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Preface Knowing how to get along with others, resolve workplace conflict, manage relationships,
communicate well, and make good decisions are all critical emotional intelligence skills students
need to succeed in career and in life. Our Human Relations book will address all of the critical topics
to obtain career success. This book isn’t an organizational behavior (OB) text, which is too theoretical
for many of our students’ needs. While this book will focus on some of the theories you might find in
an OB book, the focus is a direct benefit to students in their current and future jobs.
This book also isn’t a professional communications, business English, or professionalism book, as
the focus is much broader: it focuses on general career success and how to effectively maneuver in
The core concept in the book is emotional intelligence and how these skills carry over into career
success, such as through ethics, communication, diversity, teamwork, conflict, good decision making,
stress management, motivation, and leadership.
This book’s easy-to-understand language and tone is written to convey practical information in an
engaging way. Plenty of examples are included in each chapter so students understand the concepts
and how the concepts can benefit their career. This book will meet the needs of a course in the
business department or will be offered to professional technical students in any number of career
fields, such as automotive, dental hygiene, culinary, or technology. In addition, this book would be a
great addition to any school offering human relations course for teacher certification.
This book could be used in the following courses:
• Human relations
• Career-focused courses
• Business communications
• Teacher/education certification
Features Each chapter opens with a realistic example that introduces a concept to be explained in detail later. Each
chapter contains relevant examples, YouTube videos, figures, learning objectives, key takeaways, Why
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Human Relations? boxes, exercises, and a chapter-ending case that offer different ways to promote
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Chapter 1 What Is Human Relations?
I present myself to you in a form suitable to the relationship I wish to achieve with you.
– Luigi Pirandello
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
– Maya Angelou
No One Wants to Work with Her
Jenny is going to a BBQ at Monica and Harvey’s house this afternoon. Because it is a big annual
event, it is usually a large party. She will likely know about half the people, as Monica and Harvey
invite people from all aspects of their lives. As Jenny enters the backyard, she sees familiar faces, as
expected, but also sees a lot of people she doesn’t recognize. Immediately she starts fidgeting, as
Jenny isn’t good at making small talk. Instead of making eye contact and going over to people who
are acquaintances, she drops her potluck dish down, grabs a drink from the cooler, and tries to find
Monica so she will have someone to talk with.
At work, Jenny avoids interpersonal relationships and small talk because she is uncomfortable
revealing too much of herself. When Jenny attends meetings at work, she sighs impatiently when
someone is late and when people veer too far from the topic, and she makes sure to bring people
back to reality. When choosing project teams, people rarely want to work with Jenny, even though
she is very capable in her job. Some of the women from the office get together for lunch on Tuesdays,
but Jenny is never invited. Needless to say, Jenny isn’t well liked at work.
We have all met someone like Jenny, who is seemingly uncomfortable with herself and unpleasant.
We may even try to avoid the Jennys we know. Despite Jenny being good at her job, no one wants to
work with her. You would think that success at work only takes talent at job-specific tasks. However,
this isn’t the case. As we will discuss throughout this chapter and the book, successful people have
the skills to do the job, but they also have the human relations skills to get along with others. The
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focus of this chapter will be personality, attitudes, self-esteem, and perceptions—all of these topics
and more impact our ability to get along with others.
1.1 Why Study Human Relations?
L E A R N I N G O B JE C T I V E S
1. Be able to define human relations.
2. Discuss why human relations skills are necessary in your future workplace.
3. Explain how the progression of human relations studies relates to today’s human relations in your life.
The study and understanding of human relations can help us in our workplace, and as a result, assist us in
achieving career success. The better our human relations, the more likely we are to grow both
professionally and personally. Knowing how to get along with others, resolve workplace conflict, manage
relationships, communicate well, and make good decisions are all skills we will discuss throughout the
Why Human Relations?
So, what is human relations? We can define human relations as relations with or between people,
particularly in a workplace or professional setting.  From a personal perspective, there are many
advantages to having good human relations skills. First, of the top ten reasons people are fired, several
reasons relate back to lack of human relations skills—for example, the inability to work within a team,
personality issues, sexual harassment, and dishonesty.  Other reasons, perhaps not directly related to
human relations, include absenteeism, poor performance, stealing, political reasons, downsizing, and
sabotage. Second, people who are competent team players and have a good work ethic tend to get
promoted faster.  In fact, according to guru on personal development Brian Tracy, 85 percent of your
success in life is determined by social skills and the ability to interact positively and effectively with
others.  Another reason to develop good relationships with others relates to your own personal
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happiness. According to psychologist Sydney Jourard, most joy in life comes from happy relationships
with other people. 
Consider John, a very talented project manager but lacking in human relations skills. While he is easily
able to plan and execute the finest details for a project, no one likes to work with him. He doesn’t make
efforts to get to know his team members and he comes across as unfriendly and unapproachable. How
successful do you think John will be in his workplace? While he has the skills necessary to do the job, he
doesn’t have the people skills that can help him excel at it. One could say he does not have emotional
intelligence skills—that is, the ability to understand others—therefore, he may always find himself
wondering why he isn’t more successful at work (we will discuss emotional intelligence in Chapter 2
"Achieve Personal Success"). While project management skills are something we can learn, managers find
it difficult to hire people without the soft skills, or human relations skills. We aren’t saying that skills are
not important, but human relations skills are equally as important as technical skills to determine career
and personal success. Consider human relations skills in your personal life, as this is equally important.
Human relations skills such as communication and handling conflict can help us create better
relationships. For example, assume Julie talks behind people’s backs and doesn’t follow through on her
promises. She exhibits body language that says “get away from me” and rarely smiles or asks people about
themselves. It is likely that Julie will have very few, if any, friends. If Julie had positive human relations
skills, there is a much better chance she could improve her personal relationships.
We can benefit personally and professionally from good human relations skills, but how do organizations
benefit? Since many companies’ organizational structures depend upon people working together, positive
human relations skills reduce conflict in the workplace, thereby making the workplace more
productive. Organizational structures refer to the way a company arranges people, jobs, and
communications so that work can be performed. In today’s business world, teams are used to accomplish
company goals because teamwork includes people with a variety of skills. When using those skills in a
team, a better product and better ideas are usually produced. In most businesses, to be successful at our
job, we need to depend on others. The importance of human relations is apparent in this setting. If people
are not able to get along and resolve conflicts, the organization as a whole will be less productive, which
could affect profitability. Many organizations empower their employees; that is, they give employees
freedom in making decisions about how their work gets done. This can create a more motivated
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workforce, which results in more positive human relations. We will explore this topic further in Chapter 6
"Understand Your Motivations".
Most organizations employ a total person approach. This approach recognizes that an organization does
not just employ someone with skills, but rather, the whole person. This person comes with biases,
personal challenges, human relations skills, and technical skills but also comes with experiences. By
looking at a person from this perspective, an organization can begin to understand that what happens to
an employee outside of work can affect his or her job performance. For example, assume Kathy is doing a
great job at work but suddenly starts to arrive late, leave early, and take longer lunches. Upon further
examination, we might find that Kathy is having childcare issues because of her divorce. Because of a total
person approach perspective, her organization might be able to rearrange her schedule or work with her
to find a reasonable solution. This relates to human relations because we are not just people going to work
every day; we are people who live our personal lives, and one affects the other. Because of this, our human
relations abilities will most certainly be affected if we are experiencing challenges at home or at work.
Evolution of Human Relations Study
Human relations, however, was not always central to the conversation on organizational success. In fact,
until the 1940s, little thought was given to the human aspect of jobs. Many of the jobs in the early 1900s
were focused on production and located in factory-like settings where the jobs themselves were repetitive.
The focus in these types of work environments was on efficiency. We can call this time period of human
relations studies the classical school of management. This school of thought took place from 1900 to the
early 1920s. Several theories were developed, which revolved around the idea of efficiency, or getting a job
done with the least amount of steps.
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Frederick W. Taylor was an engineer who today is known as the father of scientific management. He
began his career in a steel company and, because of his intimate knowledge of the industry, believed that
organizations could analyze tasks to make them performed with more efficiency.
Following his work, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth performed numerous studies on physical motions workers
took to perform specific tasks and tried to maximize efficiency by suggesting new ways to perform the
tasks, using less energy and thereby being more efficient.
While Taylor and Gilbreth’s research was more focused on physical motions and tasks, Henri Fayol began
looking at how management could improve productivity instead of focusing on specific tasks and motions.
Fayol created the Fourteen Principles of Management, which focused on management but also hinted to
the importance of human relations: 
1. Division of work. Work should be divided in the most efficient way. Fayol believed work
specialization, or the focus on specific tasks for teams or individuals, to be crucial to success.
2. Authority. Authority is the right to give orders and accountability within those orders. Fayol
believed that along with giving orders and expecting them to be met, that person in authority also
assumes responsibility to make sure tasks are met.
3. Discipline. Discipline is penalties applied to encourage common effort, as a successful organization
requires the common effort of all workers.
4. Unity of command. Workers should receive orders from only one manager. In other words,
reporting to two or more managers would violate Fayol’s Fourteen Principles of Management.
5. Unity of direction. Everyone in the organization should move toward a common goal and
understand how the team will achieve that goal.
6. Subordination of individual interests to general interests. The interests of one person
shouldn’t have priority over the interests of the organization as a whole. This focuses on teamwork
and the importance of everyone acting toward the same goal.
7. Remuneration. Many things should be considered when paying employees, including cost of living,
supply of qualified people, and business success.
8. Centralization. The degree of importance in the subordinates’ (employees’) role in their
organization and the amount of decision making that occurs at a central level versus a decentralized
level. For example, in many organizations decisions are made centrally (i.e., in the “corporate office”),
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which does not allow as much flexibility as decentralized decision making; this would mean each
individual area can make its own decisions.
9. Scalar chain. This refers to how authority is divided among managers. Specifically, Fayol said
lower-level managers should always keep upper-level managers informed.
10. Order. All materials and people related to one kind of work should be organized and neat. Things
should be easy to find.
11. Equity. All employees should be treated equally.
12. Stability of tenure of personnel. Retention of employees should be a high management priority.
The cost of hiring a new worker is expensive, so efforts should be maintained to keep current
13. Initiative. Management should take steps to encourage workers to take initiative. In addition,
workers should be self-directed and not need a lot of management control to accomplish tasks.
14. Esprit de corps. Managers should encourage harmony among employees. This harmony creates
good feelings among employees.
Fayol’s research was some of the first that addressed the need for positive human relations in a work
environment. As further research was performed into the 1920s, we moved into a new period of human
relations studies called the behavioral school of management. During this time period, employees
had begun to unionize, bringing human relations issues to the forefront. Because workers demanded a
more humane environment, researchers began to look at how organizations could make this happen.
One of the more notable researchers was Elton Mayo, from Harvard Business School, and his colleagues.
They conducted a series of experiments from the mid-1920s to early 1930s to investigate how physical
working conditions affected worker productivity. They found that regardless of changes such as heat,
lighting, hours, and breaks, productivity levels increased during the study. The researchers realized the
increased productivity resulted because the workers knew they were being observed. In other words, the
workers worked harder because they were receiving attention and felt cared about. This phenomenon is
called the Hawthorne effect (named for the electrical plant for which the experiments were conducted).
In the 1950s, researchers began to explore management techniques and the effect on worker satisfaction.
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This was called the behavioral science approach. These techniques used psychology, sociology, and
other human relations aspects to help researchers understand the organizational environment.
Since the 1960s, research on human relations has been much easier to assimilate because of technology
and a focus on statistical analysis. Hence, this is called the management science school. So while
research today focuses on the human relations aspect, we are now able to use complex statistical models
to improve efficiency and productivity while still focusing on the human relations component.
Human Relations, Technology, and Globalization
While we discuss the impact of technology on human relations throughout the book, it is important to
mention here the immense impact technology has had on this field of study. Inability to see body language
indicators make it more difficult to communicate using technology, creating conflict and
misunderstandings. These misunderstandings can obviously affect human relations. Also consider that
through globalization, we are working with people from all over the world in many time zones who have
different perspectives. Between technology and globalization, humans have never had to work with such a
diverse group of people—using diverse methods of communication—at any time in history.
Technology has allowed us to do this: e-mail, Skype, and instant message, to name a few. The impact on
human relations is obvious—there is less face-to-face interactions and more interactions using technology.
Add in the challenge of a global environment and this creates a whole new set of challenges.
Many organizations today are focusing on how to use technology to save workers time commuting to
work. In fact, an estimated 26.2 million workers telecommute, or work from a remote location at least
once per month. Global Workplace Analytics cites the following benefits to telecommuting:
1. Improved employee satisfaction
2. Reduced unscheduled absences
3. Increased productivity
However, Global Workplace Analytics also says there are some key drawbacks:
1. Social needs may not be met
2. People must be self-directed
3. Employees must be comfortable with technology or it won’t work
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While technology has greatly impacted human relations at work, there are some common denominators
for human relations success in today’s workplace—whether or not technology is used. These factors will be
discussed throughout this book:
• Chapter 1 "What Is Human Relations?". Understanding how personality, attitudes, self-esteem, and
perception impact human relations. How we are, how we behave, and our belief systems all impact
how we view ourselves and others.
• Chapter 2 "Achieve Personal Success". Understanding the components to personal success, such as
goal setting and emotional intelligence skills. Being able to achieve personal success is the first step in
attaining career success.
• Chapter 3 "Manage Your Stress". Managing stress and understanding how too much stress can
negatively impact our human relations.
• Chapter 4 "Communicate Effectively". Communication abilities. Everything we do at work and in our
personal lives involves communication. Understanding how to communicate effectively is the
cornerstone of positive human relations.
• Chapter 5 "Be Ethical at Work". Ethical decision making is necessary because ethical decisions must
be made all the time in our personal and work lives. Understanding how to make an ethical decision
can help us become better employees and human beings.
• Chapter 6 "Understand Your Motivations". Understanding what motivates you can help you know the
right career path and can assist you in guiding your supervisor. Without an understanding of our own
motivations (our own self-knowledge) we may not be able to complete tasks as efficiently. Of course,
this skill is the key to successful human relations.
• Chapter 7 "Work Effectively in Groups". Working in teams has become necessary in most every work
environment. Understanding how teams work and how they achieve success together will provide you
with the tools to be an effective team member.
• Chapter 8 "Make Good Decisions". Good decision making, both personally and professionally, can
help our human relations in that it provides a framework to make sure we are thinking about all
aspects of the decision. We tend to be happier when we make better decisions, which means we relate
better to others.
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• Chapter 9 "Handle Conflict and Negotiation". The ability
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