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The Importance of Motivation in Human Resource Management

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Literature Review
  3. Conclusion

Management theories can be termed as a backbone for the study of management itself. Students and practitioners have to understand these theories first. Sociology and psychology could also be used in management. This means that the managers could try and understand the behaviors of their employees. This would help bring about greater productivity in the company since the manager will have the knowledge of how a certain issue can be solved and he will understand the employees in any way possible (Donnelly, Gibson &Ivancevich, 1987). In addition to that, in an organization, there can be the use of bonuses and incentives for the purpose of ensuring that the company’s employees work harder. With regards to this, there exists a relationship between motivation and the performance of the employees. Managers of the firms should also concentrate more on looking at the behavior of the managers rather than only focusing on the mechanical aspect of their companies.


The human relations perspective can be termed as a way of managing a company where the employees are looked at as the social beings that require complex needs and they have complex desires and this is opposed to production units (Gomez & David, 2002). This perspective emphasizes more on the social networks that exist in a firm and it entails the use of gratification as a way of provision of motivation in the workplace. The perspective does not use deprivation as a way of providing motivation in the workplaces.

This perspective was developed in the mid-twentieth century. The human relations perspective was an extension of the behavioral viewpoint. Before the behavioral viewpoint was introduced in management, management was looked at via a classical viewpoint. This viewpoint mostly focuses on how there can be the creation of higher efficiencies through technical processes without looking more on the social aspects of work (Holt, 1990). Moreover, it was concluded that when attention is given to the employees, there is a rise in productivity. Therefore this viewpoint can be termed as a more psychological approach to management.

In a bid to understand management, an individual has to look at different theories. It is believed that these theories gave birth to management itself. They include; classical, neoclassical and human relations behavioral theories. Other theories include contingency, general administrative and bureaucratic systems. Chaotic theory can also be another management theory (Katharine, Barton & David, 1998). These theories are the foundation of understanding management and its study from the works that had been carried out by Adam Smith in 1766 to the works of Fredrick Winslow Taylor that occurred from 1856-1915. Adam Smith supported the concept of specialization and this was written in his book,” wealth of nations.” On the other hand, Fredrick was accredited for carrying out the first scientific study on the topic of management. This led to him been nicknamed “the father of scientific management”.

There has been a great evolution in the practice of management from the period where there existed theorists who based their arguments as classical. This has been as a result of the existence of many factors. These factors include; the rise of technology and the tools that become vital tools for the manager as they were carrying out their duties (Mescon, Albert & Kheduri, 1977). The other factor is that evolution had taken place and there have been changes in the practices that are carried out in production. Nonetheless, there has been the rise of contemporary approaches that have emerged due to these factors.

Despite there being all these changes, managers are still affected by other challenges. They have a problem in improving the productivity in the firm. They also lack guidance on how to utilize their resources to optimum a better profitability (Mescon, Courtland & John, 2002). They also have the challenge of achieving the goals that have been set by the company. This explains why as the society evolved, the management theorists continued to find ways that could go hand in hand with the change in times.

Literature Review

A notion was built by the early management theories that if there was proper planning in management, organization and control of jobs and institutions, there could be an increase in p[productivity. The early approaches placed more emphasis on the technicality of the works and this was at the expense of the personal aspects of the work. Moreover, this aspect was present in the works of some of the classical theorists including; Frank, Lillian Gilbreth Fredric Taylor, among others. This has not been surprising since the theories were developed later and the developed theories challenged some of the fundamentals that existed in the early days.

There was also the evolution of two branches during this period. The branches were known as behavioral and human relations theorists (Maicibi, 2003). To some degree, in accordance with most academics, these two branches belonged to the similar orientation based on the fact that more focus was on the individual, not the job he was doing.

The approach based on human relations became known from the 1940’s to the early 1950’s.This means that the managers were more attentive to the roles that individuals played in determining the successes and failures of the organization (Katharine, Barton & David, 1998). The managers then had the ability to make decisions that would enable these individuals worked for the profitability of the company.

Frequently, human relations are termed as a general term in describing ways managers interact with subordinates. When there is the stimulation of the management and the employees have better working conditions, there are good human relations in the organization. This is due to the fact that individuals have been given the go-ahead to work flexibly in the company since they have no worries about the working environment which is already conducive(Donnelly, Gibson &Ivancevich, 1987). Human relations in the institution are negative when there is a reduction in the morale and efficiency. In a bid to create good relations, managers must have the ability to know why employees behave in a certain manner. They also know the psychological and social factors that affect them and their workability in the organization.

Due to the presence of the human relations approach, the most silent aspect of management was the relationship between the supervisors and the employees. This is because it focuses and supports the act of training people in behavioral science. Examples of behavioral sciences include social and clinical psychology(Holt, 1990). They are trained in behavioral science for the purpose of building g relationships that are more collaborative and cooperative between the workers and the supervisors. There also exist two aspects of human relationships approach. They include; leadership style and motivation.

Elton Mayo was one of the people who contributed greatly to the human relations approach. His works were carried out from 1880 to 1949. He , together with his Harvard University associates worked together and they used scientific methods in their study. They did this to enable the people in the working environment to have a better understanding of what they meant (Donnelly, Gibson &Ivancevich, 1987). This led to the act of more researchers using social sciences. Examples of the social sciences they use include psychology, sociology and anthropology. They also used research methods that were more sophisticated hence they were regarded as behavioral scientists rather than members who take part in the school human relations. Mayo, together with his associates came up with the introduction of” social man.” The desire to form good lasting relationships was the factor that motivated him.

In the year 1986, Hampton made a summary of Mayo’s work. The summary included the fact that the Hawthorne experiment was carried out by Mayo in collaboration with his associates. The experiment took place from the year 1927 to 1932. Mayo was called in “Western Electric” when there were strange results from other researchers who were carrying out the research. The results were strange since the researchers had divided the employees into test groups. These groups were exposed to lightening changes even though there was a control group where lightening was constant throughout the research. When the conditions of lightening of the test groups were improved, there was an increase in productivity (Katharine, Barton & David, 1998). This went hand in hand with the researcher expectations that they had even before conducting this research. Moreover, the most surprising thing according to the researchers was that when the lightening was reduced, the jump was similar. In addition to that, what was more surprising was the fact that the output of the control group kept on rising as the group’s lightening conditions were altered with. Mayo brought in a new era of human relations in a bid to solve the puzzle.

In another experiment that was new, there was placement of two women groups in separate rooms. This was done by Mayo and his colleagues. Every group had six women. The conditions in one room were varied and in the other the conditions did not vary. A number of variables were tried and there was an increase in their salaries (Holt, 1990). Moreover, there was also the introduction of coffee breaks at lengths that were varying and there was the shortening of worksheet and workday . The researcher, who in this case was the supervisor allowed each of the groups to choose the periods they would rest and they were to make suggestions on the changes that would be of great benefit to them.

In this case, the output rose in both tests and in the control rooms. Additionally, the researchers felt that there could be no possibility that the output went up due to the presence of financial incentives. This was due to the fact that the control group had the same payment schedule (Donnelly, Gibson &Ivancevich, 1987). This led to Mayo’s conclusion that the emotional chain reaction was complex and since it was present, the productivity increased. Similarly, since the control and test groups had been singled out for special attention, there was the development of a group pride that played the role of motivating them in a bid to improve their performance at work. Another factor that led to the increased motivation was the supervision that was carried out on them and this supervision was sympathetic.

The results of this experiment made up Mayo’s important discovery. His new discovery was, there could be an increase in productivity when workers were given special attention by the company’s management and this would happen regardless of the changes that occurred in the working conditions (Gomez & David, 2002). This phenomenon was then referred to as the Hawthorne effect.

Miss Mary Parker Follet was another contributor to human relations. Follet came up with the original definition of management as the act of ” getting work done through others.” She had a feeling that the managers carried the responsibility of motivating their employees in a bid to pursue the goals of the organization and achieve them. The employees were not to necessarily only obeying orders by the managers but their input was also essential in the company and they were to work together with the managers in a bid to ensure that productivity increases (Mescon, Courtland & John, 2002). Follet also rejected the majority belief that managers were being prepared to give orders to the employees and she thinks that they were to begin being prepared to work with their employees for the purpose of coming up with a common objective. Follet also played a role in laying down the foundation of studies aimed at looking at the dynamics of the group, how conflicts were solved and managed in organizations and the political processed in institutions.

It is a belief among human relations scholars that showing more concern for employees and ensuring that they are satisfied increases their productivity in the company. Similarly, it is recommended that the technique based on human relations such as efficient supervision, employee counseling and giving them ample opportunities to take part in the decision making process in the firm (Gomez & David, 2002). The experts in human relations tried to combine both sociology and psychology with management. In accordance with the researchers, an organization can be defined as a social system made up of interpersonal and intergroup relationships.

Basically, some of the human rights approaches are that people are not interested in financial gains only but they need to be recognized and appreciated. Moreover, workers are considered to be human beings and they should be treated like human beings by being treated properly (Mescon, Courtland & John, 2002). Nonetheless, an organization should have good conflict management since no person in the workplace likes conflicts and they all have to be in good terms for an increase in productivity. The workers should also be given freedom and they do not need strict supervision on the same. The employees should also be given a chance to take part in the company’s decision making since they are part of the firm.


In conclusion, it is evident that motivation is required in an organization. It is also evident that the workers should be given freedom and they should be treated like human beings. It was also concluded that the two approaches, which are the behavioral and human relations approaches show relevance in today’s management. Therefore, it is a calling for the managers not to only focus on the job the workers are to carry out but to take cognizance for the worker’s side in a firm. However, this can be achieved through the use of sociology and psychology as tools used in understanding the behavior of human beings hence this may also lead to the selection of appropriate motivational tools for the purpose of making them understand the human behavior more. The managers should also work with the employee in harmony to ensure that they work in a bid to achieve the organizational goals and typo ensure they work together to achieve a common objective.

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