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2. Response for ‘Compare and contrast the contributions of scientificmanagementand the human relations movement to modernmanagementtheory and practice’.
Discuss your answer, with reference to the key relevant theoretical contributions and academic studies that were reviewed during the semester. Please use at least 5 academic references, mainly academic journals, published books and the prescribed textbook for the subject. (At least 5 references (these should be mainly academic journals as well the textbook) Response should be1500 words.
7 Task 2: Individual Essay
7.2 Hints : 2
‘Compare and contrast the contributions of scientific management and the human relations movement to modern management theory and practice’.
You need to explain the majorsimilarities and differences between these two theories. You will need the material from weeks 2 & 4 to begin to answer this question.
The structure of a good answer will have
An introduction (100-150 words)
4 to 5 body paragraphs explaining the key similarities and differences (with citations to your sources)
A conclusion (100 words)
A reference list
End Week 10 .
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Word limit/page limit
1500 words (+/-10%), plus references
Type of assignment
30% of the total marks for this subject
Assignment specific grading criteria as per the rubric below.
ONLY use the LTU Harvard Referencing style. ONLY Microsoft Office document types are accepted. ONLY Font size Times New Roman 12. Please make sure you use paragraphs throughout the report. You MUST keep a duplicate copy of your assignment
Week 2: lecture note
Classical Theory: Scientific Management
At the conclusion of this topic, students should be able to:
Provide a detailed explanation of the principles of Scientific Management;
Describe the historical conditions which gave rise to the Scientific Management movement;
Illustrate the contributions of Fredrick Taylor’s contemporaries to our understanding of Scientific Management;
Demonstrate a critical understanding of the consequences of Scientific Management;
Provide relevant examples of modern applications of Scientific Management principles.
Jaffee, D. (2001) ‘The rise of the factory system’ in Jaffee, D. (2001) Organization
theory: tensions and change. New York: McGraw Hill, 42-63.
Key theories and Concepts
Division of labour
Classical Theory: Scientific Management
As was discussed last week achieving and maintaining organisational efficiency is a key responsibility of management. Our analysis of Fayol’s four functions of management also showed that establishing control, or ensuring that standards are being maintained (thereby maintaining efficiency) is extremely important. One of the earliest and most vital contributions to management theory and practice was a set of principles that guided
the efficient utilization of labour in newly formed factories during the industrial revolution. This set of principles, called ‘scientific management’, attempted to achieve the highest level of efficiency, whilst also maintaining maximum control over workers and the production process. Scientific management’s remarkable success, particularly in labour intensive industries, has ensured that the principles underlying this theory remain
in use today. Also, some of the key aspects of scientific management, such as division of labour, laid the foundation for the future development of management theory.
The industrial revolution and the pursuit for labour efficiency
Perhaps the first true modern principles of management were proposed by a mechanicalengineer by the name of Fredrick Taylor (1856-1915). Taylor was working at a time when the industrial revolution was coming to an end, yet was still having a great influence on organisations and work practices. The arrival of machine power and mass production, combined with changing power sources, evolving labour-management relations and increasing consumerism, led to a desperate need to systematize the production process to maintain efficiencies.
Reading: Jaffee 2001:42-50
1. Briefly outline what is meant by ‘formal subordination of labour’
2. Why did some groups struggle against this industrial development?
3. Briefly describe how traditional habits and cultures were obstacles to the ‘real subordination of labour
4. Identify the strategies used to overcome the obstacles
3 Taylor & Scientific Management
Working during this time as an engineer at the Midvale Steel Company, Taylor was continually appalled and frustrated by the inefficiencies of workers. He believed that this inefficiency was a result of several factors. First, the ‘rule-of-thumb’ type procedures that characterised the organisations and workplaces of the time meant that virtually no standards existed to guide workers, which resulted in workers using vastly different techniques to do the same job. Taylor also noted that little or no concern was given to matching employee’s skills and aptitudes to particular jobs and that management was in a state of continual conflict with the workers. In order to increase efficiency (a key responsibility at all levels of management), Taylor suggested that a ‘scientific method’ should be employed for all jobs. With this ‘scientific management’ (sometimes referred to as ‘Taylorism’) was born.
The principles of Scientific Management
Taylor (1911) proposed that there are essentially four principles of management, or four duties which all management should undertake:1. The development of a science for each element of an individual’s work should replace the old ‘rule-of-thumb’2. The scientific selection and then the progressive development (or training of workers;3. The ‘bringing together’ of the science and the workmen. That is, management should cooperate with workmen and ensure that all the work is done in accordance with the science that has been previously developed;4. An almost equal division of work and responsibility between workers and management. This division of labor should be dictated by the suitability of each job to either manager or worker.Scientific management therefore involves collecting, tabulating and in many casesreducing into laws, rules and formulae, the great mass of traditional knowledge held in the minds, ability and skill of workers. This knowledge, acquired through years of experience, had previously never been recorded, let alone analysed (Taylor, 1949). Taylor proposed that acquiring this information and subsequently formulating ‘one best way’ to do a job would have several benefits.
Topic 4 – The Human Relations Movement
Over the past two weeks you have been historically progressing through time as management theorists developed and added to their body of knowledge through research. Week 3 discussed early administrative theorists who posited universal principles focussed on rationality and order to provide managers with a guide as to the universal way of managing. Week 2 looked at Scientific Management and its proposition that efficiency could be maximised by focussing on the one best way to do a job. This topic, however, moves on from these premises and discusses the next stage of theory development, where, in conducting productivity experiments at the Western Electric Plant, Elton Mayo found that individual and group behaviour was predicated based on individual sentiments and group processes and influences, thereby providing a new emphasis on human relations.
2 The Hawthorne Studies
Elton Mayo’s experiments, the Hawthorne studies, were conducted in the 1920s and 1930s at the Western Electric Company based on the ideology of scientific management principles. The original tests, in focussing on the effect of illumination levels of light on worker productivity, aimed to test the relationship between productivity and lighting levels. However, the research found that productivity was not linked to lighting levels, and the experiments went on to test job re-design, changes to work day length, introduction of rest periods and individual and group work payments (Robbins, Bergman, Stagg & Coulter, 2003: 46).
Mayo (1949) reading
Read: Mayo (1949): pgs. 345-348 What were the main findings from the first phase in the test room?
The experiments also found that the interview process allowed workers to voice their concerns and allow their sentiments, which originated from their personal and working life, to be expressed. Mayo explained that the workers had ‘experienced a tremendous increase in work satisfaction because they had greater freedom in their working environment and control over their own pace setting. [They}… had become a social group with their own standards and expectations’ (Pugh, Hickson & Hinings, 1983:161). French (1953:100-1) also noted that the ‘marked increases in production … were related only to the special social position and social treatment they received. As such Whyte (1956:34) concluded that the ‘workers were a social system: the system was informal but what it really determined was the worker’s attitude towards his job’. These social relationships between the workers and the supervisors were the significant factor in understanding the changes in productivity, with Samson and Daft (2003:56) stating simply that ‘employee’s output increased sharply when managers treated them in a positive manner’.
These do not seem to be unusual or ground breaking findings, but remember this was research conducted in the 1920s and 1930s. The transition of management, from that based on scientific management and the time and motion studies with the view that employees were simply machines, to that focussing on the effect of emotions, personal situations, group processes and team work, was seen as a new development.
Read: Mayo (1949): pgs. 348-357 What specifically did the interview group study carefully? Why? Describe the change attitude in the research group What did the observations show about humans desire for association with others?
3 The Human Relations School
The Hawthorne studies were the precursor to a group of theorists who posited that a satisfied worker will be productive. This group included Carnegie, Maslow and McGregor (Robbins et al, 2003:47). Abraham Maslow theorised that people are motivated by a hierarchy of needs beginning with physiological (food, water and sex) progressing to safety, belongingness, esteem and finally, self-actualisation needs. McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y were based on two opposing views of workers that he believed managers held, which had ramifications for leadership styles and treatment of workers. In this regard, Theory X was based on the assumptions that workers were inherently lazy and so need to be coerced and threatened to induce them to make effort towards organisational goals. In contrast, Theory Y’s assumptions were that workers will seek responsibility and that managers should take advantage of the imagination and intelligence of its employees (Samson & Daft, 2003:57).
In this regard the human relations approach was based on optimism about people’s capabilities and highlighted the importance of the ‘human factor’ as opposed to the technical aspects of production. It compelled managers to look at their role in providing situations in which workers would be motivated to achieve high performance.
Putting these ideas into practice
One way of putting the human relations assumptions into practice is through the design of motivating jobs. The work people perform should reflect their levels of skill and abilities, but also allow them to achieve their potential.
Job design is used to structure work in a way that improves productivity and satisfaction and includes job rotation, job enlargement and job enrichment. All of these are based on the motivational theories first purported by the human relations school.
In addition to job rotation, job enlargement and job enrichment, Mathews (1989) discusses relaxation of work rules and group and team work as practices to improve the quality of work life for workers. Note Mathews’ statement (1989:105) that the aim of implementing such practices in the 1970s was to ‘ameliorate the excesses of Taylorist work organisation’.
Mathews (1989) reading
Read: Mathews (1989: pgs. 96-105) Briefly describe job rotation, job enlargement and job enrichment What was the Ford Action Plan? Identify some examples of relaxation of work rules Why have work teams been such a significant work reform? Describe the difference between group work and team work Outline some of the benefits gained through teamwork as discussed in the three case studies.
4 Progressive human resource strategies
In more recent times, we have seen business leaders and industry magazines discuss the benefits of empowerment, employee ownership, flexible work schedules and self managed teams. Organisations using such methods have often been called High Performance Work Organisations. The introduction of such practices, it was believed (Osterman, 2000:179), would increase productivity in output and quality and make more efficient use of labour whilst drawing on the creativity of the workforce. Benefits were said to flow to both the organisation and the workforce. The question though is whether such practices actually did lead to increased organisational performance. Osterman (2000:195) in his research conducted between 1992 and 1997 of American organisations, concluded that organisations did not live up to their promises of “mutual gains”, with staff layoffs after the introduction of such practices and a lack of evidence of pay increases.
Despite such findings, Semler (2001:76-84), a practicing manager, focuses on ‘human factors’ by treating his workers as responsible adults, allowing them to set their own salaries and bonuses whilst being involved in the decision-making. He states that ‘participation gives people control of their work, profit sharing gives them a reason to do it better, [and] information tells them what’s working and what isn’t (Semler, 2001:84).
Semler (2001) reading
Read: Semler (1989; pgs. 76-84) Identify the 3 fundamental values on which Semco bases their management program Discuss why those values are important to Semco’s success
The human relations school of management thought was an important development, focussing research on the role of managers in developing the ‘human factor’ as opposed to the technical aspects of production, which had been a focus of the scientific management approach. The idea of organisations as a social system was the major contribution that this approach made to management thought. Managers have since put such approaches into practice by redesigning jobs and introducing team work, developing worker participation and empowerment, and providing flexibility in work schedules and profit sharing.
French, J. R. P. (1953) ‘Experiments in Field Settings’ in Festinger, L. and Katz, D. (eds) (1953) Research Methods in the Behavioural Sciences, New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
Mayo, E. (1949) ‘Hawthorne and the Western Electric Company’ in Pugh, D.S. (ed) (1990) Organization theory: selected readings. 3rd edition, New York: Penguin, 345-357.
Mathews, J. (1989) ‘’Tools of change: new technology and the democratisation of work’. Sydney: Pluto Press, 96-105.
Osterman, P. (2000) ‘Work reorganisation in the era of restructuring: trends in diffusion and effects on employee welfare’. Industrial and Labour Relations Review, 52(3), 179-196.
Pugh, D., Hickson, D. & Hinings, C. (1983) Writers on Organizations. 3rd edn, Penguin Books: London.
Robbins, S.P., Bergman, R., Stagg, I. & Coulter, M. (2003)Management. 3rd edn, Frenchs Forest, Australia: Prentice Hall.
Samson, D. & Daft, R. L. (2003) Management. Pacific Rim Edition, Victoria: Nelson Australia.
Whyte, W. H. Jnr. (1956) The Organisation Man.New York: Simon & Schuster.
Jones, S. R.G. (1992) ‘Was There a Hawthorne Effect?’ American Journal of Sociology,Nov, 98(3), 451.
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