Management has been the subject of many studies for more than 100 years. There are a lot of theories and methods of management organization provided by different theorists in different periods of time. Two basic approaches which attract the interest of many researches are the classical and human relation ones. Basically, these approaches differ in the way the business is controlled and the work is done. Classical approach which has been developed during the Industrial Revolution is opposed to the human relation one which was founded in the 1930s. Let us have a closer look at each of these two basic approaches providing the main representatives of these approaches and their main contributions, the major principles and incompatibilities. Then let us draw a comparison between these theories of management organization providing their main differences.
Early Management Theories consider every organization to be like a machine. There are three main classical management theories: Weber’s Theory of Bureaucracy, Taylor’s Theory of Scientific Management and Fayol’s Administrative Theory (Alajloni, Almashaqba & Al-Queed, 2010). Taylor in his theory of scientific management developed three main principles of behavior at work: “Man is a rational economic animal concerned with maximising his economic gain; people respond as individuals, not as groups; people can be treated in a standardized fashion, like machines” (Cutajar 2010, Frederick W Taylor’s Scientific Management Theory).
The main assumptions of Weber’s Theory of Bureaucracy are the management following strict rules, the division of labor, a formal hierarchical structure, personnel hired on grounds of technical competence, managers are salaried officials and written documents (Cutajar, 2010, Max Weber Bureaucracy Theory). Fayol’s Administrative Theory may be used in all types of management. There are Taylor’s 14 main principles of management: the division of labor, the power and responsibilities of the authority, discipline, the unity of command, the unity of direction, the prevalence of general interest over the individual one, a fair remuneration, centralization, a scalar chain, order, equity, stability, workers’ initiative, teamwork and communication.
Human Relation Theory is focused on a human factor in business. It was developed in the 1930s and it is opposed to the classical theories considering the mechanistic point of view and the underestimated role of workers in organizations (Perry, 2010). According to this theory it is more profitable to develop the employees’ skills and observe good results of their work which make the organization a success. Human labor is in the center of any organization that is why Human Relation Theory points out the importance to take care of work conditions which make the influence on the results of the work. Chester Barnard’s cooperative system, the Hawthorne experiment organized by Elton Mayo, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Warren Bennis’s “the death of bureaucracy” and Douglas McGregor’s Theory X – Theory Y are the main contributions to the development of the Human Relation Theory making a human being the center of the enterprise (Perry, 2010). The main contribution of the Human Relation Theory to the modern types of management organization is collaboration and teamwork which have become one of the main aims of management organization (Miller, 2008).
The main differences between classical and human relations approaches of management organization are the methods used in business. Classical approach is focused on the results of the work while the human relation approach pays more attention to the work conditions of human beings (Lynch & Dicker, 1998). The classical approach dictates the workers how the job should be done considering the employees to be only the labor force or machines automatically do their functions (Hahn, 2007). This approach was the reason of dissatisfaction of the workers and caused a lot of rebellions. This fact made the scientists to reconsider this approach taking into account the interests of employees. The theorists of human relation approach believe that good work conditions and work atmosphere guarantee good results of the work. A human being is the core of any enterprise. Without human work forces the enterprises would not exist. When the employees feel the necessity and care they become more motivated and interested in the work they do which become more profitable for the prosperity of the organization (Linstead, Fulop & Lilley, 2009). There is no wonder that human relation approach ousted the classical one at the certain period of the history of management organization. Nevertheless, Loren Baritz argues the effectiveness of the Human Relation theory as far as he considers it to be anti-unionist and pro-management one. This theory is called “Cow sociologists’ by the United Auto workers.
As the result, classical theorists and the representatives of the Human Relation theory have different points of view at a human being as a working force. Classical approach considers people to be like machines which automatically do their work according to the standards and demands of the enterprise. On the other hand, the Human Relation approach has more lenient attitude to the workers whose interests and demands are taken into account by the enterprise as far as the effectiveness of work depends on the working conditions and the atmosphere. Classical approach is very advantageous for the enterprise and the human relation one is more accepted by the employees. Although, both these approaches have advantages and disadvantages, some principles of both these approaches are still successfully used at different enterprises and have good results.
- Alajloni, M, Almashaqba, Z & Al-Queed M 2010, ‘The Classical Theory of Organization and its Relevance’, International Research Journal of Finance and Economics, vol.41, pp. 60-67.
- Cutajar, M 2010, Frederick W Taylor’s Scientific Management Theory.
- Cutajar, M 2010, Max Weber Bureaucracy Theory.
- Hahn, M 2007, Weaknesses of the Classical Management Theories.
- Linstead, S, Fulop, L & Lilley S 2009, Management and Organization. Palgrave Macmillan, London.
- Lynch, T & Dicker, T 1998, Handbook of Organization Theory and Management, M. Dekker, New York.
- Miller, K 2008, Organizational Communication: Approaches and Processes, Wadsworth Publishing, USA.
- Perry, G 2010, Making the Most of Human Relations Management Theory.