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Management and Administrative Theory

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This essay is about bureaucracy and human relations and how the two contributes to the understanding of management. The coherence between bureaucracy and human relations can be explored in discussing how they make connection in relation to management. First and foremost, before going through with the essay, let us expound the meaning of human relation and bureaucracy. A preview will better aid us in the further understanding of the concepts and how it is applicable to management.

Henri Fayola (1949), the father of management, was the first person to state and widely publicize principles of management. However, the study of human relations emerges from the marketing principles. Elton Mayo (1927 to 1932) and has earned him the label father of the human relations approach to management. The final cornerstone of the human relations foundation was laid by Kurt Lewina (1951) in the late 1930s and having been able to develop the concept of field theory, Lewina was known as the father of modern group dynamics. In a broad context, human relations can be define as the ways in which people interact to form social units and the study which seeks to deal with the subconscious or unconscious motivation of people. In other words, human relations are concerned of what may be done to foster group interactions whether in a small or in a large group scale. According to George Herbert Mead (1969), "There is no reason why social institutions should be oppressive or rigidly conservative, or why they should not rather be, as many are, flexible and progressive, fostering individuality rather than discouraging it". From the quoted saying of George Herbert Mead, human relations is an attempt to both understand the subjective and objective aspects of interpersonal behavior and if possible, recommend changes so as to foster better understanding of the essence of human relations.

From human relations, let us turn our discussion to the definition of bureaucracy as being pioneered by two great sociologists Karl Marx and Max Weber. Bureaucracy stems from sociology and political science as the way in which administration executes and enforces legal rules that is socially organized. Bureaucratic organization is characterized be standardized operating procedures, hierarchy of organization, formal division of responsibility and impersonal relationship in the work place. In Marx's theory, bureaucracy controls, coordinates and governs the production, distribution and consumption of wealth in which it serves as a social stratum deriving its income from human labor. Therefore, bureaucracy is a cost to society but this cost may be accepted to make social order possible. Weber (1947) identified two very different sources of authority in bureaucracies: "incumbency in a legally defined office" and "the exercise of control on the basis of knowledge."A bureaucratic organization is concern is governed by seven principles: official business is conducted on a continuous basis, official business is conducted with strict accordance to the following rules, the duty of each official to do certain types of work is delimited in terms of impersonal criteria, the official is given the authority necessary to carry out his assigned functions, the means of coercion at his disposal are strictly limited and conditions of their use strictly defined, every official's responsibilities and authority are part of a vertical hierarchy of authority, with respective rights of supervision and appeal, officials do not own the resources necessary for the performance of their assigned functions but are accountable for their use of these resources, official and private business and income are strictly separated, offices cannot be appropriated by their incumbents (inherited, sold, etc.) and official business is conducted on the basis of written documents. From the seven principles that governed a bureaucratic organization, it implies that work in any sense is very impersonal and does not seek for interpersonal interaction.


Management entails the managing of people and as to how the organization structure would be implemented. Managing may seem an easy task for some but it is really not at all easy for it entails understanding the people in the workplace while at the same time maintaining order within the organization. Effective management means looking into the core of the people and the organization so that the whole organization can work effectively together.

Human relations focus on interpersonal interaction in the workplace while bureaucracy to its very nature creates only an impersonal relationship. In any organization, there is a need for human relations for management to manifest which is vital in order to create a healthy environment and not only maintaining the social order in the workforce. Abraham



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