The classical school of management theorist under the rational perspective view can be found in the writings of Fredrick W. Taylor’s theory of scientific management, Henri Fayol’s administrative theory and Max Weber’s theory of bureaucracy. They view the organisation as if they were machines to work towards effectiveness and efficiency. Their approaches were to design to predict and control behaviours in organisations.
Taylor’s theory emphasis was on the workers in getting the task done. His approach was to developed standard method for performing each job, selecting workers with appropriate abilities for each job, trained workers in standard method, supported workers by planning work and eliminating interruptions, and provided wage incentives to workers for increased output (Wren, D. 1994, pp. 117-127).
Fayol laid down a set of rules for managing an organisation stating that there should be specialization of labour, effective authority, unity of command unity of direction, subordination of individual to general interest, remuneration, centralization, Scalar chain, order, equity, stability of tenure of personnel, initiative and espirit de corps. (Robbins et al. , 2002, p. 41). These are tools for accomplishing objectives of an organisation.
Weber’s bureaucracy by division of labour, hierarchy, rules, regulations and impersonal application of rules ‘takes away the individual employee’s creativity and organisation’s ability to react to dynamic environment’ (Robbins et al. , 2002, p. 43). Although the rational thoughts are still appreciated, there are certainly drawbacks concerning social needs and the environment. Here there are strict controls, decision powers on top of hierarchy, workers operating outside expectations are replaced, reliant on science and rules to guide behaviour and workers has no flexibility in their job.
The management does not care about workers’ ideas and feelings. Modern attitudes to management are focused around flexibility, job enrichment, enlargement and rotation, empowerment, autonomy; increasing humanistic theories were developed to promote the concerns of the individual worker in an atmosphere that was too focused on production. The early contributions of organisational behaviour were by Robert Owen, Hugo Munsterberg, Chester Bernard and Mary Parker Follet. Their common belief is that ‘people were the most important asset of the organisation’ (Robbins et al., 2002, p. 45).
Robert Owen concerns were better working environments and he argued that spending money for improving the factory was a good investment. A link between scientific management & industrial psychology, Munsterberg suggested using psychology test to improve employee selection, values learning theory in the development of training methods and study of human behavior for employee motivation. Follet’s visions in the importance of group functioning, to compromise, co-operate and proposal of people-oriented ideas were recognized. (Miller, T. , and Vaughan, B, 2001, pp.8-10)
Chester Bernard believed manager’s role was to communicate and stimulate subordinates to high level of efforts. Management success depends on good working relations both inside & outside the organisation. The human relations theory grew out of the Hawthorne Studies, which Elton Mayo concluded that behaviour and sentiments are related, group influence and standards affects the behaviour and output of an individual. (Robbins et al. , 2002, pp. 45-46). The human relation movements were associated to Dale Carnegie, Abraham Maslow and Douglas McGregor.
Their belief is that ‘a satisfied worker is a productive worker (Robbins et al. , 2002, p. 45). It was assumed that the manager’s concern for workers would lead to increased worker satisfaction and improved worker performance. Social relationships are also an important part of management as effectiveness is contingent on the social well being of workers. In this perspective, it is viewed where workers communicate opinions, complaints, suggestions, and feelings to increase satisfaction and production.
Thus, the importance of behavioural process such as, focusing on individual attitudes, behaviours, emotional aspects of workers and group work in a workplace is essential for management. The ideas of Fayol laid the foundation for later developments in management, which he had identified important management processes, functions, and skills. Further elaborations of what a manager does in his job to achieve the purpose of the functions are equally important as it also shows social values of management.
Management is not only to get things done, but rather getting it done through people. Social perspective provides important insights into motivation, group dynamics, and other interpersonal processes that show employees are valuable resources. Therefore, by understanding the roles and function of management, we can make a balance in both rational and social aspect of management to achieve a high performance level for the organisation in today’s world.