neo-human relationsa body of theories, mainly developed in the 1950s and 1960s within the realm of OCCUPATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, which suggested that prevailing patterns of WORK ORGANIZATION, leaving individuals with ‘narrow'jobs and little responsibility, frustrate workers' needs for ‘self-actualization’ (i.e. development of their full potential) and hence lead to low levels of JOB SATISFACTION. The solution was seen to be the redesign of jobs (see JOB DESIGN and JOB REDESIGN), and especially job enrichment to make work more satisfying. As part of this process managers had to learn to trust their subordinates to act correctly without close or punitive supervision. In turn satisfied workers would become committed to organizational goals and their performance would improve. The emphasis of neo-human relations differs from that of human relations in that it assumes that worker behaviour is determined by material factors, such as work technology, as well as social relationships. Actual change in jobs is seen to be necessary as well as changes in MANAGEMENT STYLE. See ALIENATION, HUMAN RELATIONS, THEORY X AND Y.
Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson