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Compare and Contrast Classical and Organizational Theory

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In understanding the relationship between Classical Organization Theory and Human Resource Theory, I believe first we need to look at the definition for a theory. Theory defined by Wikipedia is an analytical tool for understanding, explaining, and making predictions about a given subject matter. From this definition, we see that both these theories are tools that have involved helping explain and predict the structure and dynamics of an organization. Dr. Moody described an organization as a group of people with a common goal. Within this organization, the structure is the key element of relationships, power, objects, rules, activities, communication and other factors that exist when people work together. The organization has a set of social relations that are created for the intention of continuously accomplishing come specific goals or purpose. From this we see that an organization has three components structure, culture and design. In order to compare the Classical Theory with the Human Resource Theory, we need to look at these theories to see what they believed.

Around 1850, the world was changing with the invention of the steam engine. Before this time, people lived in rural communities and the family worked together to provide food, shelter and clothing for their family unit. With the invention of the steam engine and steam locomotive, these dynamics changed. The start of the Industrial Revolution began. With these changes, came mass urbanization and a need to study and how to manage organizations. Three great minds of the time began studying organizations and how they could become more efficient to meet the demands of the time. These three theorists are Max Weber, Henri Fayol, and Frederick W. Taylor.

Max Weber developed the structure of hierarchy that is stilled used to today in many organizations. It was a model that outlined the change of command in an organization. His principles included rational legal authority, technical competence, well defined roles and authority with vertical/horizontal hierarchical format, formal written policies, and standard operational produce with rules, norms these all were used to control behavior and relationships within the organization.

Henry Fayol was the Father of Modern Management Theory. He has fourteen principles of management. These included division of labor, authority and response, discipline, unity of command, unity of direction, subordination of individual, scalar chain of authority, need for team work, and initiatives. He viewed organizations as a rational system.

Frederick Taylor was the Father of Scientific Management. He introduced the theory of soldering. Soldering was a time and motion study that greatly influenced Henry Ford. He focused on increased productivity. He believed workers would purposely work below capacity because they held the belief that more productivity would mean less jobs and less pay. Henry Ford proved that increased productivity brought in more jobs at a higher pay.

These three theorists introduced the theories of a Rational System which main focus is the structure which emphasizes the hierarchy of control and Irrational System which focuses on specific goals and are highly formalized. In a rational system, we focus on the structure not on people. The actual behaviors of people tend to be over looked or at least not important. There is a hierarchy of control.

There are two specific elements in an organization is goal specific and formal approach. Organizations are instruments are designed to have specific goals. These goals are what tasks need to be performed and where the funds are allocated to reach these goals. The formal approach sets the organizations expectations while personal attributes are not important.

From this we see that the Classical method focused on structured rules and regulations and with hierarchy of control which led to power. It became the basis that is still used in part in today's organizations. It was based on production first and people second. It was rigid and mechanistic.

The Hawthorne Experiments began a shift in the Classical Theory thought of not looking at people and how they behave. From 1924-1932 Western Electric Company

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