Elton Mayo approach towards Human relations

This school of thought is primarily based upon Elton Mayo (1880 – 1949) and his Hawthorne experiments. Hawthorne studies were conducted to determine the effect of better physical facilities on worker output.

These studies showed that better physical environment or increased economic benefits in itself were not sufficient motivators in increasing productivity. In effect the emphasis shifted to psychological and social forces, in addition to economic forces.

Mayo discovered that when workers are given special attention by the management, the productivity is likely to increase irrespective of actual changes in the working conditions.


Central to this approach was an increased understanding of the individual worker’s emphasis on motivation, needs, interpersonal relationships and group dynamics. These experiments suggested that an office or a factory is not only a work place but also a social environment in which the employees interact with each other.

This gave rise to the concept of “social man” whose interaction with others would determine the quali” and quantity of the work produced. This school concentrated on the ‘People’ part of management and results on the principles that, where people work together as groups in order to accomplish objectives ‘people should understand people’.

This school is a development from the application of the behavioural sciences especially psychology and social psychology to management.