The classical approach to management started around the year 1900. The principles developed under this approach are accepted even today.
Under this that manager’s approach it is felt that more stress should be given to production instead of manpower. It also believes that the employee is motivated by the economic incentives.
The classical approach is one of the oldest approaches to management and is also known by various names such as, Functional approach, Management Process approach and Administrative Management approach.
The classical theory concentrates on organisation structure and their management. The classical writers include Taylor, Fayol, Weber, Gullick, Urwick, Mooney and Reiley and others. They placed emphasis on work planning, the technical requirements, principles of management, formal structure, and the assumption of rational and logical behaviour.
Learn about the three branches of classical approach: 1. Scientific Management 2. Administrative Management 3. Bureaucratic Management.
Classical Approach to Management: Scientific Management, Administrative Management and Bureaucratic Management
Classical Approach to Management – 3 Branches: Scientific Management, Administrative Management and Bureaucratic Management
The classical approach to management started around the year 1900. The principles developed under this approach are accepted even today. Under this that manager’s approach it is felt that more stress should be given to production instead of manpower. It also believes that the employee is motivated by the economic incentives.
This approach has three branches:
I. Scientific Management,
II. Administrative Management, and
III. Bureaucratic Management.
They are also called the pillars of the classical approach. We shall now study them in detail.
F. W. Taylor is the father of scientific management. In addition to Taylor, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, Henry L. Gantt and Harrington Emerson have also made significant contribution to the development of scientific management.
(a) Contribution of Taylor:
Taylor was a person who within a very short duration of time (1878-1884) rose from the ranks of an ordinary labourer to the position of a Chief Engineer. In 1878, he joined the Midvale Steel Company in USA as a labourer and, due to his hard work and dedication; he was able to reach the position of the Chief Engineer in the same company within a short span of six years (in 1884).
During this period, Taylor conducted a number of experiments and came to the conclusion that the amount of work a labourer was doing was far less as compared to what he was supposed to be doing. He gave a number of suggestions to solve this problem and, in doing so; he gave a scientific outlook to management. Taylor worked in
The Bethlehem Steel Works up to 1901 and thereafter started providing services as a management consultant. In1903, he published a research paper titled ‘Shop Management’ and in 1911 his book Principles of Scientific Management created ripples in the field of management.
The literary meaning of scientific management is performing the work of management in a scientific manner. In other words, discarding the traditional approaches to management and adopting newer and more scientific approaches in their place is called scientific management. Taylor has said that before commencing any work, a manager should first analyse it thoroughly and only then should he take any decision.
The Scientific Management Approach propounded by F. W. Taylor is based upon the following five principles:
(1) Principle of Use of Science for the Rule of Thumb:
According to this principle, all the activities being performed in an organisation should be analysed in detail with the aim of developing a technique of accomplishing the maximum possible work in an efficient manner and at the minimum possible cost. This principle says that we should not get stuck in a set and continues with the old techniques of doing work, rather we should be constantly experimenting to develop new techniques which make the work much simpler.
(2) Principle of Scientific Selection and Training of Workers:
According to this principle, the selection and training of workers should be done in a scientific manner. Of the various activities being performed in an organisation, selection of workers is the most important because even one wrong appointment can spoil the whole atmosphere in the organisation. Scientific appointment means appointing only those people to do a particular work that possess the necessary capabilities to do it.
However, only scientific selection of workers is not adequate in itself, the workers should also be imparted the necessary training from time to time. Proper training of the workers increases their efficiency and hence benefits both the workers as well as the organisation.
(3) Principle of Cooperation between Labour and Management:
As per this principle, such an atmosphere should be created in the organisation that labour (the major factor of production) and management consider each other indispensable. Labour should understand that it cannot proceed in its work without the existence of Management, and Management should understand that it has no identity without the existence of Labour.
If such an atmosphere prevails in an organisation, then both the parties would aim for the achievement of the same goal (i.e. the maximum and good quality production) and hence both of them will be successful in achieving the goals. Taylor has referred to such a situation as a ‘Mental Revolution’. Taylor firmly believed that the occurrence of a mental revolution would end all the conflicts between the two parties and would be beneficial to both of them.
(4) Principle of Maximum Output:
As per this principle, both the labour as well as management should make full efforts to produce the maximum output. They should spare no efforts for the maximum utilisation of the factors of production available in the organisation. This will have a direct impact on the profits of the organisation, and the organisation will earn the maximum possible profits. Higher profits will result in higher wages for the workers and thus make them more dedicated towards the organisation.
(5) Principle of Equal Division of Responsibility:
According to this principle, the work of the organisation and the related responsibilities should be clearly divided among the two main groups in the organisation (Management and Labour). Each group should be assigned work which it can accomplish more efficiently. For example- Management should be the one to decide the time required to do a particular work, while the responsibility for actually doing the work should be with the Labour.
In this way, if the time required for doing the work is not properly determined, the manager would be accountable, and if the work has not been performed properly the labourer would be responsible. Hence, on proper implementation of this principle, the credit for doing work efficiently would be divided among both the groups and in case of any defaults; the responsibility would also be shared by both the groups.
The principles of Scientific Management only bring out the basic philosophy behind the theory. The question which now arises is how to implement these principles practically?
Taylor has devised the following techniques for actually implementing the principles of scientific management:
(1) Scientific Study of Work:
Scientific management requires deep analysis of all the activities being performed in the organisation with the aim of producing the maximum possible output with the minimum possible efforts. In simple words, it may be said that Taylor was strictly opposed to incompetence and wanted to remove incompetence with whatever possible means.
In his efforts to do so, he conducted a number of experiments and proved that – (i) if the various parts of the process of production are reduced to the minimum, (ii) while working, unnecessary movements of the body are eliminated, (iii) the time required for doing every work is determined and (iv) recognising that human beings are not inanimate objects and hence are likely to feel fatigued, proper arrangements for their resting are made, then incompetence will be totally eliminated from the organisation.
On this basis, he has divided work study into the following four parts:
(i) Method Study,
(ii) Motion Study,
(iii) Time Study and
(iv) Fatigue Study.
(i) Method Study:
It refers to identifying the most suitable way to do a particular activity. To conduct this study, process chart and operation research techniques are used. The main objective of this study is to minimise the cost of production and maximise the quality and level of consumer satisfaction.
(ii) Motion Study:
It refers to conduct the study of motions being performed by workers and machines while doing the job. The movie camera is used to conduct this study. The main objective of this study is to eliminate the unnecessary motions.
For example- during an experiment it was found that while laying a brick, a mason was conducting 18 different activities, but after eliminating the unnecessary activities the number of activities could be reduced to five, and in certain cases even down to two activities.
(iii) Time Study:
It refers to determining the standard time required to complete a particular activity. The standard time is determined on the basis of average time taken by the several experiences of the same work. This study is conducted with the help of a stopwatch. The main objectives of the study are – (i) to get the estimated figure of labour costs, (ii) to determine the number of required workers and (iii) to decide about the suitable incentive plan.
(iv) Fatigue Study:
It refers to determining the duration and frequency of rest intervals to complete a particular job. The rest refreshes the workers. They work again with their full capacity. The main objective of this study is to maintain the efficiency level of workers. There may be so many causes of fatigue, such as long working hours, poor working conditions, unsuitable work, unhappy relations with the boss, etc.
(2) Scientific Task Planning:
Scientific task planning implies analysing all the different aspects of the work before actually commencing upon it, such as what is to be done? how is it to be done? where is it to be done? and when is it to be done? Taylor has advised the managers of industrial organisations to establish a separate Planning Department for this purpose.
(3) Scientific Selection and Training of Workers:
First, it is determined that for a particular work, persons possessing what qualities and capabilities are required. Next, through conducting various examinations, capable persons are selected. Scientific selection is selecting the right person for the right position without any bias. According to the traditional techniques of management, this was usually done by the Foreman, however Taylor has advised the establishment of a Personnel Department for this purpose.
After selecting suitable persons, they should be imparted proper training before deploying them on the job. Scientific management requires that training should be imparted only through modern techniques as it increases the efficiency of the workers.
Standardisation means setting standards for different factors, after due deliberation. For example- the amount of work to be done by a worker in a day may be standardised. In other words, the worker is expected to do the standard amount of work every day. In the same manner, standards may also be set for raw materials, machines and tools, techniques, conditions of work, etc.
(5) Differential Wage System:
Taylor has advised the adoption of differential wage systems in order to motivate the employees. According to this system, wages are paid on the basis of work done and not on the basis of time spent in doing the work. In this system two different wage rates are used- one is the high wage rate and the other the low wage rate.
Those workers who are able to produce the standard number of units within a fixed duration are paid as per the high wage rate, and those workers who are not able to produce the standard number of units within the same time are paid as per the lower wage rate.
F. W. Taylor has propounded the functional organisation. This form of organisation is totally based on the principle of specialisation and makes full utilisation of the expertise of various experts. In a functional organisation, work is divided into many small parts and each part is assigned to an expert. In this manner, all the benefits of specialisation are availed of.
(7) Mental Revolution:
Mental revolution calls for a change in the mindset of both the managers and the workers. According to Taylor, a revolution in mindset of both the managers and the workers is required as it will promote feelings of cooperation, and will be beneficial for both the parties. Normally, it is seen that a conflict between the managers and the workers results in division of profits, with both the parties demanding a larger share of profits.
This is the main reason that a mental revolution is required. According to Taylor, instead of fighting over division of profits, both the parties should make efforts for increasing the profits. Such a situation will result in an increase in production, and such a high increase in profits will make any talk of division of profits meaningless.
(b) Contribution of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth:
The contribution of Frank Gilbreth and his wife Lillian Gilberth to the scientific management cannot be overlooked. They have specially contributed to the Motion Study. Under the motion study, an intensive study of the motions involved in the performance of work by the individuals and machines was undertaken (For example- picking up, laying down, handling, pressing turning, combining or coupling, making holes etc.).
During the course of the study, it was found that there were many unnecessary motions which could be eliminated. Not only this, even some necessary motions could also be reduced to the minimum. In this way, by bringing about improvement in the methods of working some possible addition to efficiency can be made.
During an experiment conducted by Frank Gilbreth, it was found that a mason makes 18 motions while laying just one brick. By eliminating unnecessary motions they can be reduced to five and in some conditions to just two.
Along with the motion study, they also undertook time study. Under the time study, the amount of standard time spent on the completion of a work is ensured. Standard time means the time taken by a worker to complete a work in ordinary circumstances.
Mrs. Gilbreth who was a Ph.D. in Psychology, gave special importance to human resource in industry. She explained the psychological effects of fatigue. In this way, Gilbreth couple made a significant contribution to the development of scientific management.
Gantt advocated the Task and Bonus Plan in respect of Wage Determination. Under this plan, the standard time, work and rate of wages per unit are prescribed. The labourers are divided into three categories on the basis of their work capacity.
(i) Workers with a capacity to work less than the standard work. They are paid according to time.
(ii) Workers who work equal to the standard work. They are paid according to time or work (both bring them equal wages). In addition to their wages, they get a bonus ranging between 20% to 50%.
(iii) Workers who do more than the standard work. They are paid wages according to the work done. In addition to their wages, they are paid a bonus ranging between 20% to 50% of their wages on the work basis.
In conclusion, it can be said that this plan of determining wages has a provision for the minimum wages and the efficient workers get more wages than the inefficient workers. Since there is a provision of giving a good rate of bonus under this plan, it motivates all the workers to do more work.
Gantt had also observed that those supervisors should also be paid bonus who succeeds in getting work up to the desired level out of their workers.
Gantt had also advised to publicly demonstrate the efficiency of the workers. The work of every worker used to be displayed on a Bar Chart. Those workers who were able to complete their job, their bar chart were filled with black ink. On the other hand, those workers who failed to complete their job; their bar chart was filled with red ink. Gantt felt that this had a psychological pressure on the workers to finish the standard work. As a result, they tried to do more work.
Emerson paid a special attention to the increase of efficiency. He wrote a book entitled Twelve Principles of Efficiency which was published in 1912. Out of these 12 principles, five related to the Employer-Employee Relationship while the remaining seven principles related to the System in Management.
These principles are like this:
(ii) Common Sense,
(iii) Competent Counsel,
(v) Fair Deal,
(vi) Reliable, Immediate, Adequate and Permanent Records,
(viii) Standards and Schedules,
(ix) Standardized Conditions,
(x) Standardized Operations,
(xi) Standard Practice Instructions, and
(xii) Reward for Efficiency.
In order to determine wages Emerson developed Emerson Efficiency Plan. The main objective of this plan is to encourage the efficient workers to increase their efficiency. Under this plan, wages according to time is guaranteed. Efficient workers are paid bonus for their work efficiency. The rate of bonus increases with the increase in the work efficiency.
Emerson recommended the implementation of line and staff organisation in place of Functional Organisation advocated by Taylor. Under this, specialists or experts called ‘Staff’ are appointed to provide counselling to the employees.
Evaluation of Scientific Management:
It is important to study the advantages and disadvantages to evaluate the scientific management approach.
Scientific management is equally important to employers, workers and the society as a whole. This technique of management believes in balanced development of all the sections of society.
On this basis the various benefits of scientific management can be grouped under the following three headings:
Scientific Management results in the following benefits to employers or owners of the business:
(1) Maximum Production:
The quantity of output is directly related to the efficiency of workers and scientific management concentrates its efforts on increasing the efficiency of workers. A few examples of such efforts are—maintaining the working conditions at the work place, giving appropriate wages, providing proper facilities to workers to rest in case of fatigue, rotating the work among different workers in order to retain their interest, using the simplest possible techniques of work, providing proper training to workers from time to time, etc.
In such a manner, production is increased by increasing the efficiency of workers which results in higher profits for the owners of the business.
(2) Industrial Peace:
One of the main aims of scientific management is bringing about a mental revolution in the mind-sets of the management and the workers. There should be full cooperation between the two, and this removes any conflict that may exist between the two. Such a situation automatically results in establishment of industrial harmony.
(3) Benefits of Specialisation:
Scientific management involves breaking up the complete work into many small parts, with each part being assigned to a person who is an expert in performing it. This results in more and better work being accomplished in much lesser time, which is one of the main benefits of specialisation.
The adoption of a system of scientific management has the following benefits for workers:
(1) Better Working Condition:
Scientific management involves the maintenance of proper cleanliness and ventilation at the work place and also making adequate arrangements for the safety of workers. All this has a favourable effect on the health of the workers.
(2) More Remuneration:
Scientific management involves, on the one hand, the provision of proper working conditions and, on the other hand, implementations of differential wage system. Both these factors motivate the workers to work harder and in doing so they earn more wages.
(3) Improvement in Standard of Living:
The two main requisites of a good standard of living are money and peace. Scientific management provides workers with both these things. The motivation to work harder provides them with more money, and good relations with the management provide them with mental peace.
(4) Increase in Efficiency:
Good working conditions, better wages, improvement in standards of living, training, etc. are such conducive factors which increase the efficiency of the workers to the maximum. The rewards earned by the workers by working with more efficiency motivate the workers to work even harder, and in this manner the cycle continues.
The application of scientific management produced very favourable results in a very famous American industrial organisation called Symonds Rolling Machine Co. It was found that only 35 girls were sufficient to do the same work which was previously being done by 120 girls. This was mainly due to the increase in efficiency by the application of scientific management.
Even though the advent of scientific management resulted in a revolution in the industrial world which resulted in an unprecedented increase in the efficiency of employees, the system cannot be said to be completely faultless. Many industrialists and the working class have bitterly criticised this system.
The main faults or criticisms of scientific management are:
The owners of the businesses have criticised scientific management on the following grounds:
(1) Difficult to Introduce:
Implementing a system of scientific management in place of the old tried and tested system is not an easy task. It requires a complete change in the structure of the organisation and also results in frequent interruptions in the process of production. Thus, it can be said that implementing a system of scientific management is a very long and tedious process.
(2) Only Suitable for Large Scale Business:
Since this is a very complex and expensive system to implement, it can be implemented only in large scale organisations. In other words, it is not economically feasible to implement the system of scientific management in a small scale organisation.
(3) Dependency on Experts:
This system requires the appointment of experts in order to take benefit of their experience and expertise. All the work in the organisation is done according to the instructions of the experts only. Over a period of time, the owners of the business and the workers become so dependent upon the experts that they are unable to work by themselves. So much dependence upon experts is also dangerous for the organisation.
Workers are critical of scientific management due to the following reasons:
(1) Fear of Retrenchment:
One of the main aims of scientific management is increase in productivity. The implementation of a scientific management system increases efficiency which is very beneficial for the organisation. However, increase in efficiency has adverse effect on the requirement for workers. There is a fall in the demand for workers and they are in constant fear of losing their jobs. It is mainly due to this reason that workers are opposed to scientific management.
(2) Lack of Initiative:
In such a system all the major work is allotted to experts and workers have no choice but to work as per their instructions. In other words, workers are only concerned with doing what they are told and are not supposed to apply their own minds. The lack of thinking has an adverse effect on their motivation level which further reduces their efficiency.
(3) Opposition by Labour Unions:
In a system of scientific management, each worker is paid wages according to his capabilities. Hence each person is more concerned about increasing his own efficiency and is not concerned about anybody else. As a result, the power of labour unions decreases as the number of their members falls. This is the main reason why labour unions oppose scientific management.
(4) Exploitation of Labourers:
As is clear, such a system increases the efficiency of labourers, as a result of which they are able to earn higher wages. However, the owners increase the wages to a much lower extent as compared to the increase in efficiency. Hence this results in exploitation of labourers as a major chunk of the higher profits due to the increased efficiency are retained by the owners.
(5) Inhuman Behaviour:
Under this system, the owners are only concerned about the increase in production and totally ignore the adverse effect the additional burden of work has on the health of the employees. Hence, this system results in inhuman behaviour on the part of the owners towards their employees.
F. E. Cardullo, while supporting the above criticisms, has expressed his opinion as, “While presenting the system of scientific management one major mistake made by Taylor was that he has equated man to a part of a machine.”
Administrative management approach to management was advocated by Henry Fayol. This approach is also called Process Management. Fayol is also called the father of administrative management in the same way as Taylor is called the father of scientific management. He acquired the knowledge of management by working as a manager in various companies in France. Fayol started his career in 1860 in a French company as a Junior Engineer.
He was appointed the Chief Executive Officer in 1888 in the same company. When he joined this company, the economic condition of this company was very bad and it was on the threshold of bankruptcy. He with the help of his ability, not only saved the company from going bankrupt but changed it into a prosperous company.
After making many experiments, he reached the conclusion that the management activity is a special activity, which is different from accounting, sales, production and other related activities and which is completed in a similar manner in all the organizations (business or non-business).
This conclusion of Fayol brings out two features of management – (i) That management is an activity which is different from other business activities, and (ii) that management has the quality of being universal.
Fayol has divided all the business activities into six parts and the management activity is one of them.
These six activities are as under:
(i) Technical Activities,
(ii) Commercial Activities,
(iii) Financial Activities,
(iv) Security Activities,
(v) Accounting Activities, and
(vi) Managerial Activities.
The managerial activities include planning, organising, coordinating, commanding and controlling. The above description makes it clear that management is an activity.
Fayol made it clear that management is a kind of activity which is implemented in a similar way in all the business and non-business organizations. It means that whatever is done under management is done in a similar manner in all the organizations. Fayol has presented the following five functions and 14 principles of management and asserted that any organisation which follows them is sure to succeed.
(iv) Commanding, and
Principles of Management according to Fayol:
(i) Division of Work,
(ii) Authority and Responsibility,
(iv) Unity of Command,
(v) Unity of Direction,
(vi) Priority to general interest over individual interest,
(vii) Fair Remuneration to Employees,
(viii) Effective Centralization,
(xi) Stability in the Tenure of Personnel,
(xiii) Scalar Chain, and
(xiv) Espirit De Crops.
Fayol has contributed richly to the field of management.
Some of his major thoughts which have greatly benefitted the world of management are the following:
(i) Universality of management.
(ii) Managers are not born, but created.
(iii) Only authorities can be delegated, not the responsibilities.
(iv) The span of control for a manager should not exceed six.
(v) One person should do only one work.
(vi) There should be a clear demarcation of authority right from the top to the bottom.
(vii) Every employee should be informed about his authority and responsibility in writing.
Some management experts have opposed the thoughts of Fayol.
They have advanced the following arguments against his thoughts:
(i) There is a contradiction in the thoughts advanced by Fayol.
(ii) These principles are based on limited study.
(iii) These principles mechanise the organization.
Comparative Study of the Contribution of Taylor and Fayol:
Both Taylor and Fayol have been outstanding management experts. Their contribution in the field of management has indeed been invaluable. Taylor was such a personality who started his career as a labourer. That is why he has seen the workers very closely, understood their problems and recognised the level of their efficiency. Taylor conducted many experiments regarding the efficiency of the workers and finally reached the conclusion that a worker works much less than what he should actually do.
He gave a number of suggestions in order to increase the work efficiency of the workers. The focus of Taylor’s study was the work efficiency of the workers. That is why he is called efficiency specialist.
On the contrary, Fayol started his career as a high ranking manager. This is why he has observed and understood the problems of the high ranking managers. Fayol brought into existence many invaluable principles in order to solve the problems of high ranking managers. His focus of study has been the problems of the high ranking managers and for this simple reason he has come to be known as an administrative specialist.
There are some similarities and dissimilarities in the contribution of both these specialists in the field of management.
They are as follows:
We find the following similarities between Taylor and Fayol in their thoughts:
(1) Solution of Managerial Problems:
Both the management experts have presented solutions to the managerial problems based on their experience and experiments. The solutions presented by both these experts are present in the shape of PRINCIPLES.
(2) Stress on Practical Aspect:
Taylor and Fayol have both been directly connected with the reality of work. That is why they both have laid stress upon the practical aspect of work. In other words, they gave their suggestions about improvement where such improvements were possible. They did not lay down any principle which cannot be brought into the parameters of practicality.
(3) Stress on Good Industrial Relations:
Both the experts are of the opinion that if good relations between the owner and the workers are established, the aims can be easily achieved.
There are the following dissimilarities in the ideas of Taylor and Fayol:
(1) Scope of Principles:
The principles of Taylor are related to the activities in connection with production while the principles advocated by Fayol are related to every kind of managerial activity.
(2) Name of Principles:
Taylor has called his principles as principles of scientific management. On the other hand, Foyal has described his principles as the general principles of management.
(3) Objectives of Principles:
The objective of Taylor’s principles is to increase the work efficiency of the workers. The focus of Fayol’s principles, however, has been the increase in the administrative efficiency of the managers.
In conclusion, it can be said that the field of management has undergone various changes. As a result of these changes the principles advocated by Taylor appear to be somewhat old. On the other hand, the principles laid down by Fayol have turned out to be really relevant to the modem scenario. Even then the contribution of Taylor cannot be under-valued because the principles laid down by him do guide the managers in some way or the other.
III. Bureaucratic Management:
Max Weber, a German social scientist, advocated the bureaucratic approach to management. Weber was of the view that strict rules should be framed to eliminate managerial inconsistency because inconsistency breeds inefficiency. Moreover, he felt that success in a big organization was possible only with the help of the bureaucratic management. The principles enunciated by him are very close to the principles advocated by Fayol but he has advocated their strict adherence.
Features of Bureaucratic Management:
The following are the chief characteristics of the bureaucratic management:
(1) Proper Division of Work:
Proper division of work means distribution of work on the basis of specialization. It means an individual should be allotted the work in which he specialises.
(2) Clear Hierarchy of Authority:
The authority of the superiors and the subordinates should be clearly defined. Every employee is responsible for the decisions taken by him and his subordinates.
(3) System of Rules:
Clear rules should be framed to govern the activities carried on within the organization. These rules should be strictly implemented.
(4) Impersonal Relations between People:
Under this approach, personal relations should be ignored. Rewards are given not on the basis of personal relations but on the basis of efficiency.
(5) Promotion Based on Competence:
According to this approach, the basis of promotion should be competence.
The merits and demerits of this approach are the following:
(i) Division of work leads to specialization.
(ii) It brings regularity in the conduct of the employees.
(iii) Competence being the basis of promotion, it increases the efficiency of the employees.
(iv) The organization is perpetually on the move because attention is paid not to the individual but the offices. (For example- if an individual leaves his office, someone else is promoted to occupy it.)
(i) Paper formality increases.
(ii) Red-tapism increases.
(iii) Personal relations are ignored.
(iv) Lack of initiative in the workers.
(v) Workers oppose change.
In conclusion, it can be said that bureaucratic management can be introduced in those organizations which are not affected by changes or where the changes are slowly introduced or where the changes can be anticipated. This is generally the case with the government departments or big business organizations. On the other hand, bureaucratic management cannot be adopted in a dynamic business organization.
Classical Approach to Management – Contributions and Criticisms
The classical approach is one of the oldest approaches to management and is also known by various names such as, Functional approach, Management Process approach and Administrative Management approach. The classical theory concentrates on organisation structure and their management. The classical writers include Taylor, Fayol, Weber, Gullick, Urwick, Mooney and Reiley and others. They placed emphasis on work planning, the technical requirements, principles of management, formal structure, and the assumption of rational and logical behaviour.
This theory incorporates three viewpoints – (i) Taylor’s Scientific Management (ii) Fayol Administrative Theory, (iii) Weber’s Bureaucracy. These writers concentrated on structure and that is why their approach sometimes is characterized as ‘structural framework of organisation.’ F.W. Taylor insisted on application of scientific methods to the problems of management. Henry Fayol suggested fourteen principles of management and their universal application. Max Weber introduced rational structure called bureaucracy. It is characterized by division of labour, specialization, rationality, personnel competency, etc.
The main features of classical theory are as under:
(i) The classical theory concentrated on the study of formal organisations. It laid emphasis on division of labour, specialization, structure, scalar chain, functional processes and span of control.
(ii) Management is the study of managerial experiences. If the experiences are studied and certain generalizations are derived therefrom, these will help the practising managers.
(iii) The classical theorists emphasised organisation structure for coordination of various activities. They ignored the role of human element.
(iv) The relationship between workers and management is established through formal communications, defined tasks and accountability and formalised procedures and practices to minimise conflict between them.
(v) The worker is essentially an ‘economic man’ who can be motivated basically by economic rewards. Money is considered the main motivator under this theory.
(vi) The efficiency of the organisation can be increased by making each individual efficient.
(vii) The integration of the organisation is achieved through the authority and control of the central mechanism. Thus, it is based on centralisation of authority.
(viii) There is no conflict between the individuals and the organisation. In case of any conflict, the interests of the organisation should prevail.
(ix) The classical school is based on the study of past managerial experiences and cases of various organisations. It implies that formal education and training is required for developing managers.
The classical theory has been criticized on the following grounds:
(i) The classical approach ignored the human relations aspect and undermined the role of human factor. Its main emphasis was on formal structure, centralisation of authority, unity of command and narrow span of control.
(ii) It viewed organisation as a closed system, i.e., having no interaction with the external environment.
(iii) Economic rewards were assumed as the main motivator of workforce. The role of nonmonetary factors was ignored.
(iv) The classical principles are based on managerial experiences and their limited observations.
(v) The classical approach is based on over-simplified assumptions. Its principles are ambiguous and contradictory.
(vi) This school emphasized on strict adherence to rules and regulations. The scope for individual initiative is thus limited.
(vii) Classical writers laid emphasis on the universality of management principles. But in practice, management principles can’t be applied blindly, they may need modifications to suit the situation.
Classical Approach to Management
Early management theorists are popularly known as ‘classical school of management thought.’ This approach grew out largely from the managerial experiences of successful managers. This approach considers management as a distinct discipline, which is based on certain principles developed through scientific methods.
The classical theory developed in three streams, namely:
(i) Scientific management
(ii) Administrative management
(iii) Bureaucratic management.
Scientific management implies the application of scientific methods of study and analysis to the problems of management. It may be regarded as a set of scientific techniques that are supposed to increase the efficiency of an enterprise. It refers to the application of scientific methods in decision-making for solving management problems. In other words, it is a logical approach towards the solution of management problems. It is an art of knowing exactly what is to be done and the best way of doing it. Here, all the organizational activities are performed by rationality and proper discipline.
Fredrick Winslow Taylor is the father of scientific management. Other spokesmen of scientific management are Henry L. Gantt, Frank Gilbreth, M. L. Cooke, Harrington Emerson, and Lillian Gilbreth. These pioneers investigated the effective use of human beings in industrial organizations.
Scientific management is based on the following principles:
a. Scientific study and analysis of each element of a job to replace the rule of thumb;
b. Development and use of scientific methods;
c. Scientific selection and training and development of employees;
d. Close cooperation between workers and management;
e. Reasonable remuneration to employees;
f. Standardization of raw materials, equipment, and working conditions;
g. Division of work and responsibility;
h. Maximum prosperity for both employers and employees;
i. Integration and coordination of various functions;
j. Mental revolution with respect to work efforts of employees and management.
Henry Fayol is regarded as the pioneer of ‘administrative theory of management’ and father of ‘principles of management’. This theory aims at analysing the process, identifying principles underlying in it, and building a theory of management for them. The administrative theory of management is concerned with the entire range of managerial performances. Fayol translated his long administrative experience into practical guidelines meant for the successful managers and conceptualized the essence of management.
Administrative approach has identified certain well defined functions of management. These functions of management are interrelated. It has developed certain principles of management that serve as guide to managers. These principles are fundamental truths that serve in improving management theory and practice. It regards management as a universal process regardless of the type of the enterprise.
According to this theory, administration of all organizations requires the same rational processes. In other words, major functions and basic principles of management have universal applicability. This approach believes that both knowledge and experience are essential for the success of managerial practice.
Henry Fayol presented fourteen principles of management as general guides to the management process, namely – (i) Division of work (ii) Authority and responsibility (iii) Discipline (iv) Unity of command, (v) Unity of direction (vi) Subordination of individual interest to general interest (vii) Fair remuneration to workers (viii) Effective centralization (ix) Scalar chain (x) Order (xi) Equity, (xii) Stability of tenure of workers (xiii) Initiative (xiv) Esprit de corps.
Max Weber is regarded as the founder of this approach to management. He believed that bureaucratic organization is an ideal organization to utilize all the resources effectively. He viewed bureaucracy as the most efficient form of organization because it aims at high degree of efficiency, objectivity, and rationality. Bureaucratic organization is the most rational means of carrying out proper control over human beings. This form of organization is very popular in government and military organizations.
Max Weber visualized such an ideal organization with its defined hierarchy, lines of authority, and regulating mechanisms. Elements of bureaucracy are found almost universally in modern organizations, particularly if they are large and complex. In bureaucracy, rules and procedures serve as guidelines for initiating various actions.
Bureaucracy provides an ordered hierarchy with special emphasis on specialization. It removes ambiguity because of the clear-cut written rules, regulations, procedures, etc. It provides proper records of actions and decisions for future reference. It makes an organization more democratic by reducing patronage and other privileged treatment.
The main characteristics of bureaucracy are – (i) Hierarchy of authority (ii) Rigid rules, regulations, and procedures of work (iii) Division of labour (iv) Professionalization and training (v) Legal authority and power (vi) Good interpersonal relationships (vii) Technical competence, etc.