Compare and Contrast Fayol, Taylor, and Weber’s Theories of Organizational Theory

Topics: Management, Bureaucracy, Henri Fayol Pages: 8 (2782 words) Published: November 13, 2012
This assignment will compare and contrast the theoretical perspectives of management theorists Henri Fayol, Frederick Winslow Taylor, and Max Weber. Each of the three theorists had a unique view on public administration and policy. This assignment will briefly show the back ground and basic concept of each theory. Then the assignment will delve into each of the theories to determine how each theory stacks up against one another when they are laid side by side.

The development of Taylor's theory of scientific management began with his first encounter with workers as an "executive trainee." That encounter reveals that his priorities were not with the worker, but instead with management. Taylor himself "associated" the encounter with the "beginning of scientific management." In this incident, Taylor sought to increase the productivity of the workers (specifically the machinists), a focus of most of his theory. He considered their output low and unacceptable, and a result of the failings of both the factory system and the work methods of workers. He fired some men, lowered others' wages, installed a piecework-based system notorious still today in sweatshops, and tried to institute a "fining system . . . to punish men who broke tools or spoiled work" (Nelson, 1980, pp. 33-34). Taylor came out of this encounter with the view that management was not strong or organized enough to institute whatever approaches it deemed necessary to increase productivity and profit for the factory owners. Many of his contributions certainly aided the work of the laborer: The majority of his inventions pertained to the operation of metal-cutting machines. They included a tool grinder, machine tool table, a chuck, a tool-feeding device for lathes, a work carrier for lathes, a boring-bar puppet, and two boring and turning mills (Nelson, 1980, p. 37).

Beyond the practical advances these mechanical innovations brought, they also led in a sense to scientific management: "Taylor, the consummate engineer, soon discovered that technical advance demanded organizational innovations of comparable significance" (Nelson, 1980, p. 37). Fayol emphasized management innovations more than Taylor did, and Taylor focused more on workers, but Taylor also saw that management needed increased power to institute the changes he advocated for the workers: "Taylor adopted the authoritarian style characteristic of late-nineteenth-century executives" (Nelson, 1980, p. 39). Taylor focused increasingly on the relationship between mechanical improvements and efficient management. This focus inevitably led to centralized control of the factory operation, a method that increased the power and authority of management and weakened the worker's power to do anything to help himself: Taylor's most ambitious initiative was a complicated production control system for coordinating the work of the functional departments. The "chief idea" . . . was that "authority for doing all kinds of work should proceed from one central office" (Nelson, 1980, p. 40). An important part of Taylor's ideas in this area was an attack on the power of the foreman, an individual who was at least nominally aware of the workers as human beings. By weakening the foreman's power to control jobs and make schedules, Taylor increased management's power and further demonstrated his lack of concern for the workers as human beings rather than parts of the overall factory machine. The division of labor was at the heart of this weakening of the foreman's power and position. Taylor advocated dividing up the foreman's duties so that different men would handle each duty, which also meant that a far less skilled man could take over a single part of the foreman's previous responsibilities (Gabor, 2000, p. 28).

Fayol's first focus was on management and the organization of functions. He was the first to classify those functions, which include planning, organizing, command, coordination, and control. He also formulated...
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