Classical school of management
This school flourished from the late 1800s through the 1920s and is associated with the Industrial Revolution. This is the time when society moved from agrarian to industrial. Management, though the word was not then used in the sense that we use now, was all about increasing production and improving productivity among workers.
Among the first to study what would one day come to be known as management was philosopher Mary Parker Follett. After graduating from Radcliffe in 1898, she began authoring a series of papers on business conflict, authority, power and the place of an individual in the society and the group (or organizational behavior). Follett was one of the first women invited to address the London School of Economics. US President Theodore Roosevelt made her his personal consultant on managing non-profit, non-government voluntary organisations. Many consider her to have laid the foundation of management study.
Under the classical school, you have three different approaches to management that were developed in three industrialised countries: Scientific management in the US, administrative management in France and bureaucratic management in Germany.
Scientific management in the US: Frederick W Taylor, a mechanical engineer, is referred to as the father of scientific management and is considered one of the leaders of the efficiency movement (This was a major movement in industrial nations in the early 20th century that sought to eliminate waste in all areas of the economy and society by developing and implementing best practices). He suggested a series of measures all aimed at increasing productivity. Every step of the production process was carefully analysed to increase efficiency.
What did Taylor propose? One, that it was important to determine the best way to carry out a task or to co-ordinate it. It was equally important to ensure that you select your employees according to the position. There is no one-size-fits-all. For instance, a news reader may not be able to go out and get a political story even though she can do a very good job of telling it and co-ordinating with different reporters. Taylor also proposed that more wages or incentives meant more productivity.
Later theories, of course, said that only money was not enough for a worker to give his best which we will deal with later. But that is not to negate Taylor’s influence. In fact, the credit of devising a detailed job description and sophisticated employee selection and training must go to Taylor.
Administrative management in France: Henri Fayol, a French mining executive, studied the entire organization to make it more efficient. He proposed that there were five primary functions of management and 14 principles of management.
To forecast and to plan: It is not enough for a manager to ensure that the process flows unhindered, but he also has to plan for any eventuality. For instance, what if I fall ill? Who will carry out my functions and he will train a person for such an eventuality. When this is not spelled out, you have people refusing to take orders and each one doing their own thing (two senior sub-editors).
To organise: To ensure that the whole process is carried out with clockwork precision and to do this, you need the right people in the right place and the right tools.
To command and direct: It is the duty of management to tell employees what to do and what their function in the company is. Also, they have to communicate company policies to all staff.
To coordinate: Ensure that different sections or departments complement each other’s work. For instance, a reporter takes the trouble to do a story on how a real estate company has encroached land on M G Road. To get a fair story, the reporter has to get a quote from the real estate company. What does the company do? It calls up the marketing department and tells them that if a negative story is...
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