A.H. Maslow, A Theory of Human Motivation, 1943
Thesis: In this article, Maslow discusses in depth about the basic concepts of motivation that a human mind may be subjected to and how this motivation can further affect an individual’s performance in any number of day to day activities. Maslow also discusses the use of motivation to bring out the desired performance of an individual in the administrative perspective.
“The integrated wholeness of the organism must be one of the foundation stones of the motivation theory.”(Page 114)
“The person who thinks he is hungry may actually be seeking more for comfort, or dependence, than for vitamins or proteins. Conversely, it is possible to satisfy hunger need in part by other activities such as drinking water or smoking cigarettes. In other words, relatively isolable as these physiological needs are, they are not completely so.” (Page 115)
“One reason for the clearer appearance of the threat or danger reaction in infants is that they do not inhibit this reaction at all, whereas adults in our society have been taught to inhibit it at all costs”(Page 117)
“The clear emergence of these needs rest upon prior satisfaction of the physiological, safety, love and esteem needs. We shall call people who are satisfied in these needs, basically satisfied people, and it is from these that we may expect the fullest (and healthiest) creativeness.” (Page 120)
This article tries to convey to its reader the basic concept of motivation and how it can be instilled in a person to bring out his or her creativity. The article emphasizes on the satisfaction of needs for the beginning of motivation.
This article is a good read to develop an understanding of how a motivated state can be achieved and impressed upon others too. It is fairly simple in language and filled with comprehendible examples.
Douglas Murray McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise, 1957
Thesis: This article is a study of the social sciences as they apply to the industry. The text is written in a time when researchers are struggling to develop the understanding of social sciences in the industrial sense, and the author urges the organizations to understand and implement this vast knowledge to employ fruitful human effort.
“The methods of directing behavior involve coercion and threat (usually disguised), close supervision, tight controls over behavior. At the other extreme, management can be “soft” or “weak”. The methods for directing behavior involve being permissive, satisfying people’s demands, achieving harmony.” (Page 153)
“The social scientist does not deny that human behavior in industrial organization today is approximately what management perceives it to be. He had, in fact, observed it and studied it fairly extensively. But he is pretty sure that this behavior is not a consequence of man’s inherent nature” (Page 154)
“The man whose lower-level needs are satisfied is not motivated to satisfy those needs any longer. For a practical purpose they exist no longer.” (Page 155)
The article discusses about the different kinds of motivations and how they can be brought about through the thorough understanding of social sciences. The article also sheds light on why applying social sciences may be difficult and the measures that can be taken for its application.
The article is very informative and provides information in comparison with the situation in 1940’s when atomic power was the latest innovation. However, the theory holds true in many cases still and should be used to develop a better organizational culture.
Samuel Krislov, Representative Bureaucracy, 1974
Thesis: Krislov in this article discusses about public policies, quotas, compensatory justice and remedial steps for issues regarding these. The article is a brief discussion of the emergence of representative bureaucracy in America and how lines of division like race, ethnicity and sex are relevant with such an emergence.
“The issues of equality, merit, and reward are at the heart of current ideological conflict.” (Page 328)
“Part of the obfuscation has been the insistence of partisans that the issue can be clearly drawn on matters such as the above” (Page 328)
“The perennial TV plot involving the extra-operating room activity of the doctor who offends the clinic patron-usually by political or romantic activity-illustrates another set of problems complicating the supposedly simple job analysis” (Page 329)
“How we solve the problem of Black participation in power and Black sharing status and goods in American society will have a great effect on our self-image as well as on the image we project abroad.” (Page 329)
The article is a thorough discussion of the American bureaucracy from its requirement, to emergence and its impact. The representative bureaucracy offered a different line of division than class; it was based more on race, ethnicity and sex.
Krislov writes a very direct and generalized account of Representative bureaucracy, its set up and expanse. The article is informative with vivid examples and its points a strike a note where the reader can connect to the thoughts of the author directly.
Frederick C. Mosher, Democracy and the Public Service: The Collective Services, 1968
Thesis: The author discusses issues related to the development of unionization and collective bargaining in state and local governments. The author directly addresses the topic of how union has been affected in federal sector.
“In some organizations the unions came to exercise great influence on employment practices.” (Page 431)
“If the union membership was equivalent to that in the private sector, the acceptance of collective bargaining was not.”(Page 432)
“Every President after Kennedy, at least to the close of 1970, took or tried to take some action with regard to collective bargaining in the federal, and most of the changes were in the direction of increasing the voice and influence of organized labor”(Page 433)
“In the social sphere it often takes theory and principle along time to catch up with practice and ‘common sense’.” (Page 435)
“The push of public employee organizations as they grow stronger will be towards exercising greater influence over personnel activities heretofore considered nonnegotiable and un retained within the unilateral prerogatives of civil service commissions and other public personnel agencies” (Page 437)
The article is a discussion of formation of union and collective bargaining and how employees from different services have benefitted or lost through them. The article uses analytical report and tabulated data to prove the different effects of unionization on various branches of administrative and legal aspects of the state.
The article is written in high detail and in depth reference to stats and figures is used to substantiate the claims. The information provided is a great way to understand certain cases, qualifying the article as a good reference for case studies.
R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr., From Affirmative Action to Affirming Diversity, 1990
Thesis: The author talks about how the theoretical concept of Affirmative action has slowly lost its significance with the changing trends and diversification of the work force. The author propounds that the need of the hour is to understand and accept diversity in race, ethnicity and sex amongst the workers and to take up affirmation of diversity as the new working theory.
“Affirmative action is an artificial, translational intervention intended to give managers a chance to correct an imbalance, an injustice, a mistake. One the numbers mistake has been corrected, I don’t think affirmative action alone can cope with the remaining long-term task” (Page 497)
“Affirmative action gets blamed for failing to do things it never could do. Affirmative action gets the new fuel into the tank, the new people through the front door. Something else will have to get them into the driver’s seat.”(Page 498)
“In my view, the vision to hold in your own imagination and to try to communicate to all your managers and employees is an image of fully tapping the human resource potential of every member of the workforce.”(Page 501)
The article emphasizes on the fact that the system of affirmative action is slowly getting outdated with the rapidly changing trends in the demography of the workforce, and affirmative action mechanisms are not to be blamed for their ineffectiveness. The system requires upgradation and the article paves way for the same.
The article is a practical inference and all its predictions hold true in the present time. Today’s reader can connect to the information in this article and assess how and why the system has become as it is today.