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Human Relations Management Theory Basics

ByGail L. Perry, writer
| Updated
Sep 27, 2011
Image Credit: By nullplus
> Human Resources

Understand the basic premise behind the human relations management theory

The human relations theory of management began development in the early 1920's during the industrial revolution. At that time, ...

The human relations theory of management began development in the early 1920's during the industrial revolution. At that time, productivity was the focus of business. Professor Elton Mayo began his experiments (the Hawthorne Studies), to prove the importance of people for productivity - not machines.

The human relations management theory is a researched belief that people desire to be part of a supportive team that facilitates development and growth. Therefore, if employees receive special attention and are encouraged to participate, they perceive their work has significance, and they are motivated to be more productive, resulting in high quality work.

The following human relations management theory basics became evident during human relation studies:

1. Individual attention and recognition aligns with the human relations theory.

2. Many theorists supported the motivational theory.

3. Studies supported the importance of human relations in business.

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Understand the human relations theory of management

The results of Professor Elton Mayo's Hawthorne studies proved that the factor most influencing productivity are relationships. The researchers realized productivity increased due to relationships and being part of a supportive group where each employee's work had a significant effect on the team output. As a side result, the researchers noticed that the increased attention the workers received by the researchers increased motivation and productivity, which resulted in what is the Hawthorne Effect.

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How Motivational Theory Fits with Human Relations in Management

After the Hawthorne experiments, Abraham Maslow and Douglas McGregor revealed how the motivational theory ties in with theories of human relations. Maslow suggested five basic needs (physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization) were motivating factors when viewing an employee's work values, because the employee is motivated to ensure the most important of these individual needs are met. McGregor supported motivation beliefs by realizing that employees contribute more to the organization if they feel responsible and valued.

Use the bottom line results of human relations management theories

The result of the studies regarding human relations in the workplace show that people want to have a sense of belonging and significance while being treated with value and respect. Treat an employee with respect and value, and their individual productivity and quality increases to support the organizational team.

  • Remember, human relations falls under the umbrella of human resources; therefore, the human resources theory is different from the human relations management theory.
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Gail L. Perry
Gail L. Perry
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