Henry S. Dennison, Elton Mayo, and Human Relations historiography

Kyle Bruce*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


The conventional wisdom in management thought is that Human Relations was the intellectual progeny of Elton Mayo and his associates, arising out of the fabled Hawthorne ‘experiments’ and marked a distinct intellectual break from Scientific Management. This article questions these sentiments and explores the contribution to Human Relations thinking made by Boston businessman and Taylorist Henry S. Dennison. The article will demonstrate that Dennison preceded Mayo in proffering the view that humans are not merely the egoistic, utilitarian animals of mainstream economics and Scientific Management, but that they have other (high-level) psychosocial needs, and their social relationships at work play an important role in their productivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-199
Number of pages23
JournalManagement and Organizational History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Elton Mayo
  • Henry S. Dennison
  • Historiography
  • Human relations
  • Scientific management


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