George Elton Mayo
was an Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...
Psychologist is a professional or academic title used by individuals who are either:* Clinical professionals who work with patients in a variety of therapeutic contexts .* Scientists conducting psychological research or teaching psychology in a college...
, sociologist and organization theorist.
He lectured at the University of Queensland
The University of Queensland, also known as UQ, is a public university located in state of Queensland, Australia. Founded in 1909, it is the oldest and largest university in Queensland and the fifth oldest in the nation...
from 1911 to 1923 before moving to the University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private, Ivy League university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Penn is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States,Penn is the fourth-oldest using the founding dates claimed by each institution...
, but spent most of his career at Harvard Business School
Harvard Business School is the graduate business school of Harvard University in Boston, Massachusetts, United States and is widely recognized as one of the top business schools in the world. The school offers the world's largest full-time MBA program, doctoral programs, and many executive...
(1926 - 1947), where he was professor of industrial research. On 18 April 1913 he married Dorothea McConnel in Brisbane, Australia. They had two daughters, Patricia and Gael.
Mayo is known as the founder of the Human Relations Movement
Human relations movement refers to the researchers of organizational development who study the behavior of people in groups, in particular workplace groups. It originated in the 1930s' Hawthorne studies, which examined the effects of social relations, motivation and employee satisfaction on...
, and is known for his research including the Hawthorne Studies and his book The Human Problems of an Industrialized Civilization
(1933). The research he conducted under the Hawthorne Studies of the 1930s showed the importance of groups in affecting the behavior of individuals at work. Mayo's employees, Roethlisberger and Dickson, conducted the practical experiments. This enabled him to make certain deductions about how managers should behave. He carried out a number of investigations to look at ways of improving productivity, for example changing lighting conditions in the workplace. What he found however was that work satisfaction depended to a large extent on the informal social pattern of the work group. Where norms of cooperation and higher output were established because of a feeling of importance, physical conditions or financial incentives had little motivational value. People will form work groups and this can be used by management to benefit the organization.
He concluded that people's work performance is dependent on both social issues and job content. He suggested a tension between workers' 'logic of sentiment' and managers' 'logic of cost and efficiency' which could lead to conflict within organizations.
Disagreement regarding his employees' procedure while conducting the studies:
- The members of the groups whose behavior has been studied were allowed to choose themselves.
- Two women have been replaced since they were chatting during their work. They were later identified as members of a leftist movement.
- One Italian member was working above average since she had to care for her family alone. Thus she affected the group's performance in an above average way.
Summary of Mayo's Beliefs:
- Individual workers cannot be treated in isolation, but must be seen as members of a group.
- Monetary incentives
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and good working conditions are less important to the individual than the need to belong to a group.
- Informal or unofficial groups formed at work have a strong influence on the behavior of those workers in a group.
- Managers must be aware of these 'social needs' and cater for them to ensure that employees collaborate with the official organization rather than work against it.
- Mayo's simple instructions to industrial interviewers set a template and remain influential to this day i.e. A. The simple rules of interviewing:- 1. Give your full attention to the person interviewed, and make it evident that you are doing so. 2. Listen - don't talk. 3. Never argue; never give advice. 4. Listen to: what he wants to say; what he does not want to say; what he can not say without help. 5. As you listen, plot out tentatively and for subsequent correction the pattern that is being set before you. To test, summarize what has been said and present for comment. Always do this with caution - that is, clarify but don't add or twist. [SOURCE: papers held by Mayo's grand-daughter.]
Mayo's contributions to management theory were criticized by celebrated sociologist Daniel Bell
Daniel Bell was an American sociologist, writer, editor, and professor emeritus at Harvard University, best known for his seminal contributions to the study of post-industrialism...
. Writing in 1947, Bell criticized Mayo and other industrial sociologists for "adjusting men to machines," rather than enlarging human capacity or human freedom. More recently, in 2003, James Hoopes criticized Mayo for "substituting therapy
This is a list of types of therapy .* Adventure therapy* Animal-assisted therapy* Aquatic therapy* Aromatherapy* Art and dementia* Art therapy* Authentic Movement* Behavioral therapy* Bibliotherapy* Buteyko Method* Chemotherapy...
Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...
- The Social Problems of an Industrial Civilization by Elton Mayo http://www.routledge.com/books/The-Social-Problems-of-an-Industrial-Civilisation-isbn9780415436847
- The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization by Elton Mayo http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=107632070
- Daniel Bell, "Adjusting Men to Machines: Social Scientists Explore the World of the Factory," Commentary 3 (1947): 79-88.
- Kyle Bruce, "Henry S. Dennison, Elton Mayo, and Human Relations historiography" in: Management & Organizational History, 2006, 1: 177-199
- Elton Mayo, Gael, The Mad Mosaic: A Life Story Quartet, London 1984 http://www.bookblast.com/literary_estates.html
- Richard C. S. Trahair, Elton Mayo: The Humanist Temper, Transaction Publishers, U.S. 2005 ISBN 1412805244 http://www.amazon.com/Elton-Mayo-Richard-C-S-Trahair/dp/1412805244
- James Hoopes, "The Therapist: Elton Mayo" in "False Prophets: The Gurus who created modern management...", 2003, pp. 129-159.
- George Elton Mayo: Critical Evaluations in Business and Management, Ed. John Cunningham Wood, Michael C. Wood, 2004