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Neo-human relations

Abraham Maslow (1908 1970) along with Frederick Herzberg (1923-) introduced the NeoHuman Relations School in the 1950s, which focused on the psychological needs of
employees. Maslow put forward a theory that there are five levels of human needs which
employees need to have fulfilled at work.
All of the needs are structured into a hierarchy and only once a lower level of need has been
fully met, would a worker be motivated by the opportunity of having the next need up in the
hierarchy satisfied. For example a person who is dying of hunger will be motivated to achieve
a basic wage in order to buy food before worrying 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 turn and progress up the hierarchy. Managers should also recognise that workers
are not all motivated in the same way and do not all move up the hierarchy at the same pace.
They may therefore have to offer a slightly different set of incentives from worker to worker.
Human resource theorists:
Autonomous human beings display potential for growth and self-actualisation (A.
Individual behaviour is affected by the environment (K. Lewin)
Organisations stifle individual growth, this leads to ineffectiveness (D. Mc Gregor:
Theory X; Y, C. Argyris)
Building work teams (R. Likert)

Intergrating individual needs with organizatonal goals (all)

Theory X Assumptions:
People do not like work and try to avoid it.
People do not like work, so managers have to control, direct, coerce and threaten
employees to get them to work toward organizational goals.
People prefer to be directed, to avoid responsibility, to want security; they have little
Theory Y Assumptions:
People do not naturally dislike work; work is a natural part of their lives.
People are internally motivated to reach objectives to which they are committed.
People are committed to goals to the degree that they receive personal rewards when
they reach their objectives.
People will both seek and accept responsibility under favorable conditions.
People have the capacity to be innovative in solving organizational problems.
People are bright, but under most organizational conditions their potentials are
Four main stages:
Hawthorne-effect: people receiving attention perform better
1) The illumination experiments
2) The Relay Assembly Test Room Study
3) The interviewing programme
4) The Bank Wiring Observation Room Study (importance of the informal groups /
organisation came to light)

The conclusions drawn from the Hawthorne Studies:

Workers respond primarily to the social context of the work place

The workers need for recognition and a sense of belonging are important
A persons attitude to work is shaped by the group to which he/she belongs in the
The worker is more responsive to the social forces of his/her peer group than to the controls
and incentives of management.
Neo-Human Relatonists:
Kurt Lewin
Field theoretic perspective the environment has an influence on the behaviour of an

The notion of action theory and research social scientists should not only describe
human activity (human relationists) but should learn from active attempts to change
social systems

Lewins influence is apparent on Likert, Mc Gregor, Argyris.

Continued the tradition of the Human Relations School but they went further:

Human beings are autonomous beings (not only social beings) who wish to utilize
their creative potential.
These theorists are concerned with productivity in the workplace and the application
of behavioural science concepts to increase organisational effectiveness.
They all advocated participative democracy as a way of functioning in modern

Behavioural management theory (Human and Neo-Human Relations)

General Summary: Behavioral management theory focuses on employee behavior ina n
organizational context. Stimulated by the birth of industrial psychology, the human relations
movement supplanted scientific scientific management as the dominant approach to
management int he 1930s and 1940s. Prominent contributors to this movement were Elton
Mayo, and Douglas McGregor. Organizational behavior, the contemporary perspective on
behavioral management theory, draws from an interdisciplinary base and recognizes the
complexities of human behavior in organizational settings.
Period of Greatest Interest: Human relations enjoyed its peak of acceptance from 1931 to the
late 1940s. Organizational behavior emerged in the late 1950s and is presently of great
interest researchers and managers.
Behavioral management theory (Human and Neo-human relations school), General
Summary cont.:
Contributions: provided important insights into motivation, group dynamics, and other
interpersonal processes in organizations. Focused managerial attention on these same
processes. Challenged the view that employees are tools and furthered the belief that
employees are valuable resources.
Limitations: the complexity of individual behavior makes prediction of that behavior difficult.
Many behavioral concepts have not yet been put to use because some managers are reluctant
to adopt them. Contemporary research findings by behavioral scientists are often not
communicated to practicing managers in an understandable form.