Classical Management Thought
Classical Theory of Management: There are different views of management and classical views of management or classical management theory is also one of them. Management has always remained a challenge for people. Planning, organizing, recruiting, directing and controlling, etc everything comes under the Responsibilities of Manager. In early 90’s, when industrialization got boom, managers realized that there should be some scientific methods to increase productivity. Different managers provided their views to describe the classical viewpoint, which are also known as classical management theory, such as scientific, bureaucratic and administrative, etc.
Classical Views – Classical Management Theory
There may be various ways to process one task; considering all those ways and selecting one best way is the main purpose of scientific management. Various experiments were done by different scientists, including Frederick W. Taylor, who is also known as “father of scientific management”. F.W. Taylor (1856-1915) is widely recognized as first management thinker, who tried to find out scientific methods. Taylor did different experiments from which the event of Bethlehem Steel companies is well known. He focused to develop better understanding among employees and managers by improving efficiency of all. The experiment at Bethlehem was named as “pig iron”. Taylor described his principles in order to make people understand that how to choose the one best way to increase productivity. Scientific management is also known as “Taylorism.” It was Taylor who described managers’ functions to plan and control and workers’ functions to do as they are instructed. He improved the productivity and even achieved it up to 200 percent.
Taylor described the first ever solution to counter the problem of soldiering of workers in which they deliberately perform below full capacity. He defined how to cut unnecessary elements from the process in order to understand the time-and-motion study. It helps breaking a task into different motions and defining the expected delay between two motions that improves efficiency of productivity.
Taylor gave four principles of management that ensure the increase in productivity and those are:
- Analyze the each portion of the task and select one best method to do it.
- Workers should be selected carefully and given specific training as they could perform the task according to scientifically developed method.
- The manager should be cooperating workers at each stage in order to make sure that workers are going on the right path.
- Task and responsibilities should divided among the workers and management should develop scientific methods keeping workers in mind, in this way, everyone will be clear about his or her task and will be answerable for his or her part.
Frank (1868-1924) and Lillian Gilbreth (1878-1972) also put their part in scientific management following the concepts of F.W. Taylor. They focused to cut unnecessary factors for the process of productivity and decrease the fatigue in each part of the task. While on the other hand, they also improved the time-and-motion method that was introduced by Taylor. Frank and Lillian Gilbreth coined the term “Therbligs” that is referred to hand, arm, and body motions used at work. “The Psychology of Management” was the first published book by Lillian that described various findings about psychology in the workplace. Frank proved that the productivity can be increased up to three times by understanding the motion studies. The process of improvement in scientific management does not end here, but many other people also contributed their views. Henry L. Gantt (1861-1919) is known as closest associate and is famous for his work of “Gantt Chart” also put his part. He introduced Gantt chart that helps managers to control and schedule every portion of the task.
Because of these personalities, today companies have comprised ability to get more productivity and make workers efficient. Various new and improved forms of previously used scientific tools are available like business process management can be said modern form of the Gantt chart.
Another classical management theory is Bureaucratic views of management that may seen everywhere in both public and private institutes and organizations. Bureaucratic management focuses to operate the organization under a hierarchy of positions. It is well-known that organizations have presidents, vice presidents, managers, assistant managers, supervisor and such other posts that lie under a higher authority. In bureaucratic management, each group of employees has to report to a higher authority that ultimately reaches to the CEO or president of the organization. The main contributors in bureaucratic management are Henri Fayol and Max Weber. Henri Fayol remained active in defining his perspective of management during the times of F.W. Taylor. While performing the responsibilities of managing director in a large French coal-mining firm, Fayol described the distinctive functions of management that makes it different from other functions of business. However, Max Weber, a German sociologist described how authorities work and how an organization should be operated by dividing authorities. He wrote various papers describing his view of bureaucratic management during the early 20th century. Weber provided the view of an ideal form of organization that is bureaucracy. He was first to focus on the division of labor in a clearly defined hierarchy. An organization must operate under clearly defined rules and regulations by establishing impersonal relationships.
It was very difficult to wait for the owner’s desire to divide the task among the people and who should be rewarded in which manner. Rewards were also given on the basis of favoritism, not according to the performance of workers. Weber made it very clear by defining organizational rationality that can be achieved through a hierarchy and division of labor. Additionally, all job descriptions and rules and regulations must be clearly defined at very initial stage.
Characteristics of Weber’s Ideal Bureaucracy
Weber introduced an important view of bureaucracy that is called Weber’s ideal bureaucracy and its characteristics are:
- Specialized labor
- Rules and procedures should be formalized
- Application of rules and sanctions must be impersonal
- Authorities should be formalized into a hierarchical structure
- The career advancement process should be totally on merit
Administrative management also a one type of classical management theory and is a way to organize things in a systematic manners. The systematic way includes clearly defined tasks, division of labor and a hierarchical structure of the organizations. This concept of management emphasizes improving the performance and overall function of an organization. Henri Fayol (1841-1925) is a prominent name in this field; he gave the perspective that planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling are the main functions of the administration. This approach is still in practice in various organizations; however, the functions are modified slightly. Various books of management written today are based on these basic functions, which serve the same purpose as it served at the time of Fayol. He was a French industrialist; therefore, he wrote books in French. His written work was translated into English some decades after his death.