Mary Parker Follett was a social philosopher and was amongst the first who asserted her opposition to a strictly mechanistic view of organization and administration. She suggested an integration of scientific management and efficiency principles of organizational design and functioning with insights from individual and group psychology.
Her ideas emphasized concern for individuals. This was followed by Hawthorne experiments by a research team headed by Elton Mayo and Fritz Roethlisberger.
Their research attempted to determine the relationship between physical factors such as level of lighting at the work place, rest periods and length of the work day on increased performance of workers.
They found that irrespective of whether physical conditions such as lighting, rest periods and length of the work day increased or decreased, production continued to increase.
They concluded that changes in physical job conditions did not lead to higher production but such increases in production resulted from changed social conditions of the worker. Higher production was found to be influenced by worker motivation and satisfaction.
These in turn were influenced by democratic patterns of supervision used by researchers. Moreover, during the experiments, workers received greater attention from researchers, were able to socialize with other workers and had some say in deciding working conditions.
Elton Mayo’s (1945) work is of particular importance to the development of this movement. On the basis of his experiments, he suggested that people are primarily motivated by social needs and obtain their basic satisfaction from relationships with others.
He also found that employees are responsive to the social forces of their peer group rather than to extrinsic incentives and management controls. A person’s loyalty to management and organization and identity depended on his/her ability to provide for self-social interaction and acceptance needs.
This theory implies that among others, teachers also have common sets of needs for belongingness, needs to be liked and respected. Teachers desire individual recognition but they also want to feel useful to the institution and to their own work group.
If these needs are satisfied, they tend to co-operate willingly and comply with institutional goals. An educational manager’s basic task is to make each teacher believe that he/she is useful and an important part of the team.
The administrator should explain his/her decisions and discuss teachers’ objections to the plans and encourage subordinates’ participation in planning and decision making on routine matters. To some extent, teachers should be allowed to exercise self-direction and self-control in implementing plans.
Participative decision making and sharing information with teachers satisfy their needs for belongingness and individual recognition. Satisfaction of these needs will improve teacher morale and reduce resistance to formal authority which in turn will lead to better institutional performance.
Human relations school attained maturity with the work of Kurt Lewin (1951) who attempted to relate human behaviour more closely with such environmental factors including role expectations and organizational climate.
Other contributors to this school of thought were Abraham Maslow, Douglas McGregor, Chris Argyris, Warren Bennis and Rensis Likert. This school of thought has derived its body of knowledge from social and organizational psychology.
This school of thought placed greater emphasis on a person’s capacity for growth and challenge. The focus of human resources school is the nature of interaction between personality and organization. Human resources urged that shared decision-making, joint planning, shared goals, increased responsibility and more autonomy were some of the power-equalization strategies to be developed by educational administrators.
In the field of education, concepts such as team teaching, family grouping, open space, integrated day are based on human resources school.
The implications of human resources school are that teachers have a desire to contribute effectively and creatively to the attainment of worthwhile objectives. A majority of teachers are capable of taking more initiative and responsibility which represent untapped resources being currently wasted.
The administrator’s basic task is to create a climate wherein subordinates can utilize their full talents in accomplishing institutional goals and to uncover subordinates’ creative resources.