Organisation, Work and Technology 221 People in Organisations The Human Relations Movement Dr. Simon Burnett (email@example.com) Lent Term 2009 1
Introducing Human Relations. There is presently a widespread, unitaristic and humanistic belief prevalent in management thinking, that being happy and productiveat work are necessarily connected An interdisciplinary study of the social relations in the workplace Presents a counterpoint to the preceding scientific management hegemony Assumes workers inherently want to engage with others in socially supportive relationships Emphasises: motivation, communication, participation and leadership 2
Elton Mayo: (grand)father of the human relations movement. “How did the activities of five women engaged in assembling intricate electrical components in a huge Chicago factory come to be seen as representative of the behavior and aspirations of all workers?” (‘History of the Hawthorne Experiments’ - Richard Gillespie, 1991:264) 3 George Elton John Mayo (26th Dec, 1880 – 7th Sep, 1949) Australian psychologist, sociologist and organizational theorist. See Schein - p56-66 View slide
From Bethlehem Steel to Western Electric: the Hawthorne Experiments (i). Reviewing Taylor’s principles: Separation of conception and execution Reduce all tasks to simplest movements Physical matching of workers to work 4 “Researchers had empirically discovered that one may organize, and apparently scientifically, a carefully contrived enquiry into a human industrial problem and yet failed completely to elucidate the problem in any particular” (‘The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization’ – Elton Mayo, 1946:53) View slide
Ironically – the Hawthorne Experiments were intended to determine which physical and technical factors led to improved production and workplace attitude. But, after far from conclusive results, the very act of focusing on the employees directly, regardless of the changes implemented, became attributed to causing the desired outcomes witnessed. Thus, Mayo and his team sought to reframe the management of culture rather than process 5 From Bethlehem Steel to Western Electric: the Hawthorne Experiments (ii). “Comment after comment from the girls indicates that...they have a feeling that their increased production is in some way related to the distinctly freer, happier and more pleasant working environment” (‘The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization’ – Elton Mayo, 1946:74-7)
Abraham Maslow: father of humanistic psychology. ‘Motivation and Personality’ (1970) The organismic viewpoint Unity, integration and organisation are the natural state of the normal personality “...disorganization is pathological, usually brought about by an oppressive or threatening environment” (Theories of Personality’ – Hall & Lindzey, 1960:296) Embraced a number of concepts emerging from Hawthorne experiments Attacked psychology’s prevailing negativity and ‘pessimism’ Mankind strives continuously to realise inherent potential Humanity is ‘essentially good’ 6 Abraham Harold Maslow (1st Apr, 1908 – 8th June, 1970 ) American clinical psychologist.
The humanists’ approach. Maslow et al wished to study ‘transcendent and transpersonal’ psychological phenomena They considered it ‘closed off’ in principle to the schools of behaviorism [cf. Skinner and Pavlov] and Freudianism Supremacy of the individual Held a distrust for mechanical models and ‘customary analytical techniques’ (Hall & Lindzey 1960:257) 7 “Whilst most of the best minds in psychology were pushing relentlessly towards increasing rigor and quantification; [humanists] serenely pursued [their] own way, advocating the importance of the qualitative study of the individual case” (‘Theories of Personality’ – Hall & Lindzey , 1960: xxvii).
The (in)famous Hierarchy of Needs 8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxdNzOVRAmA Is this accurate? Can you skip a stage? If you lose a lower step can’t you retain a higher one? Can humanity really be summed up in this simplistic model ?
In his own words...
Positivity, wellness and
Human happiness can be harnessed towards mutual employee/employer benefit
Holistic study of humanity
Mankind’s limitless power
Desire to make life better
and happier “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself” “Classic economic theory, based as it is on an inadequate theory of human motivation, could be revolutionized by accepting the reality of higher human needs, including the impulse to self actualization and the love for the highest values” 9
‘Hearts and minds’: the modern embracement. It is easy to see where and why these ideas have been assimilated in to contemporary management culture... http://www.bnet.com/2422-13724_23-182940.html HOWEVER: despite appearances, all these theories still rely on rational and instrumental assumptions, that place primacy upon the goals of the capitalist enterprise by re-aligning employee action and attitudes to those of the employers (cf. ’Minding the Workers’ - O’Connor, 1999a:223) 10
Conclusion: HRM’s shaky modern incantation from a curiously misanthropic humanist. Much of modern day HRM has stayed loyal to Human Relation’s original core notions (see Mayo and Maslow et al). However, Mayo believed World War 1 had demonstrated “man’s fundamental rottenness” and that this innate rotten nature needed sublimating. So, as opposed to a sympathetic, moral obligation, he hence aspired to appeal to the human factor as he saw mankind’s emotionality as posing “the foremost danger to civilization”. He had visions of management becoming reified to the position of “guardian of social order” able to save “humanity from its naturally dire state”. For if the human agent could be sufficiently manipulated by workplace initiatives: “this would grant managers the genuine capacity to make people not only do – but also be – what was wanted by the organization”. 11 See O’Connor, E. (1999a; 1999b).
References. Burnett, S.B. (2008), The Happiness Agenda: the sources, sites and protagonists of a modern obsession, PhD Thesis, University of Lancaster. Bolton, S.C. (2000), ‘Emotion Here, Emotion There, Emotional Organisations Everywhere’ in Critical Perspectives on Accounting, 11: pp155-171. Bolton, S.C. & Boyd, C. (2003), ‘Trolley Dolly or Skilled Emotion Manager? Moving on from Hochchild’s Managed Heart’ in Work, Employment and Society, 17: pp289-308. Fisher, C.D. (1980), ‘On the Dubious Wisdom of Expecting Job Satisfaction to Correlate with Performance’ in The Academy of Management Review, 5(4): pp607-612. Fisher, C.D. (2003), ‘Why do Lay People Believe that Satisfaction and Performance are Correlated? Possible Sources of a Commonsense Theory’ in Journal of Organizational Behavior, 24: pp753-777. Gillespie, R. (1991), Manufacturing Knowledge: A History of the Hawthorne Experiments, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge and New York. Goldsmith, B. (2003), ‘Fun Adds Up’ in Successful Meetings, 52(7): p26. Goleman, D. (1996), Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ, London: Bloomsbury. Hall, C.S. & Lindzey, G. (1960), Theories of Personality (6th edition), New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc. 12
References. Hochschild, A.R. (1998), ‘The Sociology of Emotion as a Way of Seeing’, in Bendelow, G. B. & Williams, S.J. (eds.) Emotions in Social Life: Critical Themes and Contemporary Issues, Routledge: London and New York. Hochschild, A.R. (2003), The Managed Heart, Berkeley, California: University of California Press. Hollway, W. (1991), Work Psychology and Organizational Behaviour: Managing the Individual Worker, London: Sage Publications. Iaffaldano, M.T. & Muchinsky, P.M. (1985), ‘Job Satisfaction and Performance: A Meta Analysis’ in Psychological Bulletin, 97(2): pp251-273. Ledford Jr., G.E. (1999), ‘Happiness and Productivity Revisited’ in Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20(1): pp25-30. Maslow, A. H. (1970), Motivation and Personality (2nd edition), New York: Harper & Row Publishers. Maslow, A.H. (1998), Maslow on Management, New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc. Mayo, E. (1946), The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization (2nd edition), The Murray Printing Company: Cambridge, Massachusetts. O’Connor, E. (1999a), ‘Minding the Workers: The Meaning of ‘Human’ and ‘Human Relations’ in Elton Mayo’ in Organization, 6: pp223-246. 13
References. O’Connor, E. (1999b), ‘The Politics of Management Thought: A Case Study of the Harvard Business School and the Human Relations School’ in Academy of Management Review, 24(1): pp117-131. Oleson, V. & Bone, D. (1998), ‘Emotions in Rationalizing Organizations: Conceptual Notes from Professional Nursing in the USA’ in Bendelow, G. B. & Williams, S.J. (eds.) Emotions in Social Life: Critical Themes and Contemporary Issues, Routledge: London and New York. Sayer, A. (2007), ‘Moral Economy and Employment’ in Bolton, S. and Houlihan, M. (eds.) Searching for the Human in Human Resource Management, London: Palgrave. Taylor, F.W. (1947a), ‘Shop Management’ in Scientific Management (3rd edition), Harper & Brothers Publishers: New York and London. Taylor, F.W. (1947b), ‘The Principles of Scientific Management’ in Scientific Management (3rd edition), Harper & Brothers Publishers: New York and London. Thompson, P. (2003), ‘Disconnected Capitalism: Or Why Employers Can’t Keep Their Side of the Bargain’ in Work, Employment and Society, 17: pp359-378. Williams, S.J. & Bendelow, G. B. (1998), ‘Emotions in Social Life: Mapping the Sociological Terrain’ in Emotions in Social Life: Critical Themes and Contemporary Issues, Routledge: London and New York. 14