THE HUMAN RELATIONS MOVEMENT IN OPERATIONS
The term human relations refers to the ways in which managers interact with their employees When people in management stimulates more and better work, the organization has effective human relations; when morale and efficiency deteriorates , its human relations are said to be ineffective .The human relations movement arose from early attempts to systematically discover the social and psychological factors, that would create effective human relation.
Before describing the human relations movement in detail, it would be useful to recollect the environment in which workers were operating. Factory workers of the Industrial Revolution were uneducated , unskilled, indisciplined and starving peasants straight from farms. These peasants abhored factory jobs, but they were essential for them, otherwise starvation was the consequence .Factory managers developed rigid controls to force workers to work hard. This legacy of a work environment structured around rigid controls carried over into the 1800s and early 1900s.Basic to this management philosophy, was the assumption that workers were to be given jobs, where they would work hard and efficiently.
Towards the mid 1900s, a realization dawned on the job-givers that, workers deserved to be treated as human beings, while on their respective jobs. The human relations movement began in Illinois with the work of Elton Mayo, F J Roethlisberger, T N Whitehead and W J Dickson at the Hawthorne, Illinois, plant of the Western Electric Company in the 1927-1932 period. The Hawthorne Studies were initially begun by industrial engineers and were aimed at determining the optimal level of lighting to get maximum output from workers. When these studies produced confusing results about the relationship between physical environment and worker productivity , the researchers realized that human factors must be affecting productivity .This was perhaps, the first time that researchers and managers alike, recognized that, psychological and sociological factors affected not only employee motivation but their productivity as well.
These early human studies relations studies and experiments , soon gave way to a broad range of research into the behavior of workers in their work environment .The works and writing of Chester Bernard, Abraham Maslow, Fredick Herzberg, Douglas Mc Gregor, Peter Drucker, and other disseminated to industrial mangers, a basic understanding of workers and their attitudes towards their work. Not that a total understanding of how best to motivate employees has been obtained , but research is on to discover ways to better utilize the unutilized energy and capacities of workers.
Popularly known by its acronym OR, operations research refers to the use of mathematical techniques to solve management problems Table below brings out the characteristics of OR clearly.
OR has interesting history. At the beginning of World War II , Great Britain, desperately needed to solve a number of new and complex problems in warfare .With their survival at stake, the British formed the first OR teams by pooling the expertise of mathematicians, physicists, and other scientists. With such teams, the British were able to achieve significant technological and tactical breakthroughs.
When the War was over, the applicability of OR to problems in industry gradually became apparent .New industrial technologies were being put into use and transportation and communication were becoming more complicated .These development brought with them, a host of problems that could not be solved easily by conventional means. Increasingly , OR specialists were called in to help the management come up with answers to these new problems.
Characteristics of OR
Â· OR approaches problem solving and decision making from the total systems perspective
Â· OR draws on techniques from varied disciplines such as biology, physics, chemistry, Mathematics and economic and applies the appropriate techniques from each field to the system being studied
Â· OR does not experiment with the system itself but, constructs a model of the system upon which to conduct experiments.
Â· The primary focus is on decision-making
Â· Computers are used extensively
Although Scientific Management , human relations and Operations Research have affected the ways that managers in production manage today, perhaps no other development is as important to these managers as the growing presence of computers in their jobs.