Organisational Behaviour Historical Development and Contributing Disciplines to OB Field

Historical Development of Organisation Behaviour and Contributing Disciplines to OB Field

Organisational Behaviour Historical Development

Now students, we are clear with the basic concept of Organisational Behaviour Historical Development. Now let‘s try to trace the evolution of management. Though the practice of management can definitely be traced back to ancient time say, during the era of building huge structures like pyramids in Egypt or temples in India or the churches, but the formal discipline of management as we find it today evolved only during the later part of nineteenth century. After completing this lesson, you will be able to learn the following schools of management:
Scientific management
Classical administration
The human relations approach
The systems approach
The contingency approach
Scientific Management
Frederick Taylor (1865-1915) was among the first to argue that management should be based on the following principle instead of depending on more or less hazy ideas: [ Organisational Behaviour Historical Development ]
Clearly defined and
Fixed principles
He pioneered the scientific management movement which suggested that systematic analysis could indicate accurate methods, standards and timings for each operation in an organization‘s activities. The duty of management was to select, train and help workers to perform their jobs properly. The responsibility of workers was simply to accept the new methods and perform accordingly. The practical application of this approach was to break each job down into its smallest and simplest component pans or motions‘: each single motion in effect became a separate, specialized job to be allocated to a separate worker. Workers were selected and trained to perform such Jobs in the most efficient way possible, eliminating all wasted motions or unnecessary physical movement. [ Organisational Behaviour Historical Development ]
A summary of scientific management, in Taylor‘s own words, might be as follows.
The man who is fit to work at any particular trade is unable to understand the science of that trade without the kind help and co-operation of men of a totally different type of
It is one of the principles of scientific management to ask men to do things in the right way, to learn something new, to change their ways in accordance with the science and in return to receive an increase of from 30% to 100% in pay.[ Organisational Behaviour Historical Development ]

An Appraisal of Scientific Management Today: [ Organisational Behaviour Historical Development ]

Alterations to poor work methods and inefficient movements are used today, both to increase productivity and to reduce physical strain on workers. However, it has now been recognized that performing only one motion‘ within a job is profoundly unsatisfying to workers: operations need to be re-integrated into whole Jobs. It has also been recognized that workers can and should take more responsibility for planning and decision-making in connection with their work, as we will see later in this chapter. [ Organisational Behaviour Historical Development ]

Looking back on scientific management as an approach, Hicks writes: [ Organisational Behaviour Historical Development ]

By the end of the scientific management period, the worker had been reduced to the role of an impersonal cog in the machine of production‘. His work became more and more narrowly specialized until he had little appreciation for his contribution to the total product… Although very significant technological advances were made… the serious weakness of the scientific approach of management was that it dehumanized the organizational member who became a person without emotion and capable of being scientifically manipulated, just like machines‘.
Frederic Taylor’s 4 Principles of Management of Organisational Behaviour Historical Development.  [ Organisational Behaviour Historical Development ]
Develop a science for each element of an individual‘s work
Scientifically select, train and develop the worker
Heartily cooperate with the workers
Divide work & responsibility equally between managers & workers Improve production efficiency through work studies, tools, economic incentives

Classical Administration Theory of Management

Henri Fayol (1941-1925) was a French industrialist who put forward and popularized the concept of the universality of management principles. In other words, he advocated that all organizations could be structured and managed according to certain rational principles. Fayol himself recognized that applying such principles in practice was not simple. Seldom do we have to apply the same principles twice in identical conditions. Contribution must be made for different changing circumstances.‘ Among his principles of rational organization, however, were the following influential ideas.
Division of work:  Dividing the work into small convenient components and giving each component to one employee. It encourages employees for continuous improvement in skills and the development of improvements in methods.
Authority. The right to give orders and the power to exact
Discipline. No slacking, bending of rules.
Unity of command. Each employee has one and only one
Unity of direction. A single mind generates a single plan and all play their part in that plan.
Subordinate of Individual Interests. When at work, only work things should be pursued or thought about.
Remuneration. Employees receive fair payment for services, not what the company can get away with.
Centralization.Consolidation  of  management  functions.Decisions are made from the top.
Scalar Chain (line of authority). Formal chain of command running from top to bottom of the organization, like military
Order. All materials and personnel have a prescribed place,and they must remain there
Equity. Equality of treatment (but not necessarily identical treatment)
Personnel Tenure. Limited turnover of personnel.Lifetime employment for good workers.
Initiative. Thinking out a plan and do what it takes to make it happen.
Esprit de corps. Harmony, cohesion among personnel.Out of the 14, the most important elements are specialization,unity of command, scalar chain, and, coordination by managers (an amalgam of authority and unity of direction).
An Appraisal of Classical Administration Many organizations continued to be managed on the rational lines of classical theory.
However, as we shall see in Sections 5 and 6 of this chapter, such organizations have certain drawbacks. An organization structured on classical lines is often identified as a bureaucracy. While its formality, rationality and impersonality make it very stable and efficient in some respects, it has proved dysfunctional in other areas. A bureaucracy is stable partly because of its rigid adherence to its rules and procedures and the chain of command, but this rigidity also makes it: [ Organisational Behaviour Historical Development ]
Very slow to respond to customer/consumer demands
Very slow to respond to change in its business environment in terms of technology, competitors, new market trends.
Very slow to learn from its mistakes

Human Relations Movement

Now lets start of with the topic Human relations Movement where we will study the human relations school of management which was established after scientific management school. We will learn about the famous Hawthorne studies‘ and great researchers like Sir Elton Mayo and his team of faculty col-leagues from Harvard Business School.
The fast-changing business environment of the late 20th century made it very difficult for classical organizations to compete. Flexibility and innovation began to challenge stability; diversity began to challenge universal, one-size-fits-all‘ principles of Management, multi-skilled project teams were seen to be more responsive to consumer demands than specialized, one-man-one-boss structures; the scalar chain of command was decimated by delayering in response to economic recession and other forces.
Nevertheless, classical thinking allowed practicing managers to step back and analyse their experience in order to produce principles and techniques for greater efficiency and effectiveness. This emphasis resulted from a famous set of experiments (the Hawthorne Studies) carried out by Mayo and his colleagues for the Western Electric Company in the USA. The company was using a group of girls as guinea pigs‘ to assess the affect of lighting on productivity: They were amazed to find that productivity shot up, whatever they did with the lighting.

Their conclusion was that: [ Organisational Behaviour Historical Development ]

Management, by consultation with the girl workers, by clear explanation of the proposed experiments and the reasons for them, by accepting the workers‘ verdict in several instances, unwittingly scored a success in two most important human matters – the girls became a self-governing team, and a learn that co-operated whole heartedly with management.

Human Relations Movement and Behavioristic Schools of Management

The human relations movements actually started with the series of experiments conducted by George Elton Mayo, professor of Industrial Research at the Harvard Graduate School of Business and his colleagues at the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric Company. This company was a manufacturer of equipment for the Bell telephone system and at the time of the experiments, there was an acute problem of employee dissatisfaction at the plant. It was also quite evident that the employees were not producing up to their fullest capability. This happened in spite of the fact that it was one of the most progressive companies with pension schemes, sickness benefit schemes, and numerous other facilities offered to its employees. The earlier attempts of the efficiency experts produced inconclusive findings. So the company sought help from the group of university professors to find a solution to the problem. The study continued for an extended period of time and had gone through various phases, which is briefly described here.
Phase I:  Illumination Experiments
Phase II:  Relay Assembly Test Room
Phase III: Interviewing Programme
Phase IV: Bank Wiring Test Room

Phase I: Illumination Experiments

In order to test the traditional belief that better illumination will lead to higher level of productivity, two groups of employ-ees were selected. In one, the control group, the illumination remained unchanged throughout the experiment while in the other the illumination was increased. As had been expected, the productivity went up in the latter or what was known as the experimental group. But what baffled the experimenters was the fact that the output of the control group also went up. As the lighting in the formal group was not altered, the result was naturally puzzling and difficult to explain. The investigators then started to reduce the illumination for the test group. But in this case as well the output shoot up again. Thus the researchers had to conclude that illumination affected production only marginally and there must be some factor which produced this result.

Phase II: Relay Assembly Test Room

In this phase, apart from illumination, possible effects of other factors such as length of the working day, rest pauses and their duration & frequency and other physical conditions were probed. The researcher who was continuously present with the group to observe the functioning of the group acted as their friend and guide. Surprisingly, here also the researchers found that the production of the group had no relation with the working conditions. The outcome of the group went increasing at an all-time high even when all the improvements in the working conditions were withdrawn. Nobody in the group could suggest why this was so. Researchers then attributed this phenomenon to the following:
Feeling of perceived importance among the group members
  • as they were chosen to participate in the experiment.
  • Good relationship among the group
  • High group cohesion.

Phase III: Interviewing Programme

From the Relay Assembly Test Room, the researchers for the first time became aware about the existence of informal groups and the importance of social context of the organizational life. To probe deeper into this area in order to identify the factors responsible for human behavior, they interviewed more than 20,000 employees. The direct questioning was later replaced by non-directive type of interviewing. The study revealed that the workers‘ social relationship inside the organizations has a significant influence on their attitude and behavior. It was also found that merely giving a person an opportunity to talk and air his grievances has a beneficial effect on his morale.

Phase IV: Bank Wiring Test Room

It had been discovered that social groups in an organization have considerable influence on the functioning of the individual members. Observers noted that in certain departments, output had been restricted by the workers in complete disregard to the financial incentives offered by the organization. Mayo decided to investigate one such department which was known as the bank wiring room where there were fourteen men working on an assembly line. It was found that the group evolved its own production norms which were definitely much lower than that set by the authority. This was done deliberately by the group to protect the slow workers and because of the apprehension that if the pace of production were increased, a sizeable number of the workforce would eventually be redundant. The group norm was so strictly adhered to by most of the group members that nobody dared to violate it for the fear of being ostracized by the group. The group was controlled by an individual who had emerged as the informal leader.

Thus the Hawthorne study pointed out the following: [ Organisational Behaviour Historical Development ]

  • The business organization is essentially a socio-technical entity where the process of social interactions among its members is also extremely important.
  • There is not necessarily a direct correspondence between working conditions and high production
  • Economic motives are not the only motive for an employee.
  • One‘s social needs can also significantly affect their behavior.
  • Employee-centred leaders always tend to be more effective than the task-oriented leaders.
  • The informal groups and not the individuals are the units of analysis in a group.
  • Later on people like Douglas McGregor, Abraham Maslow, Kurt Lewin, Chester Bernard, Rensis Likert, Chris Argyris, Warren Bennis etc. from more formal behavior science background developed an approach which later came to be known as behavioral science approach. In the same line as in Human Relations movements, this school criticised the scientific management as being highly mechanistic and showing little respect to human nature. Behaviorists point out the superiority of more flexible organizational structure and employees‘ self-imposed control over the strict external control, as suggested by the classical schools.
  • However, the Human Relation movements and the Behavioristic Schools also had their share of criticisms. These are presented below.

An Appraisal of the Human Relation Approach:

  • It is diagonally opposite to the classical schools. It focuses on the human side of the organization and certainly ignored other critical factors.
  • At times some hard decisions have to be taken in an organization and it is impractical to try to please every one all the time.
  • Though it is true that individuals do have other than economic motives, the importance of financial incentives cannot be ignored.
  • There is hardly any empirical support for the view happy workers are more productive‘, which seems to be the focal theme of this school.
  • This approach often puts an unrealistic demand on the managers and supervisors.

Contingency Theory

The contingency approach to organization developed as a reaction to the idea that there are nothing like ‗One best way‘ for designing organizations, motivating staff and so on. The basic tenet of contingency theory can be put essentially as follows: appropriate management approach depends on situational factors faced by an organization.
Newer research indicated that different forms of organizational structure could be equally successful, that there was no inevi-table-link between classical organization structures and Effectiveness, and that there were a number of variables to be considered in the design of organizations and their style of management. Essentially, ―it all depends‘ on the total strength and weakness of organization and opportunities and threats which lies out in the environment of each organization. Managers have to find a ―best fit‘ between the demands of:
  • The tasks
  • The people
  • The environment
In other word Manager should consider situation .We will note contingency approaches to various aspects of management as we proceed through this module.

An Appraisal of the Contingency Approach

Management writer Tom Lupton noted that: It is of great important that managerial ―style‖ or procedure for arriving at decisions, or one kind of organizational structure, is suitable for all organizations. Managers in each organization have to find that method which best meet the particular circumstances of size, technology, competitive situation and so on.
Awareness of the contingency approach will be of value in:
  • Encouraging managers to identify and define the particular circumstances of the situation they need to manage, and to devise and evaluate appropriate ways of handling them.
  • Encouraging responsiveness and flexibility to change.

Organisational Behaviour Historical Development

Organisational Behaviour Historical Development