Human relations are important to the development and long-term sustainability of organisations. Without much doubt, the father of the "human relations" movement is Elton Mayo (1880-1949, a Harvard professor trained in psychopathology who is most famous for the well-known" Hawthorne studies", a 20-year experiment at a Western Electric plant in Cicero, Illinois.
The "Hawthorne effect" is the name given to the 112% increase in output by workers who perceive that they are being studied somehow. They found that output increased even when the lighting levels were decreased, even when salaries were adjusted downward, and even when worker complaints were ignored. After a process of elimination, only one explanation was left: the attention Mayo and his assistants were paying to the workers.
These studies showed that there was something else other than money that motivated workers to work hard. Mayo stated that workers have a deep psychological need to believe that their organization cares about them, is open, concerned, and willing to listen.
Some basic ideas of the human relations approach
1. Supervisors should not act like supervisors - they should be friends, counselors to the workers.
2. Managers should not just focus on product or job quality at the expense of humanistic, characteristics of work.
3. Managers should pay attention to the psychological and social needs of their workers, to the organisation as a social system, and to the importance of group values and norms in influencing individual behaviour.
4. Humanistic supervision plus morale equals productivity.
5. Workers should be involved or at least consulted before any change in the organisation.
6. Employees who leave should be exit-interviewed.
7. Managers should understand that people go to work to satisfy a complexity of needs and expectations, and not simply just for monetary reward.
8. Managers should notice the importance...