History of Organizational Behaviour

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While Classical philosophies rarely took upon a task of developing a specific theory of organizations, some had used implicit conceptions of general organization in construct views on politics and virtue; the Greek philosopher Plato, for example, wrote about the essence of leadership, emphasized the importance of specialization and discussed a primordial form of incentive structures in speculating how to get people to embody the goal of the just city in The Republic. Aristotle also addressed such topics as persuasive communication. The writings of 16th century Italian philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli laid the foundation for contemporary work on organizational power and politics. In 1776, Adam Smith advocated a new form of organizational structure based on the division of labour. One hundred years later, German sociologist Max Weber wrote about rational organizations and initiated discussion of charismatic leadership. Soon after, Frederick Winslow Taylor introduced the systematic use of goal setting and rewards to motivate employees. In the 1920s, Australian-born Harvard professor Elton Mayo and his colleagues conducted productivity studies at Western Electric's Hawthorne plant in the United States. Though it traces its roots back to Max Weber and earlier, organizational studies began as an academic discipline with the advent of scientific management in the 1890s, with Taylorism representing the peak of this movement. Proponents of scientific management held that rationalizing the organization with precise sets of instructions and time-motion studies would lead to increased productivity. Studies of different compensation systems were carried out. After the First World War, the focus of organizational studies shifted to how human factors and psychology affected organizations, a transformation propelled by the identification of the Hawthorne Effect. This Human Relations Movement focused on teams, motivation, and the actualization of the goals of individuals within...
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