The human relations school
In the late 1920s and the 1930s Elton Mayo supervised a series of experiments at Western Electric's Hawthorne factory. These became known as the ‘Hawthorne experiments’。 Although there is considerable criticism of the methodologies and conclusions drawn from the Hawthorne experiments， two of their widely believed discoveries were：
The power of peer pressure （groups norms）
Motivation （and performance） can be improved by establishing better working relationships and social interactions.
Peer pressure and group norms can be used to increase the performance of a worker who is in a team because of the disapproval of other team members if the employee lets the team down.
Motivation improvements from better working relations and interactions， for example taking an interest in employees， recognising achievement and soliciting suggestions， implies that the job specialisation production line automaton approach might not be the most successful approach.
Theories of motivation
There are many theories of motivation， but three of the earliest， dating from the 1950s， are：
Maslow‘s hierarchy of needs Herzberg’s hygiene factor theory McGregor‘s Theory X and Theory Y
Without getting into too much detail， Maslow claimed we have higher order needs， such as social needs， ego needs and self-actualisation needs. If the work environment can supply these then employees will be motivated. Herzberg suggested that after basic （hygiene） factors had been put in place， motivation at work was achieved through motivating factors such as challenge， responsibility， recognition and a feeling of advancement through learning new skills.
McGregor suggested that not everyone wants the same things from work. Theory X people like certainty and direction whereas Theory Y people prefer more challenge， risk and freedom. Managers should act accordingly， matching their approach to what their employees will respond to.