You are on page 1of 3

Q.

1 Discuss the evolution of Human resource


management by
drawing reference from the Hawthorne Studies.
ANS.
Evolution of the Human Resource Management
The historical development of human relations knowledge applied to job setting
warrants some attention in any book about human relations. Any history of the
application of systematic knowledge about human behaviour to the job must use
some arbitrary milestones. For instance, the crew chiefs concerned with
constructing
the Egyptian pyramids must have had useful informal concepts of leadership
available to them. The Hawthorne Studies: As described in virtually every book
written about management, the human relations or behavioral school of
management began in 1927 with a group of studies conducted at the Hawthorne
plant of Western Electric, an AT&T subsidiary. Curiously, these studies were
prompted by an experiment carried out by the company's engineers between
1924 and 1927. Following the scientific management tradition, these engineers
were
applying research methods to answer job related problems. Two groups were
studied to determine the effects of different levels of illumination on worker
performance. One group received increased illumination, while the other did not.
A
preliminary finding was that, when illumination was increased, the level of
performance also increased. Surprisingly to the engineers, productivity also
increased when the level of illumination was decreased almost to moonlight
levels.
One interpretation made of these results was that the workers involved in the
experiment enjoyed being the centre of attention; they reacted positively because
management cared about them. Such a phenomenon taking place in any
research
setting is now called the Hawthorne effect. As a result of these preliminary
investigations, a team of researchers headed by Elton Mayo and F.J.
Roethlisberger
from Harvard conducted a lengthy series of experiments extending over a six
year
period. The conclusions they reached served as the bedrock of later
developments
in the human relations approach to management. Among their key findings were
the
following:
· Economic incentives are less potent than generally believed in influencing
workers
to achieve high levels of output.
· Leadership practices and workgroup pressures profoundly influence employee
satisfaction and performance.
· Any factor influencing employee behaviour is embedded in a social system. For
instance, to understand the impact of pay on performance, you also have to
understand the climate that exists in the work group and the leadership style of
the
superior. Leadership Style and Practices: As a consequence of the Hawthorne
Studies, worker attitudes, morale, and group influences became a concern of
researchers. A notable development of the nature occurred shortly after World
War II
at the University of Michigan. A group of social scientists formed an organization,
later to be called the Institute for Social Research, to study those principles of
leadership that were associated with highest productivity. Based upon work with
clerical and production workers, an important conclusion was that supervisors of
high producing units behaved differently from those of low producing
units. Among the differences in style noted were that supervisors of productive
groups in comparison to their lower producing counterparts were:
· More emotionally supportive of subordinates.
· More likely to pay a differentiated role plan, regulate, and coordinate
the activities of subordinates, but not become directly involved in work
tasks.
· More likely to exercise general rather than close or light supervision.
· The origin and progress of the human relations movement (particularly in
U.S.A.)
has been due to certain social and cultural forces working there, such as
Recognition of the dignity of the individual and his personality. The individual has
a
lot of freedom of choice and the idea of decision-making by oneself is deep-
rooted
in the national tradition.
· A child is brought up to value independence and encouraged to think on his own
and not to be dependent on parents.
· Virtual disappearance of owner managers and the growth of professional
managers
capable of managing according to professional code.
· Strong organizations of labour, at all levels, calling for higher skills in
communication and participative behaviour on the part of the management.
· Shortage of labour led to skilled labour being treated as nearly irreplaceable.
Hence, much greater care in utilising this scarce and valuable resource had to be
thought of in the form of "Human Relations."
· Higher standards of living of American labour. Since their physical and security
needs were generally satisfied, increased participation alone could satisfy their
emerging social and ego needs.
· The possible weakening of work ethics, requiring managers to develop new
attitudes towards labour.
· The changing work environment greater specialization and a large scope of
operations which require a greater degree of managerial effectiveness with and
through workers.
· A significant increase in the general educational level of workers who, as a
result,
demanded more from their employers. Concurrent with the growth of human
relations in work organizations, has been the burgeoning of techniques and
programmes to foster human growth off the job. In the last two decades,
millions of people seeking personal growth (or sometimes simply emotional
arousal)
have participated in programmes such as encounter groups, marriage enrichment
groups, Erhard seminar training, couples groups, and transactional analysis.
During the early 1970s, the human potential (meaning development of one's
potential) movement began to appear in work settings. Management awareness
training and assertiveness training represent two other techniques related to the
development of human potential. Both are designed to deal with the problem of
job
discrimination against women. In management awareness training, managers are
made more sensitive to their sexist attitudes (such as thinking of all engineers are
male) and in changing their attitudes. Assertiveness training has been widely
used to
help women to be more direct in making known their demands for equal
opportunity.
Career development programmes in industry are more prevalent today than at
any
time in the past. Although varying widely in content, all these programmes are
designed to help the individual make career decisions that will move him or her
toward self-fulfillment. In the process, it is assumed that the person will make a
better contribution to the organization