Administration and Control (Byte Size)
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Administration and Control (Byte Size)

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What do you think of when someone says the word "management" Perhaps you think of a factory with employees toiling away on the "shop floor" watched over and directed by the "management" in their white coats or pinstripe suits from their offices "upstairs"; or a design department with managers acting as a focus of co-ordination for specialised design activities carried out by "colleagues"

Many people have these sorts of images. Whether our experience of management is good or bad, we tend to assume that work has always been like it is today. We take for granted that organisations have people who report to others in an ordered hierarchical structure; that in the workplace there are laid down policies and procedures; that an attempt is made to define and solve problems systematically; that people are hired and promoted on merit and that attempts are made to motivate the organisation's employees. In short, we tend to regard management as a well established discipline which has been in its present form for many years.

In fact, the art of management as we know it today is vastly different from that of 100 years ago. Although we can say that management of some form must have existed to enable the planning, organising, leading and control of the work situation, we can also say that our general understanding of management has been lacking and ad hoc in the past. It is only relatively recently that concerted attempts have been made to analyse management as a separate function and to attempt systematically to improve output in the workplace by attention to it. Not until the latter half of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth century were theories developed of how production processes and business organisation might be systematically managed. In this course, we consider and review some of the earliest of these theories, and their impacts, past and present.

Essentially, we look at philosophies and mechanisms which were advocated as the means by which managers could improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the production (or service provision) process.

  • Effectiveness we may define as "doing the right jobs" in order to achieve the organisation's aims and objectives.
  • Efficiency is sometimes defined as "doing the job right" and is a measure of how well a person or machine is performing at a given task.

For example, with modern production methods we could produce a Model 'T' Ford, as manufactured in the 1920s, with great efficiency but few would wish to buy it. So, although the work effort might be efficient it would not be particularly effective.

We look at these philosophies and mechanisms from several angles: what prompted their introduction; the circumstances in which they were introduced; their effect upon management's goals of efficiency and effectiveness; and linked inextricably with the previous factor, the effect of these changes on the performance and attitudes of the workers. This is the linchpin for successful management in almost all cases. All of these considerations have, as their basis, the concept of management control.

We consider three main areas of early management theory:

  • Scientific Management as developed by Taylor and others
  • Fayol's principles of administration
  • Human Relations as developed by Mayo.

After participating in this course, you should be able to:

  • distinguish between the concepts of management, administration, and control.
  • use a present-day model to analyse what was meant by control in the time of the early management theorists.
  • describe factors in the work and environmental context which affected management style and control during this period.
  • list Frederick Taylor's major principles of scientific management and describe how they may be used in a particular situation.
  • describe the contributions to scientific management of the Gilbreths and Gantt.
  • highlight scientific management principles and techniques in a modern- day example and comment on their appropriateness for managerial control.
  • explain Henri Fayol's 14 principles of management.
  • explain Fayol's 'managerial activities'.
  • analyse modern-day examples with reference to Fayol's managerial activities and principles of management and address Fayol's relevance today.
  • describe the main findings from Mayo's relay assembly room experiment and the later experiments at the Hawthorne Plant.
  • outline the impact of the Hawthorne Studies in the 1930s and 1940s on organisational studies, in particular, in the field of human relations.
  • highlight human relations principles and techniques in modern-day examples and comment on their appropriateness, particularly in relation to managerial control.