Human Relations Era:
During Scientific Management development period, Lilian Gilbreth examined the impact of scietific management practices on people in her book “Psychology and Management.” While Frank Gilbreth outlined the variable that affect human motion speed, they were more of physical variable associated with human operators. Around 1920s, management researchers gave a close look at the human factor at work and the variables that affected people’s behaviour. Hugo Munsterberg, a Harvard faculty member, wrote a book on ‘Psychology and Industrial Efficiency’ which suggested the use of psychology in the field of personnel testing, interviewing, attitude measurement, learning, etc. Thus there was an era in human resource management termed as ‘Industrial Psychology Era’.
In 1924, a group of professors from Harvard Business School, USA, began an enquiry into the human aspects of work and working conditions at Hawthorne plant of Western Electric Company, Chicago.
They conducted researches from 1924 to 1932 and arrived at the conclusions that productivity of workers alsodepended on- (i) social factors at the workplace, (ii) group formation and group influence, (iii) nature of leadership and supervision, and (iv) communication. These human variables act independent of working conditions and methods of work.
They concluded that in order to have better productivity, management should take care of human relations besides the physical conditions at the workplace. Consequently, the concepts of social system, informal organization, group influence, and irrational behaviour entered the field of management of personnel.