Human Relations Movement Assignment

Human Relations Movement Assignment Words: 1554

The main concern of this assignment is the human relations movement and how it eradicated the influence of the classical and scientific management in the industry today. This approach raises some important questions about what are the keys function of the classical-scientific management theory, and the contrast of the worker in the classical-scientific and behavioral management. Some additional points need to be considered such as the Hawthorne studies and also the most important aspect covered is the Industrial Revolution that had the biggest influence on management.

The Industrial Revolution in the eighteenth century led to a widespread growth of machinery and mass production throughout England and later in Europe and the United States. During this era, there was a change in the scale and method of production, along with logistical problems facing businesses, forcing them to adopt more systematic approaches to management. From this came firstly the scientific approach to managing production processed and later the evolution of the behavioral approach to management. The roots of modern management lie within a group of practitioners and writers who gave their contributions to management.

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One of the most representatives of the classical era is Henri Fayol who spend most of the time working as a mining engineer but also later on, developing management theories. Fayol developed the first, widely accepted definition of management. “To manage is to forecast and to plan, to organize, to command, to co-ordinate and to control” (Henry Fayol, 1916). The definition of management did not remain unchanged and other scientists developed new points of view regarding what is management. The year that the modern management theory was born was 1911.

This year was the year that Frederick Winslow Taylor which is known as the father of scientific management, published the book “Principles of Scientific Management”, where it was described the theory of scientific management which is the use of the scientific method to define the one best way for a job to be done. Taylor wanted to create a mental revolution among the workers and management by defining clear guidelines for improving production efficiency. Taylor states that the role of managers is to plan and control, and that of workers to perform within the instruction.

Taylor’s most prominent disciples were Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. Frank was a construction contractor, while Lillian was a psychologist. Studying work arrangements helped to eliminate wasteful hand-and-body motions, also experimented in the design and use of proper tools and equipment for optimizing work performance. Another associate of Taylor was an engineer named Henry L. Gantt who extended some of Taylor’s original ideas and added some new ones. For example, Gantt devised an incentive system that gave workers a noun for completing for completing the job in less time that allowed standard.

Gantt is most noted for creating a graphic bar chart that could be used by managers as a scheduling device for planning and controlling work. Fayol wrote during the same time as Taylor, but the attention was directed at the activities of all managers, and wrote from personal experience. Fayol argued that management was an activity common to all human undertaking in business, in government, and even at home. Max Weber was a German sociologist that developed a theory of authority structure and described organizational activity on the basis of authority relations.

Weber recognized that this ideal bureaucracy didn’t exist in reality, but that it represented a selective reconstruction of the real world and this was a response to the abuses that were within organizations. Weber believed that this model could remove the ambiguity, inefficiencies and patronage that characterized most organizations at that time. Many of the components of Weber’s bureaucracy are still inherent in large organizations today. The fundamental premise of classical-scientific management theory is that there is only “one best way of doing things”.

Early advocates of this theory argued that it is the fundamental job of managers to establish the tasks of workers in order to maximize productivity. Classical-scientific management is associated with jobs specialization, division of labor, centralized power as well as a hierarchical organizational structure. Managers must determine the businesses objectives, formulate strategies to meet these objectives, and put together the resources, policies and procedures needed to meet the goal of the business.

The classical view treated organizations and people as machines where the managers were the engineers. The human resources approach offered managers solutions for lessening this alienation and for improving worker productivity. Humanizing the workplace had become congruent with society’s concerns at the time. Behavioral science and the study of organizational behavior emerged in the 1950 and 1960. It focused on applying conceptual and analytical tools to the problem of understanding and predicting behavior in the workplace.

However, the study of behavioral science and organizational behavior was also result of criticism of the human relation approach as simplistic and manipulative in its assumptions about the relationship between worker attitudes and productivity. The behavioral management theory supports concepts of motivation, leadership and group dynamics. Theorists believed that workers are able to undertake basic tasks without strict supervision and frequent instruction, allowing for businesses to operate with fewer managers, hence a flatter organizational structure and a wider span of control.

Cohesive workplace teams emphasize the importance of working together in a cooperative and coordinated fashion. Concepts of group dynamics promote cooperation and improve employee moral. Better decisions and more innovative ideas can result from team work. Team work can increase performance by workers combining ideas to create synergy. The human relations movement was spearheaded by Elton Mayo and his associates in the 1920 and 1930s. It clashed directly with Taylor’s theories.

Managers, found Mayo, should not only look at finding the best techniques and methods to improve output, but should also look at human affairs. While Scientific Management looked at technology and processes, Mayo found that the real key to high productivity lies within the people and groups in the organization. Effective organizations, the Human Relations Movement found, develop around the employees, looking primarily at human feelings and attitudes. Cooperative goal setting and personal growth and development are the key to effective businesses, determined Mayo.

The struggle between Scientific Management and the Human Relations Movement are very much about management, leadership and what is more important between production and people. The most important contribution to the human resources approach to management are the Hawthorne studies which are a series of studies during the 1920’s and 1930’s as an attempt to determine the effects of lighting on worker productivity, that provided new insights into group norms and behaviors. When those experiments showed no clear correlation between light level and productivity the experiments then started looking at other factors.

Working with a group of women, the experimenters made a number of changes, rest breaks, no rest breaks, free meals, no free meals, more hours in the work-day / work-week, fewer hours in the work-day / work-week. Their productivity went up at each change. Finally the women were put back to their original hours and conditions, and they set a productivity record. This strongly disproved Taylor’s beliefs in three ways. First, the experimenters determined that the women had become a team and that the social dynamics of the team were a stronger force on productivity than doing things “the one best way. Second, the women would vary their work methods to avoid boredom without harming overall productivity. Finally the group was not strongly supervised by management, but instead had a great deal of freedom. These results made it clear that the group dynamics and social makeup of an organization were an extremely important force either for or against higher productivity. This caused the call for greater participation for the workers, greater trust and openness in the working environment and a greater attention to teams and groups in the work place.

Under this theory, it is recognised that what works well in one circumstance or situation may be inappropriate or ineffective in another. This means management styles must depend on the particular circumstance requiring managers to be flexible and have the ability to adapt to today’s dynamic business environment. This model serves to intregrate characteristics from another management theories much as behavioural management theory and the classical-scientific management theory.

For example, leadership style of classical-scientific management theory would be appropriate when immediate decisions need to be made under pressure. Managers of the twenty-first century recognise that universal guidelines can be ineffective and do not fit every organisation. In today’s society, organisations and their environments are not as stable and simple as they were in previous years. It is clear that modern organizations are strongly influenced by the theories of Taylor, Mayo, Weber and Fayol.

Their precepts have become such a strong part of modern management that it is difficult to belive that these concepts were original and new at some point in history. However, the behavioral management also contribiuted to the Industrial Revolution and it has the biggest influence within the companies of twenty-first century. References: Sheldrake, J. (2003) Management Theory 2nd Edition. Thomson Learning, London. British Medical Journal London – Human Relations in Industry Management Thought – www. referenceforbusiness. com The Human Relations Movement – www. odportal. com Number of words 1480

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