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Bureaucratic Management Essay

An organisation can be best describes as a unit which consists of individuals who, in order to achieve certain objectives, influence other people. They may be trying to achieve wealth or well being through differing processes, technologies, structures and cultures.

In order to run an organisation well management is needed. Management then is the planning, organising, leading and controlling of human resources, s well as other resources, in order to achieve effective goals. Rosemary Stewart describes a manager as;

“Someone who gets things done with the aid of people”

(Boddy P11)

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Bureaucratic Management

An important aim for most businesses today is to increase productivity and efficiency. In order to do so, many businesses adopt theoretical approached to management. The theory of bureaucracy is one in which is the underlying theme of control in many organisations of today. Bureaucratic management is described as “a formal system of organisation in order to maintain efficiency and effectiveness.” (Contemporary Management P48)

Max Weber developed the theory of bureaucratic management and derived five main principles which should be adopted when using bureaucratic management. Although his theories were very sound, perhaps the most influential principles of management in organisations are that of Henri Fayol. He devised 14 theories of management however some of these theories are similar to that of Max Weber. Like Weber, Fayol believed in division of labour where workers would be given more job duties and responsibilities.

He also believed in authority and responsibility similar to Weber’s theory, where authority should come from “personal expertise, technical knowledge moral worth and the ability to lead to generate commitment from subordinates” (Contemporary Management P50) Weber believed in dual command, similar to this, Fayol believed unity of command. This principle involves an employee reporting to and only receiving orders from one supervisor. Next he devised that there should be a line of authority which can be described as the line of command starting at the bottom of the organisation and following up to the very top of the organisation.

In bureaucratic management it is important to control the number of levels in the hierarchy because the more managers there are the longer it takes to plan and organise activities. Similarly he believed that an effective bureaucratic work place should have a form of centralisation. Fayol believed that authority should not be centralised at the top of the chain of command. As a result of centralisation of authority, it would mean managers at the top of the hierarchy are able to make more decisions and therefore the people lower down the line of authority would simply follow their direction.

In a bureaucratic organisation there is a need for unity of direction which Fayol picked up on. He believed that effective bureaucratic organisations which devised a plan of direction would eradicate ineffectiveness and unfocused activities. On the other hand, bureaucratic organisations should treat employees with equity and fairness as well as sustain order. Fayol described order as “the methodical arrangement of positions to provide the organisation with the greatest benefit.” (Contemporary Management P50).

Linked to this he believed in the discipline within the organisation whereby employees could focus on obedience, energy and respect for authorititive figures.

On the other hand, bureaucratic management according to Fayol should encourage employees to use initiative as well as a system whereby employees are rewarded in order to increase productivity and increase enjoyment for the employees. Included in these reward systems were profit sharing plans and bonuses. He recognised the need for long-term employment because through time people develop their skills. Similarly he believed that some form of agreement should be made by the organisation and its employees in order to maintain that employees are treated fairly and overall be rewarded for their performance.

Espirit De Crops is an important part in the success of a bureaucratic organisation because it refers to a shared feeling of motivation and commitment to a specific cause. When managers are able to encourage personal and verbal relations between both managers and workers espirit de corps can be developed. Furthermore, this can be linked to Human Relations management.

Human Relations Management

Human relations management is the belief that a concern for human factors such as job specialisation in order to improve productivity. It was based on the belief that people have a social dimension and have important links not just to the workplace, but out with the organisation itself. Human relations was a move from a ‘rational economic’ view of man, where a employee will increase productivity with economic benefits such as wage rises and bonuses; to a social view of man, where productivity will increase with an increase in employee relation ships and in general better social conditions.

Mary Parker Follet believed in the creativity of group processes. On the other hand she did not believe that division of labour was the right way to achieve optimised productivity unlike Fayols’ bureaucratic theories. Again, in comparison to strict lines of authority in bureaucratic management she believed that managers in an affective human relations organisation should not manipulate their subordinates. Instead, they should be trained to use their powers responsibility. She also argued against Fayols’ belief that there should be a clear hierarchy of authority by advising that it would be effective if leadership moves from person to person depending on the individual situation or who is best suited to the job. Unlike the principle of unity of command, Human relations theory allowed employees to work together and interact with managers giving their opinions and beliefs in order to optimise productivity. It also gives employees the satisfaction of knowing their opinions are valued.

Elton Mayo elaborated on human relations management theory when he undertook the Hawthorne studies. He examined the social and psychological factors which affected performance. His studies concluded that physical conditions had a small impact on output and that it was social changes which impact productivity. These changed occurred because the teams were paid more attention to and their opinions mattered to managers. On the other hand, it concluded that financial initiatives helped increase productivity (similar to bureaucratic practises).

The study later found that people performed less effectively because they began to practice specific social norms. In bureaucratic management employees have to behave in strict ways whereas human relations management theories found differing social behaviour. During the Hawthorne studies employees devised that they should behave in specific way and therefore those who did not abide by these social norms were classified as rate busters; who were people who tried to more in order to gain more, chisellers; employees who underperformer and squealers; who told tales to managers.

Relevance Today

Bureaucratic management has been proven to be very successful today. The Hilton hotel group are a relevant example because they have many outlets through-out the world. They must set out global standards and procedures in order for managers to run them it effectively. Included in these procedures is how staff is recruited and trained. Similarly rules and regulations set out in manual should be followed precisely, whether its how to treat their customers or how to run their accounts. On the other hand, bureaucratic management is not suitable for organisations which are prone to change. On the other hand, management control in bureaucratic management is very high because authority is clearly marked out, with managers being the imperative and employees must follow their orders.

Human Relations Management is successful in some organisation today. Organisations that tend to benefit from Human Relations Management are call centres because employees tend to work in teams and have a closer interaction with their managers. However the influence on performance that Mayo discussed is much more complicated than assumed because by providing good supervision and adequate working conditions can increase satisfaction within the organisation but does not always mean it will increase productivity. Management control in an organisation which is adopts Human Relations management does have management control however it is less centralised. Employees are able to put across ideas and perspectives. Similarly, in some organisations the role of management can be shifted depending on who is best suited to the job.

Overall, adopting theories of management in an organisation is very important because it can shape the way you run your business, but more importantly it can increase productivity and effectiveness by all who are involved in the organisation. Bureaucratic management is a system of management which is widely used today and more classical compare to human relations management. It is clear to see that there are differences between bureaucratic management and human relations management, the most obvious being that human relations management takes into consideration the social behaviours of employees whereas bureaucratic management concentrates more on hierarchy and strict division of labour.

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