The Human Relations Movement Of George Elton Mayo

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Managers throughout history have been interested in studying ways to increase productivity. For example, Frederick Taylor began the movement of scientific management in the 1880’s. Scientific management looked to improve productivity through means of scientific analysis of worker’s tasks and work processes rather than the old “rule of thumb” (Taylor, 1914). Taylor believed that he could maximize worker efficiency and productivity through focusing on workers specific hand motions and patterns. After this period, beginning in about the 1930’s, managers looked to take productivity to yet another level by studying worker physiology and motivation. This new movement came to be known as the human relations movement. George Elton Mayo is credited with founding the human relations movement. Mayo conducted an experiment in the 1920’s and 1930’s know as the Hawthorne study. Two of the main aspects of the study centered around illumination in the work place and varying levels of break time and work hours (Wickström, 2000). The illumination study consisted of four different experiments over the course of three years. In each experiement, there was a control group and a study group. In the varying studies, the researchers experimented with varying levels of light and varying sequences of increasing and decreasing the level of light (“Hawthorne effect”). Throughout the experiments, researchers would often find patterns of increased productivity, leading them to believe that they had
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