Thursday, November 17, 2011

Human Resources Approaches

Human Resources Approaches

The classical approaches sees worker as cogs in a machine that can be easily replaced. The role of workers in these theories is to provide physical labor.
Classical manager would look at employees with the perspective “workers work”, the human relations manager would look at employees with the perspective “workers feel”

Individuals in organizations have feelings that must be considered and also recognize contributions from employees: thoughts & ideas.

Impetus for Human Resources Approach

Humanistic theories were developed to promote the CONCERNS of the individual worker in an atmosphere that was too focused on production (FOCUS ON RELATIONAL & MAINTENANCE FUNCTIONS)
The Hawthorne studies --- springboard the move from classical to human relations.
Human relations approach states that higher-order needs can be satisfied through job design, management style, other organizational factors. When the higher-order needs are satisfied, employees should be happier. When employees are happier, they should be more productive.

Principles of Human Relations Theory

Human relations theory is characterized by a shift in emphasis from TASK to WORKER
Go beyond physical contributions to include creative, cognitive, and emotional aspects of workers
Based on a more dyadic (two-way) conceptualization of communication.
SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS are at the heart of organizational behavior--effectiveness is contingent on the social well-being of workers
Workers communicate opinions, complaints, suggestions, and feelings to increase satisfaction and production
Origins (Hawthorne Studies & work of Chester Barnard)
Human Relations School of Management - Elton Mayo (Harvard

Origins of Human Relations Theory

“The Hawthorne Studies
Hawthorne Works of Western Electric Company
1924 - Chicago
Research focus: Relation of quality and quantity of illumination to efficiency in industry
Four Important Studies

“The Hawthorne Studies”

Illumination Study (November 1924)
Designed to test the effect of lighting intensity on worker productivity
Heuristic value: influence of human relations on work behavior
Relay Assembly Test Room Study (1927-1932)
Assembly of telephone relays (35 parts - 4 machine screws)
Production and satisfaction increased regardless of IV manipulation
Workers’ increased production and satisfaction related to supervisory practices
Human interrelationships are important contributing factors to worker productivity
Bottom Line: Supervisory practices increase employee morale AND productivity
Interviewing Program (1928-1930)
Investigate connection between supervisory practices and employee morale
Employees expressed their ideas and feelings (e.g., likes and dislikes)
Process more important than actual results
Bank Wiring Room Observation Study (November 1931 - May 1932)
Social groups can influence production and individual work behavior
RQ: How is social control manifested on the shop floor?
Informal organization constrains employee behavior within formal organizational structure

Hawthorne Studies - Implications

Illumination Study (November 1924)
The mere practice of observing people’s behavior tends to alter their behavior (Hawthorne Effect)
Relay Assembly Test Room Study (1927-1932)
Relationships between workers and their supervisors are powerful
Human interrelationships increase the amount and quality of worker participation in decision making
Interviewing Program (1928-1930)
Demonstrated powerful influence of upward communication
Workers were asked for opinions, told they mattered, and positive attitudes toward company increased
Bank Wiring Room Observation Study (November 1931 - May 1932)
Led future theorists to account for the existence of informal communication

Taken together, these studies helped to document the powerful nature of social relations in the workplace and moved managers more toward the interpersonal aspects of organizing.

Hawthorne Studies - Criticisms

Not conducted with the appropriate scientific rigor necessary
Too few subjects (N=5)
No control groups
Subjects replaced with more “cooperative” participants


Work Factors Satisfaction of Higher-Order Needs Job satisfaction productivity

Flowchart of Human Relations Principles

Douglas McGregor (1906-1964)
Articulated basic principles of human relations theory
The Human Side of Enterprise (1960, 1985)
To understand human behavior, one must discover the theoretical assumptions upon which behavior is based
Especially interested in the behavior of managers toward workers
“Every managerial act rests on assumptions, generalizations, and hypotheses--that is to say, on theory . . . Theory and practice are inseparable.”
Two Objectives:
Predict and control behavior
Tap Unrealized potential
Theory X - Classical Theory
Theory Y - Human Relations Theory
FOCUS: Manager’s assumptions about HUMAN NATURE

Theory X - Classical Theory
Three Assumptions
The average human being has an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it.
Most people must be coerced, controlled, directed, and threatened with punishment
The average human being prefers to be directed, wishes to avoid responsibility, has relatively little ambition, wants security.
Neither explains nor describes human nature

Theory Y - Human Relations Theory
Physical and mental effort in work is similar to play / rest.
External control and the threat of punishment are not the only strategies
Commitment to objectives is a function of the rewards associated with their achievement
The average human being learns, under proper conditions, not only to accept but to seek responsibility
The capacity to exercise a high degree of imagination, ingenuity, and creativity in the solution of organizational problems is widely distributed in the population
Intellectual potentialities of the average human being are underutilized
A more positive perspective of human nature
The KEY to control and quality production is commitment to organizational objectives

Miles’ Human Resources Theory

Increased satisfaction is related to the improved decision making and self-control that occurs due to participation that is genuinely solicited and heard

Two prevalent Human Resources Theories
Rensis Liker
Blake & Mouton (Blake & McCanse)

Four Systems of Management: Rensis Likert
Management is crticial to all organizational activities and outcomes
Continuum that ranges from more classically oriented system to one based on human resources theory
Of all the tasks of management, managing the human component is the central and most important task
High producing departments and organizations tend toward System IV; low producing units favor System I
System I - Exploitative Authoritative
System II - Benevolent Authoritative
System III - Consultative
System IV - Participative

Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid

Stresses interrelationship between production (task) and people
Management’s main purpose is to promote a culture in the organization that allows for high production at the same time that employees are fostered in their professional and personal development
Managerial Grid - now Leadership Grid (Blake & McCanse) (Figure 3.3, p. 59)
FOCUS: Manger’s Assumptions about CONCERN for PEOPLE and CONCERN for PRODUCTION
Assessment instrument does not represent personality traits of the manager -- instead, indicate a specific orientation to production and people

Concern for PEOPLE
Degree of personal commitment to one’s job
Trust-based accountability (vs. obedience-based accountability)
Self-esteem for the individual
Interpersonal relationships with co-workers
Concern for PRODUCTION
Use of people and technology to accomplish organizational tasks
Concern for is not about quantity or quality
Assessment instrument does not represent personality traits of the manager -- instead, indicate a specific orientation to production and people

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