Elton mayo


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Elton mayo

  1. 1. Elton MayoManagement Gurus George Elton MayoGeorge Elton Mayo (December 26, 1880 - September 7, 1949) was an Australian psychologist, sociologistand organization theorist.He lectured at the University of Queensland from 1919 to 1923 before moving to the University ofPennsylvania, but spent most of his career at Harvard Business School (1926 - 1947), where he wasprofessor of industrial research.Elton Mayo is known as the founder of the Human Relations Movement, and is known for his researchincluding the Hawthorne Studies, and his book The Social Problems of an Industrialised Civilization (1933).The research he conducted under the Hawthorne Studies of the 1930s showed the importance of groups inaffecting the behaviour of individuals at work. However it was not Mayo who conducted the practicalexperiments but his employees Roethlisberger and Dickinson. This enabled him to make certaindeductions about how managers should behave. He carried out a number of investigations to look at waysof improving productivity, for example changing lighting conditions in the workplace. What he foundhowever was that work satisfaction depended to a large extent on the informal social pattern of theworkgroup. Where norms of cooperation and higher output were established because of a feeling ofimportance. Physical conditions or financial incentives had little motivational value. People will formworkgroups and this can be used by management to benefit the organisation. He concluded that peopleswork performance is dependent on both social issues and job content. He suggested a tension betweenworkers logic of sentiment and managers logic of cost and efficiency which could lead to conflict withinorganisations.Criticism regarding his employees procedure while conducting the studies: * The members of the groups whose behaviour has been studied were allowed to choose themselves. * Two women have been replaced since they were chatting during their work. They were later identifiedas members of a leftist movement. * One Italian member was working above average since she had to care for her family alone. Thus sheaffected the groups performance in an above average way.
  2. 2. Summary of Elton Mayos Beliefs: * Individual workers cannot be treated in isolation, but must be seen as members of a group. * Monetary incentives and good working condition are less important to the individual than the need tobelong to a group. * Informal or unofficial groups formed at work have a strong influence on the behaviour of thoseworkers in a group. * Managers must be aware of these social needs and cater for them to ensure that employeescollaborate with the official organisation rather than work against it.Criticisms about Elton MayoMayos contributions to management thought have come increasingly underfire. Especially in matters ofgovernment. James Hoopes in 2003 wrote "Mayo wrote up his idea of substituting therapy for democracyin a paper, A New Way of Statecraft."Elton MayoElton Mayo was born in Australia in 1880. He was not introduced to sociology until 1926 when Lawrence J.Henderson introduced him to Parietos theory. (Rose, 1975, p 115) At that time Mayo was already 46years old. He applied the theories of sociology that he learned to other Management studies that werebeing done at the time. He would put together and apply existing Sociological theories and apply them toresearch that he was familiar with. He would not always conduct the research himself but he would usethe research that other people did and go off of that. He would then put down his conclusions into a book.He was able to do this so successfully because Mayo was a excellent publicist of the studies, and hisadvocacy of the concepts of social man and social needs were so strongly associated with the studies.(Rose, 1988, p 220). The amazing thing about Mayo being able to adapt the Sociological theories to thestudies was that he was only introduced to them in 1926 and he wrote his first book in 1933 called TheHuman Problems of an Industrial Civilization. He wrote the book after the Hawthorn studies were completeand he found that it was the social problems that was the problem with the way things were going inindustries not all of the other factors that the Hawthorn studies was trying to prove. He then wroteanother book in 1945 called The Social Problems of an Industrial Civilization and he wrote his third book in1947 called The Political Problems of an Industrial Civilization. In this book he pointed out the politicalproblems that arise from a industrial civilization. Some of these problems could be corrupt officials and theregulations that industry has to comply with but never does.The role that Mayo had in the development of management is usually associated with his discovery ofsocial man and the need for this in the work place. Mayo found that workers acted according tosentiments and emotion. He felt that if you treated the worker with respect and tried to meet their needsthan they would be a better worker for you and both management and the employee would benefit. This ispointed out in his books that he wrote.Mayos work contributed to management theory through research conducted at Western ElectricsHawthorn Works which took place from 1927 - 1932. Mayo was also able to provide concrete evidence tosupport Follets theory that the lack of attention to human relationships was a major flaw in othermanagement theories. (Rieger, 1995, p 1) He was able to prove that employees did react better whenthey had good relationships with the management that they worked with. If management would treat theemployees with respect and give them the attention at the work place that they needed, then the workerswould be more willing to work harder for the employer. The was not totally what the Hawthorn study waslooking at for they were focusing on working conditions such as lighting that the workers worked in andother factors that could easily be changed with out management having to do much. The real solution wasto have management get more involved with the workers.Mayo could not have foreseen the social and personal awards the workers experienced as a result ofmanagement consideration, group affiliation, and special recognition. (Rieger, 1995, p 2) They did not see
  3. 3. how much the increase of productivity would be do to the fact of human factors and not do toenvironmental factors. This help show that there was a stronger connection to the way that employeesreacted to the way that their employer and management would deal with them and the problems that theyhad. A simple thing such as giving a employee a little reward for outstanding performance for a month ora year could help motivate other employees to want to do better so that they could have the chance to berecognized for their outstanding work. When they allowed the employees to work with groups or beaffiliated with groups at work, they are able to make a difference. Even a small difference still made it sothat the employees would be more productive because they knew that they were helping out others andthat they would have the chance to be recognized in front of their fellow workers for the work that theyhave done.With all that Elton Mayo has done with his theories of management and how to motivate employees to bemore productive it is not a surprise that Human Relations is usually considered the brainchild of EltonMayo.People - Theories of MotivationThere are a number of different views as to what motivates workers. The most commonly held views ortheories are discussed below and have been developed over the last 100 years or so. Unfortunately thesetheories do not all reach the same conclusions!TaylorFrederick Winslow Taylor (1856 – 1917) put forward the idea that workers are motivated mainly by pay. HisTheory of Scientific Management argued the following:Workers do not naturally enjoy work and so need close supervision and controlTherefore managers should break down production into a series of small tasksWorkers should then be given appropriate training and tools so they can work as efficiently as possible on oneset task.Workers are then paid according to the number of items they produce in a set period of time- piece-rate pay.As a result workers are encouraged to work hard and maximise their productivity.Taylor’s methods were widely adopted as businesses saw the benefits of increased productivity levels andlower unit costs. The most notably advocate was Henry Ford who used them to design the first ever productionline, making Ford cars. This was the start of the era of mass production.Taylor’s approach has close links with the concept of an autocratic management style (managers take all thedecisions and simply give orders to those below them) and Macgregor’s Theory X approach to workers(workers are viewed as lazy and wish to avoid responsibility).However workers soon came to dislike Taylor’s approach as they were only given boring, repetitive tasks tocarry out and were being treated little better than human machines. Firms could also afford to lay off workersas productivity levels increased. This led to an increase in strikes and other forms of industrial action by dis-satisfied workers.Mayo
  4. 4. Elton Mayo (1880 – 1949) believed that workers are not just concerned with money but could be bettermotivated by having their social needs met whilst at work (something that Taylor ignored). He introduced theHuman Relation School of thought, which focused on managers taking more of an interest in the workers,treating them as people who have worthwhile opinions and realising that workers enjoy interacting together.Mayo conducted a series of experiments at the Hawthorne factory of the Western Electric Company in ChicagoHe isolated two groups of women workers and studied the effect on their productivity levels of changingfactors such as lighting and working conditions.He expected to see productivity levels decline as lighting or other conditions became progressively worseWhat he actually discovered surprised him: whatever the change in lighting or working conditions, theproductivity levels of the workers improved or remained the same.From this Mayo concluded that workers are best motivated by:Better communication between managers and workers ( Hawthorne workers were consulted over theexperiments and also had the opportunity to give feedback)Greater manager involvement in employees working lives ( Hawthorne workers responded to the increasedlevel of attention they were receiving)Working in groups or teams. ( Hawthorne workers did not previously regularly work in teams)In practice therefore businesses should re-organise production to encourage greater use of team working andintroduce personnel departments to encourage greater manager involvement in looking after employees’interests. His theory most closely fits in with a paternalistic style of management.MaslowAbraham Maslow (1908 – 1970) along with Frederick Herzberg (1923-) introduced the Neo-Human RelationsSchool in the 1950’s, which focused on the psychological needs of employees. Maslow put forward a theorythat there are five levels of human needs which employees need to have fulfilled at work.All of the needs are structured into a hierarchy (see below) and only once a lower level of need has been fullymet, would a worker be motivated by the opportunity of having the next need up in the hierarchy satisfied. Forexample a person who is dying of hunger will be motivated to achieve a basic wage in order to buy food beforeworrying about having a secure job contract or the respect of others.A business should therefore offer different incentives to workers in order to help them fulfill each need in turnand progress up the hierarchy (see below). Managers should also recognise that workers are not all motivatedin the same way and do not all move up the hierarchy at the same pace. They may therefore have to offer aslightly different set of incentives from worker to worker.
  5. 5. HerzbergFrederick Herzberg (1923-) had close links with Maslow and believed in a two-factor theory of motivation. Heargued that there were certain factors that a business could introduce that would directly motivate employees towork harder (Motivators). However there were also factors that would de-motivate an employee if not presentbut would not in themselves actually motivate employees to work harder (Hygienefactors)Motivators are more concerned with the actual job itself. For instance how interesting the work is and howmuch opportunity it gives for extra responsibility, recognition and promotion. Hygiene factors are factorswhich ‘surround the job’ rather than the job itself. For example a worker will only turn up to work if a businesshas provided a reasonable level of pay and safe working conditions but these factors will not make him workharder at his job once he is there. Importantly Herzberg viewed pay as a hygiene factor which is in directcontrast to Taylor who viewed pay, and piece-rate in particularHerzberg believed that businesses should motivate employees by adopting a democratic approach tomanagement and by improving the nature and content of the actual job through certain methods. Some of themethods managers could use to achieve this are:Job enlargement – workers being given a greater variety of tasks to perform (not necessarily morechallenging) which should make the work more interesting.Job enrichment - involves workers being given a wider range of more complex, interesting and challengingtasks surrounding a complete unit of work. This should give a greater sense of achievement.Empowerment means delegating more power to employees to make their own decisions over areas of theirworking life.