Thursday, July 5, 2012

Classical Organizational Theory, Behavioral School and Contemporary Theories of Management

By:  Gilbert M. Forbes
(A paper or material presented at the Philippine Normal University by Gilbert M. Forbes as part of the required activities of the course ED M 506 Research Seminar in Education with Dr. Roderick A. Tadeo as professor.)

I. Classical Organizational Theory/ School
The classical school is the oldest formal school of management thought. Its roots pre-date the twentieth century whose general concerns are ways to manage work and organizations more efficiently.  Body of the classical school's management thought was based on the belief that employees have only economical and physical needs, and that social needs and need for job satisfaction either don’t exist or are unimportant.  Accordingly, this school advocates high specialization of labor, centralized decision making, and profit maximization.  Three areas of study that can be grouped under the classical school are scientific, administrative, and bureaucratic management.

Scientific Management 
It is popularly referred to as Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management (1856-1917).  In his book The Principles of Scientific Management, he describes how the application of the scientific method to the management of workers could greatly improve productivity.  Scientific Management called for optimizing the way that tasks are performed and simplifying the jobs enough so that workers could be trained to perform their specialized jobs that are being performed.  Scientific management adheres that it is more effective than the “initiative and incentive” method of motivating workers.

Taylor was being affected by some moral principles; therefore, he had a profound respect for the following principles:
  •  Brought up scientific working methods for basic formative section of each staff’s job.
  • Scientifically selected, trained, fostered and cultivated the workers.
  • Cooperated with staffs enthusiastically so that ensuring jobs done are suitable to scientific theory which has been set forth.
  • Basically actualized equal division of labor between jobs and responsibilities of the managements and the workers.
  • All work processes should be systematically analyzed and broke down into specialized discrete tasks.
  • Payment depended on piecework basis which taken as an incentive to maximize productivity and produce high wages for the workers.
    At the same time, his insufficient understanding towards organizational behavior gave rise to the following situation:
    1.  Changed workers role into that was required to strictly abide by methods and procedures of affairs on which they had no discretions.
    2. Fragmentation of work due to its emphasis on the analysis and organization of individual tasks and operation,
    3. His thought over payment that was mainly reliance on output performance rather than giving remuneration to workers in accordance with overall performance of the workers.
    4. His inclination to consider planning and control of workforce activities which were only in the management’s hands rather than allowing staffs to involve.
    5. Every job which was measured, timed, and rated.
    6. Occurrence of boredom stemmed from repetitive jobs and tight management control.
    7. Poor understanding between grass-roots workers and managements.s:
      •  Replace work-of-thumb work method with methods based on a scientific study of the tasks.
      • Scientifically select, train and develop each worker to be first class at some specific task.
      • Science of work to be brought together with scientifically selected and trained people to achieve the  best results.
      • Work and responsibility to be divided equally between workers and management cooperating together in close interdependence.
      It has to be acknowledged that from an economic standpoint, Taylorism or Scientific Management was an extreme success for it yielded significant improvements in productivity.
      • Although it maximized efficiency and productivity but its main limitation was ignoring human aspects of employment.
      • Work has become monotonous.
      • The core job dimensions of skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback all were missing from the picture of it.
      Administrative Theory 
      Henri Fayol’s administrative theory mainly focuses on the personal duties of management at a much more granular level. In other words, his work is more directed at the management layer. Fayol believed that management had five principle roles: to forecast and plan, to organize, to command, to co-ordinate, and to control. Forecasting and planning was the act of anticipating the future and acting accordingly. Organization was the development of the institution’s resources, both material and human. Commanding was keeping the institution’s actions and processes running. Co-ordination was the alignment and harmonization of the group’s efforts.  Finally, control meant that the above activities were performed in accordance with appropriate rules and procedures.

      Fayol developed fourteen principles of administration to go along with management’s five primary roles. These principles are: specialization/division of labor, authority with responsibility, discipline, unity of command, unity of direction, subordination of individual interest to the general interest, remuneration of staff, centralization, scalar chain/line of authority, order, equity, stability of tenure, initiative, and esprit de corps.
      Fayol clearly believed personal effort and team dynamics were part of an “ideal” organization.

      Fayol’s five principle roles (Plan, Organize, Command, Co-ordinate, and Control) of management are still actively practiced today. The concept of giving appropriate authority with responsibility is also  widely  commented  on  and  is well practiced. Unfortunately, his principles of “unity of command” and “unity of direction” are consistently violated in “matrix management”, the structure of choice for many of today’s companies.

      • Only acknowledged and focused on the structure of formal organizations;
      • Took management as critical paternalistic and was stiff to desires and needs of both individuals and groups;
      • Lacked suitability towards structures and behaviors of people as individuals and groups as such the 14 universal principles set forth were not will fit into an organic organization;
      Bureaucratic Management can be viewed as an attempt to build up a reasonable and legal basis for the authority and an arrangement for the purpose of selecting people and undertaking various sorts of activities. Bureaucratic type of organizational structure has the following characteristics:
      • Works of specialization. It decomposed works into different kinds of simple, daily, and detailed tasks.
      • Hierarchy of authority. Responsibilities and positions were organized by hierarchy. Each low-grade position was monitored and controlled by the high-grade position.
      • Formal selection. All organizational members were selected on the basis of qualification of technique, which certified by training, education, formal examinations.
      • Impersonality. When applying rules and regulations, it was required to avoid involvement of character and personal preference.
      • Orientation of occupation. Managers were professional leaders. They worked for steady salary and developed their careers within the organization.
      Key Features of Bureaucracy
      Clear division of labor:  each task performed by employees is formally created and recognized as an official duty (yours and no one else’s).  Specialization.
      Hierarchical arrangement of positions:  each lower position controlled and supervised by a higher one.  Chain of Command
      Formal rules and regulations:  uniformly guide employee behavior.  Provide continuity and stability to work environment.  Reduce uncertainty about task performance.
      Impersonal relationships:  managers don’t get involved in employees’ personalities and personal preferences.
      No emotional attachments.  Provides for fairness.
      Employment based entirely on technical competence:  get job because you can do the job, not because of who you know.  Rigid selection criteria.  No arbitrary dismissal or promotion.

      The more fully realized itself, the more bureaucracy “depersonalizes” itself – i.e., the more completely it succeeds in achieving the exclusion of love, hatred, and every purely personal, especially irrational and incalculable, feeling from execution of official tasks. Indeed it has become a completely impersonal organization with little human level of interaction between its members.

      You may also like reading What a School Principal Should Be

      (Mr. Gilbert M. Forbes had his Bachelors Degree and MA in Educational Management (CAR) from the Philippine Normal University.  A campus paper adviser and trainer for 13 years.  Currently, he is a school principal in one of the central schools in the Division of Quezon.) 


      Dr. Yasin Olum, MODERN MANAGEMENT THEORIES AND PRACTICES, a paper presented at the 15th East African Central Banking Course, held on 12th July 2004, at Kenya School of Monetary Studies.
      Post a Comment