The Classical School of Organisation and Management By Abstract This paper will critically examine the school of Classical Management Thought, including the theorists of the scientific and administrative perspectives…
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The scientific perspective may be better known, as it starts with Taylor and the foundation of the scientific methods. This paper will give an overview of the classical (management) era by discussing the scientific and administrative perspectives, the theorists behind each perspective, and the relevance of the classical management methods. Management practices may go back as far as the planning, controlling, directing, and building of the ancient pyramids (Wren and Bedeian, 2009). Starting with the late 19th and early 20th century management theorists who began their work during the Industrial Revolution, the major theorists of scientific (management) perspective believed there is one best way to do everything – and that is the most efficient way. Those theorists believed they could determine that method via whatever means they were using or purported was the best method to study the task. Those theorists of the scientific perspective discussed first are F. W. Taylor, H. L. Gantt, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, and Hugo Munsterberg. The Scientific Perspective Frederick W. Taylor’s philosophy led the way for many others in using scientific and mathematical methods applied to workers, attempting to match a person’s abilities to a job in the best way possible, instituting a mutual self-interest mind-set that had never existed and improving employee productivity through incentives (Locke 1982; Wren and Bedeian 2009). Crain (2003) says that Taylor was noted for his scientific approach, his ability to solve problems, and his ability to invent things. His thought was that by being observed and measured the worker increased productivity. In one example, the test subject significantly increased production while receiving more in pay. Taylor’s management philosophy is built on the manager finding the facts, conducting research, and following tradition rather than relying on guesswork and personal opinion or hearsay (Locke, 1982). Chadha (2008) believes that Scientific Management is a form of systems thinking integrated with a worker and the work. Taylor was best known for using a stopwatch to time the workers pace to complete a task, but he believed that money is what the workers craved and they were determined to get it. He believed that ultimately improving efficiency improved society. Hodgetts (1995) analyzed ten organizations against Taylor’s principles and found that each organization utilized the principles in some way to stay focused on their quality management strategy. (Williams 2000) Taylor’s four principles summarized are: 1. Develop a science for each part of a person’s work, replacing a rule of thumb method. 2. Scientifically pick and train employees rather than allow employees to arrive and work as they wish. 3. Cooperate with employees to ensure work is done according to scientific guidelines. 4. Divide work as equally as possible. Allow management time to oversee the work of the employees and shoulder the responsibility of holding others accountable. Henry Laurence Gantt worked closely with F. W. Taylor. Gantt brought a human quality into the scientific side of Taylor’s work. Gantt developed a bonus pay structure for the employee who completed their piece rate work for the day and was able to complete more than the assigned tasks. With Gantt’s methods of the use of incentives for employees production was significantly increased (Wren and Bedeian 2009). Frank Gilbreth used time motion studies where Taylor used a stop watch and was using only time
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