Let’s begin by knowing what management and organisation actually mean in this context. According to (Stoner ; Others, 1996), “Management is the process of planning, organizing, leading and controlling the efforts of organizational members and using all other organizational resources to achieve stated goals”. Here Stoner believes that management is a well-organized way of doing things.
In the modern setting management is looked at as making use of organisational resources by employees to achieve organisational objectives in a changing environment (Kreitner, 1999).
An organization on the other hand is an association of persons or people “with a common purpose and objectives to achieve under authority and leadership” (Onwuchekwa, 1993). Ile in Management and Organizational Theory and Practice (Ile, 1999) defined organisation as “the structure of the relationships, powers, objectives, roles, activities, communications and other factors that exist when people work together”.
Classical thinkers in the 19th century tried to sell the need for managers to find a solution that would deliver positive and sustainable results in an efficient manner. By doing so, they defined roles of a manager, much as their principles were greatly affected by technology, they key essential principles remains intact. Today’s management is still much about planning, organizing, controlling and influencing just as it used to be 100 years ago.
The three(3) classical theories; Scientific management, Administrative theory and the Theory of Bureaucracy were set on similar beliefs in that their effects are basically the same.
? The scientific theory of management was developed by Fredrick Winslow Taylor in between 1856 and 1915.
? The Administrative management theory was founded by Henri Fayol from 1841 to 1925.
? Lastly the Bureaucratic theory by Max Weber was around 1864 and 1920.
The magnitude of relevance the classical management theories may enjoy in modern organisations will depend entirely on the component in question. The application of the three theories varies from one to another.
In this easy, the discussion is geared towards the research consultancy firm called Forcier consulting, Juba office where I work. This company was form as a result of the overwhelming demand for research, data and information in some parts of Africa facing challenges. We have offices in South Sudan, Sudan, DRC, USA, Egypt, Somalia Mozambique and Middle East. Forcier makes long investment in grooming up national staff through capacity building and produce high quality research using these local staff as consultants and researchers in most the challenging African environment. It is in this background that the application of the various classical theories of management is discussed.
It was believed by the likes of Henry L Gant in between 1861 to 1919 that the only way to improve productivity was to increase workers efficiency.
Mitcham in “Management” (Mitcham, 2005) noted that “Scientific management is a theory of management that analyses and synthesizes workflows, with the objective of improving labour productivity”.
Taylor believes that rules of thumb and decision based on tradition should be replaced by procedures reached to after careful study employees at work.
His principle commonly known as Taylor’s Principle and scientific management comprised of four principles;
1. Replace rule-of-thumb work methods with methods based on a scientific study of the tasks.
2. Scientifically select, train, and develop each employee rather than passively leaving them to train themselves.
3. Provide detailed instruction and supervision of each worker in the performance of that worker’s discrete task.
4. Divide work nearly equally between managers and workers, so that the managers apply scientific management principles to planning the work and the workers actually perform the tasks (Taylor, 1911) as cited by (Nhema, 2015).
The research organisation I work for today employs Scientific Management in that there is a change in decision making from employees to managers, there is a standard procedure developed for job performance, Forcier selects workers based on their abilities for each job, there is training provided to guide the standard procedures, help in planning work for workers and avoiding interruptions during project execution and provide wages to the workers as appreciation for the increased productivity. However, these incentives though given to Forcier staff have been looked at as not helpful because it’s inadequate and staff believe that they are being over exploited for less pay hence what was meant for appreciation is now seen as something mandatory by the workers.
In line with Taylor’s principle of developing standard method, in my organisation before undertaking a project, we design an inception report (IR) that entail the methodology and procedures of executing the project. This inception report is shared with clients for approval before the final phase of contract signing. In Forcier, the IR acts a project handbook.
To ensure the best person is chosen to perform tasks for example in relation to data collection, people with enumeration or prior data collection experiences are selected to and provided training on how to collect data from the field. This training is both project based and generation research principles and procedures that will enable them administer data collection during project evaluation. This is just in line with Taylor’s teaching, he suggest employees be recruited based on their education, abilities and skills that matches the job requirements. Taylor believes upon hiring the correct candidate, training is to be given to the employees to help them carry out their duty to the highest level possible.
Taylor noted that “by analysing every basic movement involved and timing each action in various different ways, you would soon find the quickest and easiest method”. The time “Time study” method is important in helping my organisation increase productivity by removing inefficient and outdated traditional ways of data collection. Forcier currently uses digital data collection platform instead of the traditional paper questionnaire version. All questionnaires are scripted and deployed in mobile devices for easy data collection and automated data entry. By doing all this, we save a lot of time administering a project and going to the next, hence improved productivity. However, giving break time only once in a day from 1:00 PM to 2:00PM seems inappropriate and not enough.
Taylor came up with the “Exception Principle”, this principle is to be used as a quality control measure on performance of employees. The exception principle works by setting standards of performance expected out of employees as a threshold, this helps identify exceptional cases within an organisation. In my organisation, performance of staff is monitored every after 3 months. Staff who failed to meet the threshold are identified then efforts is put to improve their work in relation to their quality in what is known as capacity building. As part of the exception principle, we at the management level identify and appreciate employees who outperformed the set standard. Taylor recommends that any increase in productivity of an employee should be rewarded financially too to encourage them (employees) to work harder. This Exception principle in my organisation lately is applied only for the international staff in the organisation who receive salary increments and acknowledgement whereas the local stuff feel left out and not appreciated.
Let’s turn around and look at Gantt who operated in between 1861 – 1919, a colleague of Taylor who had some similar approaches to Taylor’s.
According to Gantt, “it is the obligation of the management to provide proper training to its staff”. He pointed out that well defined goals and tasks would motivate employees to better perform their job. He designed a chart commonly known as Gantt chart for measuring the performance of projects in an organisation. Forcier (where I work) uses this to track project progress and estimated time of delivery. Thus chart gives a quick overview of a project progress in relation to the specified timeframe and targets. Yes the Gantt chart has been so effective but training of staff is something that still leaves a lot to be desired, in some cases project staff are undertrained before going to the field for data collection.
A Project Evaluation Review Technique (P.E.R.T) analysis is another project control method that we use in our organisation which was derived from Gantts bar chart. P.E.R.T offers possible outcomes of how each task will be undertaken and gives project managers information that enables them prepare for all contingencies in a project cycle.
From the above discussion it is clear that the relevance of the scientific management fails in some cases to account for certain basic difficulties, for instance it ignores individual differences yet the most efficient way of working varies from person to person.
This theory was developed by Henri Fayol in between 1841 and 1925. In his administrative theory, Fayol focused on authority and how it can be implemented in a work place. According to Fayol, there are five functions of management (Fayol, 1949) “Plan, Organise, Command, Co-ordinate and Control”. As part of his administrative management, Fayol developed 14 principles of management that he saw as common to all organisations, one of which was “the stability of tenure”. These fourteen principles were “Division of labour, Authority, Unity of command, Unity of direction, Equity, Discipline, Order, Scalar chain of command, Stability of tenure, Remuneration, Centralization, Initiative, Subordination of individual interests to the common good and Morale” (Gulick ; Urwick, 1937)
To begin with, Fayol in his principles recognises the importance of low staff turnover to organisation’s effectiveness. In my organisation, management works hard to ensure staff retention strategies are in place but also acknowledges the need to bring fresh ideas and approaches from new staff to balance experienced workers with the enthusiastic new employees .To achieve this, we had MoU with Catholic University of Juba, we provided guest lectures to the final year students with the motive of having them do their internship with us.
One of the 14 principles evidenced in Forcier is that of the “initiative”. Fayol believes that employees should be allowed to make use of their ideas and should be encouraged to feel free to perform their task in ways they see best fits. This brings about a conducive work environment where employees feel their ideas are worthy and are considered in the organisational business plan. In my organisation we have monthly general meeting, in which employees are asked to put forward their own ideas and suggest way forward for the firm. However, lately these meetings are no longer taking place, the top managers believe that the local staff always complain in these meetings and do not provide tangible contribution.
Having said all the above, there is certainly an acknowledgment of Fayol’s principle of the needs of the employees as described above, the need for proper remuneration; equity; stability of tenure; initiative and team spirit being recognised as important coming from a ‘top down’ direction (Cole ; Kelly, 2011).
In his principle of “division of labour”, Fayol believed that assigning employees to specific tasks helps them specialize in their area of duty. In Forcier, we are grouped in to departments and in the departments we are allocated to specific areas, we have data collectors, data cleaners and data analysts in the research department, people who do the same nature of job for long becomes experts in it.
Fayol’s theory faced criticism in recent years in that employees are now included more in decision making processes opposed to the centralised decision making as he suggests. This therefore can make one to argue yes there are certain aspects of Fayol’s work that are less applicable in some modern organisation (McGrath ; Bates, 2013).
I do agree that Fayol’s 14 principles are usable management theory that can be given to organisations and managers as a foundation to building an efficient management.
Theory of Bureaucracy
This theory was developed by Max Weber in between 1864 to 1920, according to him organisation should follow the principle of hierarchy where lower offices are controlled by the higher one. Stoner and Gilbert noted “organisations must strictly define its hierarchy, governed by clearly defined regulations and lines of authority” (Stoner, Freeman, & Gilbert, 1992).
Weber not like Taylor and Fayol focused on administrative structure and provided several characteristics but six of them deserves special attention (Weber, 1947):
One of it is the “Hierarchy of authority”: he believed that decision making is to be pre-structured where decisions of different types being made at various levels of organisation. In the organisation I work, each lower office is under the control and supervision of a higher one, the higher offices are in the US that the Juba office reports to and within Juba we have various levels of decision making offices. With officials in an administrative hierarchy being accountable to the superior for his or her subordinates.
Division of labour: Max believed that clear division makes it easy to employ experts in a particular job or position. Being a research firm, not everybody manages him or herself, somebody has to take care of administration, while others do the technical research work and thus there is a division of work between workers and administrators. One of the tasks of administration in my organisation is to take care of all government related approvals and logistics while the technical team deals with data management.
Impersonality: Max believed that reasonable standard should be set to govern operations in an organisation without interference resulting from personal considerations. In Forcier the exclusion of personal considerations from official business is a prerequisite for impartiality as well as efficiency.
Technical qualification: Weber believed that recruitment and promotions should be made based on technical competence of the employee. In Forcier, for an employee to get a permanent contract as a researcher, they would have proven beyond doubt that they are capable. Contracts lengths varies from an employee to the other based on their competence and seniority. Promotions are as well given to people after technical performance evaluation.
Procedural Specifications: we have defined rules and regulations that we follow, this rules includes dos and do not dos in the organisation. As a research firm, confidentiality is a key in my organisation and to ensure this, there’s need to have a well-defined rule signed by employees as part of the service contract with the firm.
“Continuity”: he stated that employees are to pursue career in the organisation that employed them. Forcier consists of fulltime salaried employees who enjoys career development and those project based staff who as well have higher change of becoming permanent staff in future with trainings offered to them. However, sometimes staff are laid off without proper reason given to them, this therefore violates the principle of continuity.
The classical thinkers came out with various valuable contribution to the theories of management and its practices. However the theories of the classical thinkers did not achieve much result in the early developing twentieth century that made many valuable contributions to the theories and practices of management.
Based on the foregoing, we therefore conclude based on the current performance of modern Organisations, more needs to be done in the way the classical management theories are applied. Workers need to be motivated in their job by working in a conducive environment. A working environment is considered conducive today when human resources development is put in place. Employees has to feel part of management by asking them to provide ideas in the planning process.