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Managment Essay

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INTRODUCTION This essay discusses classical management and behavioural viewpoint, their limitations, and argues that their incompatibilities can be reconciled by systems and contingency theories. The first part of this essay gives a brief overview of classical management and the second on behavioural viewpoint. The third and fourth compare the two approaches to find the similarities/compatibilities and dissimilarities/incompatibilities between them. The next two parts explain systems and contingency theories and how they reconcile the points of dissimilarity/incompatibility between these approaches. The final part contains some concluding remarks. CLASSICAL VIEWPOINT A BRIEF OVERVIEW Classical management theory was based on the work experiences of certain key individuals in the early twentieth century, which collectively came to be known as the classical management school (Buchanan & Huczynski, 1997, p.393). The theory is called classical because it attempted to offer simple principles, which claimed a general application (Baker, 1972; Buchanan & Huczynski, 1997, p.393). There are three major approaches within the classical viewpoint: scientific, bureaucratic, and administrative (Bartol et al., 2005, pp.34-8). The pioneers of the classical viewpoint include the "Father of Scientific Management" (Merkle, 1980, p.10) Frederick Winslow Taylor, Max Weber, Henri Fayol, and Lyndall Urwick (Buchanan & Huczynski, 1997, pp.332-413). ...read more.


McGregor (1966) stated that the conventional (classical) conception of management about workers were that they "would be passive - even restraint - to organizational needs. They must therefore be persuaded, rewarded, punished, controlled - their activities must be directed". This McGregor called the "Theory X". In contrast, McGregor's "Theory Y", which is "based on more adequate assumptions about human nature and human motivation" (behavioural viewpoint), states that people are not by nature passive or resistant to organizational needs (McGregor, 1966, p.15). Follett believed that organizational members are always influenced by groups within which they operate (Parker, 1984; Bartol et al., 2005, p.40) and groups could control themselves and their own activities (Bartol et al., 2005, p.41). Mayo's Hawthorne Studies affirmed these views, which found that workers are motivated by more than pay and conditions alone, and work is a group activity, where groups exercise strong controls over the work habits and attitudes of individual group members (Buchanan & Huczynski, 1997, p.186). 2. Different approaches in achieving efficiency and organizational goals: Classical management tried to achieve the above by identifying key processes, functions and skills. Taylor's four principles of scientific management were aimed to standardise and simplify the job so that it was broken down into its elements, which could then be distributed to workers based on the fitness for the job. ...read more.


'It depends' is the answer to most questions asked of contingency researchers. Employee behaviour is too complex to be explained by only a few simple and straightforward principles (Vecchio et al., 1996, pp.22-3). When the environment is simple and unchanging, managers should implement classical management as it is designed to deal with structured, uncomplicated situations. In these environments, managers can assume that workers are motivated solely by money, and should adopt universality in managing organizations to achieve goals and efficiency. Concepts like centralisation should be used. In complicated, dynamic environments, managers should apply behavioural viewpoint to suit the instability of the environment, as behavioural viewpoint considers human behaviour and urges managers to consider it. In these situations, managers should assume that workers have needs beyond physiological and safety, and concepts like delegation11 and decentralisation12 should be used to accomplish goals and efficiency. CONCLUSION Both systems and contingency theories stress the importance of considering the environment in making managerial decisions. They recognise the interdependency of situational factors and managerial decisions. Their reluctance to implement universality, and their ability to reconcile the incompatibilities between classical and human relations management theories provide managers who use them with better prediction and control of the organization. ...read more.

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