B.Sc. CSIT 7th Semester Principle of Management

Human Relation and Behavioral Science Theories


Human relations movement refers to the researchers of organizational development who study the behavior, in particular workplace groups, and other related concepts in fields such as industrial and organizational psychology. This movement has developed human relation and behavior theory, which gives emphasis to human behavior and psychological aspect of human beings. According to this theory human resource is the most essential in any organization; it should not be deal like other resources. Human resource should be properly deal considering their norms and values. Human relations theory developed as a response to Taylorism.

Rejecting the biological and mechanistic approaches of F. W. Taylor’s Scientific Management, the human relations theory proposed the implementation of methods of dealing with workers as socio -psychological beings. As the basis of its new methods of growing and increasing labor productivity, the human relations theory proposed that human psychological and moral qualities such as goals, motivation, and values be taken into account. 

Human relation and behavioral science theories consists 

  1. Hawthorn Study 
  2.  Hierarchy of Needs Theory
  3.  Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y, and 
  4. Participatory Management Theory. 
  1. HR George Elton Mayo’s Hawthorn Study

George Elton Mayo was an Australian industrial researcher and organizational theorist. He has made significant contributions to a number of disciplines such as business management, industrial sociology, philosophy, and social psychology. Mayo and his team conducted a number of experiments. These experiments are often referred to as the Hawthorne study (1927-1932) as they took place at The Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company in Chicago.

The Hawthorne effect is an increase in worker productivity produced by the psychological stimulus of being singled out and made to feel important. At the end of the five year period, Mayo’s team concludes that workers were motivated by psychological conditions more than physical working condition.

According to Franke and Kaul (1978), the major findings of Hawthorne studies are as follows: 

  • The aptitudes of individuals are imperfect predictors of job performance. Although they give some indication of the physical and mental potential of the individual, the amount produced is strongly influenced by social factors.
  •  Informal organization affects productivity. The Hawthorne researchers discovered a group life among the workers. The studies also showed that the relations that supervisors develop with workers tend to influence the manner in which the workers carry out directives.
  •  Work group norms affect productivity. The Hawthorne researchers were not the first to recognize that work groups tend to arrive at norms of what is a fair day’s work; however, they provided the best systematic description and interpretation of this phenomenon.
  •  The workplace is a social system. The Hawthorne researchers came to view the workplace as a social system made up of interdependent parts. 
  1. Hierarchy of Needs Theory

Abraham Maslow, a human psychologists developed a theory of human needs in 1943. He suggested that people have a complex set of needs. People always have needs, and when one need is relatively fulfilled others emerge in a predictable sequence to take place. Human needs tend to follow a basic hierarchical pattern from the most basic need to highest level needs. Until the most basic needs are fulfilled a person will not try to meet his higher level needs. The following are the hierarchy of human needs:

  1. Physiological needs: It is the basic need essential to survive. In an organization adequate wages , and a good working environment generally satisfy these needs.
  2. Security Needs: It includes protection against deprivation, danger and threat on or off the job.
  3. Affiliation/ Social Needs: It includes affection, sense of belonging, acceptance, and friendship.
  4. Esteem Needs: It includes internal factors such as self-respect, autonomy and achievements and external factors such as status, recognition , and attention. People seek opportunities for achievement, promotion, prestige and status to satisfy these needs
  5. Self-actualization Needs: These needs are related to personal  growth, self-fulfillment, and the realization of one’s full potential. It is desire to become what one is capable of becoming.
Human Relation and Behavioral Science Theory

Fig: Hierarchy of Needs Theory

3.  Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y

Douglas Murray McGregor, an American Social Psychologist, was a management Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management and President of Antioch College from 1948 to 1954. He also taught at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta. Theory X and Theory Y are theories of human motivation that were developed by Douglas McGregor at the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1960s. These theories describe two contrasting models of workforce motivation that have been used in human resource management, organizational behavior, organizational communication, and organizational development. 

Assumption of Theory X

Theory X represents the negative view of employees. So, the manager needs to control, punish, and direct the employees. According to McGregor, Theory X has the following assumptions:

  1.  Employees do not like to work and if possible they like to avoid works.
  2.  They do not like to work, so their manager should control for the achievement of organizational goal, give direction to them, force to work and even intimidate(scare) them. 
  3. Employees want to be directed/ guided, they do not like to take responsibilities, and want security/ safety and they also have little ambition.
  4.  Most employees have little capacity; they do not solve organizational problems.

Assumption of Theory Y

Theory Y represents positive view of employees. So, manager doesn’t need to control, punish, and direct the employees. According to McGregor, Theory Y has the following assumptions:

  1. Employees like to work, and work is a part of their life, they enjoy work. 
  2.  Employees get heartily motivated to reach their goal. 
  3. Employees become dedicated to work or to goal only to the limit until they reach their goal by receiving personal rewards. 
  4. Employees are willing to take on responsibility. 
  5. Employees are willing to work for organizational goals or causes they believe in. 
  6. Employees are capable of creativity, ingenuity, and self -direction.

4. Mary Parker Follet’s Participatory Management 

Mary Parker Follet was an American social worker, management consultant, and pioneer in the fields of organizational theory and organizational behavior. She was born in Quincy, Massachusetts. Along with Lillian Gilbreth, Mary Parker Follett was one of two great women management gurus in the early days of classical management theory, and she is regarded by some writers as the “mother” of Modern Management.

Mary Parker Follet has developed Participatory Management. According to her, employees should involve in management through joint management committee, joint advisory system, quality control circle, and so on. Mary Parker Follett stressed the interactions of management and workers. She looks at management and leadership holistically, presaging modern syste ms approaches; she identifies a leader as someone who sees the whole rather than the particular.

Feature of Human Relation and Behavioral Theories

The distinct features of human relation and behavioral science theories are as follows: 

  1.  Labor/ worker is a human being, who is also a member of a team or ar organization. 
  2. Contribution of worker depends on his/her physical capacity and willingness to work. 
  3. Non-economic rewards play a crucial role to motivate workers. 
  4. Motivation, leadership, communication, participatory management collective activity, etc. are the important elements of this theory.
  5. More production and more motivation can be achieved through good human relation. 
  6. Participation in decision making may also result in more output from the workers.

Contribution of Human Relation and Behavioral Science Theories

Major contributions of the human relation and behavioral science theories are follows: 

  1. This theory gives important insight to motivation, group dynamic an: interpersonal relation. 
  2. It draws managerial attention towards motivation, group dynamic an: interpersonal relation. 
  3. This theory challenges the concept that the employees or workers are like machines or tools. It establishes the employees or wo rkers as the mos: important human resource.
  4. Develops high quality leadership to communicate goals and to ensure effective and logical decision making.
  5. Examines the effects of social relations, motivation and employee satisfaction on factory productivity.

Limitation of Human Relation and Behavioral Science Theories

Limitations of the human relation and behavioral science theories are as follows:

  1.  Human relation theory is criticized for overemphasizing human needs at expense of need for accomplishment organizational tasks. 
  2. Idea of human relations theory has posed certain dilemmas without solutions.
  3. The effect of human relations theory did not result in the demise of the numerous applications of classical theory.
  4. Some human relations theorists did not give the rise to derivations that were subject to practical testing.
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Karina Shakya