Mullins, Approaches to Organizations and Management

Main approaches to organisations, structure and mangement
Classical > Human Relations > Systems > Contingency

Classical: Emphasis on purpose, formal structure, hierarchy of management, technical requirements, and common principles of organisation.

HR: Attention to social factors at work, groups, leadershio, the informal organisation, and behaviour of people.

Systems: The integration of the classical human relations approaches. Importance of the socio-technical system. The organisation within its external environment.

Contingency: No on best design of organisation. Form of structure, management, and ‘success’ of the organisation dependent upon a range of situational variables.

Classification of 11 main schools of management theory
– Classical, including scientific management and bureaucracy
– HR, incl neo-human relations
– Systems
– Contingency

However, attention is also drawn to other approaches or ideas including:
– decision-making
– social action
– postmodernism

Classical Approach
Classical writers were concerned with improvising the organisation structure as a means of increasing efficiency.

Two major ‘sub-groupings’ of the classical approach are:
1. Scientific management
2 Bureaucracy

Scientific Management
Taylor believed that in the same way as there is a best machine for each job, so there is a best working method by which people should undertake their jobs. Each job was broken down into component parts, each part timed, and the parts rearranged into the most efficient method of working.

He believed that workers would be motivated by obtaining the highest possible wages through working in the most efficient and productive way.

Main principles:
– the development of a true science for each person’s work
– the scientific selection, training and development of the workers
– co-operation with the workers to ensure work is carried out in the prescribed way
– the division of work and responsibility between management and the workers

Criticism of Scientific Management
– Workers found the work boring and requiring little skills

However parts of taylors idea are still implemented today e.g. in the hotel business where maids have to clean rooms strictly according to a given flow and incentives are paid for extra cleaned rooms.

Functional Formen
the idea under which workers would be responsible simultaneously to eight different specialist first-line supervisors.

1. Planning, concerned with order of work, instruction cards,time and costing and discipline
2. Performance, concerned with gang boss, speed boss, repair boss and inspector

Main characteristics of bureaucracies
– The tasks of the organisation are allocated as official duties among the various positions
– There is am implied clear-cut division of labour and a high level of specialisation.
– A hierarchical authority applies to the organisation of offices and positions
– Uniformity of decisions and actions is achieved through formally established systems of rules and regulations. Together with a structure of authority, this enables the co-ordination of various activities within the organisation.
– An impersonal orientation is expected from officials in their dealings with clients and other officials. This is designed to result in rational judgements by officials in the performance of their duties.
– Employment by the organisation is based on the technical qualifications and constitutions a lifelong career for the officials.
Summary of bureaucracy by Stewart
– Specialisation applies more to the job than to the person undertaking the job. This makes for continuity because the job usually continues if the present jobholder leaves.

– Hierarchy of authority makes for a sharp distinction between administrators and the administered, or between management and workers.Within the management ranks there are clearly defined levels of authority. This detailed and precise stratification is particularly marked in the armed forces and in the civil service

– Systems of rules aims to provide for an efficient and impersonal operation. The system of rules is generally stable, although some rules may be changed or modified with time. Knowledge of the rules is a requisite of holding a job in bureaucracy.

– Impersonality means that allocation of privileges and the exercise of authority should not be arbitrary, but in accordance with the laid-down system of rules. In more highly developed bureaucracies there tend to be carefully defined procedures for appealing against certain types of decisions. Steward sees the characteristic of impersonality as the features of bureaucracy which most distinguishes it form other types of organizations. A bureaucracy should not only be impersonal but be seen to be impersonal.

HR four main phases to the Hawthorne experiments:
– The illumination experiments
– the relay assembly test room
– the interviewing programme
– the bank wiring observation room
Illumination experiments
Showed that lighting had little effect on productivity. The level of productivity was influenced, clearly, by factors other than changes in physical conditions of work,
Relay assembly test room
The research formed the conclusion that the extra attention given to the workers, and the apparent interest in them shown by management was the main reason for the higher productivity.
The bank wiring room observation
Despite financial incentive schemes where the workers could receive more money the more work produced, the group decided on a level of output well below the level they were capable of producing.

Group pressures on individual workers were stronger than financial incentives offered by management.

Neo-Human Relations
The contention that a satisfied worker is a productive worker was not always found to be valid.

– The work of Maslow:
1. Physiological needs
2. Safety needs
3. Love needs
4. Esteem
5. Self-actualisation

hygiene and maintenance factors

Systems Approach
The systems approach attempts to reconcile these two earlier approaches and the work of the formal and the informal writers. Attention is focused on the total work organisation and the interrelationships of structure and behaviour, and the range of variables within the organisation. The systems approach encourages managers to view the organisation both as a whole and as part of a larger environment.

The idea is that any part of an organization effects all other parts.

The Contingency Approach
The classical approach suggested one best form of structure and placed emphasis on general sets of principles while the human relations approach gave little attention at all to structure. In contrast the contingency approach showed renewed concern with the importance of structure. There is no one optimum state.

The most appropriate structure and system of management is therefore dependent upon the contingencies of the situation for each particular organisation.

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