The organisation plays

The hierarchy doesn’t need to be followed in the order in which it is set out. Some factors may be more important than others to an individual and therefore the order in which they appear will differ. Although Maslow never intended his needs hierarchy to be applied to a work situation, it was accepted by managers and they began to motivate employees by establishing which level each person was at and directing attention to the next level up the hierarchy.

The problem with neo-human relations was it concentrated on the people rather than the organisation, a direct contrast to classical management which concentrated on the organisation and not the people. In an attempt to join these two theories together the systems approach to management was developed. The systems approach encompasses the whole organisation and also its’ external environment, the importance of which earlier theories failed to recognise. Managers should focus on the role which each part of the organisation plays in the organisation as a whole and that there are many sub-systems which exist in an organisation and these interact with each other through multiple channels. They should also recognise that social and technical aspects are related and a change in one will undoubtedly affect the other and thus the organisation as a whole.

The introduction of new technology can lead to a change in the jobs performed by employees and also the groups they have been working in. This can cause a number or problems such as increased absenteeism, resentment, decline in communication and stress. Management should identify that this can and does happen and therefore tailor new technology so that it can be operated with minimal change in the established social structure present in the organisation. T. Hannagan, 1998 4 states that there are six factors which managers must be aware of when implementing a systems approach to management. The contingency approach attempted to draw aspects from all the previous schools of management thought and apply them to different areas of modern organisational management.

Previously universal models of management were rejected by the theorists as they argued that there is no one beat way to manage the organisation, what works well in one area may not work equally as well in another area of the business Practitioners of a contingency approach to management must recognise that different problems and situations will give rise to different solutions. This is illustrated in the “if-then” diagram in appendix 3. If certain factors exist then certain organisational structures and managerial styles are most appropriate to use. The theory also explored in depth the effect that the external environment of the business has on its internal operations. For example changes in environmental legislation may force the business to change an aspect of design or production of a product in order to comply with legalities.

There are three main elements which have been identified and researched which may affect management style and organisational structure, size, technology and environment. These are highlighted in appendix 4. All of these managerial methods are criticised by social action writers, a band of sociologists who wished to contribute their theory to the study of organisations. The main stimulator of this theory is David Silverman, a Reader in Sociology at Goldsmiths College, London. He argued that the previous organisational analysis was based on the belief that problems could be solved by adapting and altering the structure of the organisation rather than attending to the motivations, actions and objectives of the people employed within the organisation.

Silverman’s basis for his argument is generally the view that an organisation does not exist without the people within it; it is simply a building, an empty shell. It is the people that make the organisation what it is, their opinions, motivations, objectives, achievements, etc. Rather than argue that behaviour of employees is a result of the structure in place, as did previous theorists, Silverman puts forward the notion that organisational structure is a result of the behaviour displayed by employees. A human element is required in order to implement Weber’s bureaucracy or Burns and Stalker’s organic structure. Therefore the human element, it can be said, is the single most important factor of any organisation.

It is evident that a number of different theories have evolved since the 19th century, this paper has simply covered the ones that were deemed as revolutionary in their time (appendix 5). Each theory however is simply an extension or critique of its predecessor, there is nothing unique or revolutionary about it. The approach was dependent on the circumstances of the time in which it existed and although it was argued that each new approach was better than the previous one, it soon became outdated and there was a necessity for a new method to be developed.

This factor is the only thing that will remain constant in the future, that change is inevitable and new (or regurgitated) methods will always need to be developed to accommodate new trends and fashions. Many people will argue that modern management gurus, Drucker, Peters and Waterman, etc, write about management styles in order to make money. If this is the case then why should organisations adopt any of their proposed methods and do we need such gurus to tell us what many of us already know.

Many of their theories tend to be simply updated versions of theories developed by the established four schools of management, there is nothing new or innovative about them. Today’s manager must be able to recognise which style, or a combination of styles, is appropriate for his/her organisation and implement this in a manner which takes in to account internal and external variables and ensures the success of the organisation in the business world.

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