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Historical Background of Organizational Behavior

(prepared by Professor Edward G. Wertheim, College of Business Administration,

Northeastern ni!ersity, Boston, "A #$%%&'
Table of Contents
Taylorism and Scientific Management
The Human Relations Movement
Theory X and Theory Y
Schools of Thought in Organizational Behavior
Certainly large numbers of eole have been doing !or" for a long time# $yramids and many
other huge monuments and structures !ere built% armies and governments !ere organized%
Civilizations sread over vast territories# This too" organization and management# There are
some !ritings from anti&uity that suggest that systematic aroaches to management and
organization did evolve and !ere transmitted to others#
But the rimary influences in organizations and management today stem from more recent
Some !ould claim that to begin to understand our organizations today !e need to loo" at the
$rotestant Reformationa nd the $rotestant 'thic# ( ne! ethic began to evolve% an ethic that
shifted the orientation of one)s life from the *ne+t !orld* to this !orld# This ethic is best
embodied in &uotes from ,uther -*(ll men ossess a calling in the !orld and the fulfillment
of its obligation is a divinely imosed duty*. and Calvin -*/iscilined !or" raises a erson
above the calling into !hich he !as born and is the only sign of his election by 0od to
salvation*### *The soul is na"ed before 0od !ithout Church or communion1religion is a
ersonal matter2 !orldly success and roserity are construed as signs of 0od)s aroval*.#
Over time% the $rotestant Reformation rovided an ideological foundation for the modern
industrial society by suggesting that !or" is no! a rofound moral obligation% a ath to
eternal salvation# The focuse focus is this !orld and materialism% not ne+t !orld# The
individual)s obligation is self1discilin%and systematic !or"# 3t should be clear that the factory
system !hich began to evolve late in the 45th Century could never have flourished !ithout
the ideological underinnings of this rofound shift in hilosohy as e+emlified by the
$rotestant 'thic#
Scientific Management
The 3ndustrial Revolution that started !ith the develoment of steam o!er and the creation
of large factories in the late 'ighteenth Century lead to great changes in the roduction of
te+tiles and other roducts# The factories that evolved% created tremendous challenges to
organization and management that had not been confronted before# Managing these ne!
factories and later ne! entities li"e railroads !ith the re&uirement of managing large flo!s of
material% eole% and information over large distances created the need for some methods for
dealing !ith the ne! management issues#
The most imortant of those !ho began to create a science of management !as Frederic
Winslow Talor! -456714846.# Taylor !as one of the first to attemt to systematically analyze
human behavior at !or"# His model !as the machine !ith its chea% interchangeable arts%
each of !hich does one secific function# Taylor attemted to do to comle+ organizations
!hat engineers had done to machines and this involved ma"ing individuals into the e&uivalent
of machine arts# 9ust as machine arts !ere easily interchangeable% chea% and assive% so
too should the human arts be the same in the Machine model of organizations#
This involved brea"ing do!n each tas" to its smallest unit and to figure out the one best !ay
to do each :ob# Then the engineer% after analyzing the :ob should teach it to the !or"er and
ma"e sure the !or"er does only those motions essential to the tas"## Taylor attemted to ma"e
a science for each element of !or" and restrict behavioral alternatives facing !or"er# Taylor
loo"ed at interaction of human characteristics% social environment% tas"% and hysical
environment% caacity% seed% durability% and cost# The overall goal !as to remove human
The results !ere rofound# $roductivity under Taylorism !ent u dramatically# ;e!
deartments arose such as industrial engineering% ersonnel% and &uality control# There !as
also gro!th in middle management as there evolved a searation of lanning from oerations#
Rational rules relaced trial and error2 management became formalized and efficiency
increased# Of course% this did not come about !ithout resistance# <irst the old line managers
resisted the notion that management !as a science to be studied not something one !as born
!ith -or inherited.# Then of course% many !or"ers resisted !hat some considered the
*dehumanization of !or"#* To be fair% Taylor also studied issues such as fatigue and safety
and urged management to study the relationshi bet!een !or" brea"s% and the length of the
!or" day and roductivity and convinced many comanies that the careful introduction of
brea"s and a shorter day could increase roductivity# ;evertheless% the industrial engineer
!ith his sto !atch and cli1board% standing over you measuring each little art of the :ob and
one)s movements became a hated figure and lead to much sabotage and grou resistance#
The core elements of scientific management remain oular today# =hile a icture of a
factory around 48>> might loo" li"e something out of /ic"ens% one should not thin" the core
concets of scientific management have been abandoned# They haven)t# They have merely
been modified and udated# -<or details of Scientific Management% clic" here.
=hile many eole thin" of bureaucracy in negative terms% this model in its ure form !as a
dramatic imrovement over the revious model of organization !hich !as a feudal model
based on fi+ed status and osition by birth% not merit and un&uestioned authority# 0o to
the To
The Human "elations Movement
/esite the economic rogress brought about in art by Scientific Management% critics !ere
calling attention to the *seamy side of rogress%* !hich included severe labor?management
conflict% aathy% boredom% and !asted human resources# These concerns lead a number of
researchers to e+amine the discreancy bet!een ho! an organization !as suosed to !or"
versus ho! the !or"ers actually behaved# 3n addition% factors li"e =orld =ar 3% develoments
in sychology -eg# <reud. and later the deression% all brought into &uestion some of the basic
assumtions of the Scientific Management School# One of the rimary critics of the time%
'lton Mayo% claimed that this *alienation* stemmed from the brea"do!n of the social
structures caused by industrialization% the factory system% and its related outcomes li"e
gro!ing urbanization#
The Western #lectric $Hawthorne Works% Studies $&'()*&'))% Cicero! ! +,,-
The most famous of these studies !as the Ha!thorne Studies !hich sho!ed ho! !or" grous
rovide mutual suort and effective resistance to management schemes to increase outut#
This study found that !or"ers didn)t resond to classical motivational aroaches as
suggested in the Scientific Management and Taylor aroaches% but rather !or"ers !ere also
interested in the re!ards and unishments of their o!n !or" grou# These studies% conducted
in the 48@>)s started as a straightfor!ard attemt to determine the relationshi bet!een !or"
environment and roductivity# The results of the research led researchers to feel that they !ere
dealing !ith socio1sychological factors that !ere not e+lained by classic theory !hich
stressed the formal organization and formal leadershi# The Ha!thorne Studies heled us to
see that an organization is more than a formal arrangement of functions but is also a social
system# 3n the follo!ing chart% !e can see a comarison of traditional assumtions vs# a
ne!er *human relations* vie!#
Traditional .ssum/tions
eole try to satisfy one
class of need at !or"A
economic need
no conflict e+ists bet!ene
individual and
organizational ob:ectives
eole act rationally to
ma+imize re!ards
!e act individually to
satisfy individual needs
Human relations .ssum/tions
organizations are social systems% not :ust technical
economic systems
!e are motivated by many needs
!e are not al!ays logical
!e are interdeendent2 our behavior is often shaed
by the social conte+t
informal !or" grou is a ma:or factor in
determining attitudes and erformance of individual
management is only one factor affecting behavior2
the informal grou often has a stronger imact
:ob roles are more comle+ than :ob descritions
!ould suggest2 eole act in many !ays not
covered by :ob descritions
there is no automatic correlation bet!een individual
and organizational needs
communication channels cover both
logical?economic asects of an organization and
feelings of eole
team!or" is essential for cooeration and sound
technical decisions
leadershi should be modified to include concets
of human relations
:ob satisfaciton !ill lead to higher :ob roductivity
management re&uires effective social s"ills% not :ust
technical s"ills
"esults of the Hawthorne Studies and the related research
These studies added much to our "no!ledtge of human behavior in organizations and created
ressure for management to change the traditional !ays of managing human resources# The
Human Relations Movement ushed managers to!ard gaining articiative suort of lo!er
levels of the organization in solving organization roblems# The Movement also fostered a
more oen and trusting environment and a greater emhasis on grous rather than :ust
0ouglas Mc1regor2s Theor 3 and Theor 4
/ouglas Mc0regor !as one of the great oularizers of Human Relations aroach !ith his
Theory X and Theory Y# 3n his research he found that although many managers souted the
right ideas% their actual managers indicated a series of assumtions that Mc0regor called
Theory X# Ho!ever% research seemed to clearly suggest that these assumtions !ere not valid
but rather a different series of notions about human behavior seemed more valid# He called
these Theory Y and urged managers to managed based on these more valid Theory Y notions#
=or" is inherently distasteful to most
Most eole are not ambitious% have
little desire for resonsibility% and
refer to be directed
Most eole have little caacity for
creativity in solving organizational
Motivation occurs only at the
hysiiological and security levels
Most eole must be closely
controlled and often coerced to
achieve organizational ob:ectives
=or" is as natural as lay if the
conditions are favorable
Self1control is often indisensible in
achieving organizational goals
The caacity for creativity is sread
throughout organizations
Motivation occurs at affiliation% esteem%
and self1actualization levels% not :ust
security% hysiological levels
$eole can be self1directed and creative at
!or" if roerly motivated
Org. theory prior to 1900: Emphasized the division of labor and the
importance of machinery to facilitate labor
Scientific management(1910s-)--Described management as a science with
employers having specific but different responsibilities encouraged the
scientific selection! training! and development of wor"ers and the e#ual
division of wor" between wor"ers and management
Classical school( 1910s- ) $isted the duties of a manager as
planning! organizing! commanding employees!
coordinating activities! and controlling
performance basic principles called for specialization of wor"!
unity of command! scalar chain of command!
and coordination of activities
Human relations(1920s-)%ocused on the importance of the attitudes and
feelings of
wor"ers informal roles and norms
influenced performance
Classical school reisite! (19"0s)&'e-emphasized the classical principles
#roup !ynamics(19(0s) Encouraged individual participation in decision-
noted the impact of wor" group on performance
$ureaucracy--(19(0s) Emphasized order! system! rationality! uniformity!
and consistency
in management lead to e#uitable treatment
for all employees by management
%ea!ership(19)0s) *tressed the importance of groups having both
social tas" leaders
differentiated between +heory , and -
&ecision theory(19.0s) *uggested that individuals /satisfice/ when they
ma"e decisions
Sociotechnical school(19.0s) 0alled for considering technology and wor"
groups when understanding a wor" system
'nir. an! tech. system(19.0s) Described the e1istence of mechanistic and
organic structures and stated
their effectiveness with specific types of
environmental conditions and technological types
Systems theory-(1920s)& 'epresented organizations as open systems with
inputs! transformations!
outputs! and feedbac" systems strive for
e#uilibrium and e1perience e#uifinality
Contingency theory(1930s)& Emphasized the fit between organization
processes and characteristics
of the situation called for fitting the
organization4s structure to various contingencies
,andmarks in Management Thought
45B6A Babbage% *On the 'conomy of Machinery and Manufacturers
45B6A CreA The $hilosohy of Manufacturers
4557A To!ne *The 'ngineer as 'conomist*
4586A TaylorA *( $iece Rate Systems*
48>>14846A Scientific Management =ritings of Taylor% 0antt% 'merson% Coo"e%
48@>)sA 3ndustrial $sychology Movement% start of Ha!thorne studies
48B>A Mayo% *Human $roblems of an 3ndustrial Civilization*
48B>)s Roethlisberger and /ic"son% *Management and the =or"er*
48B>)s Mooney and Reiley% *On!ard 3ndustry
48D>)s Barnard% *<unctions of an '+ecutive*
.//endi89 The 7rotestant "eformation and the 7rotestant #thic
,utherA *(ll men ossess a calling in the !orld and the fulfillment of its obligation is a
divinely imosed duty*
CalvinA */iscilined !or" raises a erson above the calling into !hich he !as born
and is the only sign of his election by 0od to salvation*### *The soul is na"ed before
0od !ithout Church or communion1religion is a ersonal matter2 !orldly success and
roserity are construed as signs of 0od)s aroval
+m/act of the 7rotestant "eformation on work
!or" is no! a rofound moral obligation% a ath to eternal salvation
the focus is this !orld% materialism% not ne+t !orld
obligation is self1disciline% systematic !or"
Social /ar!inism1anti1social to hel the !ea"2 !e must be free to comete and rofit
from fitness for survival2 overty is a sin"
0o to the To
.//endi8 &9 Talorism $Frederic Winslow Talor! &:;<*&'&;%**Scientific
first attemt to systematically analyze human behavior at !or"
attemt to ma"e organizations ad:unct to machines1
loo" at interaction of human characteristics% social environment% tas"% and hysical
environment% caacity% seed% durability% cost
reduce human variability
7rinci/les of Scientific Management
describe and bread do!n the tas" to its smallest unit2 science for each element of !or"
restrict behavioral alternatives facing !or"er1remove !or"er discretion in lanning%
organizing% controlling
use time and motion studies to find one best !ay to do !or"
rovide incentives to erform :ob one best !ay1tie ay to erformance
use e+erts -industrial engineers. to establish various conditions of !or"
0o to the To
Some "esults of the Scientific Management Movement
new de/artments*industrial engineering! /ersonnel!
=ualit control
growth in middle management> se/aration of
/lanning from o/erations
rational rules and /rocedures> increase in efficienc
formalized management! mass /roduction
human /roblems*dehumanization of work> sabotage!
grou/ resistance! hated
0o to the To
first attemt to systematically analyze human behavior at !or"
attemt to ma"e organizations ad:unct to machines1
loo" at interaction of human characteristics% social environment% tas"% and hysical
environment% caacity% seed% durability% cost
reduce human variability
7rinci/les of Scientific Management
describe and bread do!n the tas" to its smallest unit2 science for each element of !or"
restrict behavioral alternatives facing !or"er1remove !or"er discretion in lanning%
organizing% controlling
use time and motion studies to find one best !ay to do !or"
rovide incentives to erform :ob one best !ay1tie ay to erformance
use e+erts -industrial engineers. to establish various conditions of !or"
Some "esults of the Scientific Management Movement
ne! deartments1industrial engineering% ersonnel% &uality control
gro!th in middle management2 searation of lanning from oerations
rational rules and rocedures2 increase in efficiency
formalized management% mass roduction
human roblems1dehumanization of !or"2 sabotage% grou resistance% hated
0o to the To
Weber2s Model of Bureaucrac
(t about the same time 0erman sociologist Ma+ =eber% observing the organizational
innovations of the 0erman leader Bismar"% identified the core elements of the ne! "ind of
organization# He called it bureaucracy#
The Basic #lements of the Bureaucratic Structure
-;oteA many of these asects have e+isted for thousands of years.
formal rules and behavior bounded by rules
uniformity of oerations continuity desite changes in ersonnel
functional division of labor based on functional secialization
rational allocation of tas"s
imersonal orientation
membershi constitutes a career
romotion based on technical cometence
emloyment based on merit1no ascribed status
&ualifications tested
roscribed authority1legally defined
limited discretion of officers
secific shere of cometence
legally based tenure
These factors !ere suosed to ideally result in the ideal bureaucratic organizationA
authority is rational and legal2 authority should be based on osition% not on the erson
in the osition
authority stems from the office and this authority has limits as defined by the office
ositions are organized in a hierarchy of authority
organizations are governed by rules and regulations
(endi+A The follo!ing lists some secific e+eriments that !ere art of the Ha!thorne
"ela .ssembl Test "oom #8/eriments
e+amined relation of light intensity and !or"er efficiency
failed to find simle relationshi
behavior is not merely hysiological1also sychological
decided to learn more about !or"ers1eg# !or"er attitudes%
called in 'lton Mayo
"ela .ssembl Test ++! &'(?
selected 7 !or"ers from large sho floor1average !or"er comleted 6 relays in 7
"et record of outut for five years1&uality% !eather conditions% !or"er health% slee
had no suervision as such2 !or"ers told of e+eriment% could suggest changes
!or" conditions varied1eg# rest eriods% length of !or" day
loo"ed at effect of changes on out
results1outut rose slo!ly and steadily even !ith shorter !or"day
!or"ers said e+eriment !as *fun*2 li"ed absence of suervision2 grou develoed
socially% informal leadershi% common urose
+nterviewing stage! &'(:
e+amined ho! @4%>>> emloyees felt about !or" and comany
learned ho! to imrove suervisory training
found suervision imroved as suervisors began to loo" at emloyees differently
found managers "ne! little about good suervision
concluded that emloyees couldn)t be vie!ed as individuals% but rather as art of
organized social grous% families% neighborhoods% !or"ing grous
!or"ers band together for rotection2 urosely restrict outut to norm2 resent grou
iece!or"2 unish rate busters2 en:oyed fooling management
informal leaders "ee grou together
Bank Wiring Observation "oom $&')&*&')(%
choose 8 !or"ers% three soldermen% t!o insectors to assemble terminal ban"s
grou iece!or" used1guaranteed base rate2 ay reflects both grou and individual
grou laced in searate room to observe imact of grou dynamics on rod#
!hat haened1emloyees had notion of roer day)s !or"2 most !or" done in
morning2 !hen they felt they had done !hat they considered enough% they slac"ed off
so outut constant
!age incentive really didn)t !or"2 informal social organization evolved2 controlled
rate busters
!or"ers often traded :obs and heled each other2 formal suervisor often loo"ed other
!hy did !or"ers restrict outut1didn)t !ant management to "no! they could do more
comle+ social system evolved1common sentiments% relationshis
1!hat is critical is not !hat is but !hat is erceived
1since !or"er couldn)t affect management% grou gave meaning and significance to
1!or"ers resist formal changes in management to brea" u loyalties% routines
industrial engineer
A Timeline of Management
&::@ * Scientific Management
<rederic" Taylor decides to time each and every !or"er at the Midvale Steel
Comany# His vie! of the future becomes highly accurateA
A+n the /ast man was first- +n the future the sstem will be first-A
3n scientific management the managers !ere elevated !hile the !or"ers)
roles !ere negated#
AScience! not rule of thumb!A said Talor-
The decisions of suervisors% based uon e+erience and intuition% !ere no
longer imortant# 'mloyees !ere not allo!ed to have ideas of
resonsibility# Yet the &uestion remains 11 is this romotion of managers to
center1stage :ustifiedE
&'(' * Talorism
The Taylor Society ublishes a revised and udated ractitioner)s manualA
()ientifi) "anagement in Ameri)an *ndustry#
&')( * The Hawthorne Studies
'lton Mayo becomes the first to &uestion the behavioural assumtions of
scientific management# The studies concluded that human factors !ere often
more imortant than hysical conditions in motivating emloyees to greater
&'B< * Organization 0evelo/ment
Social scientist Furt ,e!in launches the Research Center for 0rou
/ynamics at the Massachusetts 3nstitute of Technology# His contributions in
)hange theory, a)tion resear)h, and a)tion learning earn him the title of the
*father of organization develoment#* ,e!in is best "no!n for his !or" in
the field of organization behavior and the study of grou dynamics# His
research discovered that learning is best facilitated !hen there is a conflict
bet!een immediate concrete e+erience and detached analysis !ithin the
&'B' * Sociotechnical Sstems Theor
( grou of researchers from ,ondon)s Tavistoc" 3nstitute of Human
Relations% led by 'ric Trist% studied a South Yor"shire coal mine in 48D8#
Their research leads in the develoment of the Sociotechnical Systems
Theory !hich considers both the social and the technical asects !hen
designing :obs# 3t mar"s a 45>1degree dearture from <rederic" Taylor)s
scientific management# There are four basic comonents to sociotechnical
environment subsystem
social subsystem
technical subsystem
organizational design#
&';B * Hierarch of 6eeds
Maslo!)s hierarchy of needs theory is ublished in his boo" Motivation and
$ersonality# This rovides a frame!or" for gaining emloyees) commitment#
&';B * ,eadershi/CManagement
/ruc"er !rites +he Pra)ti)e of "anagement and introduces the 6 basic roles
of managers# He !rites% *The first &uestion in discussing organization
structure must beA =hat is our business and !hat should it beE Organization
structure must be designed so as to ma"e ossible the attainment of
ob:ectives of the business for five% ten% fifteen years hence#*
&';' * Hgiene and Motivational Factors
<rederic" Herzberg develoed a list of factors !hich are closely based on
Maslo!)s Hierarchy of ;eeds% e+cet it more closely related to !or"#
Hygiene factors must be resent in the :ob before motivators can be used to
stimulate the !or"ers#
&'<@s * Organization 0evelo/ment
3n the 486>s and 487>s a ne!% integrated aroach originated "no!n as
Organization /eveloment -O/.A the systematic alication of behavioral
science "no!ledge at various levels -grou% intergrou% and total
organization. to bring about lanned change
&'<@ * Theor 3 and Theor 4
/ouglas Mc0regor)s Theory X and Theory Y rinciles influence the design
and imlementation of ersonnel olicies and ractices#
,ate &'<@s * .ction ,earning
(n Cnheralded British academic !as invited to try out his
theories in Belgium 11 it led to an uturn in the Belgian economy#
*Cnless your ideas are ridiculed by e+erts they are !orth
nothing%* says the British academic Reg Revens% creator of action
, D 7 E F $G,H ,earning occurs through a combination of
/rogrammed knowledge G7H andthe abilit to ask insightful
=uestions GFH%
;ote that his !or" has had little imact on this side of the ocean% although it
remains one of the best !ays to learn and to imrove an organization#
&'<B * Management 1rid
Robert Bla"e and 9ane Mouton develo a management model that
concetualizes management styles and relations# Their 0rid uses t!o a+is#
*Concern for eole* is lotted using the vertical a+is and *Concern for tas"*
is along the horizontal a+is# The notion that :ust t!o dimensions can describe
a managerial behavior has the attraction of simlicity#
&'?: * 7erformance Technolog
Tom 0ilbert ublishes ,uman Competen)e- Engineering Worthy
Performan)e. 3t describes the behavioral1engineering model !hich become
the bible of erformance technology# 0ilbert !rote that accomlishment
secification is the only logical !ay to define erformance re&uirements#
(ccomlishments are the best starting oints for develoing erformance
standards# 3n addition% accomlishments are the best tools for the
develoment of erformance1based :ob descritions as they allo!
management to describe the measurement that is imortant to the
organization% secific to the osition% and observable#
&'?: * #8cellence
McFinsey)s 9ohn ,arson as"s colleague Tom $eters to ste in at the last
minute and ma"e a resentation that leads to *3n Search of '+cellence#* Thus
Tom $eters sa!ns the birth of the *management guru business#*
&''@ * ,earning Organization
$eter Senge oularized the *,earning Organization* in +he .ifth
/is)ipline- +he Art and Pra)ti)e of the 0earning 1rgani2ation. He describes
the organization as an organism !ith the caacity to enhance its caabilities
and shae its o!n future# ( learning organization is any organization -e#g#
school% business% government agency. that understands itself as a comle+%
organic system that has a vision and urose# 3t uses feedbac" systems and
alignment mechanisms to achieve its goals# 3t values teams and leadershi
throughout the ran"s# He called for five discilinesA
System Thin"ing
$ersonal Mastery
Mental Models
Shared Gision
Team ,earning#
&''; * #thics
On /ecember 44% 4886 a fire burned most of Malden Mills to the ground and
ut B%>>> eole out of !or"# Most of the B%>>> thought they !ere out of
!or" ermanently# C'O (aron <euerstein says% *This is not the end* 11 he
sent millions "eeing all B%>>> emloyees on the ayroll !ith full benefits
for B months until he could get another factory u and running# =hyE He
ans!ers% *The fundamental difference is that 3 consider our !or"ers an asset%
not an e+ense#*
Business 7rocess Management $B7"% * (@@@
This is actually a slo! advance in rocess managementA
Record Management
=or"flo! 1 48H>
Business $rocess Re1engineering -B$R. 1 488>
Business $rocess Management -B$R. 1 @>>>