Motivation and Productivity

Motivation and Productivity

Motivation and Productivity

Motivation and Productivity

Excerpt

During the past quarter-century most theories about the motivation of workers have been dominated by what is loosely called the human relations viewpoint. It is today's best-known, most widely practiced and malpracticed theory of why workers behave as they do and how they ought to be treated by management. Like many another popularized concept, this one has been grossly oversimplified and is far better known in various watered-down versions than in its authentic form. The gospel has been spread far and wide, but it usually bears little resemblance to the complex, still-evolving set of ideas that began the process.

Contemporary human relations practice, as distinguished from the theory, is suffering from a bad case of superficiality. It probably deserves much of the barbed comment that has been heaped upon it by professional iconoclasts in the business press and by some hardshelled managers who feel that any form of "coddling" workers is a serious mistake.

On the other hand, human relations theory has respectable scientific underpinnings and important implications for both management and society. Homilies and gimmicks notwithstanding, there is no easy way to apply it; in fact it has yet to be demonstrated that it can be practiced on a wide scale at all. But there is ample evidence that it ought to be applied as widely as possible. The first essential step in this direction is to acquire an understanding of what the theory is all about; beyond that its applications will depend largely on the manager's ingenuity and his tolerance for change.

The best way to understand human relations theory is to trace its development from the moral climate which made its emergence inevitable, through the classical studies on which it is based, to its present exponents and condition. This is what the first part of this book will attempt to do.

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