Human Relations Management Theory Key Terms

Business.com / Managing / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Human relations management theories were created based on the Hawthorne studies conducted by Professor Elton Mayo. The Hawthorne Effect ...

Human relations management theories were created based on the Hawthorne studies conducted by Professor Elton Mayo. The Hawthorne Effect is the increased motivation and productivity found in employees when placed in a team or group setting. The human relations movement was propelled by the Hawthorne studies. Many theorists such as McGregor, Herzberg, Vroom and others have developed their own employee motivation beliefs and concepts. The varied hypothesis consist of behavioral models that state the most efficient, effective and inspiring means of inciting self motivation and high performance from employees.

Hawthorne studies

The Hawthorne studies were conducted from 1927 until 1932 by Professor Elton Mayo at the Western Electric Hawthorne Works in Chicago. Professor Mayo examined work conditions and productivity. The conclusion of the research led to the discovery that relationships largely influenced productivity. Being part of a group or team affected the performance of each employee. The researchers dubbed the increased motivation and productivity The Hawthorne Effect.

Human relations movement

The human relations movement originated from Dr. Elton Mayo's Hawthorne studies. The movement stated that personal development and growth as well as employee goal setting are essential to effective businesses. The movement also emphasized the fact that affirmative motivation derived from team goals and greater production resulted from encouragement and positive reinforcement from employers.

Theory X and Theory Y

Theory X and Theory Y were proposed by Douglas McGregor in his 1960 book, The Human Side of Enterprise. The two theories are opposing methods by which supervisors perceive employee motivation. Theory X states that people dislike work and need the constant threat of job loss and financial incentives to work hard. These workers are irresponsible and need to be controlled. Theory Y states that people are self-motivated, responsible, creative and need to work. Theory Y has been adopted by more progressive management intellects that follow Elton Mayo's human relations approach.

Hierarchy of needs

According to Maslow, McGregor's Theory Y did not completely work because it ignored the need individuals had for Theory X. Maslow used his hierarchy of needs theory to explain human motivation. The five levels of needs according to Maslow are physiological needs, safety needs, needs of belonging, esteem needs and self-actualization needs. Maslow believed that people cannot fulfill the higher needs of esteem and self actualization without fulfilling the basic physiological and safety needs of an individual first.

Expectancy theory of motivation

Victor Vroom developed the expectancy theory of motivation. It is based on outcomes. Vroom surmises that effort, performance and motivation must be linked. He proposes three variables, valence, expectancy and instrumentality. Expectancy is the thought process that increased effort will lead to better performance. Instrumentality is the belief that you will be rewarded for hard work, and valence is the significance an individual places on an outcome. Vroom's theory is based on perceptions of equity or fairness in the workplace.

Two factor hygiene and motivational theory

Frederick Herzberg stated that hygiene factors such as quality of management, safety, status, relationships, company, working conditions and company policies are necessary to keep employees satisfied. Motivational factors like advancement, achievement, recognition, job interest and responsibility are needed in order to motivate employees to a higher performance level.

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