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Managing Human Relations

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Management is a broad subject and time has been spent to analyse it.

The study of organisations and their management, therefore, has to proceed on a broad front.

No single approach provides all answers. It is the comparative study of the different approaches, which will yield benefits to the manager.

A central part of the study of the organisation and management is the development of management thinking and what may be termed management theory.

The application of theory brings about change in actual behaviour.

Managers reading the work of leading writers on the subject might see in their ideas a message about how they should behave.

There are different ways of categorising the various approaches elaborated by school of management theory (Figure 1).

The following two theories will be looked at in order to spot the problems caused by the management at Aussieco.

1. Classical theory

2. Human relations theory

Classical Theory

According to the classical writers' thought the main emphasis goes on the planning of the work, the technical requirements of the organisation, principles of management and the assumption of rational and logical behaviour.

A clear understanding of the purpose of an organisation is seen as essential to recognise how the company works and how its methods of working can be improved.

Identification of general objectives would lead to the clarification of responsibilities and purposes at all levels of the organisation.

Many of the classical writers were concerned with the improvement of management structure as a mean of increasing productivity.

Comparing the Classical writers thought with the actual management structure at Aussieco will prove the unstable and badly structured company's position.

Aussieco is an Australian company established in1962.

The owner has been able to retain full control and ownership, acting as chairman and chief executive officer since the foundation of the business.

Although he makes most final decisions, he is not involved with the daily running of the company.

The executive managing director is the owner's nephew. He is a neo-graduate with no industrial experience, completely unsuitable to cover this position.

The key person of the organisation is the general manager. His role consists of organising and supervising five subordinate sectors: administration, programming, production, design and development and sales and service.

The production manager is the busiest figure of the company, although the lowest paid.

The production supervisor has a little knowledge of the day-to-day tasks of his subordinates.

Personnel management is incompetent and unable to hire the right staff.

Personnel manager's negligence brought the company to deal with a secretary for the drawing office who had never seen drawing before; a programmer with no experience of working with the program used in production and several others problems.

The picture described above underlines the bad situation the company is facing.

Emphasis on purpose, formal structure, hierarchy of management are far away from being properly defined. Moreover, clarification of managers' responsibilities is very confusing.

Human Relations Theory

The main emphasis of the classical writers was based on structure and formal organisation.

During 1920's, years of great depression, larger attention began to be paid to the social factor and to the employees' behaviour within the organisation rather than the organisation structure itself. This is what the human relation theory is about.

Human relation at Aussieco is a big issue.

The ideas concerning the importance of work groups, communications, motivation and job design are totally missing.

Staff finds little to be proud of in belonging to the company. The all process is driven by fear. The lack of communication is so high that employees are afraid to say or do something scared of losing

their job.

Workshops, the heart of the company, are unsafe and unhealthy places to work in.

They are open, with no doors, cluttered and filthy.

The tin roofs are without insulation and leak during heavy rains; buckets must be strategically placed to catch the water.

Management is not concerned at all about employees' morale, the only worries are the operation and maintenance of the machines.

Promotions and bonuses are two words not very familiar at the company.

The organisation appears reluctant to promote its own staff.

Bonuses are sometimes paid at Christmas, depending on the profitability and the whim of the owner.

Human relation writers demonstrated that people go to work to satisfy a complexity of needs and not simply for monetary reward.

The verb "run" is very often used in the case study to emphasise the employees' desire to run away from the company as soon as they can.

Figure 1-Approaches to organisation and management

People management problem and management style

People management at Aussieco was poor and incompetent.

The lack of guidance, motivation, communication and group activities have brought the company being declared bankrupt.

Beyond the money, people expect more out of their work. They wish to contribute, to see that their contribution is making a difference. Employees are willing to learn, to grow and mainly they want to feel that they are part of a successful enterprise.

Workers deserve to know why they are



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