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Contemporary management functions Essay

Contemporary management functions reflect considerations of past management theories and aim to improve and strengthen employer-employee relationships as well as providing suitable working conditions for employees. Management functions are functions which managers perform to “effectively and efficiently coordinate the work of others. (Robbins, 2012). The functions consist of planning, organising, leading and controlling. The theories discussed in the article (1981) Hawthorne, the Myth of the Docile Worker, and Class Bias in Psychology, American Psychologist, 36(8) pp. 867-878.

By Bramel, D, an article written about the Hawthorne Research conducted between 1924-1933, which looked to identify the relation between various working conditions and productivity and output, highlight the need for contemporary management functions. The article addresses how integral a continuous strong and communicative relationship is between the employer and employees of a business and the necessity of a strong and ethical organizational culture. Poor executions of the leading management function can reduce trust between employers and employees and create job dissatisfaction.

In regards to the rapid decrease in output in period 12, Bramel writes that Roethlisberger and Dickson (1939) stated that the “workers were afraid that should their previous performance be maintained or improved in this period, rest pauses might never again be reinstated. ” (Bramel, D. 1981). This is an example of a lack of communication between employer and employee, resulting in resistance from employees. Communication is a vital part of the organising management function; communication is the transfer of understanding and meaning (Robbins, 2012).

In the case study, understanding was clearly not transferred between managers and employees as despite employees being reassured this was only temporary prior to the exercise, the workers still believed that management was “really interested in how to squeeze the most out of them, rather than in making their working conditions better for them. ”(Bramel, D. 1981). The lack of understanding and meaning communicated between each party led to the reduced trust ultimately resulting in lowered total output. This is well summarised by Bramel “If the workers had in fact ad the kind of trust in management’s good intentions that Mayo claims, would they have found it necessary to resist the experimenters so actively in this period? The picture we get, instead, is of a group of rather wary workers engaged in a continuing skirmish with management and determined not to be taken advantage of.

Rather than become a part of the company “team,” they became a team of their own, rather coolly looking out for their own economic interests in an adversary relationship with management. “ (Bramel, D. 981). Bramel highlights the trust lacking in an “adversary relationship” with the worker’s management, who work as a team outside of the organisation’s best interests. (Bramel, D. 1981). The leading management function recognises that managers must be able to explain, predict and influence employee’s behaviour for success. Managers must be able to explain why employees engage in some behaviour, predict how employees will respond to various actions of the manager, and to influence how employees behave (Robbins, 2012).

Job satisfaction is an employee attitude, which refers to an employee’s general attitude towards their job; employees with high levels of job satisfaction have positive attitudes towards their jobs. People’s behaviours, attitudes and actions are closely related. In the case of the Hawthorne Study, managers were unsuccessful in predicting how employees would respond to their actions and did not positively influence employee’s behaviour through their actions. Dissatisfied employees can result in workplace misbehaviour (Robbins, 2012). s witness in the case study where employees intentionally slowed down production to spite the managers. Poor job satisfaction as a result of indisposed working conditions and a poor leading management function contributed to the fall in productivity. Weak management of employees reduces motivation and employee contentment.

During period 12 of the experiment, productivity dropped significantly as a result to the removal of resting periods for the workers. Bramel writes that evidence revealed four of the five workers actually slowed down, and it was apparent that it was intentional. The workers were quite consciously adopting a strategy in-tended to induce the experimenters to return quickly to the preferred conditions” (Bramel, D. 1981). The evidence is clear that there was a direct correlation between the decrease in output and fall in motivation for the workers and the removal of rest pauses, as the output increased significantly for all five workers with the return of the rest pauses (Bramel, D. 1981). Motivation is a key part of the leading management function.

It is the process by which a person’s efforts are energised, directed and sustained towards attaining a goal. (Robbins, 2012). The manager must be supportive, they must, have mutual confidence and trust, help to maintain a good income, understanding of work problems and help in doing the job, genuine interest in personal problems. (Mullins, 2005). Managers must look to continually motivate and increase performance of employees through different processes such as; rewards for performance, recognition and appraisal, showing care and concern, and using attainable goals. (Robbins, 2012).

A strong organisational culture can harness and set the foundation for the four key management functions; planning, organising, leading and controlling. A strong organisational culture provides shared values that ensure that everyone in the organisation is on the same track (Robbins, 1996). Organisational culture offers a shared system of meaning, which forms the basis of communication and mutual understanding (Funrham and Gunter, 1993). Strong organisational cultures are strong in the leading management function, as employees are motivated through values they share with their colleagues.

Organisational culture complements rational managerial tools by playing an indirect role in influencing behaviour (Martins and Terblanche, 2003). Hence it being important for a strong culture to plan, organise, lead and control processes with the agreement, cooperation and enthusiasm of employees, in order to avoid resistance and hostility. It can be seen through the study of several articles that contemporary management functions are integral for successful management.

Via the study of the Hawthorne Study, the theories proposed have illuminated how imperative the proper conduction of the management functions are for firms. A strong organisation culture provides the framework for managers to conduct the management functions by creating and sharing the values, which the functions will encompass through the firm. Contemporary management functions must be organising and leading via successful communication, understanding and motivation to be successful.


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