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Approaches to Organisation and Management

Classical approach to management

Classical looks at organisations in terms of purpose & formal structure
Emphasis was placed on the planning of work, technical requirements of the organ
isation, principles of management, and the assumption of rational and logical be
A clear understanding of the purpose of the organisation was essential to unders
tand how the organisation works and how its working methods can be improved.
Common principles to the classical approach to management
Principle of coordination ¨C the need for people to act together with unity of act
ion, and need for discipline
The scalar principle ¨C the hierarchy of organisation, the grading of duties and p
rocess of delegation
Functional principle ¨C specialisation & distinction between different kinds of du
Criticisms of the classical approach
Insufficient account taken of personality factors
Creates organisational structures where people can exercise only limited control
over their work environment
Out-of-date approach
There is a best machine for each job, so there is a best working method by which
people should undertake their jobs
All job processes should be analysed into discrete tasks & via this management f
ind the ¡®one best¡‾ way to perform each task .
Principles of scientific management
The development of a true science for each person¡‾s work
The scientific selection, training and development of workers
Co-operation with workers to ensure work is carried out in prescribed way
The division of work and responsibility between management and workers
Bureaucracy ¨C the main characteristics
Tasks are allocated as official duties among the various positions
An implied clear-cut division of labour and a high level of specialisation
Uniformity of decisions and actions achieved through formally established system
s of rules & regulations
An impersonal orientation expected from officials in their dealing with clients
Employment is based on technical qualifications
Bureaucracy ¨C the main features
Hierarchy of authority
System of rules
Criticism of bureaucracy
Over-emphasis on rules and procedures, record keeping and paperwork
Lack of flexibility and stifling of initiative
Position and responsibilities can lead to officious bureaucratic behaviour
Impersonal relations can lead to stereotyped behaviour and lack of responsivenes
s to individual incidents or problems
Is based on the consideration of the social factors at work and the behaviour of
employees within an organisation
Particular importance is paid to the informal organisation and the satisfaction
of individuals¡‾ needs through groups at work
Hawthorne experiments acted as a turning point in the development of the Human R
elations movement
Human relations approach ¨C the criticisms

Weak methodology of Hawthorne experiments, including failure to take sufficient

account of environmental factors
Adoption of a management approach, a ¡®unitary frame of reference¡‾ and over simplificat
ion of theories
Insufficiently scientific and takes too narrow a view, ignoring the role of the
organisation within society.
Attempts to reconcile the classical and human relations approaches
Attention is focused on:
the total work of the organisation
the inter-relationships of structures & behaviour
the range of variables within the organisation
The organisation is viewed within its total environment and the importance of mu
ltiple channels in interaction is emphasised.
The contingency approach
Views the structure of an organisation and its success as dependent on:
the nature of tasks that are undertaken
the nature of environmental influences
There is no one best way to structure or manage organisations - it is dependent
on the contingencies of the situation.
Post modernism
A more recent view of organisations and management
Rejects a rational, systems approach and accepted explanations of society and be
Places greater emphasis on the use of language and attempts to portray a particu
lar set of assumptions or versions of the truth
Advantages of different approaches / categorisations
Provides a setting in which to view the field of management
Traces the major lines of argument developed by different writers
Provides a framework in which principles can be set and comparisons of managemen
t practice made
Helps in organisational analysis and identification of problem areas
Enables managers to select those ideas which best suit the requirements of their