptions: • People want everything and their needs depend on what they already possess. • A satisfied need is not a motivator; only those needs that have not been satisfied can influence behavior. People’s needs are arranged in a hierarchy of importance. Once one need has been at least partially satisfied, another emerges and demands satisfaction depicts the hierarchy of needs with the levels arranged in order of importance to the individual. Priority is assigned to the basic
physiological needs.

Physiological Needs
Physiological needs are the primary needs for food, shelter, and clothing. They are present in all people and must be satisfied before higher-order needs can be considered. A hungry person is possessed by the need to obtain food; other needs are ignored. Once the need to eat is partially satisfied, other needs enter the picture. Since most families today can afford to satisfy their basic needs, the higher-order needs are likely to play a greater role in worker motivation.

Safety Needs
The second-level safety needs include job security, protection from physical harm, and avoidance of the unexpected. Gratification of these needs may take such forms as guaranteed annual wages, life insurance, the purchase of radial tires observing job safety rules, or membership in the company health club. Social Needs

Satisfaction of physiological and safety needs leads to consideration of social needs (also known as belongingness needs)—the desire to be accepted by members of the family and other individuals and groups. A person may be motivated to join various groups at the factory and conform to the standards established and accepted by the informal organization in order to fulfill social needs. Esteem Needs

The higher-order esteem needs are more difficult to satisfy. These are the needs to feel a sense of accomplishment, achievement, and respect from others. The competitive need to excel—to better the performance of others—is an almost universal human trait. The esteem needs are closely related to belongingness needs. However, at this level, not only does the individual want acceptance but also recognition and respect—the desire to stand out from the crowd in some area. Organizations seek to satisfy employee esteem needs through such techniques as performance recognition awards, added responsibility, and involvement in departmental goal setting and decision making.

Self-Actualization Needs
At the top of the hierarchy are self-actualization needs—the needs for fulfillment, for realizing one’s own potential, for using totally one’s talents and capabilities. Maslow defines self-actualization this way: “A healthy man is primarily motivated by his needs to develop and actualize his fullest potentialities and capacities…. What man can be, he must be

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Human relation theory, Elton Mayo. (2017, Feb 08). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/human-relation-theory-elton-mayo/

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