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XIAO YI

Is the Classical approach to management obsolete? By XIAO YI

With the initiation of industrial revolution, plenty of factories needed to expand with larger groups of people. In order to manage such huge factories, a number of theories were put forward which are called classical organisation theories now. Three of the more important theories are Henri Fayol’s principles of management, Max Weber’s bureaucracy and Frederick W Taylor’s scientific management. The essay will look at each theory separately. However, these theories were created in mind with the

organisation in the early 20th century, this could lead people to doubt whether these theories are outdate, and this assignment will critically argue classical theories are still relevant nowadays.

“Classical organisation theory focused on how a large number of workers and managers could be organized more effectively into an overall structure.” (Moorhead, 2001). Essentially, classical theory is regarded as a rational perspective of management and organisations to deal with the growing scale of firms.

First, one of the earliest approaches to management was known as scientific management which was developed by Frederick W Taylor. Taylor’s scientific management was based on ideological position which is the scientific investigation of work, it is concerned with the relationship between managers and employees and the individual remunerate at work. There are four principles within Taylor’s theory, which includes one best way to accomplish the task, appropriate choice of workers for the job, training employees and intrinsic difference between management and workers. (Miller, 1999)

In accordance with Taylor’s scientific management, it is clear that it contributed some significant impacts on organisation function, it leads to efficient production and wages
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” and two prominent aspects of Fayol’s theory are the elements and principles of management. the elements of management sort 2/5 . clear hierarchy of authority from the proper role in organisation rather than the individual. who was a sociologist. Nevertheless. who is Taylor’s biographer. Furthermore. As Miner (1982) states: “Bureaucratic systems dominate through knowledge.Essay Writing XIAO YI reflect work-rate in the company.” However. (Griffin. 2004). First of all. this theory treats people as another resource to gain more output from employees which is not humanisation. besides.” It is a closed system that rationality is the leading power and individuality is discouraged. this ideal type of organisation has still been applied in the development of various proposals in recent years. specialisation. tradition and rational-legal. said: “it’s (Frederick Taylor’s) ideas that determine how many burgers McDonald’s expects its flippers to flip or how many calls the phone company expects its operators to assist. This theory is based on the most efficient manner for the principles of rational-legal authority of managing organisations. (Crowther & Green. Koontz and O’Donnell (1976) note Henri Fayol as “father of modern operational-management theory. The result is a climate of formal impersonality without hatred or passion and hence without affection or enthusiasm. and a paid staff who is not production staff and who manages the administrations. And bureaucracy is represented by numerous features. another theorist was Max Weber. and this fact gives them their rationality. but the theory of bureaucracy underlines rational-legal authority but ignores the role of charismatic power. 2001) Second. which include system of rules. Weber developed this idea from identifying three sources of authority which are charisma. In addition. there is still a great deal of evidence of scientific management practice nowadays. considered the ideal form of organisation for modern industrial society known as bureaucracy. Kanigel.

organising. Additionally. these theories provide many approaches and practices to management that are still relevant nowadays. Thus. it sounds very plausible which was built upon Fayol’s experience. and the process is followed thoroughly. remuneration and so on. the organisation generally attempts to find “one best way” to accomplish tasks. hierarchy. in spite of the limitations of this theory as an illustrative mechanism. it still influences some thoughts in contemporary society and the evaluation in the business world. 1999) Another feature of theory is the principles of management that would give managers ideas of how to manage the workforce in the organisation. For example. and all the individuals know their positions within the company. who have been dead beyond 50 years. Fayol’s theory is quite idealistic and assumes compliant labour. consist of planning. it is clear that strict hierarchy is exited in military 3/5 . (Miller. According to Fayol’s theory. However. It includes such characteristics as job specialisation. communication could be considered as an implied and central part of this theory. the organisation has determined “one best way” to serve customers with delicious food and well-service. it is demonstrated that this theory does not sufficient describe or clarify the manners in which organisations actually function. if people have dinner in a restaurant. which measured five fundamental elements of management. coordinating and controlling. The theorists that have been described in this essay include Fayol. authority and discipline. Employees can be encouraged to work strictly for the goals rather than own interests by rewarding them. In fact. whereas these five elements cannot be acted without communication. it structures an effective organisation. Also. centralisation. It is found that communication is not involved in Fayol’s theory.Essay Writing XIAO YI out things that managers should do. commanding. Hence it is argued that if classical management theories are obsolete. Weber and Taylor. In order to obtain the largest profit. unity. Essentially.

it is recognised that different structures of organisations may be appropriate in different situations. it is a way of thinking about and analysing organisations more accurately. To sum up. if it organises without rules and hierarchy. organisation theory is not a set of facts. Word count: 977 4/5 . However. unity of command and discipline are the basis of managing in the military.Essay Writing XIAO YI organisations. Besides. Thus. people could cause unexpected damage by making an unaware mistake. classical approaches to management played a significant role in the development of management proposals and are still useful and pertinent in some places. the concepts of authority. the influence of classical theory is widely seen in the features of many contemporary organisations.

8th ed.and O’Donnell. Perrow. H. J. L. Miner. 3rd ed. M. (1982) Theories of Organizational Structure and Process. D. Miller.Essay Writing XIAO YI References: Crowther. Inc. Daft. 2nd ed. United States: South-Western. C.and Green. 5th ed. R. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. M. B. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. New York: McGraw-Hill. K. (2001) Organizational Behavior: Managing people and organizations. Griffin. (2004) Organisational Theory. (1999) Organizational communication: Approaches and Processes. United States: Wadsworth Publishing Company. Charlottesville: Dryden Press. (2008) Fundamentals of Management. 6th ed. 5/5 . Inc. 6th ed. R. (1986) Complex Organizations: A Critical Essay. New York: McGraw-Hill. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company. (2004) Organization Theory and Design. (1976) Management: a systems and contingency analysis of managerial functions. Griffin. Koontz. C. W.

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