The Human Relations View of Motivation

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H. Roy Kaplan
Curt Tausky
Bhopinder S. Bolaria


uman relations theorists arc by no means cast
in the same mold, yet they share a core of
"principles" that rest on assumptions about
human nature and motivation that deserve
critical analysis. Let us begin with the concept of job enlargement, since it provides a
convenient handle on human relations thinking. Job enlargement refers to combining the
small tasks of several men performing short

work cycles into a larger task performed by
one man in a longer work cycle. The concept
itself is both normative and empirical, combining, as it does, the assertion that the dignity of man requires job enlargement with assurances that increased job satisfaction and
individual output result from it. Rensis Likert states the normative side of the case unequivocably in his New Patterns of Management: Every worker "should sec his task as
difficult, important, and meaningful. . . .
V/hen jobs do not meet this specification,
they should be reorganized so that they do."
Job enlargement, as most of the human relations theorists view it, goes a good
deal beyond combining tasks into a natural
and more meaningful unit; it also involves
giving the worker more freedom and greater

control over the task. The employee participates in many of the decisions that determine
the framework within which he works. Thus,
we can see at the core of human relations
theory a reaction against Frederick Taylor's
scientific management. Among Taylor's principles of work organization, the most important centered on (1) the necessity to separate
the functions of planning and execution—that
is, t hinking from doing; (2) the advantages
of specialization, which were to be gained by
assigning men to small, routinized tasks; and
(3) the requirement for material incentives,
since he believed that man is by nature lazy
and responds only to a prompt and tangible
For Taylor, the application of these
principles was...