BOLTON UNIVERSITY FACULTY OF WELLBEING AND SOCIAL SCIENCE BUSINESS SCHOOL Module Name and number:Managing Organisational Behaviour. (BAM2002) Tutor:Tony CARDEN Assignment Number:1 of 2 (50%) Assignment Length:2500 words Submission Deadline:Monday 19th March 2012 (Week 7) Assignment Title: Every good story requires its villains, heroes and heroines. The study of management is no different and a perusal of Organisational Textbooks, more often than not, depicts F. W. Taylor’s Scientific Management theory as the villain of the story and the Human Relations Movement as the hero or heroine.
The Human Relations Movement is portrayed as the proverbial knight in shining white armour whose arrival, via enlightened managerial practices, will enable employees to commit themselves, readily, to organisational effectiveness and efficiency. Critically discuss the validity of this observation. Every good story requires its villains, heroes and heroines. The study of management is no different and a perusal of Organisational Textbooks, more often than not, depicts F. W. Taylor’s Scientific Management theory as the villain of the story and the Human Relations Movement as the hero or heroine.
The Human Relations Movement is portrayed as the proverbial knight in shining white armour whose arrival, via enlightened managerial practices, will enable employees to commit themselves, readily, to organisational effectiveness and efficiency. Critically discuss the validity of this observation. Introduction Today as in the past, Frederick Winslow Taylor is still fuelling controversy in management history. His revolutionary innovations in industrial engineering, which moulded the Scientific Management theory, generated dramatic enhancements in terms of productivity.
Although on the one hand some critics applauded Taylor for his inventive and ground-breaking theory focusing on scientific methods of managing factories; on the other hand some other voices accredited him of destructing and fundamentally altering the soul of work, degrading and dehumanizing factories, reducing and transforming men into robots. Albeit Taylorism didn’t completely ignore the human factor, the Human Relations Movement, another major phase in management history, came after the Scientific Management theory, emphasising on the human aspect of business and its importance.
It focused directly on the prominence of the human beings at work. The movement was based on the belief that work efficiency can drastically improve if human relations are effective. Its innovation was mainly how to utilize humans as a valuable resource. The aim of this assignment is to scrutinise both management theories and size up their respective contribution, their tangible impact in terms of job management. I will have to look at the real legacy of both Taylorism and the Human Relations Movement.
Although management historians will ever totally agree, I will underline their endemic duality, portraying “The Good and The Evil” and come up with decisive arguments to pillory the Scientific Management Theory as the “villain of the story”. But it depends of which side someone analyses both concepts. Definitely managers and workers points of view would diverge when it comes to vaunt the merits of both theories. I will take into account different opinions and approaches of the management theoreticians and historians.
For the purpose of conceptual clarity, this paper will define and highlight some phases of the management history to set the scene of both theories, which became mythical theories. Definition and history of management principles Management is one of the most essential human activities. Since the dawn of organised life, human beings started to form social organizations to achieve aims and objectives they could not undertake as individuals. Managing became essential to ensure the coordination of individual efforts.
Considering that society constantly relied on group effort and many structured groups growing large, the task of managers increasingly gained in importance and complexity. From this time, managerial theory became unavoidable and critical in the way managers manage complex organizations. More broadly, according to Koontz and Weihrich (1990:4), “management is the process of designing and maintaining an environment in which individuals, working together in groups, efficiently accomplish selected aims. ”
Management has been defined in many different ways, but there is a common denominator to all those definitions, some elements are used and considered in each definition. Chelladurai, P. (2005) points out some elements like goals/objectives to be achieved with limited resources and with and through people. He adds that the objective of every managerial work and mostly the role of the manager inside a company are to inspire, motivate, and encourage the workers to perform at their workplace in an effective and cost-effective manner.
This shows how managers of contemporary organizations have to cope with a strategic and starring role in their respective organizations if they are to achieve set goals. Because the management process has several required organisational steps which cannot be ignored and have to be implemented using knowledge areas such as planning, organising, leading and evaluating. Do Human relations movement and Taylorism have joint elements? Through the twentieth century, management theory developed in different phases. Grieves, J. 2000) stresses that management researchers invested their efforts to find tools to help managers to cope with and shape their environments, through the way they organize and operate their enterprises. But two phases seem to be the cornerstone in the development of management theory: the Scientific Management and the human relations movement. The first major management theory is what is commonly referred to as Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management. With the publication in 1911 of his book The Principles of Scientific Management, Frederic Taylor is obviously a controversial but real pioneer of the management theory.
He initiated the era of modern management. He laid the foundation of the Scientific Management theory also referred nowadays as Taylorism. In the early years 1990s, Taylor developed his theory from his observations and experiences, as he moved up through the hierarchy from a labourer to an industrial engineer and works manager in a US steel company. He witnessed what he well-thought-out to be poor management –“soldiering”- and largely poor relations between workers and managers. Initially his great concern was the way workers performed their jobs.
He believed that the application of the scientific method to the management of workers could end up revolutionising and improving productivity. Olum, Y. (2004:11) sketched a good definition: “The theory of scientific management is the “brainchild” of Frederick Winslow Taylor. In its simplest form the theory is the belief that there is “one best way” to do a job and scientific methods can be used to determine that “one best way” ”. The second major phase in management history is known as the Human relations movement focusing on the human aspect of business, and how to utilize humans as a valuable resource.
This theory resulted from avant-garde researchers of organizational development who analysed the behavior of people in groups, in particular workplace groups and came up with some innovative and original assumptions. Human relations movement originated from team studies, called Hawthorne studies, which took place at Western Electric’s Chicago between 1927 and 1932, and led by Elton Mayo deservedly considered by various academics to be the counterpart of Frederic W. Taylor and his scientific management.
During those studies, researchers observed and examined how changes in working conditions could impact workers’ motivations and work output. According to Koontz H. (1961), the movement regarded workers in terms of their psychology and fit with companies, rather than as interchangeable parts, and it resulted in the creation of the discipline of human resource management. The outcome of both theories was fundamentally dissimilar because of the different way they looked at managing people.
According to Wrege (1995), under Taylor’s management system, factories should be managed through scientific methods rather than management by use of the empirical “rule of thumb” so widely prevalent in the days of the late nineteenth century and replace it with actual timed observations leading to “the one best” practice. Taylor intended to rationalize the way work was done; the way the workforce was exploited to upsurge the output; and the productivity of the goods and services produced through better “human engineering”.
From his observations, Taylor made three fundamental assumptions about human behaviour at work: “(1) Man is a rational economic animal concerned with maximising his economic gain; (2) People respond as individuals, not as groups; (3) People can be treated in a standardised fashion, like machines” (Dubin, R. (1951:36). This highlights Taylor’s point of view regarding what motivated people at work: money. He linked pay and the amount produced. In other words, according to Taylor, workers should get an unbiased day’s pay reflecting a fair day’s work, and that wage should be related to the volume produced.
He introduced a scale of pay: workers whose amount of work is sub-standard should be paid less compared to the workers who deliver a work exceeding the target who should be paid more according to the work done. For managing behaviour at work, Taylor’s theory insinuated that the main approach of motivation is mainly high wages concomitant to output, with a manager giving orders to workers/employees, the latter executing literally the orders the way the manager wants, and workers paid according to their throughput. Olum, Y. 2004:14) summarised the four great principles sustaining Taylorism: “first, there is need to develop a ‘science of work’ (…): pay and other rewards linked to achievement of ‘optimum goals’ – measures of work performance and output; failure to achieve these would in contrast result in loss of earnings. Second, workers to be ‘scientifically’ selected and developed: training each to be ‘first-class’ at some specific task. Three, the ‘science of work’ to be brought together with scientifically selected and trained people to achieve the best results.
Finally, work and responsibility to be divided equally between workers and management cooperating together in close interdependence. ” Based on the try-outs carried out at the Western Electric Company in the early 1920s, Elton Mayo and his associates’ experiments controverted Taylor’s principles that science was the key to deliver the highest productivity, found in ‘the one best way’ and moreover that way could be achieved by controlled experiment (Koontz Harold 1980). The so called Hawthorne studies had a go with different experimentations to determine what factors could influence or affect the worker’s productivity.
The studies passed through four phases: the illuminating experiments, the relay assembly test room experiments, the interviewing program, and the bank wiring room study. They tried the effects of lighting, using different light levels, rest breaks, free meals, more/less hours in the work-day/work-week, etc. to ascertain, set apart and single out the factors impacting worker’s output. They used a process of elimination, turning down factors which didn’t have any correlation between worker and productivity.
Some of the factors caused productivity to go up significantly and even caused to set efficiency records. The conclusions form Hawthorne studies took the opposing view of Taylor’s scientific management. Stoner et al. (2003) noticed some major contradictions between both theories, based on the outcome of Elton Mayo’s experiments. First he noted that work satisfaction and hence performance was basically not economic. When it comes to work satisfaction, other factors come into play like working conditions and attitudes (communications, positive management response and encouragement, working environment, etc. . Secondly, the Hawthorne studies ruled out Taylorism’s conclusions emphasising on employee self-interest and his prevailing incentive of monetary rewards. Scientific management’s methods of motivation started and finished at monetary incentives. Whilst money is a key motivation at work for many people, it is far to be the standard for everyone. Taylor disregarded the fact that people work for other reasons rather than exclusively for a financial reward. Although scientific management doesn’t take into account working environments and its impact on productivity, Stoner et al. 2003) pinpointed that Elton Mayo’s large-scale experiments involving over 20,000 employees responded positively to changes and improvements in working environments (e. g. , enhanced lighting, new welfare/rest facilities, etc. ), encouragement and appreciation from managers and supervisors had more positive impact on workers than coercion and pressure from both. Also Mayo’s experiments contradicted the Taylorism’s assumption that people respond as individuals, not as groups. The influence of the peer group was undeniable; the trials certified the prominence of informal groups within the workplace.
Sheldrake, J. (1996:114) emphasises that “Mayo chose to wilfully disregard the significance of financial incentives on the behaviour of the participants, and to emphasize instead, the impact of group cohesiveness and benign supervision. ” These outcomes revealed that the group dynamic forces and social makeup were unavoidable question that must be addressed within an organization; they were a driven force either for or against higher productivity. The most obvious weakness in Taylor’s approach was that it ignored the group dynamic and countless differences between people.
There is no guarantee that “one best way” will outfit everyone. Later on, this outcome of group dynamics triggered greater participation for the workers, greater trust and openness in the working environment, and a greater attention to teams and groups in the work place. As stated by Trahair, R. (1984), one of the ideas channelled by scientific management and the one which has drawn the most criticism was the concept of task allocation. Taylor introduced the Task allocation in order to break down a task into smaller and smaller tasks, to determine the prime solution to the task. The man in the planning room, whose specialty is planning ahead, invariably finds that the work can be done more economically by subdivision of the labour; each act of each mechanic, for example, should be preceded by various preparatory acts done by other men” (Taylor 1964:34). The allocation of work caused this approach to be reductionist in terms of dehumanizing the worker. The worker was told not only what has to be done (task), but also the time allocated and how it has to be done. This allocation of task is perceived as annihilating all opportunity for the individual worker to use his brain or to outclass.
This is the most obvious and visible downside of Taylorism: workers were just as akin to robots and had to perform to produce the amount of work expected and assigned. But in Taylor’s defence, Sheldrake, J. (1996:15-16) wrote that “in (his) immediate industrial milieu his approach provided more accurate information on how long a job should take than the old rule of thumb methods could ever do. Task management also stimulated management’s ability to take greater control of all the aspects of production including tooling, machines, materials, methods and job design. ”
As above-mentioned, Elton Mayo and his associated pioneered the use a scientific method to study human behaviour at workplace. Although critics accuse the Hawthorne studies for being weak in methodology, nevertheless they influenced what will be later known as behavioural scientists. Many other social scientists like Maslow, Mc Gregor, Argyris, Bennis, etc. used more sophisticated methodologies to study human behaviour (Khurana 2009:25). Elton Mayo and his team’s studies had the merit to have attempted to analyse human behaviour and convert the results into effective techniques.
The key contribution of the Human relations movement is that it shed light on managers that people grip the key to productivity. The human relations theory of management paradigm could be summarized as following: “people who feel good about their work seek development and growth, so the individual and the organization both benefit” (Gillepsie, 1991:59). Although it is now almost a century since the Hawthorne experiments were conducted, they are still the most cited and controversial experiments in social sciences. Without any doubt, they foreshadowed some social success workers are enjoying today.
They launched a kind of “welfare capitalism” enlightened by an approach to personnel management. Sheldrake, J. (1996:105) described the package of social and recreational benefits the workers enjoyed to sustain their loyalty: “The package of benefits at the Hawthorne Works was, by contemporary international standards, impressive and included a pension scheme, sickness and disability benefits, a share purchase plan, a system of worker representation, a medical department and hospital. ” Conclusion Elton Mayo’s legacy through his Human relations management theory is still on he agenda of generations of current students; it is still applauded as a landmark study in sociology and psychology; it is still under ongoing discussion in management seminars. On one side Taylor’s influences instigated the establishing of the industrial engineering, quality control and personnel departments; on the other side the human relations movement drastically impacted and inspired what nowadays the organization’s leadership and personnel department are doing. Some of outwardly in vogue concepts like “group dynamics”, “teamwork”, and organizational “social systems”, all stem from Mayo’s piece of work in the 1920s.
While Taylorism aimed to wipe out the informal side of the organization, the human relations message was to concede its uncontrollable character and to look at different ways of integrating and taking it into account the formal parts and purposes of the organization. Human relations theory stands not as an alternative but as a response to the failures or at least limitations of the scientific management as a means of organizational control. What I mean to say is that this essay tried to depict Taylor’s Scientific Management theory as the villain of the story and the Human Relations Movement as the hero or heroine.
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Homans G. C. (1958) The Human Group (New York: Harcout, Brace and World). Henderson, L. J. , Whitehead, T. N. and Mayo, E. (1937) The Effects of Social Environment in Gulick, L. and Urwick, L. 9eds) Papers on the Science of Administration, Institute of Public Administration, Columbia University, New York. Koontz Harold (1961) “The Management Theory Jungle”, in Journal of the Academy of Management, December. Koontz Harold (1980) “The Management Theory Revisited”, in Academy of Management Review, April. Koontz Harold and Weihrich Heinz (1990) Essentials of Management, Fifth Edition, McGraw-Hill.
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