The Different Approaches to Organisations and Their Environment

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There are three different types of approaches to organisation which are classical, neo-classical and modern. Below I have explained in detail what they mean according to my research.

Classical approach to organisation has concepts that are commonly known as classical concepts or classical theories of an organisation. An organisation is the structure of power, relationships, objectives, roles, activities, communication and other factors that exist when a person works together with someone. The streams of concepts in the “classical” mould are based on the same assumptions, but are developed rather independently. Bureaucracy as a concept, first developed by Max Weber, presents a descriptive, detached, scholarly point of view.

The neoclassical approach to organisation also referred to as the human relations school of thought reflects a modification to and improves over the classical theories. While classical theories focused more on structure and physical aspects of work the neoclassical theory recognizes the primary of psychological and social aspects of the worker as an individual and his relations within and among groups and the organisation. Though neoclassical philosophy could be traced to ancient times, it gained currency only after the World War I. The neoclassical viewpoint thus gave birth to human relations movement and provided the thrust toward democratisation of organisational power structures and participative management. The emerging changes in social, economic, political and technical environment of organisations also seems to have provided the rationale for such shift in emphasis. The neoclassical viewpoint does not replace classical concepts. The need for order, rationality, structure, etc. have been modified to highlight the importance of relaxing the rigid and impersonal structures and consider each person as an individual with feelings and social influences that effect performance on the job.

The modern approach to organisation and management have been developed largely since the 1930s. Chester I. Bernard, who in 1983, provided a comprehensive explanation of the modern view of management and organisation. He considered the individual, organisation, suppliers and consumers as part of the environment. Ten years later, Weiner’s pioneering work on cybernetics developed concepts of systems control by information feedback. He described an adaptive system (including an organisation) as mainly dependent upon measurement and correction through feedback. An organisation is viewed as a system consisting of five parts: inputs, process, output, feedback and environment.

Every organisation made up of more than one person will need some form of organisational structure. An organisational chart shows the way in which the chain of command works within the organisation. The way in which a company is organised can be illustrated for a packaging company. The company will be owned by shareholders that choose directors to look after their interests. The directors then appoint managers to run the business on a day-to-day basis. The Managing Director has the major responsibility for running the company, including setting company targets and keeping an eye on all departments.

As long ago as 1978 Miles and Snow typology suggested that the strategy of an organisation tended to reflect the dominant managerial ideology or culture. Their finding, that organisational strategy may be as much (or more) influenced by internal factors as the nature of the environment, has fed interest in organisational culture per se. They identified three basic types of organisation distinguished according to prevailing culture and strategic pattern: defenders, prospectors, and analysers. The Miles and Snow typology is summarised in appendix1. Their conclusions once again illustrate the intimacy of the relationship between the culture and strategy, and make it clear that the managerial culture of an organisation is ‘likely to be the...
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