Approaches to Management: Classical, Human Relations and Behavioral

  1. The Classical Approach

The classical school represented the first major systematic approach to management thought. It was distinguished by its emphasis on finding way to get the work of each employee done faster. It is primarily based upon the economic rationality of all employees.

This evolved that people are motivated by economic incentives and that they will rationally consider opportunities that provide for them the greatest economic gain. The classical school can be broken down into three historical philosophies of management.

(a) Scientific management,

(b) Administrative management approach, and

(c) Bureaucratic model.

  • Scientific Management: The growth of factory system led to numerous problems in production and in labour control. Managers could not solve the problems by trail and error methods. The results could not be predicted. So the need arose for better management techniques. The use of method of science for solving management problems was thought of. The scientific management concept was first developed by F.W. Taylor in between 1895 and 1911. W. Taylor is being called as the Father of scientific, management. In 1878 he joined as a labourer at Midvale steel company in the USA. From that position he progressed to become Chief Engineer in 1884. He published papers on “piece rate system”, “the art of cutting metals” and “shop management”. He published a book on “The Principles of Management” in 1911.
  • Administrative Management Approach: Scientific management focused primarily on the efficiency of production, but administrative management focused on formal organisation structure and the delineation of the basic process of general management. This approach is also known as functional or process approach and is based primarily on the ideas of Henry Fayol (1841-1925).
  • Bureaucratic Model: The third major pillar in the development of classical organisation was provided by Max Weber’s bureaucratic model. Weber developed a set of rational ideas about administrative structure of large, complex organisations that define what has come to be known as bureaucracy.
  1. Human Relations Approach

According to Human Relations Approach, management is the Study of behavior of people at work.

This approach had its origin in a series of experiments conducted by Professor Elton Mayo and his associates at the Harvard School of Business at the Western Electric Company’s Hawthorne Works, near Chicago.

These studies brought out for the first time the important relationships between social factors and productivity. Before it, productivity of the employees was considered to be a function only of physical conditions of work and money wages paid to them. For the first time it was realised that productivity depended largely upon the satisfaction of the employees in work situations.

Following the Howthrone Experiments, a great deal of work has been carried on by behavioral scientists belonging to a variety of disciplines including Psychology, Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology in studying the behavior of people at work.

Those who sub­scribe to the Human Relations School of Thought are of the view that the effectiveness of any organisation depends on the quality of relationships among the people working in the organi­sation.

So, according to them, the managers must concern themselves with an analysis of organizational behavior, that is, interaction of people with the organisation. The basic as­sumption of this school still remains that the goals of the organisation are achieved through and with the people.

Apart from the study of formal organisation and techniques used by such organizations, this school studies the psychological processes in the organisations, informal organizations, conflict, change, motivation and relationships, and the various techniques of achieving organizational development by improving the relationships among the various groups of people constituting the organisation and its internal environment.

Thus, it may be said that this school concentrates on people and their behavior within the formal and informal organizations.

Features of Elton Mayo’s Human Relations Approach:

The main features of the Human Relations Approach to management are the following:

(a) Since management is getting things done through and with people, a manager must have a basic understanding of human behavior in all respects—particularly in the context of work groups and organizations.

(b) The managers must study the inter-personal relations among the people at work.

(c) Larger production and higher motivation can be achieved only through good human relation.

(d) The study of management must draw the concepts and principles of various behav­ioural sciences like Psychology and Sociology.

  1. The Behavioral Approach

The behavioral approach on the human relations approach is based upon the premise of increase in production and managerial efficiency through an understanding of the people.

The human relations approach of management involves with the human behavior and focused attention on the human beings in the organization. The growth and popularity of this approach is attributable to Elton Mayo (1880- 1949) and his Hawthorne experiments.

The Hawthorne experiments were carried out at the Hawthorne plant of the western electric company. These experiments were carried out by Elton Mayo and the staff of the Harvard Business School, main researchers were Elton Mayo, White Head, Roethlisberger and Dickson. The first of Mayo’s four studies took place at a Philadelphia textile mill.

The problem he investigated was excessive labour turnover in a department where work was particularly monotonous and fatiguing. The workers tended to sink into a dejected, disconsolate mood soon after being assigned there eventually they would lose their tempers for no apparent reason and impulsively quit. At first Mayo thought the reason for the worker’s behavior must be physical fatigue.

So, he instituted a series of rest periods, during the workday. In course of trying to schedule these periods in the most efficient manner, management experimented with allowing the workers to do the scheduling themselves. The effect was dramatic. Turnover fell sharly to about the same level as that for the rest of the plant, productivity shot upward and the melancholy moods disappeared.

Similar results were obtained at the Hawthorne plant of the western electric company. Mayo’s another studies made at the Bank hiring room and at an aircraft factory. Hence the Mayo’s study showed that the role played by social needs is more responsive to the social forces operating at work than the economic rewards.

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