Human Relations Theory

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Basically, owing to the dynamism at the workplace in the 21st century, the best management theory would be human relation theory. Concisely, human relation theory attempts to bring into recognition the psychological and human aspects of an employee at the workstation. Notably, the theory is highly attributed to the Hawthorn studies experiment that was conducted by Elton Mayo at west general electrical company. As importunately, human relations theory is based on the school of thought and beliefs that employees aspire to be part of any productive group that is supportive and ready to take care of their human elements (Arthita, 2018).

Accordingly, compared to scientific principle, human relation theory advocates the need to understand the human attitude, their capacity, psychological feelings and other factors which are humane in nature and will help employees in accomplishing not only organization objectives but also their unique needs. As a result, according to the theory, if employees receive better recognition other than being viewed as economic being and machine people, they will be encouraged to work and accomplish their task adequately, be highly motivated and thus resulting in high performance (Burke et al., 2010, p 155).The theory has been frequently associated with the most renowned western electrical factory experiments where employees were subjected to various changing factors in the environment which affected their productivity (Mayo, 2014).

Benefits of the human relations theory

Appreciation/recognition: Hawthorne theory which the basic foundation of human relations theory, found out that recognition or appreciation was the main factor that contributes to enhanced employee performance (Burke et al., 2010, p 156). For instance, the pioneers advocated that in a work environment where employees showed gratefully, their performance was increased as this formed one way of being recognized by either colleagues or their employers. Gratitude toward workers had significant effects on encouraging them to enhance their performance. Staffs are likely to improve their performance in an organization where they are fully appreciated acknowledged, respected and highly valued (Mayo, 2014). Consequently, they are likely to feel that they are part of the firm and thus increasing their performance. Conversely, other methods such as scientific management theory has placed less emphasis on employee motivation and thus causing dissatisfaction among staffs which leads to poor performance, displeasure and high turnover rates..

Informal groups: Informal group becomes the core part of any organization (Bruce and Nyland, 2011, p 384). Despite the fact that there are formal structures which define formal organization and relationship within companies, the existence of informal groups seems to be more functional and positively contributing to the cohesiveness of the group members. Employees perform well when they feel that they have their own person in a leadership position to champion their interests. Informal leaders are highly regarded by their group members as they feel that they are the right people to foster their needs to the management (Perry, 2018). Additionally, for management, informal leaders are the strategic tools which can be used to persuade employees to perform a given task or make their contribution to a given assignment. Scientific management does not encourage formation of informal groups or team work at the workplace as employees are only expected to receive and execute orders from their management.

Teamwork: Employee group has highly been valued by the Hawthorne effect (Mayo, 1949, p 149). Based on their studies at the General Electrical, the researchers found out that employees who were grouped into different team had better performance outcome compared to individuals who worked solely. Employees who belong to specific groups could easily learn new skills, concept and even share innovative ideas. Workers could also assist their colleagues in accomplishing certain tasks. Group work in scientific management is ignored as individuals work independently and thus recurrent mistakes are frequently reported.

Recognition of Emotions: Opposed to other management theories like the scientific management theory, human relation approach has placed great emphasis on emotions at the workplace.  Based on the theory, emotions are detrimental to the workflow in cases where they are ignored in the case of scientific management where human beings are viewed as economic being and machine-like (Bruce and Nyland, 2011, p 383). By recognizing the aspects of emotions at work place, human relation approach seeks to reduce the instances of conflict which can negatively affect employee productivity. Precisely, under this management method, workers are free to express their emotions to other members in the organization as this will help in relieving them and thus promoting group cohesion among employees and the management. Failure to recognize employee performance as in the case of scientific management is likely to reduce worker productivity as dissatisfaction levels are high.

Workplace Supervision: In order to achieve workplace productivity, human relations approach recommends the existence of high levels of employee supervision conversely to what scientific management advocate for; doing the same thing routinely. If employees are well trained and possess the required skills, they need supervision and guidance on how to apply those skills effectively (Khalil, 2012, p 107). As a result, managers are advised to ensure that supportive supervision exists as this will help employees in overcoming workflow challenges as opposed to machine theory in the scientific management theory where employees seem to be programmed for specific tasks. Therefore, it is recommendable that the management approach advocate for a democratic and social supervisor who are likely to socially and harmoniously interact with employees for beneficial gain and not autocratic as in other management styles (Mayo, 1949, p 150).

Communication and leadership:  Human relations approach recommended that employees need constant guidance through appropriate leadership on how to improve their performance. Subsequently, managers are required to ensure that they develop effective leaders in the organization both formal and informal ones as they are significant in wooing followers to achieve a given goal. Needless to be emphasized is the aspect of effective communication where the management theory advocates for a two-way communication system between employees and management (Khalil, 2012, p 108). Moreover, as a result of open door policy, employees are given chance to contribute to work policies and thus reducing resistance to change. Contrawise, scientific management only adapts downward communication where employees’ needs are ignored and thus more resistance to management objectives.

Employee Motivation: another benefit which human relations approach has is the emphasis on staff motivation. The theory holds that workers are likely to feel appreciated for the work they perform if the management is ready to motivate them based on the work they have accomplished. As a result, employees are supposed to be motivated using both economic and non-economic factors. Instead of using economic aspects in scientific management which merely assumes that human being is economic in nature and thus purely motivated with economic rewards of financial motivators (Mayo, 2014). On contrary, human relation approach advocates the use of psychological motivation factors to inspire employees including work-life flexibility, bonuses, training and development, competitive salaries staff autonomy, promotion, recognition through praises and career advancement.

Personal development: Essentially, this is another important tenant that denoted human relations theory. Base on the management approach, employees have got their district needs which must be achieved. Subsequently, at the workplace, the realization and contribution to employee self-realization, actualization, and satisfaction are the main aspects that dictate their performance. Highly satisfied employees who have achieved their distinct need are likely to omit most of their time and effort in perusing organization goals. On the other hand, this is not the case in scientific management where human or employee development is ignored as it is assumed that the only goal that workers have is to solemnly achieve organizational goals and thus ignoring workers personal development aspirations (Mayo, 2014).

Lastly, human relations approach is better placed to be applied to an organization that wishes to enhance its work relations with employees at it promotes relations-oriented leadership style and avoids task-oriented style as exhibited in scientific management which ignore the role of psychological aspect at the workplace and thus resulting in employee dissatisfaction and demotivation which results in poor performance. Moreover, group dynamics is also encouraged through human relations management style which aims at bringing different group ideologies together for cohesion and mutual benefits within the organization, however, group dynamics is highly overlooked in the scientific management approach.

Implication to the management 

The implication of human relation theory is that managers should ensure that they promote the formation of informal leadership in their companies. Informal group help employees to achieve their interests by forwarding them to the management through their leaders (Perry, 2018). The informal group can be used to enhance skill development among individuals since the basic move through which people can be motivated in an organization.

Clearly, when technical skills are improved, the labor force will be better placed to handle related problems with the aim of enhancing productivity. Consequently, it becomes the key responsibility of management to ensure that employees’ abilities are enhanced. Secondly, the theory denotes that teamwork has a central role to play in reference to motivation. The manner in which workplace tasks and responsibilities are designed and coordinated will dictate the level of performance (Arthita, 2018). Poorly defined employee groups are likely to lead to role conflict within the company and this can greatly reduce motivation among individuals leading to poor performance.


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October 30, 2023

Business Economics

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