Proverbs of Administration

Topics: Management, Simon says, Decision making Pages: 8 (2283 words) Published: May 4, 2013
Starting with Neo Classical School

Herbert Simon
The Proverbs of Administration

Note: The paragraphs in blue are the article text extracts that Fares read in class.

Wrapping up what we talked about under classical school in the previous sessions: 1-Universal principles of management,
2-Only one way of doing things, discover this one way and implement it (no two or more ways) 3-It tells you in a normative way what you ought to do (not empirical) they don’t go and see what people do and come up with a science. Even Taylor said after I develop a science u have to adopt and follow it 4-The Classical school doesn’t talk about humans. It talks about structure, rules, regulations, specialization, and coordination. No one in this school talked about decision making, psychology,

Note: Neo classical school is a critique for the classical theory. The Neo Classical School focuses on people, psychology and sociology rather than organization and structure. (We will have four articles under this school, Herbert Simon, Douglas McGregor (X and Y theory), Politics and Public Administration, Systems Theory not book included) …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………....

Herbert Simon is saying that all what we have read so far about classical PA are proverbs (Khabriyet, since Simon didn’t see a real theory under the classical school, he only heard talking about structure and regulations). The aim of Simon’s article is to show us how a theory should be thought at.

Some Accepted Administrative Principles From The Classical School:

1-Specialization of the task: (From Taylor):

Simon criticizes Taylor by explaining specialization through the nurse example below: A-Specialization by place (district), where nurses will do school s examinations, visit to homes. The nurses work within their district and become specialists in their corresponding district. B-Specialization by function where different nurses are assigned special functions like schools examinations, tuberculosis, and visit to homes.

The critique is that both these administrative arrangements satisfy the requirement of specialization whether it is by place or by function (Which one is better??? No one) He concluded that Specialization is not a principle to achieve an efficient PA it is a condition actually that should be normally present. It is a given, a characteristic of all group efforts. It isn’t about specialization itself -Specialization is inevitable- Regardless of Specializing by process, by function, in geography….. The real thing we need to answer is which is best in a certain situation. Here we start to talk about some kind of principles.

Specialization is not a principle; it is a condition of work.

2-Unity of Command (From Gulick):

Herbert Simon says that Unity of command which we used to understand under the classical theory as a principle of PA is actually not a principle yet a fact of everyday life because it is impossible for a person to obey to contradictory commands. That’s a state of nature.

Technical VS managerial supervision: Refer to the Accountant vs Director in a school sketch drawn in class.

According to unity of command the financial director shall obey the school director. According to specialization the school director cannot give orders to the financial director because he isn’t experienced in accounting. The school director has usually a broad managerial perspective but is not an expert in the fields of its subordinates and has to approve financial reports raised to him by the financial director and other things by other departments. (Usually things he doesn’t understand well)

There is a real conflict between specialization and unity of command. In classical school they said we want both. Gulick claimed unity of command and Taylor claimed specialization. Simon says we should rephrase what they said to solve this dilemma.

The solution is that we should observe unity of command...
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