Elton Mayo


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Founder of human relations theory. He led the interpretation of the Hawthorne Studies and worked closely with Lloyd Warner at Chicago University. His work stressed the importance of the ‘informal’ organization of interpersonal relations that surround the formal structure of work organization stressed by administrative theory. He criticized the so-called rabble hypothesis that social order requires hierarchical control. Instead, co-operation is seen as an inherent and necessary condition for society, but is obstructed by slow adaptation to technical change—which management can resolve by fostering appropriate social skills in the workforce.

Subjects: Management and Management Techniques.

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