Human relations continues to be one of the most sensitive aspects of human resources management. Psychologists and employment experts in the United States initiated the human relations movement during the 1920’s. Psychological aspects of the employees are the key feature of the human relations movement.
Human resources has been a part of business and management since the introduction of agriculture in human society. Modern theorists have added the concepts of leadership, loyalty and participatory management, thus codifying the method of human resources management based on human relations.
Human relations components
The basic ingredient of human relations lies with the psychology of the employees and its in-depth study with reference to their relationship with the employer.
The entire strategy of human relations management today is based on the concept of participatory management, where employer and employee exchange their views on vital issues relating to human resources management in the organization. The result is knowledge transfer and experience sharing, which helps in resolving many key issues relating to the efficient management of the organization; everyone has a say. In practice, this is a system of empowering the employees to effectively participate in the decision-making process of the organization.
Human relations importance
Human relations keep both employee and employer on their best behavior. Human resources management largely depends on proper assessment of human relations and its effect under varying circumstances. Change in the environment affects productivity in an organization. Participatory management gives a feeling of involvement to the workers and this generally yields a positive result. Also, the fact that both employee and employer know they are under constant observation keeps them both on their toes, and this has a mutually beneficial effect on the overall performance of the organization.
Human relations examples
The human relations movement started with the Hawthome studies in the year 1920. This was the first study of its kind on human behavior with reference to an organizational group. 50 years later, during 1970's, advanced studies revealed several flaws in these original studies, yet the Hawthome studies are still referred to today to teach the effect of a particular aspect of industrial psychology.
The original studies were performed from 1924 to 1933, and they placed emphasis on such aspects of the working environment as pay, lighting arrangements and rest breaks, and the effect of changes made to those conditions in the environment on overall productivity. The study concluded that a return to the original human relations premise would be beneficial to increase productivity and efficiency. One particular experiment based on illumination resulted in discovery of the following affects:
- Increase of productivity did not decrease with illumination.
- In an experimental group the decrease of illumination resulted in consequential increase in productivity up to a level. After that level the production fell off.
- Stable illumination with one group and varying and increasing illumination with another group resulted in increase of productivity at both levels.
- When 2 girls were taken as the base component, the productivity did not vary irrespective of widely varying conditions.
However, the experiments also failed to anticipate certain effects experienced at different levels, which makes its authenticity somewhat questionable. But the overall effect was an increase in output by 112% in the case of the workers who knew that they were being observed.