Theoretical concepts are essential to assess because they give pertinent information on topics such as leadership, change management, and motivation within organizational settings. These theories have been applied in various circumstances such as in managing organizations and assisting individuals and groups to achieve organizational goals amidst potential challenges. These four theoretical concepts are as follows: Frederick Winslow Taylor’s “Scientific Management”, Max Weber’s “Bureaucracy and Organizational Structure”, Henri Fayol’s “Administrative Theory”, and Herbert Simon’s “Administrative Behavior”.
Taylor’s Scientific Management emphasizes the importance of production efficiency and how it can be viewed as a science. He believes that productivity can be controlled by actively training and managing these employees (Schermerhorn 2011). The bottom-up approach is relevant in this theory especially since it emphasizes the idea that regular employees can rise through the use of systematic training and planning. It became relevant in various historical situations such as what happened in the Ford Motor Company wherein workers were motivated to become more productive and efficient by assigning specific tasks that can aid in mass production. However, this approach was criticized because of its dehumanizing effect on workers.
Another important theoretical concept is Weber’s Bureaucracy and Organizational Structure which stresses the importance of establishing clear rules and roles within organizations. This essentially means that power is seen as an essential force because it allows individuals to follow certain regulations. These organized hierarchies are viewed by Weber as part of the formula to maximize the efficiency of organizations. Different features of the bureaucratic structure are also emphasized in this theory such as the division of labor in doing jobs and impersonality which is believed to be significant in minimizing favoritism.
On the other hand, Fayol’s Administrative Theory is also equally important as the other aforementioned theoretical concepts because of its focus on worker efficiency. Fayol argued that it is essential to focus on and improve managerial efficiency because it directly affects the state of each worker within an organization. In relation to this perspective, Fayol emphasizes different functions of management such as leading, panning, and organizing. Organizational management is essential according to this theory and management should focus on how it should interact with its employees.
Finally, Hebert Simon’s Administrative Behavior suggests the underlying issues within the Administrative theory by saying that the rational model is nonexistent. It emphasizes the role of decision-making in administration especially the ones that are made when entering and leaving organizations, as well as during the process of participating in it. This theoretical concept stresses how the individual decisions of the people within an organization affects the whole.
From these four theoretical concepts, I feel that Taylor’s Scientific Management can be considered as the most influential one from both historical and managerial perspectives. Through the years, this theoretical concept has actively guided leaders of an organization to achieve better teamwork through the focus on cooperation between managers and workers. According to Schermerhorn (2011), “one of the most enduring legacies of the scientific management approach grew out of Taylor’s principle and involves motion study, the science of reducing a job or task to its basic physical motions (p. 31).” As a matter of fact, different variations and theories influenced by the basic propositions of scientific management have been applied by companies. Kessler (2013) argues that “in the further course of the 20th century, managers in many countries have drawn on some of Taylor’s proposals and his suggestions on work standardization to reorganize organization structures (p. 680).” Some successful modern companies like Google utilized some of the basic arguments made by Taylor such as the importance of treating management as a scientific issue, as well as the relevance of increasing productivity and output to the whole organization. Another modern example is the process of determining the amount of time needed by workers to accomplish a specific time and consequently decreasing the potential waste of time during this process. Taylor’s Scientific Management also paved the way for managers to ensure the application of the most efficient ways of working while training their employees.
All of the aforementioned theoretical concepts proved to be especially helpful in the development of effective managerial actions. These concepts are also responsible for the development of current organizational theories. For instance, Naidu (2005) claims that “Taylor’s views on scientific management were later carried forward and developed by the time-and-motion study experts Frank and Lillian Gilbreth and other industrial engineers (p. 75).” Scientific management became significant in the development of relevant statistical methods and the fields of operations management and research. While Weber’s concept was also developed with an understanding of the Industrial Revolution, it became considered as essential for modern public administration. Fayol’s Administrative Theory was also developed into modern organizational theories, especially his views about the principles of management and its human and behavioral factors. The U.S. military, for instance, utilizes a variation of Fayolism in its organizational structure. Finally, Simon’s Administrative Behavior became highly influential because of its more realistic approach to economic modeling.
Kessler, E. H. (2013). Encyclopedia of Management Theory. NY: SAGE Publications.
Naidu, S. P. (2005). Public Administration: Concepts and Theories. NY: New Age International. Schermerhorn, J. R. (2011). Introduction to Management. NY: John Wiley & Sons.