Criticisms of the human relations approach

Criticisms of the human relations approach

Scientific validity: although the Hawthorne Experiments profoundly influenced the manager in managing their employees, the studies had many weaknesses of design, analysis and interpretation. Whether Mayo and his colleague's conclusions are consistent with their data is still the subject of lively debate and considerable confusion. These studies had a clinical bias as they discounted theory and stressed on radical empirical. Most of the conclusions are not supported by adequate scientific evidence.

Shortsighted: the following points confirm the shortsightedness of this approach:

1.       It lacks adequate focus on the work;

2.       Human relations tend to neglect economic dimensions of the work satisfaction and

3.       Human relations research is concerned with only operative employees but not managerial and supervisory personnel. 

Over concern with the happiness: the Hawthorne studies suggested that happy employees would be productive employees. But studies have failed to establish a positive correlation ship between happiness and productivity.

Misunderstanding of participation: many of the post Hawthorne human relations expected that participation would reduce resistance to formal authority and would ensure worker's support for organizational goals. But recent studies indicate that the employees want to be utilized properly.

The mystery surrounding group decision making: research evidence on the superiority of group decision making to individual decision making is conflicting and inconclusive. The entire thinking of the group decision making is mystical.

Conflict: the human relations failed to recognize positive aspects to conflict like creative force in the society. They believed that conflict is always bad and should be minimized.

Anti individualists: the human relations movement is anti individualists. The concept of individualism and individual behavior which is predominant in an organizational setting is overridden by the concept of group decision making and group behavior. Human relations approach failed to describe completely individuals in the work place.

Total work environment is not considered: work environment comprises of organizational structure, its culture and climate, labor management relations, social environment etc. but the human relations approach considered only social environment as the total work environment. 

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