classical approach

Topics: Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Management, Abraham Maslow Pages: 9 (2194 words) Published: November 23, 2014
Change Management



DATE: 26/03/2014


Many flaws can be found with the classical approach, the birth of which is widely accredited to Fredrick Taylor, in particular how employees became bitter and angry with the levels of "managerial thuggery" (Rose 1988) that Taylor promoted. There already existed high levels of worker-management conflict, and Taylors approach merely heightened the tensions that it had set out to tackle.

Taylors view, and later, Henri Fayol's view of how an organisation could be managed solely focused on the productivity of the worker and how efficiently work could be carried out. It did not take into account the morale of employees or any of their emotional needs, resulting in a workforce which became increasingly dissatisfied with their working environment.

Mayo and Maslow developed an approach which was more emphasized on the management of worker morale and leadership rather than merely viewing employees as "greedy robots" (Rose 1988). This theory, which would evolve into what is known as the Human Relations approach to management, was focused on the thought that a happy and satisfied employee was a more productive employee.


The classical approach to organisational management (1900-1930) emerged from the Industrial Revolution and was born out of a necessity to replace the "trial and error" approach, which was prevalent prior to this, with a more focused and consistent approach to how an organisation should be managed. This new approach was focused on the efficiency of an organisation and in improving the performance and output of its employees. The classical approach can be divided into three main areas, scientific management, bureaucracy and administrative management. . (_Managing Change. Bernard Burnes)_

Fredrick Taylor (1856-1917) viewed the management of organisations production efficiency as a science and he is accredited with being the father of scientific management. Taylors view was that there was "one best way" to perform a task and his approach focused on breaking down each task so that it could be performed in the most efficient way. His research was heavily influenced by the studies of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth(1914). While Taylor was determined to reduce the time it took to complete a task, the Gilbreths tried to reduce the number of motions taken to complete a task. Taylor's opinion was that "_human beings are predisposed to seek the maximum reward for the minimum effort"_ _(Taylor 1911)_ and to counteract this, managers must closely supervise workers to ensure that each predefined step in a task is carried out correctly. By breaking down each work process into smaller tasks controlled by the management, the knowledge required by workers about the work process is reduced. Workers become mere "cogs" in the machine that is the organisation, and can easily be replaced, as minimum training of a replacement worker is required. This in turn increases the managements control as the workers no longer have a monopoly of knowledge about the work process and cannot use their knowledge as a bargaining tool. Taylor, like the Gilbreths, believed that in order to increase a workers' productivity, he should be motivated by monetary rewards for the amount of work he carries out.

"_When a naturally energetic man works for a few days beside a lazy one, the logic of the situation is unanswerable 'Why should I work hard when that lazy fellow gets the same pay that I do and does only half as much work?' "(Taylor 1911)_

While Taylor and the Gilbreths were focused on improving the productivity of individual workers at task level, Henri Fayol (1841-1925) with the administrative approach, was focused on efficiency at organisational level, top down as opposed to bottom up(Fayol, 1949). Fayols principles of organisation are; division of work, authority, discipline, unity of command ,unity of direction, subordination of...

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