Viewing Management Through Various Approaches
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Viewing Management Through Various Approaches -Rashmi Thapa Trainee Manager, Personal Department H enry Ford used to be the best car producer in the world at his time while Jack Welch is the best electronic producer now. What is the difference between them then? The answer to this query could only be one. And that is their use of contrasting 'management styles.' Understanding management might be one of the toughest attempts so far, for the concept, style, meaning, process and implication has altered over the years. Management however can be defined as the process of getting things done with and through the help of people for the achievement of goals, the only concern now is how these things are achieved 'with and through' people. The different approaches to management shows how the concept of getting things done have been evolved and how people particularly manage today. The initial organisations were recognised and coined by an American engineer called, Frederick Winslow Taylor a.k.a. F W Taylor, who devised the theory of 'Scientific Management,' This theory is concerned with the structure and activities of formal organisation, rather than the people working in the organisation, to control production between management and labour. Taylor propounded this theory by observing the intentional inefficiency of workers in his company. Taylor's theory looks into the rational approach of organisational work and the measurement much accurate. The method shot up productivity through division and specialisation of work. Employees were encouraged to work by giving extra pay for each extra time of work. It emphasised on the intake of right people for the right task and intensive training for the operation, which in turn increased 'output per worker, reducing deliberate inefficiency.' The theory also stressed on the control and close supervision on the performance of workers, which clearly meant less efficient work without any redundancies. Planned and formal information being used for the execution of work could be another benefit of this approach.
The management of Robert Owen's Organisation- an early management innovator Robert Owen being a very traditional textile company believed in close supervision and control of work. This form of management can be best summed up as a Bureaucratic Approach, which states that there is a hierarchy of authority, recording, rules and procedures and impersonality. Similarly, the first aspect of work Owen tried to change was the increment in productivity, which at that time was very important. He did this through worker's jobs being measured and controlled very strictly. There was a clear line of authority and the workers knew exactly whom they were to report to, since every worker's performance was closely monitored and marked in either a red or a black board. The overseers then recorded the performance of employees as in recording a history of people's work very impartially, which affected the organisation eventually. Another principle Owen used in his company very similar to bureaucracy was his keenness on discipline. The workers in his company were to follow very rigid rules of discipline and if not followed were given penalties. These strict and firm rules ultimately created worker's de-motivation to work. Owen however didn't impose harsh unfriendly environment to his workers. He also looked into the 'Human Relations Approach,' for worker satisfaction and motivation. He provided nursery for worker's children over one year old. Parallel to the theory, he conducted various experiments in cooperation and community building. Moreover he created new approaches that would raise wages and increase security of employment. Management Today For clear understanding of how managers and organisations operate today, I took the liberty of interviewing Ms. Sue Milhem, department manager of one of the top retail stores called, the House of Fraser (HOF). The outcome of the interview showed that HOF had both rules and regulations and it focused much on motivation. The organisation therefore ran under a bureaucratic as well as a human relation system.
The power and authority rested both on the management level and the operatives. There was a clear line of decentralisation of work and delegation of authority from top to bottom. The management decisions weren't purely made by the high level executives but were influenced by lower level staff as well. This meant that even the operative's opinions were considered while making decisions, which lead to a clear line of responsibility. The concept of empowering workers was much used to generate opportunities to take up new challenges. The flow of delegation of authority was clear since there was a wider span of control. As an account of my understanding, I believe that if any organisation is to operate properly, it will have to analyse the evolution of the systems of management, consider all the different benefits that different changes have and alter its structure accordingly. The major element of this change being technology and the surrounding environment. In today's competitive world of enhancing technologies and environment, if any organisation won't respond to them will not be able to gain commercial survival let alone attain some portion of the market share. Another key factor for the organisations today is to understand their work force, which can be an asset as well as a liability of the company. The continuation of the traditional structure leads to nothing but isolation. And we all know that none of the organisations can survive in isolation. The most useful and applicable theory for today's environment might be the systems approach, which looks into not just the organisation but also the outside environment threatening change; and the human relations approach, which analyses employees as people not factors of production. Moreover, the Henry Ford management style of massive production and job specialisation, if utilised even today, will lead to nothing but the liquidation of the company. Now days there is more to management than just productivity, which Jack Welsh has so closely implemented the concept the managers use widely today are that of multi-skilled employees and proactive organisations.
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