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Management Theory of Elton Mayo

Jeanne Dininni

The management theory of Elton Mayo can help you build more productive teams.

Elton Mayo's contribution to management theory helped pave the way for modern human relations management methods.

Based on his well-known Hawthorne experiments, Mayo's management theories grew from his observations of employee productivity levels under varying environmental conditions. His experiments drew a number of conclusions about the real source of employee motivation, laying the groundwork for later approaches to team building and group dynamics. Mayo management theory states that employees are motivated far more by relational factors such as attention and camaraderie than by monetary rewards or environmental factors such as lighting, humidity, etc.

Elton Mayo developed a matrix which he used to illustrate the likelihood that a given team would be successful. His matrix demonstrates the role that varying combinations of group norms and group cohesiveness play in team effectiveness.

The following are the four combinations of Mayo theory and the effect of each on team dynamics:

1. Groups with low norms and low cohesiveness are ineffective; they have no impact, since none of the members are motivated to excel, according to Mayo's theory.

2. Groups with low norms and high cohesiveness have a negative impact, since fellow members encourage negative behavior (e.g., gangs).

3. Groups with high norms and low cohesiveness have some degree of positive impact through individual member accomplishments.

4. Groups with high norms and high cohesiveness have the greatest positive impact, Mayo's theory predicts, since group members encourage one another to excel.

Understand the concepts of Mayo's theory and how they can benefit you

Numerous websites provide valuable information about Mayo theory. In addition to diagrams, summaries and explanations of Mayo management principles, you'll find various videos and instructional materials that can help you develop the background knowledge and practical expertise to put Mayo's theories to work for your company.

Take advantage of consulting services that can help give you greater insight into Mayo theory

Consultants with knowledge and experience in the management theory of Elton Mayo can guide you in maximizing the benefit of his principles in your own company's unique environment.

Take advantage of resources designed to help you make the most of Mayo's management theories

Widely available online tools and resources can help you more easily implement Elton Mayo management principles. Videos and various other Elton Mayo theory-based products, information and services let you choose the resources most valuable to your business.

Consider the many benefits of putting the Elton Mayo management theory to work for your business. If you decide to use it, why not go all out and practice it in all the areas it can effectively address: your own leadership of the company, your managers' development and your employees' engagement.

Image Credit: Evdokimov Maxim/Shutterstock
Jeanne Dininni