Thursday, March 15, 2012

week 3: Topic 2: Classical Approaches

This topic, I’ve learned in depth on the 3 classical theories that is being introduced includes Fayol’s Classical Management, Weber’s Theory of Bureaucracy and Taylor’s Scientific Management. We were also taught on the classical approaches of communication content, direction of communication flow, channel of communication and the communication style.

In classical theories, they describe organisations as machine when the impact of Industrial Revolution has changed the way people work. Employees are trained for a specific task for the division of labor, standardization and replace-ability where employees can be easily replaced and predictable outcome as machines is programmed to a specific amount of results.

Classical theory 1: Henri Fayol’s Classical Management


Foyal first described 5 job scope of management/manager (what is management)

  1. Planning: to determine goals for the company.
  2. Organising: to delegate jobs
  3. Command: to give proper instructions to employees
  4. Coordination: to make sure each department understands each other, creating a harmonized environment.
  5. Control: to be able to take charged to achieve goals and organising activities.
Foyal also came up with 4 principles of management (how management should be)

  1. Six Principles of Organisational Structure
·         Scalar chain: mainly on vertically top-down communication.
·         Unity of command: to take orders only from one leader.
·         Unity of direction: under the supervision of only one leader.
·         Division of labour: to be assigned on a specific/limited task.
·         Order: every employee has an appointed department and task.
·         Span of control: control the leader-staff ratio; limit the number of staff under a manager.

  1. Three Principles of Organisational Power
·         Centralization: to have one main central management that has control.
·         Authority & Responsibility: managers have the power to order/do something to certain extend.
·         Discipline: to ensure subordinates is obedient to the rules of organisation and managers.

  1. Three Principles of Organisational Reward
·         Remuneration of personnel: Bonus or financial motivation.
·         Equity: fairly treated
·         Tenure stability: ensure that all jobs are given enough time to complete.

  1. Three Principles of Organisational Attitude
·         Subordination of individual interest to general interest: eg if you need to miss work for the day, think about the rest of the co-workers and your manager position, you should at least call in to inform in order manager could re-arrange the work task for other staff for the day.
·         Initiative: anything we do should think and work for the best interest of the organisation.
·         Esprit de corps: promoting unity and team spirit for a more harmonious organisation.

Classical theory 2: Max Weber’s Theory of Bureaucracy


Weber came up with six aspects to explain his theory; some are pretty similar to Foyal’s theory.

Similar to Foyal:
  1. Hierarchical system of authority.
  2. Division of labour (task specialisation)
  3. Centralization of power
New aspects: 
  1. Closed system: nothing is disclosed to the external party or being influenced by it.
  2. Written rules: there is a specific printed regulation to be followed eg, handbook provided.
  3. Authority system: should be a rational legal authority team who delineate lines of authority in a fixed area of activity, action taken on the basis of and recorded in written rules. 
Weber listed his forms of legitimate authority

  1. Traditional authority : born to be in that position
  2. Charismatic authority: they are given the authority because they have to the power to influence eg, politicians, celebrity and etc.
  3. Rational-legal authority: they have the authority because they worked hard for it. This is the kind of leaders that most organisations are looking for.
Classical theory 3: Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management.


Taylor focused on 4 elements of scientific management.

  1. Some people have the natural human instinct of taking it easy. They are called ‘natural soldiering
  2. Rewarding system through piecework where people are paid through the number of units achieved.
  3. There are workers who work faster in order to earn more and unscrupulous managers would rate fast workers normally and pay slower workers half the usual rate. They are ‘rate busting’
  4. On the other hand, slower workers hated the idea of ‘rate buster’. Thus they would team up and force fast workers to slow down so that they could get the usual rate as well. This is called ‘ systematic soldiering’
There is one best way to perform every job which is to just plainly follow the given direction of the work or following the recipe of it. It is important to have the proper selection of workers where each staff is rightly placed at the right time. Besides that, it is also important to provide trainings for the workers and to compensate them with some incentive plan. A company should also state clearly on the difference between management and workers.

Classical approach on communication process that is machine-like organisation could be viewed in terms of:
  1. Communication content where everything is work-related. There are no personal matters involved.
  2. Direction of communication flow is mainly focusing on vertical, top-down system.
  3. Channel of communication is through written or these days email for black & white purposes.
  4. Communication style is very formal eg punch cards, presentations, a certain language is imposed on verbal or non-verbal expression and etc.
Question: Are classical theories of management relevant for newly industrialized factories or applicable in today’s world?
It is believed that classical theories is still important especially in the bigger companies such as fast-food restaurant, military organisations, manufacturing and service organisations and etc, in order to keep every part of the organisation to run smoothly. However, many contemporary organisations value the free-flow of communication within the company for more feedback, input or ideas to be discussed within for a better improvement of the organisation. 

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