Human Relations Theory definition/Characteristics

The Theory of Human Relations, also called School of Human Relations, is the meeting of theories about human behavior in the work environment , created to guide Administration studies. Human Relations Theory definition

These theories gained traction in the mid-1920s, with the Great Depression due to the crash of the New York Stock Exchange in 1929.

Between 1927 and 1932, Western Electric Company’s telephone equipment and component manufacturing company Hawthorne hired a team of social scientists to conduct observations of employee behavior. The objective was to identify the relationship between lighting and workers’ efficiency, measured by their production.

The research was led by the psychopathology physician George Elton Mayo and his assistant, the engineer Fritz J. Roethlisberger. Mayo is considered the father of Human Relations.

The new ideas brought about by the Theory of Human Relations sought to create a new vision of corporate recovery, with the main focus on the concern with the human being.

They then created new perspectives for the field of Administration, through knowledge of the activities and behavior of their employees when forming groups. Human Relations Theory definition

Characteristics of Human Relations Theory

In the period that preceded the Theory of Human Relations, the worker was treated mechanically, following the precepts of the Classical Theory.

With the new theories, the focus changed and the worker ( homo economicus ) came to be seen with a more social importance.

The main features of these theories are:

  • The human being cannot be reduced to a being whose behavior is simple and mechanical;
  • Man is, at the same time, guided by the social system and the demands of a biological order;
  • All men have needs for security, affection, social approval, prestige, and self-actualization.

Then begins a process that increasingly involves employees in the company’s decision-making and in providing information about their place of work. Human Relations Theory definition

A better understanding of aspects related to human affectivity in the work environment was also initiated, as well as the determination of limits of bureaucratic control for social regulation.

As a result of this theory, there was a paradigm shift in the principles of Scientific Management Theory of Frederick Winslow Taylor. This break also included behavioral variables of individuals in carrying out activities and the humanization of work, with the application of more scientific and precise methods.

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