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Critically Evaluate the Influence of Classical and Human Relations Approaches in Management Today

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“With reference to appropriate literature and cases, critically evaluate the influence of classical and human relations approaches in management today.”

This paper seeks to evaluate the influence of classical and human relations approaches in management today. Management theories are vital for guiding effective operations and productivity within organisations and determining the right management approach that works for a company is fundamental. As the classical and human relations theory were developed as far back as 1889, this paper will evaluate if they still have influence even in today’s organisations. To effectively answer this topic, the paper will begin by defining what management is then proceed to give literature reviews of the major classical and human relation approaches namely, Scientific Management, Principles of Administration, Bureaucratic Model, Hawthorne Studies and Hierarchy of Needs Model. Accompanying each of these theory explanations will be cases or examples of organisations and industries that utilize these theories as a means of evaluating the influence of the theories in today’s management. The paper will then conclude with a short paragraph highlighting all the main points of the discussion and affirming that indeed classical and human approaches do have influence in today’s management.

Management can be thought of as the heart of an organisation because it spreads motivation, encouragement, empowerment, development, guidance, education and so much more to workers within the organisation who work together effectively towards achieving a common goal. Griffin (2002) defines management as a set of activities which include planning, decision making, organising, leading and controlling directed towards resources like human or finances aimed at achieving goals in organisations efficiently and effectively. Different management principles have been existing from the beginning of time and continue to evolve today. If there was a plan to accomplish something great, there were principles of management surrounding it for it to successfully be completed. The Great Wall of China for instance is a series of fortifications that measures out to be 21,196 km long, China wanted to protect its people from invasions and also set up trade barriers so that border controls could be inflicted, Wikipedia (2017). After establishment of goals the process of building the wall commenced and through effective and efficient management, the wall was completed, thus it cannot be emphasised enough the importance of management.

Different management approaches have been devised from the 18th Century. The Classical Approaches which will be discussed first focused on the productivity and efficiency of work, the major classical approaches include Scientific Management, Principles of Administration and Bureaucratic Model.

Classical Approaches to Management

1 Scientific Management

Scientific Management was originated by Taylor Frederick around 1889. During Taylor’s time there was a problem of inefficiency in the shop floor. He noted that many workers had a tendency of soldiering where they would naturally or systematically take things easy by placing minimal effort into work or task delivery. This meant workers could determine what they considered to be an efficient work for the day and ultimately productivity reduced, Cole (2016).

Taylor noted that soldiering was due to three main issues, one being fear of unemployment. Workers had the mentality that if they performed exceptionally well in tasks, time spent in delivery of those tasks would be reduced allowing for production of more. This would imply that less men would be required to complete the job that a larger number of workers were previously completing thus some workers would be laid off. Secondly, the earnings from the piece-rate system meant workers would not necessarily be recognized for extra effort put into productivity since irrespective of the effort applied, workers still got the same pay rate. Lastly, the permission of ‘rule of thumb’ by management liberated workers to deliver tasks according to their own standards despite the degree of reluctance. These three issues influenced and motivated low productivity among workers. It can be seen even in the explanation that some of these reasons had management to blame rather than the workers because they permitted it. It is from here that Taylor, devised a scientific management approach to overcome the problems that influenced low productivity and inefficiency. The Scientific Management Approach utilised the following principals Cole (2016).

1 Replace rule-of-thumb with scientific method: Taylor used several scientific experiments to determine the most efficient and productive way to perform and standardize tasks. This replaced the rule-of-thumb where workers were entitled to their own opinion on how to work based on their experience. Opinions of managers and workers could now be substituted with facts from the scientific analysis. Taylor conducted a work study where he analysed each work operation by skilled workers with the use of a stop watch. In this study, unnecessary movements were minimised so that most accurate time and best method to do a job is obtained.

2 Selection of Workers: Workers with the right skills and abilities who are best fitted for the job should be selected and training should be scheduled for them for their own development by management. This will further improve skills acquisition and in-turn increase productivity and efficiency.

3 Division of labour: Managers should now take up the responsibility from the workers of coming up with initiatives on how to get the work done with the implementation of the scientific method. Workers should solely be responsible for work performance.

4 Governed Structure: Management should have clear authority and power over workers governed by the scientific method and be able to create a cooperative environment with the workers so that they are encouraged to work according to the scientific methods that have been established.

Despite the criticism it received, scientific management approaches still influence contemporary management today. This approach is popular in manufacturing industries, factories, assembly lines and so on. Nestlé is one of the world’s largest manufacturers and food marketers that has been in establishment for 150 years. Nestlé emphasises continuous improvement through cost cutting, speedy delivery of products and sales growth. To achieve this, the Nestlé Continuous Excellence program (NCE) was established in 2008 based on Total Productive Maintenance (TPM). Just as the scientific management principals are set, Jose Lopez devised a common model for all Nestlé operations

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