Assess the contributions of Scientific Management and the Hawthorne Studies to the development of Organizational Behaviour as a management discipline

Topics: Motivation, Organization, Hawthorne effect Pages: 6 (1826 words) Published: October 7, 2014
Regardless of what club, social group or committee you are a part of, we come to recognize that an individual’s belief and feelings about themselves, their co-members and the particular group they are in can shape what they do and how well they do it. Hence, it is no different with organizations and how they influence individuals and groups in the workplace to attain a purposeful behaviour that output will be beneficial to both the corporation and the individual.

Over the centuries, the organization’s focus was on itself rather than incorporating the worker as an asset to the business. This has lead some businesses to make a loss in productivity while some may have made a profit though the financial gain was marginal. Several theorists have studied and experimented on various scientific techniques to come up with ways that would be helpful to businesses today.

The purpose of this essay is to assess the contributions of Scientific Management and the Hawthorne Studies to the development of Organizational Behaviour as a management discipline. Therefore, in order to dissect the above topic, some key terms will be defined that is Scientific Management, The Hawthorne Studies, Organizational Behaviour and the OB Model.

Scientific Management is defined as the hypothesis of management focusing on the “one best way” to a job to increase individual workers’ productivity using time and motion study of men at work, which essentially measuring motivation. Frederick Winslow Taylor, a theorist, believed that labour productivity could be improved by scientifically determined management practices and this earned him the status of “founder of scientific management” according to (Quible, 2004, p. 13). Unlike Scientific Management, the Human Relations Movement which surfaced in the 1900s birthed out of the field of psychology which looked at motivation and attitudes in justifying workers’ behaviour, the focus was on the environment and how conducive it was to workers’ productivity in addition to the job itself according to (Vecchio, 2006, p. 10). Elton Mayo, one of the proponents of the Human Relations Movement at the Hawthorne Plant of Western Electric Company conducted a series of experiments known as the Hawthorne Studies which formed a basis for some of the concepts that later emerged.

In agreement with Daft, Organizational Behaviour is a field of study combining of or relating to more than one academic discipline that focuses on behaviour of individuals and groups in organizations (Daft, 2003, p. 480). It derives from disciplines such as psychology, anthropology, sociology and social psychology to name a few. These studies seek to explain, to measure and to change the behaviour in individuals and how to implement and reduce barriers to change as well as studying people in relations to their fellow human beings or to the organization and the environment. Hence, the OB Model or organizational behaviour model is “a perception of some real-world observable fact of reality, using independent and dependent variables associated with the organization, the group and the individual levels.

The 1800s and early 1900s era, organizations were concerned with obtaining increased productivity and so, Frederick Winslow Taylor, an Engineer at the Midvale and Bethlehem Steel Companies in Pennsylvania, a major contributor to this approach, use scientific methods to identify “one best way to do a job and to select and train employees” (Quible, 2004, p. 13), his belief lies “where there is a best machine for each job, also there is a best work method by which individuals should carry out their jobs” (Mullins, 2007, p. 55). Taylor wanted to create a work environment where work would be more satisfying and profitable for workers and the need for management and employees to work together to maximise profits. Hence, he defined some principles to guide management to increasing output which are, the development of a true science...

Cited: Behaviour, O., 2014. The Nature of Organizational Behaviour handout. s.l.:Tutorial handout unpublished.
Hersey, P. & Blanchard, J., 2001. Management of Organizational Behavior. 8 ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Mullins, L. J., 2007. Management and Organizational Behaviour. 8 ed. Essex, England: Financial Times, Pentice Hall.
Quible, Z. K., 2004. Administrative Office Management. 8 ed. New Jersey: Pearson Hall.
Robbins, S. P. & Judge, 2009. Organizational Behavior. 13 ed. New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall.
Vecchio, R. P., 2006. Organizational Behavior: Core Concepts. 6 ed. Mason, Ohio: South-Western Thomson part of the Thomson Corporation.
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