Classical Organizational Theory Essay

692 words - 3 pages

Classical Organizational Theory
The purpose of this paper is to explore the Classical Organizational Theory by defining, listing contributors to the development, and presenting the applications of the theory in business management. Developed in the early 1900s to 1930, its emphasis is on the concepts of formal structure and technology. Organizations of that time were struggling to address issues of industrial management, including efficiency, specialization, quality, cost management, and managerial roles. The people working within were valued for their instrumental abilities and contributions. Organizations were designed as if they were machines (Morgan, 1980).
Classical Organizational Theory is a wide field that comprises of scientific management, bureaucratic theory, and administrative theory. It is mostly concerned with the structure and activities of an organization. Clear organizational hierarchy, the division of work and the extent of control are the priorities in the achievement of an effective organization (Cole, 2004).
Henri Fayol (1841-1925) and F.W. Taylor (1856-1915) are considered the two greatest contributors to the classical theories. Fayol focused on the administrative theory by developing the first comprehensive theory of management. He believed his theory was universally applicable to all types of organizations. He defined the five management functions: planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling. Fayol also provided the fourteen managerial principles in line with the major assumptions of classical organizational theory (Wren & Bedeian, 2009).
Fredrick Winslow Taylor focused on scientific management. By responding to the needs of the time, his concepts and theories were mainly concerned with the production level. He pioneered the development of the study of time and motion by calculating production and delivery time, breaking complex tasks into simple steps, and matching each worker to a specific task. Taylor believed in the close supervision of workers because the lack of productivity within an organization was linked to the lowest level of the organization. The division of labor leads to increased productivity and higher efficiency. Taylor viewed rewards and punishments as motivational tools. Employees feel appreciated when being rewarded and this approach motivates employees to reach production...

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