Raational Goal and Human Relation Models of Management

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Critically analyse at least two models of managements on the competing values framework and highlight the role they play in contributing to organisational success.


The following report will critically analyse two models of management from Quinn’s competing values framework- rational goal and human relation models. (Quinn, 2003)

Through extensive research the report will consider when each model is most useful as

“leaders must perform multiple and often conflicting roles” (Aneil, 2000, p.423-

424). In addition, it will explore the advantages and limitations of both models in context to

how quality management models contribute to the success of real-life examples in the retail industry.

Figure 1. competing values framework (from Quinn et al. (2003), p. 13)

Rational Goal Model

Rational goal model or commonly known as scientific management was established in America to organise large factory’s workforces. Its underlying advantage and contribution to success is an increased output and therefore increased profit, achieved through boosted efficiency and a ridged formal organisational system. As Scott states “structural arrangements within organisations are conceived as tools deliberately” (2007, p.56)

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Frederick Taylors approach to scientific management has been described as finding the one best way for every task to be more efficient and to have pay bonuses “pegged” to productivity (Salame, 2018) as an incentive for workers. Tasks were allocated to the most suited workers to maximise his factories production rate however this subsequently created higher quality production. These two factors contributed to developing his companies’ brand awareness- a desirable intangible asset, as consumers received quality product at no extra cost.

While increased productivity is massively advantageous Taylor’s limitation was the assumption he made about his workers. McGregor’s theory X&Y suggested there is two types of workers, X who require direction and Y who seek responsibility. Taylor’s assumption that all workers are type X causes, as described in a journal, a “lack of flexibility” and a “loss of creativity” (Pruijt, 2000). To demonstrate the importance of these features, recently retailer Toys’R’Us became bankrupt due to its failure to meet the markets demand for online retailing whereas Amazon Inc- a solely online organisation reported a 39% sales increase in 2018 according to CNBC. This being said, the workers who were motivated by money would have experienced increased motivation as Taylor assumed.

In summary while increased efficiency and profitability will contribute to success, managers must consider disadvantages of this model for example that employee motivation is situational therefore demotivation caused by repetitive tasks can and likely will lead to poor performance. Human relation model’s awareness to this makes it advantageous to combine the approaches. Amazon Inc’s success demonstrates rational goal model alongside “constant reinvention and improvement of organisational culture” (Dudovskiy, 2018) allowing the rapid adaption to the ruthlessly innovative external market thereby creating its success.

Upon analysis of Toys’R’Us’s bankruptcy, its failure could impart be due to strictly only using one structure type from the Competing Values Framework (Quinn, 2003) as Quinn himself would suggest that it is “desirable to perform efficiently using the four opposing models simultaneously” and therefore only focusing on only one structure could reduce an organisations success. (Quinn et al, 2015, pp.14) This statement suggests Human Relation models may not oppose Rational Goal but could be used in conjunction to enhance likelihood of success.

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Another factor which must be considered in reference to rational goal is that commonly automation takes place as technology can be programmed to perform the “one best way” (Salame, 2018) more efficiently than a worker and will not become subject to demotivation therefore significantly contributes to success of production lines. The flip side of this the loss of potential jobs for workers, while this does not directly negatively impact the organisation, bad press coverage of redundancies could damage intangible assets such as brand image thereby inhibiting the success of an organisation.

Human Relation Model

“This model focuses on the importance of cohesion and moral with emphasis on human resources” (O’Neill, 1993, p. 4) therefore as mentioned an obvious advantage of this approach is attention to employee motivation. This structure and its theorists consider the social needs of workers. This means when individual employee performance is required, and essential human relations model is superior to rational goal at the cost of lower production rate.

Elton Mayo experimented with worker motivation from in the 1920s-30s, his Hawthorne experiments drew the conclusion that what stimulated workers and caused raised efficiency was “the attention being shown them by the researchers” (Quinn, 2015, P.7) and not the wage incentives. This research changed the way managers were taught to lead as Mayo identified the need for a human factor. In comparison to rational goal model, human relation model sees the workers as social animals rather than economic animals and therefore allows organisations to better understands how it can motivate each worker leading to reduced staff turnover and increased efficiency.

This highlights the issue of pegged wage incentives (Salame, 2018) Taylor provided as only tending to a select group of workers. However, a criticism of Mayo’s conclusion is he provided wage incentives to workers in his experiments and therefore cannot be ignored as a valid motivating factor.

An example of a successful organisation whose management focuses employee satisfaction to boost productivity (human relation model) is Google, this is done by mixing human relation model with open systems as suggested (Quinn et al, 2015, pp.14). The advertising corporation uses employee satisfaction and freedom to breed creativity which contributes to the success of Google, on the other hand, this creativity would not be desirable for a shop floor employee for Toys’R’Us as it is not required and therefore would waste time. A contributing factor to Toys’R’Us’ collapse may have been a lack of correctly integrating competing value models. Arguably human relations managers are less concerned with employee productivity however if the organisation does not reach its aims and objectives it is not successful therefore, while team members are happy is this beneficial as they could more productive? A concern to those who utilise this model.

“Ethical conduct requires that appropriate values and behaviours be integrated into the daily activities of the organisation” (Teicheira, 2008, pp.61-62). A drawback of human relations model to employees is that the organisation’s motivations are to increase productivity and that their happiness is a means to an end therefore organisations must be careful to avoid exploiting workers whereas rational goal is explicit about the motivation for division of labour.

There is less anxiety over exploitation which is an advantage to Taylors approach in comparison to human relations, this does however come at the disadvantageous cost of generally higher staff turnover. Furthermore, this is not to say scientific management or Taylorism is exploitation-free as in extreme conditions such as Foxconn the organisational structure has been referred to as ‘sweat shop’ conditions by the Telegraph. With reference to Google’s structure the push for creativity and freedom results in decrease in professionalism, an issue absent from rational goal. Evidence of this issue at google as the Financial Times reports is work place discrimination by staff members and as of 08 November 2018 Google has been forced to change its discrimination policy. (Waters, 2018)

The models approach the responsibility of allocating tasks differently. Rational goal model takes this responsibility away from the workers and direct workers to particular jobs based on their skill set. Those in charge of deciding who does what jobs are line managers who as a result gain additional workload- a drawback being this may exhaust the managers however one outcome of this was that is brought light to the importance of manager training to communicate the message of stakeholders

In conclusion the situation rational goal model will contribute to success most when the main aims are increased output and reduced costs, for this reason the model is most often recruited by large factories and goods production organisations, using Foxconn as an example. In service industry such as helplines or shop cashiers’ human relations model will lead to successful operations as customer experiences are enhanced when interactions with staff are more pleasant therefore increasing the customer loyalty asset. The most crucial point is that no one method is better than the other but that different situations as well as different aims and objectives demand different operational processes and conditions to be achieved. In fact, for an organisation to experience success they must find the correct balance between models to allow adaptability to the rapidly evolving environment and the result is a contribution to an organisations success in its industry. Furthermore, integration must not only be between rational goal and human relations but all four of the competing values framework (Quinn, 2003) to minimise chance of failure and following Toys’R’Us’ example.


  • Aneil, M. (2000) Becoming a Master Manager: A Competency Framework (2nd ed.) The Leadership Quarterly (online). Volume (11/3), pp.423-424. (Accessed 30 October 2018)
  • Scott, R. and Davis, G. (2015) Organizations and Organizing: Rational, Natural and Open Systems Perspectives [online]. 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon Ox14 4rn: Routledge. [Accessed 05 November 2018].
  • Salame, R. (2018) The New Taylorism. Jacobin (online). (Accessed 05 November 2018)
  • Pruijt, H. (2000) Repainting, modifying, smashing Taylorism. Journal of Organizational Change Management (Online). Volume (13/5), pp. 439-451. (Accessed 07 November 2018)
  • Quinn, R., Bright , D. and Sue, R. (2015) Becoming a Master Manager: A Competing Values Approach [online]. 6th ed.: John Wiley & Sons. [Accessed 07 November 2018].
  • O’Neill, R. and Quinn, R. (1993) Applications of the Competing Values Framework. Human Resource Management [online]. 32 (1), p. 4. [Accessed 07 November 2018].
  • Teicheira, D. (2008) Compliance and Ethics Training: Event Versus Process. Journal of Health Care Compliance[online]. 10 (6), pp. 61-62. [Accessed 08 November 2018].
  • Waters, R. (2018) Financial Times. Available from: https://www.ft.com/content/ce3c11ec-e37e-11e8-a6e5-792428919cee (Accessed 08 November 2018)


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