Major Criticisms At Classical Management Theorists Management Essay


The purpose of this essay is to explore and critically evaluate the historical and evolutionary prospective of management and organization theory and their practices that were presented by classical management theorist. Many academics in the business and management area prefer to emphasize on recent work ignoring the historical perspective. For example, it is not uncommon to hear history teachers saying that the only thing people learn from history is that the people will learn nothing from the history. However, there also disadvantages that arise from not exploring the past and considering how idea were develop over time and what were there draw backs. Each administration theory is a lens that permits us to understand one or other method of administration, to recognise a specific set of difficulties and to request a kind of answers to those problems. The study of management is a complex process and there are many different perspectives that could be adopted towards it. Yet, for all the research that has been under-taken in management we are no more able to practise it effectively than in years gone by As Mant (1979) said ” we do not , it seems to me require one penny more spent on fundamental research to the unknown, but to understand why are we so bad at putting to use what we already know” (p207 Quoted in Watson, 1994, P 11).

Prior to the twentieth century the management literature tended to be based around the writings of individuals who brought forward to the attention of wider audience their own perspectives For example Babbage (1832), a mathematician by training, attempted to offer the ideas on how to improve the efficiency of operational activity. One of the first teachers of management topics was one Andre Ure who taught in Glasgow in the earlier twentieth century (Wren 1987). However it was not until the beginning of twentieth century that the study of the management began to feature systematically as a major activity in its own right.

Just as with the study pf organization described earlier the study of management can be broken into two classification types. They are the mainstream perspectives and the critical perspectives (Alvesson and Willmott, 1996). Griffin (1993) identifies a number of what could be describe as the mainstream perspectives to management theory.

Design of Work

The work has been designed in accordance with question which says that are classical theorists and criticisms are levelled? This essay attempts to do just that – to reflect on where management and organizations theories originated from and by what routes they arrived at the present day practices that are taken for granted in managing. In doing so, it is also possible to give due recognition to some of the most considerable achievements from the past and the people who provided the tools and techniques in use today as well the criticisms about those theories are discussed simultaneously.

Technical Obligations

The major technical obligations in case of classical administration and classical scientific theories is that, these theories were suggested some 50-100 years ago so the current work and organisations conditions are changed as well technology has reduced the amount and efforts of employees So in today’s environment these theories have been restrained. Further, technological virtual world has changed the overall definition of management due to time constraints and other features of management. (Johnson et al 2008, p3) (BUT CAN ALSO IN THE CASE OF MACDONALDS APPLICATION OF SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT MAKE EMPLOYES WORK FASTER!!! .(answered below as well as mentioned soviet union and Newzeland who adopted this method)

Classical Management Theorists and its Criticisms

As we know that the seeds of scientific management were sown long before Taylor brought together several strands of thinking into a single methodology for applying scientific principles to the design and organization of work. The scientific approach the use of work study techniques to the systematic investigation of work and the subsequent matching of worker to the job requirements. The basis of this perspective had existed for many centuries in one form or another. For example there is evidence of the use of it to determine the length of time needed to undertake the task within factory operation well before Taylor. Currie (1963) indicates that a Frenchman (Perronet) was using it as early as 1760.

The approach of scientific management as developed by Taylor involved systematic identification of what each job involve in terms of the demands made on the individual worker, the design of appropriate tools and equipment, the selection and training of appropriate employees capable of doing the job, the encouragement of high productivity through the use of high incentive based wage structure and the use of appropriate management of work. Taylor began to apply his work which was routine and repetitive.

He furthermore supported the methodical teaching of employees in “the one most excellent exercise” other than permitting them individual carefulness in their responsibilities. He farther accepted that the load of work should be equally distributed between the employees and administration with administration accomplishing the research and direction and the employees accomplishing the work, each assembly managing “the job in which he keeps expertise. (De Wit B and Meyer 2004, p28) Taylor’s hardest affirmative inheritance was the notion of shattering a convoluted duty along into several sub-duties, and optimizing the presentation of the both chronicled and up to designated day, have indicated that Taylor’s ideas are inclined to “dehumanise” the employees. (Anthony 2008, p19) However, Taylor’s assumptions were powerfully leveraged by his communal/past time span throughout the Industrial Revolution; (1856-1917) it was a time span of tyrannical administration that glimpsed Taylor rotating to “science”(thus, his values of scientific administration) because an answer to the incompetence’s and unfairness of the time. (Johnson et al 2008, p26).

It was an approach not without critics and the strict applications of its tenets was not possible in many situations. Industrial unrest and management hostility both conspired to undermine the the basis of its potential contribution to what Taylor claimed was his intention the of a more harmonious employment environment in which manager and workers co operated in achieving mutual gain. However, press stories of the time suggested that high number of unemployment would follow the application of his ideas. A number of strikes were recorded following the application of scientific management principles. Taylor’s principal also calls for extreme specialization among workers which many managers think impractical and overly complex. Some critics also blame Taylor for borrowing the idea heavily from his associate (Morris L. Cooke) manuscript and that result of some of his experiments to be fiction rather than fact). So the method was eventually banned from the use in the American defence industry during World War 1. It was left to people who followed Taylor’s footstep to develop his ideas and approaches so that implementation could be achieved. Name such as Gantt and Gilberth are among the famous who developed aspects of his work. However Taylor ideas do find support from countries like Soviet Union as the country sought to develop the centralized approach to the mass production of goods and utility with little by way of skilled labour and still some New Zealand companies apply the Scientific Management principles in their business operations. McDonald’s is one of the key examples of

Read also  Management Essays - Programming Language

Scientific management and the world’s most well-known and valuable brands and holds a leading share in the globally branded quick service restaurant segment of the informal eating-out market in virtually every country and the leading global foodservice retailer with more than 30,000 local restaurants serving nearly 50 million people in more than 119 countries each day. It ought to be accepted that since a financial viewpoint, Taylorism was a farthest achievement. Function of his procedures acquiesce important developments in output as this theory was one of its kind. For demonstration, developments for example his spade work of steel at Bethlehem, that decreased the employees required to spade from 480 to 135. Hereafter, Taylor suggested four large inherent values of administration. (Anthony 2008, p47)

Primary, there is require to evolve a ‘skill of effort’ to restore vintage rule for guidance processes: yield and other pays connected to accomplishment of ‘best possible targets’ – assesses of work presentation and productivity; malfunction to accomplish these will in compare outcome in decrease of incomes. (Johnson et al 2008, p26)

But Taylor’s conservatism, his contempt of employees unions and what he glimpsed as sloth amidst employees, and his apparently idealistic seek for excellence in the most very small minutia are often cited as clues of his own sentiments of insufficiency, and his values are advised an try to enforce alignment while he may perhaps in the unstable starting years of the 20th century. However, technical administration infused twentieth-century humanity as it escorted in a time span of mass output and industrialization before unseen; Taylorism’s broad consequences were even mocked in the Charlie Chaplin movie Modern Times. Taylorism extends to leverage up current work, as administration ideas fixed in Taylor’s concepts continue.

As Taylor scientific approach was failing to get a foot hold in industrial nation there was a new theory developing in the mind of French industrialist Henry Fayol. As compared to Taylor’s experience of management from lower level, Fayol had experienced it from top ranks being the General Manager of General Motors understood pretty quickly that management is one subject that still needs to be define and it cannot be done through his knowledge in engineering so he decided to explore management and came up with his own theory. Henri Fayol’s ideas of management unite in a nice way into the bureaucratic super-composition recounted by Weber. Henri Fayol centres on the individual obligations of administration at a very much small grade than Weber focused. (Florman, S. 1996, p1-26) . Fayol’s monograph, General and industrial management falls into two parts-the first he began to develop a theory of management, and the second enters into a discussion on managerial training. He began his studies by analysing the activities which are required in industrial undertaking and pointing out their comparative importance at different level.

Fayol observed the mission of command is to set the business going and to get the optimum result from all the employees. He pointed out that the art of command is dependent upon the knowledge of principals of general management as upon the personal qualities of manager who should know eight things.

Fayol accepted that administration had five standard functions: to outlook and design, to coordinate, to order, to organize and to direct. Predicting and designing was the proceed of expecting the future and portraying as a result. Association was the progress of the institution’s assets, both matter and human. Directing was holding the institution’s activities and methods operation. (De Wit B and Meyer 2004, p39) Organization was the arrangement and coordination of the assembly’s endeavours. At last, command intended that the overhead undertakings were presented in agreement with befitting directions and processes. Fayol evolved fourteen values of management to proceed together with management’s five prime functions. (De Wit B and Meyer 2004, p35).

(Own words my own understanding)

Despite of Fayol theory being more popular and acceptable to industrial nations the theory was heavily criticized on the accounts of its vagueness. Fayol theory was not based on scientific and analytical study facts and observation and some of the concept were very vague and does not give a proper solution to the important aspect of division of work and his fourteen principal’s were not clearly define as which one of them should be given preference over another as few of them were not compatible with other for example unity of command does not go with division of work. Where’ as Fayol also avoided the human issue in his theory and treated humans as biological machines or instruments in the work process.). Fayol apparently accepted individual attempt and group dynamics were component of an “ideal” association. Fayol was a thriving excavation technician and older boss former to announcing his values of “administrative science.” (Johnson et al 2008, p26) This is not obvious from the publications reconsidered if Fayol’s philosophy was impetuous or leveraged by Taylor’s. Fayol was not mainly a theorist, but somewhat a thriving older supervisor who searched to convey alignment to his individual understandings. (Stoner 1996, p42-47). Fayol’s following theory was count under the head of administrative management in which few theorists like Webber and Barnard would be consider under the same head. The other major title used in this area is classical management, reflecting the view of what has been described as a traditional perspective on organizational functioning. In combining the idea of the three writers just indicated, there is no attempt to suggest that they collaborated or that they were even aware if each other’s work. The justification for grouping them together is that the ideas that they were discussing offer a broadly similar perspective on aspects of organizational activity but they were separated by time, language and location. Weber’s idea on bureaucracy was developed at a time when size and complexity of organization were increasing rapidly and there was no computer-based technology to assist with the routine processing of administration work. Fayol identified functions such as planning, organizing, and processing of administrative work. He also indicated 14 principles of management which applied in very common sense manner could be beneficial to the managing activities.

Read also  A Marketing Report on British Airways

Like Taylor, Fayol and many of his predecessors Bernard was practising manager and his contribution to management and organizational thinking was to describe organization in terms of co operative system. In these views he was hinting at much of what was to follow in the human relations movement in which the people aspects of the organizations feature more strongly. It is also an early recognition of the system view of organizational thinking in which the integrated nature of many aspects of organizations and environment are postulated to form an integrated interactive and mutually dependant framework.

(Own words my own understanding)

Whereas most of the earlier twentieth century was promoted by engineers who were trying to extend the boundaries of their profession by trading in general rise of interest in management by the industrial nation. Therefore, the most of the work done by above mentioned theorists were alike and did not bring anything new to the table. One of the major criticisms faced by the these theories were that they gave little control to the employees on their working lives, made them too dependent, passive and made employees working conditions conducive to psychological failure. In short, people were treated like infants rather than competent human being. Another flaw in classical managerial theory is that a person cannot detach himself from his personal life while at work (Thompson, P. and McHugh, D. 2002).But despite of the considerable amount of efforts put in by classical theorist they kept on ignoring men personal life which highly affected his work mood and attitude. They treat people as biological machines which lowered their motivation and hence their production capacity.

Plus there were general unrest among the workers and managers that followed from the direct attempt to control worker activities. It is hardly surprising, therefore to find a reaction and a countertrend emerging. This develope with the human relations approach to understanding behaviour within organization. The Hawthorne studies are widely claimed to be the forerunner of the human relations movement. This is where Elton Mayo examined the impact of worked conditions in employee productivity. He was involved in large scale studies at western electric company Hawthorne and recognised that an exclusive focus o technical competence had resulted in social incompetence: mangers were not taught how to manage people. These studies were firmly set in the context of scientific management in that they began experiment into the effect of lighting on work out put. However it become rapidly apparent that workers attitude and group relationships were of greater importance in determining the levels of production achieved than the lighting itself.

An important element in the Hawthorne studies was the investigation of the dynamics of work groups. The group was very effective in enforcing its behavioural norms in such matters as ‘freezing out’ unpopular supervisors and restricting output. It was concluded that people are motivated at work by a variety of psychological needs, including social or ‘belonging’ needs. This became basis of the human relations school of management theory.

The Hawthorne work trials displayed no obvious association between lightweight grades and output the trials then began observing other aspects investigating with an assembly of women, the investigators made several alterations, relax gap, no relax gap, free repasts, no free repasts, extra time in the daily-work / weekly-work, less hours in the routine work. (Florman, S. 1996, p26) Their output went positive at every alteration. At last the women were placed again to their initial daily job and situation, and they set output evidence. (Johnson et al 2008, p54)

It was obvious from these outcomes that the assembly aspects and communal comprise of an association were an exceedingly significant power either for or contrary to top efficiency. This initiated the need larger contributions for the employees, larger believe and openness in the employed natural environment and a larger vigilance to groups and assemblies in the place of work. (Vaara et al 2004, p1-36). But Hawthorne studies was mostly based on illumination studies however that empirical information about the illumination technique was very limited and cannot draw clear conclusions to the problem. Some accounts of the Hawthorne also suggested that the industrial was oblivious to the possibility that such Human Factors could affect the work performance of employees before them. Mayo completely ignored the fact that other than human factors natural and environmental factors which are beyond human variables like incentive system or illumination could affect the performance. However recent studies shows that if provided good environmental and suitable natural factor employees production will increase for example people will perform better in pleasant atmosphere rather than hot and humid climate.

Whereas Taylor’s influences were the organization of the developed technology, value command and staff agencies, the human relations movement’s utmost influence came in what the associations’ authority and staff department were performing. (De Wit B and Meyer 2004, p14) The apparently new notions of assembly aspects, group work and managerial systems, these arise from Mayo’s study.

Though Taylor did not contrast employees with appliances, a few of his critics use this image to interpret how his set about makes work more effective by eliminating pointless or trashed effort. Nevertheless, some will state that this set about disregards the difficulties presented since employees are inevitably human: individual desires, interpersonal adversities and the very genuine adversities presented by producing occupations so effective that employees contain no time to rest. As an outcome, employees worked harder, however became displeased with the job atmosphere. Some have contended that this reduction of employee qualities directed to the increase of work unions.

Read also  Employee relations is a common factor

According to the previous writings of Fayol, McGregor analyzed the rudimentary suppositions regarding human activities. Fayol and likely Taylor presumed that workers required be administering and managing as:

Individuals have a natural abhorrence of labour, and as such should be persuaded, forced, administered, endangered and even penalized if business goals are to be got.

In numerous examples persons favour to be administered, desire to bypass blame, and favour safety other than persuading aspiration. (Balogun and Johnson 2004, p523-49)

The cornerstone of Theory Y is that discovered job was an ordinary task. Under This Theory:

Does not despise labour.

He may be inspired on his personal plan.

He would struggle for Maslow’s self-actualisation. Townsend contends that because the former two are no more major inspirer, it is this one which is very much significant.

There is a little assistance for this Theory. Suppose, as Likert appears to propose, the correct situation may be evolved for workers to perform and persuade their individual aspirations inside their job, then greater degree of inspiration and efficiency may be attained. (Balogun and Johnson 2004, p523-49)

Briefly, Theory Y is regarding conceiving conditions in which persons would inspire themselves. Though, the discerning scholar must note mindfully the exercise of the dependent tense. (Stoner 1996, p42-47) The well-known Vauxhall work verified that functioning will manage what was needed, they consigned the efficiency, however persuaded all their aspirations out-of-doors the place. It was achievement with a complaint. Townsend describes a thriving Theory Y procedure where persons relish their job and would arrive also at weekends since they relish it and understand they are valued. (Stoner 1996, p42-47)

It should be believed mindfully regarding the next points: Charles Handy extracts one of numerous inspiration investigations where persons will stay at job albeit they acquire sufficient riches not to should job. (Yanarella & Reid 1996, p181-219) Assistance for the Theory Y supposition; People require to hold used by and relish the communal contact; Townsend habitually job with professional workers, the Vauxhall work was regarding shop floor functioning – regulation of possibility, Theory Y might have larger significance beside from the customary shop floor; The rudimentary western socio-economic natural environment common at the point of the suppositions;

But theory Y may be hard to utilize where there are a large number of employees, but can be utilized on the departmental/divisional managers of an organization. This theory also effects the management of promotions, salaries, and development of effective managers.

However the aim of managers utilising Theory X administration methods was to complete organizational targets through the association’s human resources. McGregor’s study proposed that when labour was better connected with human desires and motivations, worker productivity will enhance. As an outcome, a number of critics have proposed that, other than anxiety for workers, Theory Y method managers were easily committed in a seductive pattern a manipulation.

Whilst managers better agreed work jobs to rudimentary human motivational desires by participative administration, job alternation, job extension, and other agenda’s that appeared at smallest partially from McGregor’s study, managers were yet considering on assesses of productivity other than assesses of worker welfare. Fundamentally, critics ascribe that Theory Y is a superior design for inducing expanded productivity from workers, and except workers share in the financial advantages of their expanded productivity, after that they have easily been deceived into employed harder for the identical compensate. Nowadays McGregor’s theory is seen as outdated, representing two extremes.

Theory X is perhaps visible in low paid or menial work but employees in those situations will move on in search of positions with Theory Y conditions if they are motivated.

Personal development, management training and even general perceptions of behaviour are against a Theory X outlook towards work.

Theory Y may be hard to utilize where there are a large number of employees, but can be utilized on the departmental/divisional managers of an organization. This theory also effects the management of promotions, salaries, and development of effective managers.

Some of McGregor’s theories are unrealizable in practice, but the basic assumption can be adhered to, and put into operation.


In this essay I have tried to explore and critically evaluate the theories of classical management theorist. It was also the motive of this essay to introduce the notion that many so called ideas and problems that sub-due the need of another theory was a systematic and chain process which plays a pivotal role in the evolution of management theories.

After reading and going through many books and thorough research on its subject matter I have come to understanding that management is an emerging science and art that deals with complex situations and humans minds. Many of the theories mentioned in this essay is widely used and accepted in even modern times especially in business establishment but all of them may be suited to one organizational structure and can be disastrous to another organization.

According to my understanding there are many ways to conduct managerial activities but they varies from time to time and place to place a particular theory may yield a fruitful result in an organize structure and can be harmful in another.

In some cases where extreme assembly line chain process is required and standardize good like blue jeans has to be made centralize command can be best suited to the situation as provided by Taylorism. Whereas in organizations where team work, research and new idea has to be develop Elton Mayo theory of Humanistic approach which allows involvement of employees to keep them motivated works best.

So the general conclusion therefore seems to be that management is a concept that may be intuitively attractive in explanatory term and offer some opportunity to the managers to enhance the productivity and meaning of work for individuals. However it is not possible to offer a definitive solution as people mind-set, norms, market trend, labor and etc differs from place to place and time to time.

There are many theories like Administrative, social and psychological that managers could use but in order to achieve best result and achieve optimum out of situation they have to be aware of the situation and its demand and then only he will be able to choose the best line of action or theory he should comply with.

Order Now

Type of Paper
Number of Pages
(275 words)