This approach is the first attempt to undertake a research on human behaviour. This theory showed the workers couldn’t be treated in isolation, they should be considered as a member of group. The efficient work of individuals couldn’t be achieved until some alterations are done in the physical surrounding and the need of social groups and status of workers are understood. This theory also highlighted on the need of supervisors to treat their workers as human beings not machines.
This theory however wasn’t quite applicable during the 1930’s to 1950’s when people were looked into as an element of production. Another drawback of this theory might be that it ignored the fact that people even had financial needs to work. From human behaviour studies the focus then shifted to the organisations again, studying them as a whole as a system. This approach to management was called the ‘Systems Approach,’ which was developed at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations.
This theory looks into the work of the organisation, its structure and the environment. The theory views organisation as either being open or a closed system, open system being the only way of its survival. Open system shows organisation as complex systems of people, task and technology, which has to react with the change in the environment. The theory enables the managers to understand their organisation and the various sub systems, i. e. departments in it. The external and internal environment that changes are also identified and understood, through this approach.
It also encourages an organisation to be as an open system since it will be reacting to both the internal and external forces, for none of the businesses can survive in isolation. In the late 1950’s a new approach of management was developed called the ‘Contingency Approach,’ which argued on there being no ‘one best way’ to structure and organisation. The theory states that organisation when being formulated will face a series of variables such as size, technology, environment to choose among, and if chosen the appropriate variable will succeed.
For example, an organisation may have two different structures for two different departments. This approach encourages managers to identify and define their needs and the ways to manager these needs. It ensures flexibility and change. This theory looks into the best way to identify and solve the problems of any organisation. The theory however, analyses only the structure, environment, size and technology of the organisation. It doesn’t take the humanistic aspect. The management of different structures in the same organisation also become very tough.
The management of Robert Owen’s Organisation- an early management innovator Robert Owen being a very traditional textile company believed in close supervision and control of work. This form of management can be best summed up as a Bureaucratic Approach, which states that there is a hierarchy of authority, recording, rules and procedures and impersonality. Similarly, the first aspect of work Owen tried to change was the increment in productivity, which at that time was very important. He did this through worker’s jobs being measured and controlled very strictly.
There was a clear line of authority and the workers knew exactly whom they were to report to, since every worker’s performance was closely monitored and marked in either a red or a black board. The overseers then recorded the performance of employees as in recording a history of people’s work very impartially, which affected the organisation eventually. Another principle Owen used in his company very similar to bureaucracy was his keenness on discipline. The workers in his company were to follow very rigid rules of discipline and if not followed were given penalties.
These strict and firm rules ultimately created worker’s de-motivation to work. Owen however didn’t impose harsh unfriendly environment to his workers. He also looked into the ‘Human Relations Approach,’ for worker satisfaction and motivation. He provided nursery for worker’s children over one year old. Parallel to the theory, he conducted various experiments in cooperation and community building. Moreover he created new approaches that would raise wages and increase security of employment.