Organisation Behaviour and Analysis
All organisations have different approaches called strategies to achieve their corporate objectives as part of their mission statement. These objectives will be broken down into smaller short-term goals that will need to successfully be achieved to meet organisational goals.
“Scientific management is the systematic method of determining the best way to do a job and specifying the skills needed to perform it.” (Fincham, R. & Rhodes, P. 2005). This is usually splitting up the task into smaller repeatable subtasks that individuals can learn to perfect, hence, improving efficiency. Whereas, Max Webber, a German Philosopher introduced the idea of ‘Bureaucracy.’ He believed that organisations contain hierarchical reporting structures. By this, he meant employees report to another person and this may include management responsibilities for others. His idea of bureaucracy also included that employees act in an impartial and unemotional manner through being motivated by a sense of duty towards achieving organisational goals. (Ian Brooks, Third Edition. 2006)
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There are four basic principles of scientific management. Tasks and responsibilities are divided between management and workers. Workers are scientifically selected and trained. Economic incentives ensure cooperation by workers to adopt scientific management principles. Therefore, this scientific application to the production process would secure industrial peace by eliminating trade union – management conflicts. (Huczynski, A. & Buchanan, D. 1991).
Frederick Winslow Taylor’s scientific management theory looks at the worker in isolation and does not consider that he would be affected by the structure and culture of the work group, management policies and procedures and even the individuals own feelings, attitudes and goals. Instead he neglects the importance of other rewards from work such as achievement, job satisfaction and recognition.
There are many advantages of scientific management to employers. Labour is longer is skilled and thus is cheapened. This means the organisation can then spend more money on other resources. The flexibility of labour is increased due to the simplification of tasks that used to be complex. Furthermore, streamlining production is also possible. Tasks that are unnecessary can be removed and the work can be speeded up. In the modern day, organisations are always looking for improvements in their production methods. This gives them greater profits. (Fincham, R. & Rhodes, P. 2005). In addition to this, the objectives of scientific management were to achieve efficiency, standardization of job performance and discipline. Efficiency was increased by increasing the output per worker by reducing the ‘underworking’ by employees. Dividing the tasks into smaller subtasks helped the job performance. “Discipline was put into practise by establishing hierarchical authority and introducing a system whereby all management’s policy decisions could be implemented.” (Huczynski, A. & Buchanan, D. 1991). Scientific management was first investigated in Taylor’s company.
Taylor observed that a few of his machinists never worked at their maximum speed. In order to overcome these problems, Taylor made a few proposals. He argued that the management should be in charge of planning tasks and that this should be done by the workers. He also recommended that workers should be selected to do the tasks according to their fitness for the job rather than on the basis of friendship. Finally, he encouraged workers to utilise the quickest and most effective method to perform the task. His motivational device was to pay workers that produced more, more. (Ian Brooks, Third Edition. 2006). In this era, Taylor’s proposals go hand in hand with current management techniques. Managers now require workers to work as efficiently as possible and their reward comes in the form of a bonus or pay rise. If individuals are paid by piece rates method, then they get paid per output they produce. Piece-rates were an incentive payment system that relates bonuses to the level of output produced by each employee.
Through dividing tasks into smaller subtasks, this has many advantages. These advantages promote scientific management use in modern organisations. Firstly, there is no need for time consuming and expensive training of the staff. The costs saved in this operation can be used elsewhere in the organisation. Organisations are capable of saving huge amounts of money through the lower pay of the unskilled work. Secondly, specialisation in the subtasks leads to proficiency and efficiency. In the modern era, this is vitally important, which is evident from the fact that organisations spend vast amounts of money on perfecting efficiency. However, there are disadvantages to scientific management especially for the individual that is involved. The introduction of subtasks means that the work is repetitive and boring. This causes lack of motivation and increased levels of stress. Secondly, in the eyes of the organisation, the individual is small and meaningless. Furthermore, the individual will acquire no skills that might lead to promotion. Due to these reasons mentioned, some organisations choose not to operate in the scientific management manner. (Huczynski, A. & Buchanan, D. 1991). For a worker who has no chance for promotion, there is a high chance that he/she will lack motivation. According to Herzberg (1959) promotion is part of his list of motivators. If this can never be satisfied, then the worker may feel that his/her job is not worthwhile due to a lack of opportunities.
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While, George Ritzer intoduced the term McDonaldization. He describes it as the process by which a society takes on the characteristics of a fast-food restaurant. McDonaldization is the principle of rationalization, or moving from traditional to rational modes of thought, and scientific management. His motivational device was that staff are clear what is required everytime from them. This requires limited training that is provided. Their training is aimed to minimise unproductive movement and scope for human error. Ritzer believed their tasks were repetitve and they are not required to be motivated. This meant the benefits to customers were always the same. A standard product, delivered quickly, the same quality everytime and at a reasonable price. (Ian Brooks, Third Edition. 2006)
There are four basic components to McDonaldization. Efficiency, Calculability, Predictability and Control.
Efficiency is the optimal method to get the task completed in quickest possible way. For example McDonald's customers get from ordering to being served and eating all their food ordered. Efficiency in McDonaldization means that every aspect of the organization is geared toward the minimization of time.
Calculability is where the objective should be quantifiable (sales) rather than subjective (taste). McDonaldization theory believed that quantity equals quality, and that a large amount of product delivered to the customer in a short amount of time is the same as a high quality product. He encouraged product maximisatiion rather than high quality service. Using this theory, organizations want consumers to believe that they’re receiving high benefits that consists of a large amount of product for less. Workers are judged by performance in the quantity they produce instead of the quality.
Predictability is the concept that employees task are highly repetitive, highly routine, and predictable. Regarding this, he felt that any McDonald’s a customer may visit he or she will receive the product every time when interacting with the McDonaldized organization.
Control is where the highly repetitive and highly routined tasks are carried out by people instead of being replaced by technology such as robots.
Bureaucracy employed by Max Weber focuses on how roles are given to employees and directives are accepted without the use of coercion and expediency. Bureaucration form of organisation is represented in the most rational expression of economic order. The spread of rational behaviour is seen as central dynamic of western capitalists societies. The growth of large ornaisations has grown in the early twentieth century this has resulted bureaucratic forms increasing. The increase was party due to the specialisation of jobs, and sophisticated rules and procedures for working were created.
Bureaucracy may have also increased rationality. A new division of labour is administrative/mental work which creates routine decisions that may be difficult to introduce since they are are new and may be viewed as complex to the organisation. Rational calculations are performed that measures the performance of each individual worker. This allows the organisation to monitor each employees efforts/contributions to meet the organisation’s goals set.
Bureaucracy represents an ‘iron cage’ and threatens individual freedom (Weber 1930.) It is domination of official in modern society and is the ‘inevitable but regrettable’ development.
However, Weber’s Bureaucracy has many disadvantages. Employees can be disaffected if they perceive rules and procedures to be unhelpful or reasonable. This will suppress individual initiative and creativity. No real bureaucracy meets all requirements in all scenarios all the time. This means the “ideal type” maybe a pure idea, a framework for analysis. This does not describe a real organisation and is not evaluative, i.e, ‘what should be.’ Some also have the view that bureaucracy is seen as self serving, slow and uncaring. Furthermore, others feel that increasing bureaucracy will lead to increasing effectiveness and is seen as less fashionable. Some will argue believing bureaucracy should be reduced that will allow organisations the room to think and manouvere. This would allow the business to maintain high performance in their operations. (Ian Brooks, Third Edition. 2006).
It may be considered as an effective form of organisation however it is dysfunctional. Blau (1955) felt this created competition between employees and this conducts an important mechanism of control; formal structure modified by informal. This is theoretically discouraged but it is encouraged to overcome problems.
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Bureaucracy is effective to some extent but may resent full extent of formal control. The discrepancy between formal rules and actual behaviour, formal and informal organisation will code tension. We believe that knowledge is power but instead elite groups will create rules.
However there are alternative ways of that organisation works effectively to achieve organisational goals. One way could be employing the ‘contingency theory’ that prescribes an organisation to manage and organise in the most effective manner.
There are three main key factors that have been found to influence organisational structure and activities. This includes the business environment, technology and the organisational size.
Business environments that are certain and stable, organisations will develop a form and structure that is most efficient. This will be one that has a high degree of managerial control and mechanistic structure and systems. However, perception may be a critical factor to the process. Managers in organisations with an organic structure may perceive the environment as being dynamic and uncertain. While, those in more mechanistic structures may perceive their environment as being more certain but the reality may be different. In the past, many firms have failed since managers have perceived their environments as being stable and certain when in fact they have harboured destructive dynamic forces. (Ian Brooks, Third Edition. 2006).
Woodward’s contention (1965) demonstrates technology as another contingent factor. This was that companies who design their organisational structure to fit the type of production technology they employ are likely to be successful. Her studies show clear variations in organisational structure between companies and argued that much of the variation was due to differences in manufacturing techniques. She observed that certain factors varied according to the production techniques adopted. Some techniques included, typical span of control, the levels of hierarchy and the ratio of managers to other personnel and of the total salary bill to total costs. Overall it was found that variability in structure and management activity occurred between organisations. This however did not have any influence on commercial success.
Aston studies carried out (1960-70’s) believed that organisational size is a common factor as part of the organisational design. The studies carried out showed that the size of the organisational unit did not show a strong relationship with job satisfaction (negatively correlated.) This was also recurrent for staff turnover and absenteeism from work. Moreover, internal communication and coordination are more difficult in larger organisations and will be addressed through structural and procedural mechanisms. This means line managers have a responsibility to communicate with employees and follow the accepted procedures whilst doing so. Increased organisational size is lined with increased bureaucracy.
Using contingency does however have disadvantages. Firstly, the contingency approach the outcome or work is more difficult to apply to the workplace. Contingency theory can only give a partial picture. For example, there are multitudes of variables and combinations of factors that will influence organisational activity. Theorists should underplay the significance of intensely ‘human’ aspects of organisation such as power, the role of stakeholders and organisational culture.
Concentrate on means to achieve economic goals however goals themselves may become increasingly meaningless.
However, there are alternative ways of that organisation works effectively to achieve organisational goals. Some employees will feel other factors need to be motivated and satisfied in order to achieve organisational goals. Rather than focusing on ‘Process Theories’ of how people are motivated, we know the organisation selects goals and implement strategies in means to pursue them. However, individual needs differ. We now need to look at ‘Content Theories’ and focus on what people want. All employees possess the same needs.
In Abraham Maslow’s (1943) hierarchy of Needs theory, there are five needs that employees may feel that one or maybe even all five factors are important to them. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is displayed as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the four lower levels are grouped together as ‘deficiency needs’ associated with physiological needs. The top level is consists of ‘growth needs’ and is associated with psychological needs. The deficiency needs must be satisfied first because once these are met, personal growth can be targeted. Once the lower needs have been satisfied in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, then the higher needs can be focused on.
The lowest/bottom level
consists of ‘Physiological needs.’ This includes basic needs for such things as food, warmth, shelter, working conditions, base salary
and other general every day-to-day needs.
Safety needs is the second lowest level. Once the physiological needs have been satisfied safety needs can be driven. These are things such as job security, fringe benefits and income. It also includes
security of resources, of morality, of the family, of health and of property.
After physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, the third layer of human needs is social. This involves emotionally-based relationships such as: friendship, sexual intimacy and family. Furthermore, is applies to ccompatible work and Group/Professional.
Esteem needs also need to be satisfied. This level corresponds that employees have a need to be respected, to have self-esteem, self-respect, and to respect others. It can be worker’s job title, recognition and responsibility
. People need to be aknowledged to gain recognition and have an activity or activities that give the person a sense of contribution, to feel accepted and self-valued.
Self-actualization is the highest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs diagram. This level highlights that employees need to make the most of their abilities and to strive to be the best they can. It is the challenge they face for a promotion/creative job or could even be an achievement. This means realising personal potential, self-fulfilment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences.
This hierarchy Maslow created corresponds that every need must be satisfied in the given order in the pyramid. The first four levels are deficiency motivators while the top level is a growth motivator. For example, an employee will not be to achieve his/her sales target if they have problems with their marriage or pay.