mgt521 wk1

Management is generally concerned with results, including the following:


1. Outcomes that meet well-formulated objectives and strategies.

2. Decisions that are effective for Organizations.

3. Organizational structures that are efficient and conducive to the work that is being organized.

4. Demands for careful, factual analysis and clear communication.

5. Efficient and effective controls and monitoring of progress.

6. Processes for strong vision and leadership.

7. Innovation and change that reflects a driving need for continuous improvement in the pursuit of excellence.


Many important factors structure the work of managers. Some of these are making decisions, leading people to accomplish tasks and objectives, planning for the allocation of resources and monitoring the achievement of work milestones.

In 1898, Frederick Taylor devised a system, which he called Scientific. Taylor worked with shovels. He figured that the best way to get people to produce more was to give them the proper tools. So, he found the right type of shovel for each individual type of job. At this point in time, America was a manufacturing country, and workers had no rights.


As a manager, I am a strong support of this belief. At work, when one of my employees makes an error, the first question I ask myself–Did I give my employees the tools that the needed to accomplish the task.” We are not talking about just physical tools, but the knowledge and skills to complete the tasks. This sounds easy enough but it can get quite frustrating. You think you finally have the answer and the someone changes the rules. So, other theorists jump into the picture. Another theory is Scientific Management.


Scientific Management is based on the premise that as long as you pay people enough for their subsistence, they will be motivated to work. If you look at the timing of when this theory came about, the working conditions were not kind to people. Given the situation at that time, this was correct. People would line up for blocks around a company in order to get subsistence–wage job with no sick leave, no benefits, and no physical security. Central to Scientific Management was the idea of a centralized authority; managers gave orders to the workers below. The workers had no say, whatsoever, in their jobs and many worked in unbearable conditions.

One of the tenets of Scientific Management was that people would be more productive if jobs were broken down into the smallest possible parts. Ford turned this into practice as the assembly line in his automotive plant. However, we find later on that this becomes monotonous and we need to add those intrinsic inducements. This is where Elton Mayo comes into the picture.


Mayo conducted studies at the Western Electric plant in Hawthorne, Illinois. He was interested in the environmental impact on productivity. He used many variables, but most people remember him for his work with lighting. He took a number of women who were putting together electric switches, out of a large area and experimented on them by changing the lighting in smaller areas. When he increased the lighting, productivity went up. When he lowered the lighting, productivity went up. What was happening? Although there were quite a few design flaws in Mayo’s studies, he learned two things. The first is known as the Hawthorne Effect. This states that when you make a change, people’s behavior will change. It throws a large crimp into research. The second is that people are motivated by something other than money. These women were important; they were research subjects. They were being treated as human beings rather than as cogs in a wheel. This began the Human Relations movement; we now try to motivate people in other than monetary manners. We try to make them feel important, and we give them benefits besides money. This includes good working conditions, interesting work, etc. From the Hawthorne Studies grew all of our current management theories about how we should treat workers, how we should make their jobs more meaningful, how we should empower them, etc. We also look at what Peter Drucker has to say about the fact that managers should be leaders, not bosses, and that they should try to help their subordinates to reach goals, the goals being those both of the subordinate and of the organization.


If you were to develop your own theory of management, what would it encompass? Where you do believe current managers are missing the mark?

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