To what extent can the management of organization’s be treated as a science?
An organization refers to a tool that allows individuals to coordinate their actions for the purpose of achieving a desired outcome or create value (Argyris, 2017, pg. 13). Besides, organizations are crucial in assisting individuals achieve complex tasks more easily and effectively. However, to achieve dramatic and visible results, specific elements must be considered. They include; people, structure, outcome, processes, and the environment. The interrelation of these elements impacts how operations are conducted. Besides, organizations have various impacts since they influence societies, individuals, communities, economic growth and lastly social change. Organizations also shape the context of the performance of individuals and also the context in which people work. According to Kalleberg and Van Buren (1996), attainment/placement of individuals within social systems is one of the most essential outcomes for organizations. In an economy, when organization are growing, more opportunities arise. However, when there is a decline in organization growth, opportunities diminish.
Since organizations hold an essential outcome for both communities and individuals, organizations also serve the interest of the wider society (Argyris, 2017, pg. 43). These interests shape and structure an organization’s direction hence impacting the society in a more meaningful manner. However, the management of organizations determines how the organizations are able to manage pressure in the environment as well as access capital. The better the management of an organization, the more effective an organization can deliver to both the economy and the society at large. Besides, achievement of goals and objectives becomes more attainable since there is a clear strategy and direction of achieving the goals.
For example, in the marketplace, organizations are important in monitoring, regulating and managing the global marketplace. For example, the World Trade Organization and also the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade have been instrumental in supervising and overseeing global trade. In addition, trade flows have remained smooth, free and predicable hence ensuring both economic development and better relationships between different countries (Baldwin, 2016, pg. 102). These organizations have made it possible to establish multinational treaties that govern the global business system. The treaties have brought in better deals among different countries hence ensuring profitable of trade. This means without the organizations, trade would not be as effective as possible hence inefficiencies would be present.
Organizations are also important in managing the organizational environment. Since value creation involves the input, conversion and output of resources from an organization’s environment, managing the environment allows the betterment of the economic, political and economic factors. Attainment of economies of scale is possible since organizations are able to utilize underutilized resources effectively hence saving on costs (Charles, 2015). Lastly, organization also promote diversity, efficiency and innovation. The better an organization functions, the greater the value it can create. Therefore, by effectively utilizing a diverse workforce through incorporating differences in gender, race and national origin, a more effective workforce is developed that ensures better decisions making (Charles, 2015).
In organizations, management is a crucial element since its acts as the driving force in a business. Due to the high competition in modern business, the need for capable management is highly required. Through management, business activities are conducted effectively and objectives are met. Management is also considered a science since it is developed by systematized knowledge. Management has principles and laws that are considered universal and can be used in wide range of activities. Since management is not in the group of physical sciences such as chemistry, astronomy, physics and biology, most manages do not agree as to whether management is a science (iEduNote, 2018). Therefore, management falls in the group of social sciences. Organizations have a hard time in handling human behavior since they do not understand that it’s follows a science discipline. This is because it can be unpredictable since humans behave differently under identical situations. However, the study of scientific principles and foundations of management practice by organizations can improve an organization’s management skills.
Managers who discredit management science due to luck and intuition can suffer massively in case of new challenges in the workplace. Although management is more art than science, organizations should understand how to modify management principles in accordance to given circumstances. This will allow them be able to deal with organizational behavior much better hence allowing more results. Besides, organizations are able to understand how to structure organization objectives and goals in an effective manner. However, management is a continuous learning process and organization should understand how to incorporate new knowledge.
Scientific management refers to a theory of management that both synthesizes and analyzes workflows for the purpose increasing labor productivity and economic efficiency (Aitken, 2014, pg. 39). Scientific management arose out of an attempt of applying science to management and engineering processes. Scientific management is also known as Taylorism since it was founded by Fredrick Taylor. Taylorism is widely practiced since its crucial in the cooperation between managers and workers due to the aspect of teamwork. Fredrick Taylor is considered father of science management since it was during his experiments as an engineer when he formed the basis of scientific management. He employed scientific principles to identify and study management problems. In Taylor’s view, if a work was scientifically analyzed, it would be carried out in the best way possible (Aitken, 2014, pg. 41). Besides, application of the scientific method of management was crucial in improving productivity among workers. The scientific management methods try to optimize how tasks are performed by ensuring employees are trained in a specialized manner in order to perform tasks in a specified sequential motion. It was in Taylor’s interest to improve worker productivity since he observed gross inefficiencies among steel workers.
Scientific management gained traction among managers in between 1901 and 1915 when it was introduced to about two hundred American businesses primarily factories (Uddin and Hossain, 2015, pg. 581). In that time, the science management approach was adopted by the production managers of Henry Ford between 1908 and 1914. By adopting this approach, Ford’s modified methodology of Fordism was highly promoted internationally. However, between 1960 and 1970 during the technological advancement, labor management and mass production brought new challenges to the Taylorism model due to the inflexibility of worker management. This promoted lack of individual growth as well as lack of creativity.
Henry Ford brought together mass production and scientific management and the assembly line production was born. Due to the new management style, Ford Motor Company was able to produce more than fifteen million Model-T automobiles. The production output was expanded by combining Taylor’s scientific management, continuous-flow production and product design (Prenhall.com, 2018). Therefore, work was conveyed to the workers rather than the workers going after the work hence they no longer moved from place to another to carry out work procedures. In addition, the time taken to assemble the Model-T chassis was reduced tremendously by more than three hours by 1913 and by 1914, time taken to handling specific tasks was as low as one to two minutes. Since then many US firms emulated the assembly line process due to Ford’s success. For example, Westinghouse served other German electrical companies with the assembly line assembly.
Figure 1.1 Assembly line production Source: https://tharpress.com/what-is-fordism-tharpress/
Besides, due to the improved production system, more employment opportunities arose hence the living standards of the employees doubled. In addition, the work hours of the employees were reduced from nine hours to eight hours hence shifts could be implemented easily (Goss, 2018). Their wages were also doubled and Ford began paying his employees about five dollars a day. Due to Ford’s intuition and gamble on his employees, his workers were able to by the Model-T from their saved wages (Goss, 2018). About fifteen million of the Model-T automobiles were made in between 1908 and 1929. Today, the assembly line system is still used in the manufacture of food, automobiles, furniture and toys.
Figure 1.2: Meat processing Source: https://colegiobeth.wixsite.com/industrialrevolution/taylorism---Fordism
Modern management has evolved to solve issues with scientific management by addressing the aspect of human resources. Hawthorne studies has been crucial in improving on problems posed by scientific management. This study portrayed that workers productivity was high when observed. In addition, having considered their contribution by ensuring job security rather than setting a set of regulation for them ensured great productivity. According to the Hawthorne study, transparent sharing of information among employees in different levels is regarded more important than Taylor’s approach of scientific management (Uddin and Hossain, 2015, pg. 579). One example of the 21st modern management is the four dimensions of McDonalds operation. They include; efficiency of ensuring optimization, predictability of ensuring standard services in all locations, calculability of ensuring profit maximization and high control. Through MacDonald’s management, the organization is able to practice high control by using technologies. The managers ensure the employees are trained properly as well as carry out their tasks in a professional and instructional way.
In pointing out the contemporary importance of scientific management, Wagner Tsukamoto suggested different strategies of modern interaction that grouped individuals of different hierarchy and skill set in organizations (Uddin and Hossain, 2015, pg. 580). This was born out from “Taylorism” since this approach neglected the impact of human factor particularly on labor. Therefore, as management science has entered the modern era, its scope has been widened and more emphasis has been put on industrial psychology so as to overcome the limitations of scientific management. The modern management system puts more emphasis on recognizing contribution by eliminating discrimination among employees (Uddin and Hossain, 2015, pg. 580). Behavioral science is one of the aspects that introduced modern management into the advancement in technology hence the new generation employees are now interested to work if treated as a crucial part of an organization and also their contributions are evaluated.
Modern thinking has evolved although from the 1800’s to the 1900’s due to new theories that have come up. For example, before the introduction of the Taylorism management approach in 1911, people depended on traditional means to get work done. This was not effective and progress was not evident. Taking for instance, before Ford company employed the scientific management method in their production technique, production was very slow and to them it seemed it was the norm. Through modern thinking, Taylorism brought new management techniques that assured productivity at that time. Although management in the 1800’s was not as effective as it came to be in the 1900’s, little progress was experienced. New techniques by 1920, helped many companies increase productivity hence progress through the assembly line was major. Later after the discovery of inefficiencies in the theory, more theories have been brought forward due to modern thinking.
Management is an essential backbone in successful organizations. It is defined as a set of principles related to the planning, directing, controlling, organizing and application of such principles in the utilization of human, financial, and information resources effectively (Management Study, 2018). According to Kreitner, management can be defined as the problem-solving process that utilizes scarce resources effectively in an environment for the purpose of achieving organizational objectives. Management is an integral part of living and therefore, since its applied wherever human efforts are involved in achieving desired objectives. Management is defined in different categories such as a process, a science, a profession, an activity, a group, a discipline as well as an art.
The concept of management originates as far back as 5000BC when written records were used by the ancient Sumerians in assisting run government activities (Management Study, 2018). Besides, the building of pyramids in Egypt required management since the efforts of over a hundred thousand employees were incorporated in the building of the pyramid. Peter Drucker a management consultant, noted the importance of management to social living since he added that effective management was becoming a crucial resource for both developing and developed nations.
Fredrick Taylor, the father of science management, in his theory, science is management, influenced the style of operations for many organizations after publishing his theory in 1911. Industrial companies were able to carry out mass production including henry ford motor company as highlighted before. In his theory, Fredrick Taylor proposed four principles that formed the basis of scientific management. One, selecting, developing and training workers rather than leaving them to train themselves. Two, ensuring scientifically developed methods are adhered to effectively. Three, ensuring managers employ scientific management principles in performing tasks. Four, replacing the use of guess work with scientific study of tasks. The above principles were employed in factories hence prompting an increase productivity.
Scientific management principles improved productivity but also received a lot of criticism and praise from different authors. This is because Taylor methods were only based on scientific analysis hence treated human power as only entities hence raising a lot of question on the credibility of his theory (Uddin and Hossain, 2015, pg. 581). For example, Wagner Tsukamoto argued that Taylor’s definition of managers as naturally good and not self-interested was not clear since they were reluctant to workers feedback. In addition, Douglas McGregor argued Taylor’s theory by proposing a set of two assumptions that included theory X and Y. On one theory, he defined workers would perform well under instructions while on the other the workers were defined to work in a cooperative manner.
Other points of attack on scientific management involved different factors as follows; One, it was unsuitable for small employers. Due to introduction of managerial specialization, it was too costly for small employers to afford (Waring, 2016, pg. 64) Secondly, we have unemployment. When mechanical devices were introduced to replace manual labor, people lost jobs hence remaining unemployed. Thirdly, we have retarding human development. Since scientific management was aimed at efficiency, it took away the initiative from employees since they were reduced to the status of machines. Besides, the employees are deprived of their thinking function. In large industries that had large markets, scientific management was overtaken by the Fordist system. Since the Fordist’s system has its roots in scientific management, its continuous production of identical parts was made easier since the tasks could be manufactured repetitively by unskilled labor. Besides, after the development of scientific management in the United States, industrialists such as Renault and Michelin brothers got interested in Taylor’s ideas. Other European countries such as England, France, Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia were shaped by the scientific management approach of management.
The scientific management approach is very conservative in terms of culture since there is no space for creativity or innovation. Employees/staff have to follow a set of instructions in order to carry out a specific task hence specific results are expected. Although employees may receive a good pay, chances of employee development remain low since emphasis is on training the employees on a particular area. In addition, worker feedback is ignored hence employee have no voice in regards to their concerns. Cooperation is another aspect that the approach fails to recognize hence team work has no basis. Objectives at times may not be attained to completion since employees do not have the heart to cooperate fully (Skymark, 2018). This culture is leaned towards the management mostly and not the employees.
Organizations can be effective in minimizing conflicts, goal accomplishment and reduction of organization environment uncertainties. This means that organizations happen to be complex systems. In evaluating the effectiveness of organizations, different organization theories and perspectives can be used. To begin with, we have the modernist approach which is rooted in the early systems of thinking whereby uncertainty is the main element (Hatch & Cunliffe, 2006, pg. 76). In addition, the approach expresses organizations in measurable terms. However, organizations are composed of dependent variables meaning that organizations are only measured by what is observable. For example, a researcher is able to recognize or determine an organizational structure in case there is change in the firm’s environment.
Secondly, we have symbolic interpretive perspective. This organization perspective revolves around two views including the enacted environmental theory and also the institutional theory. The institutional theory is concerned with the structure of the organization while the environmental theory is all about actions taken by the management/agents in an organization in case of an event in the organizational environment (Shafritz, Ott, and Jang, 2015, pg. 79). Environmental agents are key in determining some characteristics of an organization. The institutional theory focusses on instilling value among individuals in an organization as well as developing interactions and relationships. In demonstrating an example of the enacted environmental theory, I was under pressure to bring in more of experts in my team’s discussion group so as to increase the scope of our understanding on a particular topic that was to be examined. This would allow us spread learning on different areas rather than focusing on one area.
Lastly, we have postmodern perspective which has no clear power base since an organization is characterized by being functionally and numerically flexible. In this approach, more emphasis is on the organization of production versus the production of organization. The postmodern approach presents the modernist approach as flawed since it can guide an actor’s outward behavior. The postmodernist approach does not recognize an organization hierarchy, integration or control. According to Hatch and Cunliffe (2006), organizations may be formed because of tensions between organization and disorganization. Other researchers suggest that organization or their environments may not suggestively exist they only appear in form of language. These perspectives provide researchers a great deal of information that assist in both evaluating and crating organizations (Daft, 2015, pg. 88).
The management of organization should be treated as science to some degree due to some reasons. One, management may include universally acceptable principles. These principals may be used in different situations hence bringing more productivity in an organization and direction. Secondly, management principles are dependent on experimental and observation. Management principles are based on logic since they are derived through research and investigation (Management study guide, 2018). Thirdly, management principles depend on predictability and test of validity. This means that management principles must be tested many times until they stand the test of time proving that they can be successful. Lastly, management principles establish a cause and effect relationship among different variables. For example, better pay may translate to increased performance while low wages may result to poor performance.
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