Modern Times communications paper

Good Essays
Jarret Clark
Professor Lange
Modern Times Analysis
2/9/2015

Modern Times is a 1936 comedy starring Charlie Chaplin. Much like a lot of Chaplin’s work, the film walks a fine line between slapstick comedy and satire, as well as painting a social economic picture for American society during the 1930’s. The purpose of this paper is to provide specific scenes in the film clip that relates to classical management theories discussed in the textbook.
One organizational theme for all three men in chapter two was the idea of forming workers and being able to predict and control them. In the clip when Charlie goes to the bathroom to light up a cigarette, a man on a big television screen pops up and tells him to get back to work. This is an example of how humanity is forced to give into the idea of the working to support a dream and the pursuit of happiness. This theme of technology enslaving man is also shown in the way the men at the conveyor belt work. At the pace of the machines, a pace that goes faster and faster multiple times to add some humor.
Chaplin uses humor to better criticize the misuse of a man by a more powerful man. Taylor’s idea of communication dealt with the idea of a hierarchy and commands flowing down from the top. (Modaff, 32) The boss of the company requires stupid work speed, and has no consideration of the physical and mental health of his workers. The boss never addresses the workers directly, it’s always orders yelled through the television screen. So because of this, Chaplin represents the class struggle of Taylorism.
Fayol’s 8 most long lasting principles of management all fit very neatly within Chaplin’s Modern Times. It deals with divisions among labor and how each worker should have their own specific job. Also, the unity of command, which says that the organization should be united under one head person so reduce things such as insubordination. Last but not least, it talks about centralization, or the idea that all decisions



Cited: Modaff, Daniel P., Jennifer A. Butler, and Sue DeWine. Organizational Communication: Foundations, Challenges, and Misunderstandings. 3rd ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2012. Print. "Modern Times." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 5 Feb. 2015.

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