The Classical Approach theory was developed in the 19th century as an approach to place reliance on various management elements such as division of labor, unity of command and delegation to establish various relationships between subordinates and authority. Classical management can be divided into three areas: scientific management, bureaucratic management and administrative theory. The major contributors to these three management thoughts are Henry Fayol, Max Weber and Frederic W. The classical approach is mainly concerned with increasing efficiency in workplaces on management practice and efficiency of workers. This theory therefore focuses on enhancing workforce, labor and management efficiency in organizations.
This theory depicts that for an increase in production, managers and leaders in the organization ought to take control of the whole process. Even today the classical management approaches are common in many organizations as they enhance efficiency.
Scientific management became popular in the 19th century, in the early 1900 to be precise. It is a classical management approach which basically emphasizes the entire scientific study of work schemes to improve workers’ efficiency. The earliest scientific management advocates were Frederick W. Taylor (1856-1915), Lillian Gilbreth (1878-1972) Frank Gilbreth (1868-1924) and Henry Gantt (1861-1919). This approach believes that the employee is mainly motivated by economic incentives. Literally, scientific management means performing management work in a scientific manner (Montana 23).
Primarily, scientific management focuses on the work done. It can therefore be described as a systematic philosophy of work and worker since it is an organized systematic improvement of a worker’s performance. There are several principles used in the scientific management approach:
- Principle of use of Science for the Rule of Thumb
This principle states that all activities carried out in an organization should be analyzed in detail with a clear aim of creating a technique that accomplishes maximum possible work effectively with minimum cost. Secondly, this technique advocates for new innovations that make work easier. It states that workers should not at any one time get stuck in a set and go on with old techniques of working but rather incorporate new innovative techniques that make work easier.
- Principle of Scientific Selection and Training of Workers
According to this principle, training and selection of workers ought to be done in a scientific manner. There are various activities that are carried out in organizations; selection of workers is mainly the imperative activity since it is the determinant of the organization’s atmosphere. Scientific appointment literally means appointing only particular persons who posses the necessary capabilities to carry out that task. However, in itself the only scientific selection of workers is not enough and therefore workers ought to be equipped with the necessary training from time to time. Besides equipping workers with appropriate skills, both the organization and workers benefit from the workers’ empowerment. Scientific selection is therefore based on competence of workers; skills and proper workforce enhance growth and progress in organizations.
- Principle of Cooperation between Labor and Management
Various aspects of management are coherent in this principle. A good atmosphere in the organization should be created to foster labor force which is the main factor of production management. Labor therefore cannot exist without management and vice versa. The prevalence of such an atmosphere in an organization would create competition for the two.
- Principle of Maximum Output
According to this principle, both management and labor should make great efforts to produce maximum output. No efforts whatsoever should be spared for utmost utilization of factors of production that is available in organizations. This is a great element in the management that directly impacts on the profits of the organizations. Subsequently, higher profit results in higher wages of members of staff and also makes them even more dedicated to the organization.
- Principle of Division of Responsibility
The work of organizations as well as related responsibilities should visibly be divided into two groups in the organization labor and management. Seemingly, each group should be allocated work that can be effectively accomplished. For instance, management should decide the appropriate time required to do a particular work while labor should be responsible for actually doing the work.
The administrative management theory was advocated by Henry Fayol also known as Fayol. Fayol critically brought about two features of management: management has equity of being universal and that management is an activity different from other business activities. Fayol divided business activities into six components:
- Technical Activities – Manufacturing and producing products
- Financial Activities – Search and optimal use of capital
- Commercial Activities – Buying, selling and exchange
- Accounting – Taking stock of cost and recording profits, costs, maintaining balance sheets, liabilities and compiling statistics
- Managerial – Organizing, planning, coordinating, controlling and commanding (Lussier 41).
Fayol outlined 14 principles to be used by organizations in order to succeed.
- Division of work: Efficiency of operations is as a result of work specialization.
- Authority and responsibility: This is the right to give power and orders to exact obedience. Authority and responsibility go hand-in hand and authority can either be formal or personal.
- Discipline: It is coherent for running an organization smoothly. It involves adherence to rules, obedience to authority, dedication to one’s job and respect for superiors.
- Unity of direction: It states that, activities should be organized a systematic way under one plan and supervised by one person.
- Unity of command: Every employ should receive instructions and orders from one superior only.
- Remuneration: Employees should be paid appropriately based on business conditions, cost of living and productivity of the employees
- Centralization: In order to realize optimum use of its personnel, an organization should adopt a decentralized or centralized approach.
- Subordination of the individual interest to the general interest: Interested persons should not take priority over an organization’s goals.
- Scalar chain: It is the chain of authority which extends from top to bottom of an organization.
- Order: Material and social order in organizations that facilitate better coordination of work activities.
- Equity: Every employee should be treated fairly.
- Stability of tenure of personnel: Managers should encourage and motivate their employees to do better.
- Initiative: Employees should be involved in decision making.
- Espirit de corps: Management should instill a team spirit in its employees.
Bureaucracy is basically a formal system of organization where division of labor applies to administration. Bureaucratic management emphasizes on the need for organizations to operate on a rational basis. It is a highly formalized and structured organization with a set of rules and regulations. Organizations characteristics in bureaucracy entail rules and regulations that help remove inefficiencies and ambiguities in organizations (Barker 114). According to this theory, organizations follow a hierarchical principle which depicts that subordinates should follow orders from superiors but have the right to appeal. To add on to that, employment by the organization is on a career basis.
Though many writers have their own judgment and views on these principles, differences also come along. Major criticisms are: Empirical researchers after a thorough research suggest that there is no one principle that is applicable in all these circumstances. Suggestions have been made suggesting that various principles of organizations do not have universal application. Classical theorists have suggested that every individual ought to have only one superior but time and trends are changing; members of organizations are receiving orders and supervision from other members such as the personnel. Similarly, according to the classical theory, the hierarchical structure assumes arrangement of individuals from top to bottom management. There are reported cases of conflict between members of staff in different positions in organizations. Consequently, what is prescribed as demeanor within the formal organization logic may not be true.
Montana, P. J., & Charnov, B. H. (2008). Management. Hauppauge, NY, Barron's Educational Series.
Barker, R., & Angelopulo, G. (2006). Integrated organisational communication. Cape Town, Juta Academic.
Lussier, R. N. (2012). Management fundamentals: concepts, applications, skill development. Mason, Ohio, South-Western.