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Classical Approaches to Management Essay

Since the Industrial Revolution began over two hundred years ago, management practices have had to develop and become more clearly defined. The increasing mechanisation and automation that occurred changed how goods and services were produced dramatically. New theories and disciplines emerged at the beginning of the twentieth century as a response to these challenges facing management in a more industrialised age. These new ideas, known as The Classical Approaches to management became the essential building blocks of systems and techniques which help modern day managers effectively plan, organise and control their organisations in the most efficient manner possible. One of the first theories we will look at is was what is known as Scientific Management and was developed chiefly by Frederick Taylor (1856-1917). Taylor came from an engineering background and he highlighted the importance of finding the single best way to perform a particular task.

He noted that by analysing every basic movement involved and timing each action in various different ways, you would soon find the quickest and easiest method as a result. As R.C.Appelby (1994) has argued; Taylor “codified and clearly stated practices which had been developing in many well-run factories”. This “Time study” approach was very important in helping manufacturing lines improve their productivity by cutting out inefficient, outdated methods of production. Currently, manufacturing industries incorporate methods engineering systems which developed from Taylors time study work to ensure the most efficient production process is in place. Total Quality Management is a modern management practice that relies on continually improving a company’s product or service.

A Key factor in this is having a production process that works efficiently and reliably. Taylor also developed the “Exception Principle” which was to be used as a quality control measure on performance. This method works by detailing precisely the standard of performance to be achieved. The performance of all staff is monitored regularly. Any ineffective staff members that do not meet the standard set are taken note of, and adjustments can then be made to improve the quality of their work. The exception principle also works by identifying any employee who is greatly outperforming the standard set. This tracking of performance results also forms part of the Total Quality Management concept and Taylors work in this area can be seen as being significant in its development. Another key aspect of Taylor’s teachings, which is still widely used in human resources departments today, was the scientific selection of staff.

He asserted that employees should be recruited scientifically based on how their own education, skills and abilities matched the requirements of the job. Once the correct candidate had been hired, they should be given training to help them to perform their tasks to the highest standard possible. He recommended that any increased productivity from an employee should be rewarded financially too, thus incentivising the employee to work harder. These managerial practices are used in nearly all organisations where it has been recognised that an organisations workforce are its most important resource. The training and constant up skilling of the workforce is necessary to keep up with advances in technology and to give a company a competitive edge. Henri Fayol (1841-1925) also developed some theories on the importance of maintaining good relations between staff and management. In his work on what is known as Administrative management, Fayol developed 14 principles of management, one of which was “the stability of tenure “.

He recognised the importance of a low staff turnover to an organisations overall effectiveness. Modern management practice generally follows this principle today but also recognises the need to bring in fresh ideas and approaches from new staff to keep the right balance of experienced workers and enthusiastic new people. Another of Fayol s principles which is greatly in evidence today is that of “initiative”. He believed that employees should be encouraged to put forward their own ideas and be free to execute their tasks in ways they see best fit. This fosters an entrepreneurial environment in the workplace, where employees feel that their ideas are worthy and could form part of a new business plan. Modern IT companies like Google are using this classical approach which has greatly improved innovation and productivity from their employees which has resulted in huge success for the company. Interestingly, Google achieved number 4 on the prestigious Fortune 100 Best Companies To Work For in 2011. H.L. Gantt(1861-1919) was a colleague of Taylor had some similar approaches.

He agreed that management were obliged to provide proper training to its staff and that clearly defined tasks and goals would incentivise employees to perform well. Gantt developed charts for measuring the performance of various projects. These are known as Gantt Charts and are still used today by managers. It gives a quick overview as to how a project is progressing in relation to its agreed timescale and general targets. A P.E.R.T analysis is another project control method which developed from Gantts bar chart. This Project Evaluation Review Technique works in a similar way to a bar chart, but it offers three possible outcomes of how each task will take in a given project, so as to be prepared for delays in the project or quicker than expected results.

This method gives the manager more information to enable him to prepare for all eventualities. Human Resource management has developed into one of the more important areas of management practice. Employees are now regarded as an organisations key asset. R.C.Appleby has said managers must “know why employees act in the manner that they do”. This is necessary to know what motivates people and what changes could improve performance among a workforce. The Hawthorne Experiments that were conducted by Elton Mayo(1880-1949) and published in 1941 showed the results of phsychological experiments on workers at the Western Electric Company. The aim of the study was to establish the impact of different conditions of work on employee productivity. A group of workers were subjected to various working environment changes such as breaks, hours and managerial leadership.

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