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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