The management and organizational approaches that are used by various firms play a critical role in their performance. The adopted management approach is important due to the fact that it determines the efficiency with which activities are performed. The organizational structure of the firm on the other hand determines the delegation and application of authority. The organizational structure is developed by the management.
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The structure facilitates effective interaction among employees and helps in directing resources towards achieving the goals of the organization. The behavior of employees is also influenced by the management and organizational approach (Mullins 3). Thus a firm will only be successful if it adopts the best management and organizational approach. This paper will focus on analyzing two management approaches namely, scientific and bureaucratic theories of management.
Scientific Management Theory
This theory focuses on the analysis and synthesis of workflows. Its main objective is to improve efficiency within an organization. In order to achieve this objective, the theory proposes that scientific principles should be used in designing processes and managing workers. This theory was developed by “Fredrick Taylor in the 1880s and 1890s within the manufacturing industry” (Cook and Hunsacker 34). The theory was highly influential in the 1910s as the best management style.
However, by 1920s it began to lose its popularity as new management ideas and concepts emerged. The modern organizational approaches and management styles borrow the following concepts from the scientific approach. The concepts include “logic, efficiency, mass production, rationalization, work ethic and standardization of best practice” (Cook and Hunsacker 34).
The Assumptions of the Scientific Management Theory
The scientific management theory is based on three assumptions which can be explained as follows. First, it is based on the assumption that firms operate in a capitalist economy that is associated with “a free market system” (Perterson 47) in which transactions are facilitated by money.
Thus the most important objective of the firms is profit maximization and improving efficiency levels. Second, the workers are expected to be rational. This means that they are supposed to work-hard in order to maximize their earnings. Besides, they are expected to prioritize the goals and objectives of the organization. Finally, organizations are supposed to increase their production capacities in order to enjoy the benefits of “division of labor and specialization of tasks” (Daft 56).
The principles of the theory
The scientific management theory is based on four principles. The principles form the basis for designing processes, managing workers and improving productivity. Thus an organization that uses the scientific management approach will improve its efficiency and productivity if it follows the principles correctly. The principles are as follows.
Developing a Science for Every Element of Work
According to this principle, the old rule-of-thump should be replaced by clear-cut procedures. Such procedures can be developed through a careful study of the various processes within the organization in order to “develop the one best way to do everything” (Cook and Hunsacker 45). In order to identify the best way to execute various tusks, the following steps should be followed. The first step involves choosing a given number of skilled employees and studying their work.
The second step involves listing the operations and details of every task that is performed by the workers. At the third stage, a stopwatch is used to determine the amount of time used to execute each task. This process has to be repeated in order to determine the optimum amount of time for performing each task. The next step involves eliminating the tasks that are not important in relation to a given job.
This helps in improving efficiency (Mullins 47). The techniques and tools that are required in order to finish a given job must be identified. Besides, the improvements that are made in regard to productivity and efficiency must be noted and used as a guide in subsequent operations. Finally new processes and timeframes should be developed to execute tasks and all employees must be trained and encouraged to adopt the new methods.
Selection and Development of Workers
This principle proposes that workers should be trained on how to perform their duties according to best practice. It also proposes that the management should determine the manner in which the employees perform their duties. This means that the workers should not be allowed to make decisions on the best approach to perform their duties.
Thus in order to implement this principle, the following recommendations should be considered. First, the workers should be assigned duties that match their skills in order to improve their productivity (Daft 67). Second, the employees should be given the correct tools. This will help them to perform their duties effectively (Kyle and Nyland 146).
Third, the employees must be given clear instructions in order to avoid confusion and ambiguity. Besides, they must be trained in order to ensure that they understand the instructions. The management should then ensure that the instructions are strictly followed by the employees. Finally, a competitive remuneration package should be used to motivate the workers. These recommendations seek to improve efficiency and productivity.
Establishing a Positive Relationship between the Employees and the Management
According to this principle, there should be a “spirit of hearty cooperation between the workers and the management” (Cook and Hunsacker 71). This will help in ensuring that employees are performing their duties according to the scientifically designed procedures. The workers should be allowed to rest during the work hours so that they can recuperate from fatigue. Such rest breaks will enable the workers to improve their productivity.
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Division of Work
The scientific management approach proposes that the management should share the organizational tasks with the employees. While the management is expected to perform the administrative duties, the workers are expected to perform the production oriented duties. This means that the management and the workers have distinct duties which they must perform in order to achieve the goals of the organization (Daft 68).
The implications of this principle are as follows. It has led to the creation of a hierarchical leadership structure within organizations. Abstract rules have been developed to guide the behavior of individuals within organizations (Dean 20). It has also led to the emergence of impersonal relationships among employees.
Framework for Organization
According to the scientific management theory, the organization of a firm should be informed by the following guidelines. Authority should be clearly delineated within the organization. Responsibility should be emphasized in order to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization within the set timelines.
The planning process should be separated from other operations in order to improve efficiency. An appropriate incentive program should be introduced to boost the morale of the workers. This translates into high productivity (Mullins 42). The organization should also focus on task specialization in order to improve the efficiency and productivity of its employees.
Bureaucratic management is “a formal system of organization that is based on clearly defined hierarchical levels and roles in order to maintain efficiency and effectiveness” (Cook and Hunsacker 79).
This theory was developed by Max Weber and is widely used in the management of both public and private sector organizations. According to the bureaucratic management approach, organizations are usually divided into hierarchies. These divisions help in creating “strong lines of authority and control” (Hodyson 84) within the organization.
Thus it is an administrative system that is based on rational-legal authority. The main objective of this approach is to help firms to implement their growth strategies successfully in order to realize their missions and visions. This means that it aims at improving efficiency while reducing costs in regard to achieving the organizational objectives. This objective is usually achieved by standardizing all the procedures that are associated with routine tasks.
Principles of Bureaucratic Management Theory
The bureaucratic management approach is based on six principles which are as follows. First, there must be precise delineation of jurisdictional areas and the tasks assigned to individuals are conceptualized as official duties (Daft 81).
The authority to issue commands that facilitates the execution of duties is usually distributed in a consistent manner. Since bureaucracy aims at improving efficiency, only individuals with the relevant qualifications are hired by the organization. Thus appointments to particular offices are informed by the competence of the workers.
Second, the organizational structure is hierarchical and the executive officials give the commands while the junior officials are expected to obey. The positions that are associated with each hierarchy “exist in its own right” (Tanya and Grootenboer 94). This means that the positions are not preserved for a particular employee since their occupation is based on merit.
Each hierarchy is also associated with clearly defined responsibilities that require specific skills and competence. The hierarchy system encourages promotions and thus the responsibilities of the lower hierarchies can not be assumed by the higher hierarchies.
Third, abstract rules are used to manage the workers and the various activities of the organization. The rules are usually established by the management and are used as a guide when making decisions (Cook and Hunsacker 82). The rules must be exhaustive and the workers should be in a position to learn or understand them. Besides, the rules and the decisions that they inform must be documented.
The fourth principle involves separating official property from personal property (Daft 91). Thus official duties are considered to be separate from private activities. The separation of the property of the organization from private assets helps in preventing conflict of interest and abuse of office. This helps organizations to create the culture of accountability among their employees.
The fifth principle relates to the process of hiring employees. In a bureaucratic system, the workers are usually appointed (Hodyson 86). This means that elections are not used to determine the office bearers in organizations that use a bureaucratic management approach. The employees are compensated for their work by salaries that are usually paid on regular basis.
Finally, the bureaucratic system considers employment to be a career. Therefore, the employees are expected to work for the organization on a full-time basis (Hodyson 87). Besides, the employees are expected to view their jobs as life-long careers. This helps in developing commitment to work among the employees.
An organization that uses a bureaucratic management system has the following characteristics. The tasks assigned to the workers are usually specified in order to avoid confusion. The rights and obligations of the workers including the management team are clearly defined by the rules that govern the organization (Daft 92). Formal communication is usually encouraged at all levels in order to enhance understanding among the workers. The communication system is also used to handle complains and appeals.
The above discussion indicates that both scientific and bureaucratic management theories can be used to improve efficiency and productivity within a firm. A comparison of the two approaches reveals the following similarities. First, they both focus on specialization of tasks as a way of improving efficiency and productivity. Second, both approaches are associated with delineation of authority in order to avoid confusion and ambiguity (Dean 22).
Third, the two management approaches are associated with standardization of tasks in order to increase productivity within organizations. Workers’ competence is highly emphasized by the two management approaches. The workers’ competence is considered to be a success factor that leads to high efficiency and productivity.
Finally, the two approaches adopt a top-down system of making decisions. This means that commands or directives are given by the top officials while the junior employees are expected to obey. By contrasting the two approaches, the following differences can be identified. While the scientific approach focuses on improving labor productivity, the bureaucratic system puts more emphasis on administrative efficiency.
The scientific approach encourages the introduction of incentive schemes in order to motivate workers. The bureaucratic approach on the other hand places emphasis on the rights of the workers in order to motivate the employees. Finally, the bureaucratic approach considers employment as a life-long career. The scientific approach on the other hand leads to job loses as “knowledge is transferred from workers to workers and from worker to tools” (Dean 29)
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