You are on page 1of 17

PowerPoint to accompany

Organisation Theory
CONCEPTS AND CASES

5e
Stephen Robbins Neil Barnwell

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

Chapter two

The evolution of organisation theory

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

Aims of this lecture


Explain why and how organisation theory has evolved over time Identify the main phases in the evolution of organisation theory Discuss current trends in approaches to organisations Introduce the concept of paradigm proliferation

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

Early contributions
The evolution of organisation theory has been influenced by current challenges facing organisations and by the interests of researchers Even in ancient times, organisations had clear hierarchies of management and division of labour The division of labour is a person concentrating on one job rather than a range of tasks

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

1900 to 1930s - early management theories


In this period the emphasis was on raising efficiency by improving productivity Leading thinkers were practising managers

Frederick Taylor promoted scientific management where jobs were standardised, production systematised and production methods systematically examined

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

1900 to 1930s
continued:

Henri Fayol developed his principles of organisation which addressed the problems of managing large organisations His principles included the division of work, unity of command, a clear hierarchy of management and commitment to the organisation Max Weber described the principles of bureaucracy which considered to be an ideal way to manage

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

1900 to 1930s
continued:

Ralph Davis emphasised the importance of rational planning in an organisation The classical theorists of this period considered that organisations (and people) were easily understood and the challenge for management was developing appropriate management techniques

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

1930s to 1960s Behavioural School


High rates of industrial disputation and worker discontent led to attempts to better understand the attitudes and values of workers Many organisational behaviour theories relating to motivation and leadership emerged during this period Awareness of worker attitudes was raised by Elton Mayo and his Hawthorne studies

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

1930s to 1960s
continued:

Chester Barnard viewed the organisation as a cooperative system and urged that management should incorporate peoples needs when organising tasks

Douglas McGregor proposed Theory X and Theory Y in relation to management


Warren Bennis suggested that bureaucracy was dead and was being replaced by more flexible work systems

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

1930s to 1960s
continued:

The sociotechnical systems approach emphasised the interaction of motivation, challenging jobs and the quality of working life

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

10

1950 to 1970 The unmanageable organisation


During this period the ability to effectively manage large organisations was questioned Scholars such as Herbert Simon questioned whether rational and optimal decision making took place The problems of managing large organisations were brought to a wide audience by Parkinson and Laurence Peter

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

11

1960 to 1980 The study of contingency


Researchers during this period attempted to find the best way to manage They found that approaches to structuring were contingent upon a number of variables Their research methodology was based upon studying samples of organisations for dominant traits

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

12

1960 to 1980
continued:

Woodward proposed that the organisations technology had a major influence upon structuring The Aston group suggested that size exerted a major influence Miles and Snow studied the influence of strategy

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

13

From 1980 Paradigm proliferation


Paradigm proliferation refers to the emergence of many new approaches to organisational study. Many of these have little relationship to each other March and Simon proposed that there were limits to rationality in organisations Pfeffer suggested that organisations should be viewed as political arenas

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

14

Paradigm proliferation
continued:

Critical theory and post modernism highlight the negative aspects of organisational experience The symbolic-interpretive perspective proposes that the organisation be studied as a social construct Organisational economics applies economic theory, transactions costs and agency theory to organisations

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

15

Paradigm proliferation
continued:

The study of gender in organisations investigates the different experiences of men and women as both workers and managers The emergence of popular management writers and the reflections of exCEOs brings current experience to organisational problems and acts as a counterpoint to academic theorising

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

16

Discussion questions
Discuss whether the scientific management approach still applies today. Discuss whether there is an ideal way to manage. How would the study of organisations by managers and academics differ? How would this likely affect their writing on organisations? What factors have contributed to paradigm proliferation? What should be the main focus of organisational theory; the workers or the organisations output?

Robbins, Barnwell: Organisation Theory 5e 2007 Pearson Education Australia

17