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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Best Business Books #9--Human Problems....

The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization by Elton Mayo (originally published in 1933 and republished by Routledge, 2003) remains a classic. Mayo, a psychologist and Harvard Business School guru, and his team studied a manufacturing plant called the Hawthorne Works in Western Electric’s plant. The findings of their experiments were enlightening, so to speak. By merely changing levels of light, productivity increased. Several great findings: Changes in working conditions increased output; morale and output are connected (when people think special attention is being paid to them, they improve); group cohesion is critical (the instinct of belonging to a group far outweighs the best management logic and intention); informal groups are very powerful, and management ignores them at great peril. Mayo laid the groundwork for other human relations greats like Herzberg, McGregor, and Maslow.

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