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Is Classical Approach to Management Obsolete? Essay

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Management is one of the most important parts contributing to the success of an organization. By understanding which managerial activities are actually effective, a manager could choose the best way appropriate for his application to his company. Many studies about classical school theories have been undertaken so far to examine the effective management approach. However, a major problem with the classical approach to management is human dimension ignored will result in inefficiencies (Anthony Boland, 2012). This essay will attempt to identify the weaknesses of dismissing human motivation and explain the important of it by using other experts’ advocacies.

The analyses of classical theory

Classical management approach is the first theory about management based on the experience of famous experts for engineer industry. While scientific management’s purposes are in justification and control of employees in the same method with a justification and control for machines by engineers (Sheldrake, 2000), human motivation is more needed in recent years, which is considered to be a vital part contributing to an organisation’s prosperity. In the view of scientific approach, workers were considered to be as akin to machines and with favour in larger production volume at whatever human cost (Sheldrake, 2000). This leads to the decline in attendance and the organisation’s performance. Satisfaction seems to be involved with motivation. Therefore, this managerial approach can lead to negative outcomes such as a decrease in how effectively they work a decline in efficient production and a higher absenteeism rate.

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In this case, demotivation may discourage creativity and innovation which are significant important factors that give rise to the company’s development. Kets de Vries suggested that more choices for workers to choose freely, physiological needs and enjoyment needs were the emphasis of higher set of motivational needs, instead of being controlled by authorities of which they are unaware (Mullins, 2007). This will resulted in becoming the best-performance company where satisfaction of employees can be created by being a part of an organisation and as a member of a group not individual. Additionally, better ideas and decision making can be gained from the employees’ contributions (Marcouse, 2011).

Notwithstanding, earlier theories written by F. W. Taylor highlighted “people work for only one reason: money” (Marcouse, 2011), Saunders pointed out that if people of long time ago preferred to be judged as high as their bonuses, recently, fulfilling their psychological needs were turning out to be valuable, such as holiday arrangement, job breaks and opportunity of flexible working hours and homeworking are now on the priority list (Mullins, 2007)


Although maintaining the focus on achieving the aims and prosperity is the most important aspect of the managerial activities which is defined in classical school (Sheldrake, 2000), this may be ineffective in other particular circumstances in which there is a need for high job satisfaction in more recent years.

Marcouse, I., Surridge, M. and Gillespie, A. (2011). Business Studies for A level. (4th ed). London: Dynamic Learning. Mullins, L.J. (2010). Management & Organisational Behaviour. (9th ed.). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited. Sheldrake, J. (2000). Management theory: from Taylorism to Japanization. London: Thomson Learning.

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