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The concept of human relations is used today in organizations to denote a systematic body of knowledge devoted to explaining the behaviour of man in relations to task performance in organization. Onasanya (1990) defines human relations as the relationship between one person and another and a group of people within a community whether at work or social gathering. He went further to state that good human relations between executives and other staff will leads to an understanding which can generate cooperation and hence attainment of organizational productivity. The executive and subordinate staff will have to maintain sound relationship with people at different levels.
According to Hicks and Byers (1972), human relations is an integration of people into work situation in a way that motivates them to work together productively, cooperatively and with economic, psychological and social satisfaction. They went further to say that many factors influence a person’s behaviour and attitude such as age, sex, appearance, health, emotion, environment, education, religion, nationality and culture. They also influence reaction of others to the individual and moreso, frustration makes people to be disagreeable.
Amune (1988) defines human relations as the interaction of people into a work collectively, productivity and bring about social satisfaction. He went further on to define human relations as the study of human problem arising from organizational and inter-personal relation in industry especially with reference to the employer-employee relationship and the interaction between personal traits, group membership and productive efficiency.
Human relations in the view of Harding (1983) is an existing aspect of workers meeting new people of all kind, such meeting will broaden their own horizon and hopefully other people derive pleasure from meeting them. Jones et’ al (2005) assert that Human relations movement advocates the idea that supervisors are behaviourally trained to manage subordinates in ways that elicit their cooperation and increase their productivity.
The key element in human relations is its basic objective of making organizational members feel useful and important part of the system over all effort. This process is viewed as the means of building a cooperative and participative workforce.


The advent of human relations movement began in the 1920 and 1930s with the observation of the short sightedness and incomptences of the classical approach to management that left out the human resource factor (Andrew, 1988). The human relations theorists led by Elton Mayo observed that scientific management principles were neither necessarily the most efficient nor did they work as intended, for it failed to understand that workers were also social beings with certain psychological needs. They believed that in addition to using the most appropriately designed methods to achieve productivity, organizations must consider the human aspect of work. In other words, when the workers needs are not considered even with the best tools, organizational goals may not be achieved.
Interpersonal relations particularly the feeling and attitudes within working groups were considered to be important. They hypothesized that people looked for the satisfaction of their social needs at work. Furthermore, the power and influence of groups, individual members was such that organizations could develop system and styles to try and satisfy people’s social needs in their workgroup.
The basis of the human relations movement was the integration of various disciplines i.e. industrial psychology and sociology, applied anthropology and social psychology and was concerned with the human problems which management encountered (Appleby, 1980). Gullerman (1966) defines human relations as a way in which people or employee who comprises the organization think about each other and deal with each other. Hence, with the development of human relations it became apparent therefore, that the workers could no longer be viewed solely as a factor of production, rather as human beings with wants, desire, attitudes and feelings, all of which were occurring during the same period also contributing to the growth of the human relations movement.

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