The Current Nature Of Human Relations The Current Nature of Human Relations Group Project 1 Group Members: Kari Johnson Todd Lessman Mark Mellum Craig Popp Tim Weller Organizational Behavior Richard J. Sebastian March 9, 2000 The nature of human relations is evolutionary. It changes over time as our society adjusts to our ever-changing environment. These changes can be positive or negative, and sometimes necessary changes have both positive and negative consequences on our lives. It seems that the overall nature of current human relations can best be determined by examining human interaction in a few key areas. Interaction in the workplace, the school, and the home, as well as interaction among strangers, can be analyzed to provide an accurate description. There are many factors that can have an effect on our interaction in each of these settings.
The workplace is an environment in which there is generally a high degree of personal interaction. Recent technological advances have made it much easier for people to communicate with one another. The emergence of the Internet in the 1990’s has forever changed the way that people will interact with one another. E-mail has become a way to connect with co-workers anywhere in the world. No longer is one confined to only communicating with people in their department or office. The increasing popularity of cellular phones had also changed human relations. One can now be reached virtually anytime, anywhere.
Although technology has made human relations easier in the workplace, it has also decreased the amount of face-to-face interaction. People are relying immensely on technology and it has become simply easier to send an e-mail to someone than to physically go and talk to them. Technology has also created the virtual workplace, where people can work from the confines of their own home. This has drastically reduced the amount of personal interaction between workers. This new type of workplace is only in its beginning phase and will continue to gain popularity in the next millennium.
The cultural diversity of the typical workplace has increased greatly over the last decade. This increase in diversity has come from a couple of sources. First, many companies were forced to diversify to comply with equal opportunity laws. Second, companies began to discover that people from different ethnic backgrounds were helpful in working with a wide spectrum of customers. Regardless of the reasons, this increasing diversity in the workforce has caused a change in human interaction. People are now being exposed to others with many different cultural backgrounds, beliefs and customs. This has forced people to expand their horizons and learn the proper ways to relate to people from other cultures.
Many times language barriers exist, and it can be difficult to establish effective communication. Diversity has, for the most part, improved human relations within the workplace. It has made people friendlier towards others who are different and helped them to develop and improve the way they interact with co-workers. Unfortunately, not all workplace interaction is changing for the better. The threat of violence has been an increased concern for many companies. Homicide is the leading cause of death in the finance, insurance, and real estate industries (McMurry, 96).
Violence in the workplace is blamed for the decreasing quality of human relations in many companies. In the past, many people considered their co-workers as a kind of extended family, which gave them a sense of security. In today’s workplace, however, layoffs and downsizing have taken away that family feeling. Workers today feel as though they are just one part of a machine, and could easily be replaced. This has degraded the quality of personal interaction in the workplace.
A co-worker who at one time may have been like a brother to you is now a competitor who could easily replace you. This feeling has lessened the friendliness between workers and has led to increased workplace violence. The workplace is not the only institution in which we have seen an increase of violence in the 1990s. It seems that this trend toward violent behavior is crossing the generation gaps and invading our schools as well. Too often we are seeing children inflicting harm on other students in what should be a safe and supportive environment.
The shootings at Columbine high school in Littleton, Colorado last year sent shock waves through the nation, and made it clear that school violence should be an issue of concern. Just recently, a six year old boy in Michigan shot and killed a fellow classmate at school. The fact that this first grade boy had access to a gun, and the will to use it to harm another student, shows that children of all ages are aware of this trend toward violent behavior in our society. Schools today are changing in many of the same ways as the workplace. Advancing technology and growing diversity are having an impact on the environment of schools across the nation. These aspects of change are having many positive influences on the quality of education available to our students. Advances in computers and the internet make limitless amounts of information accessible to students.
Cultural diversity in schools helps children to learn at a young age that there are many things that can be learned from other people’s cultures. These changes are very important to society as a whole because they indicate that future generations will be more accepting of differences and better able to accommodate others. These social skills that children learn at school have a strong impact on how they will relate to others throughout their lives. Nearly everyday people face situations in which they interact with strangers. These interactions are very common, since one naturally meets new people while going about one’s daily routine.
The nature of human relations between strangers is complex and dependent upon certain situations. Most of the time these interactions are polite or at the least non-committal. Unfortunately, there seems to be a trend in recent times towards distrust and outright violence in a growing percentage of these daily social interactions. An example is road rage, or aggressive driving, becoming more and more prevalent in our society. Dr. Arnold Nerenberg of Clinic Well-Being, who has established a road rage web site, claims that twenty eight thousand people died in 1996 because of aggressive driving.
It is estimated that over two billion episodes of road rage occur each year. This is evidence that strangers are relating to one another in violent ways, but it has not become totally pervasive yet. Thankfully we still see many situations where drivers are courteous to one another, either by letting someone merge into traffic or by waving another driver to go ahead at a four way stop sign. Besides those interactions strangers experience while driving, there are other incidents that show the complexity of these situations. There are many incidents seen on the news stations that show horrific, violent events. For instance, in Minnesota, there was recently a kidnapping and potential murder of a young woman named Katie Poirer. While she was working at a gas station, a man not known to Katie abducted her by gun point.
Her whereabouts are still unknown, but what is known is that this is not an isolated event. There are many children kidnapped each year in the United States. There are many other personal incidents that show that violence is becoming very prevalent in our society. While Craig was at the Red Carpet bar with his friends he witnessed a potential violent situation. His friend happened to look around the bar and made eye contact with a man who was glaring at him.
The friend nodded his head to this stranger in polite acknowledgement. The man responded by asking, Do you want something? in a very belligerent tone. Craig’s friend knew that this person was looking for a fight and did not want to get involved in this type of situation. This is just one example of the growing amount of unprovoked aggression. Even though these examples of random violence seem to be increasing at an alarming rate, things are not yet hopeless. In theory, people should be able to trust one another to be civil, even as complete strangers, and many times they can. Another trend in society today is situations in which people perform random acts of kindness.
There was a movement in the 1990’s to practice random acts of kindness, utilizing television, radio and billboards to spread the message of caring and consideration of others. Oprah Winfrey’s television talk show had several segments on this topic, and t …