Archive for Neoclassical theory


The neoclassical theory, also referred to as the human relations school of thought reflects a modification to and improvement over the classical theories. While classical theories focused more on structure and physical aspects of work (notwithstanding Taylor’s concern for mental revolution), the neoclassical theory recognizes the primacy of psychological and social aspects of the worker as an individual and his relations within and among groups and the organisation. Though neoclassical philosophy could be traced to ancient times, it gained currency only after the World War I, particularly in the wake of the “Hawthrone experiments” at Western Electric Company by Elton Mayo during 1924 to 1932.


The initial experiments carried out cover a period of three years sought to determine the effects of different levels of illumination on workers’ productivity in the test groups, productivity raised irrespective of variations in illumination at indifferent experiments. In the second set of experiments which began in 1927 a smaller group of six female telephone operators was put under close observation and controls. Frequent changes were made in working conditions such as hours of work, lunches, rest periods, etc. Still, over a period of time as the experiments continued with such changes, productivity continued to rise. It was concluded that the social or human relationships among the operators, researchers, and supervisors influenced productivity more decisively than changes in working conditions.



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