Do modern organisations over manage workers?
Organisations manage their workers in various ways in order to gain maximum productivity. The way they achieve this is questionable, do they over manage their workers to get there? Research shows the classical theory of management started in the 20th century and is still present in the modern workplace. The main aspect carried on, retaining control over the worker such as micromanagement, where severe negative effects can be seen. Organisations are still demonstrating certain techniques that are not relevant in the modern workplace, resulting in an over managed worker.
The classical theorists of the 20th Century’s approaches to management are still reflected in today’s organisations. The theory of bureaucracy, developed by Weber (1949), was one of the most influential Classical Theories that we still implement in modern organisations. A short video by Simonton (Problem in today’s Workplace- Do you have it too? 2012) states that the problem with today’s workplace is too many Managers are employing bureaucratic styles, causing workers to be disengaged from their job. Bureaucracy exhibits a very structured system with clearly defined hierarchy, the relationship between manager and worker remaining separate with the needs of the employee disregarded. Their inflexibility & controlling manor discourages workers to engage in human relations and the society of the workplace, resulting in demotivation and low performance. When this occurs, Managers will notice lack of productivity and start monitoring workers closely. In today’s society this approach does not work and will only stop organizations from succeeding. Severe, negative effects can be seen from micromanagement which has become common in today’s workplace. Micromanagers don’t trust their employees and won’t recognise they are more than capable of completing tasks at hand. This can be detrimental to an organisations success. A perfect example, the movie Office Space (Judge 1999) exemplifies a top heavy company with impersonal managers, concerning themselves with small infractions of office policy. Peter, and employee at Initech is constantly being micromanaged by a member of management, Bill Lumbergh. Bill frequently loiters around Peter’s desk, speaks to him in a condescending way and constantly asks for the “the TPS reports.” This frustrates Peter resulting in his lack of motivation and his little care or commitment to Initech. Svendsen (2008, p.76) suggests that workers become unwilling to perform tasks and will only do the bare minimum if they don’t feel challenged. Of course, not all modern organizations depict this style of Management. Many companies recognise and amplify the need for a less informal work environment, Contemporary styles are put into place such as “matrixing,” working in teams without restrictions or hierarchy. It is clear though, that more commonly, the influence of classical management is frequently seen in the structure of today’s organisations (Miller 2006, p.20,21).
In conclusion, the bureaucracy theory (Weber 1949) has carried through the management process and change of over 60 years with influential aspects still remaining in modern organisations. Hierarchies, procedures and rules must be followed with controlling interpersonal micromanagers monitoring your every move. These techniques should be approached differently, as they make employees feel as if they can’t proactively participate, and are unworthy. What worked in the 20th Century isn’t relevant in the modern workplace due to the vastly changing culture, environment, technology etc. Contemporary styles of management do exist, but are not being implemented enough, because it is very difficult for people to grasp change. The “right” way of managing workers is extremely difficult to monitor.
Judd, M (dir.) 1999, Office Space, DVD, 20th Century Fox.
Miller, K 2006, Organizational Communication Approaches and Processes...
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