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Classical View of Management


  Classical Viewpoint is divided into three parts:

1. Scientific management

2. Bureaucratic management

3. Administrative management


1. Scientific management:

Scientific management is defined as the use of the scientific method to define the “one best way” for a job to be done.

Important Contributions:

Frederick W. Taylor is known as the “father” of scientific management. Taylor’s work at the Bethlehem Steel companies motivated his interest in improving efficiency.

a. Taylor sought to create a mental revolution among both workers and managers by defining clear guidelines for improving production efficiency. He defined four principles of management.

b. His “pig iron” experiment is probably the most widely cited example of scientific management. c. Using his principles of scientific management, Taylor was able to define the one best way for doing each job.

d. Overall, Taylor achieved consistent improvements in productivity in the range of 200 percent. He affirmed the role of managers to plan and control and of workers to perform as they were instructed.

Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915)

was the first nationally known management thinker. His “Taylorism” or “scientific management” was a major contribution to business operations as we know them today. The overview of his studies is given below:

a. Taylor developed scientific management to counter the problem of soldiering by workers—deliberately working below full capacity.

b. Taylor pioneered the time-and-motion study, where by a work task is broken down into its various motions, is improved by eliminating unnecessary motions, and then the motions timed to determine optimal daily production.

c. Through his four principles of scientific management, Taylor advocated scientific study of the task to find the best work method rather than relying on traditional methods handed down from one worker to another.

d. Taylor successfully implemented his theory at Bethlehem Steel in two famous studies involving shoveling and pig-iron handling.

e. Although real and imagined abuses or misuses of scientific management occurred (leading in one instance to a congressional investigation—and thereby adding to Taylor’s notoriety), Taylor’s strong support of science and his redefining the role of managers remains his primary contribution to management theory.

Taylor’s Four Principles of Scientific Management:

1. Study each part of the task scientifically, and develop a best method to perform it.

2. Carefully select workers and train them to perform a task using the scientifically developed method.

3. Cooperate fully with workers to ensure they use the proper method.

4. Divide work and responsibility so management is responsible for planning work methods using scientific principles and workers are responsible for executing the work accordingly.

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth (1868-1924 and 1878-1972 respectively):

They did studies aimed at eliminating unnecessary motions and way of reducing task fatigue.

a. They perfected the time-and-motion study techniques first introduced by Taylor.

b. Together they provided the first vocabulary for identifying hand, arm, and body motions used at work—which they called “Therbligs.”

c. Lillian’s doctoral dissertation was published as the book, The Psychology of Management, one of the first books published on the findings of psychology in the workplace.

d. Frank “proved” the value of motion studies in his own construction company whose productivity was nearly three times better than his competitors who used the older work methods.

Henry L. Gantt (1861-1919)

One of Taylor’s closest associates is best known for his Gantt chart, a graphic aide to planning, scheduling, and controlling. His other interests included a unique pay incentive system and the social responsibility of business.

How Do Today’s Managers Use Scientific Management?

To understand why scientific management was viewed as such an important development, you need to look at the times in which Taylor, the Gilbreths, and other scientific management advocates lived.

1. It was important because it could raise countries’ standards of living by making workers more productive and efficient.

2. Also, it’s important to remember that many of the tools and techniques developed by the scientific management practitioners are still used in organizations today.

2. Bureaucratic management:


This group of writers focused on the entire organization. They’re important for developing more general theories of what managers do and what constitutes good management practice. The two most prominent theorists behind the general administrative approach were Henri Fayol and Max Weber.

1. Henri Fayol wrote during the same time period as Frederick Taylor. Fayol was the managing director of a large French coal-mining firm.

a. His attention was aimed at the activities of all managers.

b. He described the practice of management as distinct from other typical business functions.

2. Max Weber (pronounced VAY-BAR) was a German sociologist who wrote in the early part of the 20th century.

a. He developed a theory of authority structures and described organizational activity based on authority relations.

b. He described the ideal form of organization—the bureaucracy , defined as a form of organization marked by division of labor, a clearly defined hierarchy, detailed rules and regulations, and impersonal relationships Max Weber stated 14 principles of management (fundamental or universal truths of management that can be taught in schools). It emphasized the need for organizational rationality rather than the owner’s whims as a means for determining how work should be divided into individual work positions and how the work should be rewarded. Max Weber, the most important early advocate of this approach, argued that too often organizational decisions and rewards were made because of who the worker was (possibly a relative of the manager) or who the worker knew rather than on the performance of the worker. Scientific management focused on the work or the job and how to do it better. Bureaucratic management, on the other hand, focused on how to structure the organization better so that better overall performance might be achieved.

Max Weber (1864-1920)

 a well known German sociologist coined the term “bureaucracy” to apply to the ideal of large organizations operating on a rational basis. Weber’s original definition was much different than the definition of government red tape and bungling usually associated with the term “bureaucracy” today.

Characteristics of Weber’s ideal bureaucracy

The major characteristics of Weber’s ideal bureaucracy include:

a. Specialization of a labor

b. Formalization of rules and procedures

c. Impersonality in application of rules and sanctions

d. Formalization of lines of authority into a hierarchical structure

e. Formalization of the career advancement process to be based on merit The timing of Weber’s contributions is a little confusing. Although he was a contemporary of Taylor and others described as “classical contributors,” Weber’s works weren’t translated into English until the 1940s. Weber’s bureaucratic characteristics are still evident in many of today’s large organizations—even in highly flexible organizations of talented professionals where some bureaucratic mechanisms are necessary to ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively.

Contribution of the classical viewpoint:

I. Highlights the need for a scientific approach to management. II. Points out that work methods often can be improved through study. III. Identifies a number of important principles that are useful in running organization efficiently.

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