Introduction Of Human Relations Movement

According to Jofri, Yaccob and Shah, twentieth century was a satisfying and remarkable period for the employees worldwide as their wages amount was increased, enhanced fringe benefits were offered to boost up their production level and working conditions were modified to be compatible with their requirements. The primary reason for such drastic changes in the working culture was that the researchers of Human Resource (HR) field realized that the human relations perspective needs to be changed from focussing on machinery aspect of increasing the organisation’s productivity to enhanced emphasis on the social aspect of the employees.

In organisations of recent times, the primary element that should be focussed for enhancing their performance is the management of employees’ satisfaction and motivation levels that comprise various aspects from compliance with the strategic and formal rules and regulations to the maintenance of high quality productivity. There has been a shift from the classical perspective of management such as the Scientific Management, Bureaucracy Management and Administrative Management to the Human Relations Movement that focuses on the personal needs of employees for enhancing the organisation’s performance (Robbins & Barnwell, 2006).

Reasons for development of Human Relations Movement

Under the Human Relations Movement, there is more importance of various social factors that are informal in nature in the work environment such as relationships among the colleagues and norms that are present in the group as they impact the motivation level of the employees. The researchers of classical management school emphasized on improving the performance of the organisation by focusing on the materialistic features and they overlooked the human factors (Stacey, 2010).

When the organisations allocated their resources on enhancing their productivity by implementing the efficient methods rather than on developing the employees to meet the changing demands of the work culture, an environment of dissatisfaction and low motivation level was created that adversely resulted in negative performance of the companies; the employee turnover rate increased and an organisation’s performance in the market declined significantly (Giddens, 2010).

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The classical and scientific approaches of management state that the workers of a company need to be controlled by coercion and punishment. However, the organisations soon observed the negative aspects of these approaches and decided to alter the management perspective by focussing more on the workforce and also their needs. The Human Relations Movement was initiated with the aim of providing employees a work environment that is supportive of their work requirements i.e. freedom to work, discretion of making decision related to job, cordial relations with supervisors and colleagues and effective reward mechanism for showing appreciation for their enhanced level of efforts (Daft, 2005). All of these factors resulted in enhanced productivity of the organisation.

The researchers who contributed to the Human Relations Movement were Elton Mayo (known as the father of this Movement), Chester Barnard, McGregor, Maslow, Miles, Black and Moulton and many more. It has been stated by Dess, Lumpkin and Eisner (2012) that the main origins of the Human Relations Movement are derived from the Hawthorne Studies and work of Chestner Barnard. The foremost aspect emphasized in the Movement was the development of workplace environment that is compatible with the requirements of the employees as they are looking for a social group especially presence of an informal relationship between employees and their managers; this social aspect has taken priority over the classical management focus on the specific organisational structures.

Elton Mayo worked on the idea that the all the employees have compelling socialising needs in the organisations and they want to satisfy this aspect of needs by gaining membership in the form of various informal social groups at their workplaces. This fact was opposed to the classical perspective of management that comprises of the Scientific Management and Bureaucracy Management that focussed on the scientific clarification of policies, stringent processes of work and strict incentive plans to compel workers to enhance their productivity; these theorists never focussed on standards for the group and sentiments of the workers employed in the organisations (Jofri, Yaccob & Shah, 2011).

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The Hawthorne Studies concluded that an organisation’s employees are willing to work hard and more efficiently when they are provided a working environment that is comfortable and informal which takes into account the satisfaction level of employees along with their personal needs; the employees cannot be manipulated by high remuneration packages as they are looking for more personal things rather than materialistic elements (Stacey, 2010).

Impact of Human Relations Movement on Classical and Scientific Management

Since the classical and scientific perspectives of management emphasized on the materialistic components of an organisation to enhance the productivity of employees and its business operations, the Human Relations Movement was developed to address the following aspects required in the organisation by the employees as depicted by the studies of Robbins and Barnwell (2006) and Stacey (2010):

There needs to be more emphasis on workers rather on the tasks.

The creative, emotional and cognitive aspects of the employees need to be given importance rather than the physical contributions that can be made by the workers.

Two-way communication is important so that both top management people and workforce can exchange the organisation’s vital information and ideas efficiently.

The organisation’s behaviour effectiveness is largely dependent on the social relationships that exist among the employees as it impacts the social being of the entire workforce.

In order to enhance the satisfaction and production of workers, open communication is required so that the employees can give their suggestions, complaints, feelings and opinions which can be an option for enhancing the performance of the organisation.

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The Human Relations Movement is primarily based on the factors such as employee’s individual satisfaction of personal needs, informal relationships between the employees and their respective supervisors, conducive and supportive working environment, two-way communication, employees treated as human beings and considered as valuable assets of the organisations. Since the employees were demanding these important elements in their jobs, the organisations had to change their structures so that they can motivate the employees and enhance their production level.


Now-a-days, the influence of classical and scientific management perspectives has been eliminated from the organisations and their management teams are focussing more on the human elements. Almost all the employees who have been given the opportunity to work in a company that has a working environment compatible with their personal and social needs are able to make valuable contribution in the organisation. Since the companies have realized that they cannot achieve their organisational goals by developing strict rules and policies, designing authoritative organisational structures and focussing on monetary incentives, they have ensured that they have mechanisms for creating an environment that focuses on employee’s human needs (Daft, 2005).

According to the Human Relations Movement, the organisational structures should be based on the motivation and satisfaction levels of employees rather than on formalized structures, two-way communication mechanisms should be implemented that can enhance the employee’s creativity and adds value to the organisation, the managers have to show respect towards their subordinates and treat every employee fairly and equally. Hence, the Human Relations Movement has eradicated the need of scientific and classical management perspectives as it allows the management to operate effectively and successfully in the market.

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