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Your Understanding of Management Theory

Essay by   •  January 3, 2014  •  Research Paper  •  1,940 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,128 Views

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to be an effective manager or problem solver, we need to understand our own assumption and those of others in the nowadays workplace. Consequently, understanding how ideas about management theories or approaches have developed is fundamental. In addition, to see and manage organizations in distinctive yet partial way or in other words, to understand one element of one specific organization, managers all use metaphors. In this assignment, I will draw my understanding of scientific management, administrative management and bureaucratic management approach; and four of Morgan's metaphors including machine metaphor, political metaphor, domination metaphor and psychic prison metaphor.

According to Hibberd (2012), classical management theory emerged from late nineteenth century thought and has been an immensely influential way of conceptualizing organizations. It embraces three main approaches: scientific management, administrative management and bureaucratic management. Broadly speaking, scientific management focuses on productivity of the individual worker, administrative management on the functions of management and bureaucratic management on the overall organizational system. The scientific management was developed by Frederick Winslow Taylor. He thought that manager's responsibility was to maximize the prosperity of both employers and employees not just in terms of profits but in terms of individual self-development. The roles of managers were to develop true science of work, to select and train scientifically workers to attain first-class standards in identified tasks and to achieve the cooperation, integration and mutual understanding environment of the management and workers. In contrast to the first approach started at the bottom and the worked up, administrative approach of Henri Fayol started at the top and then worked down. Fayol saw the division of labor or specialization of tasks as the most efficient and productive way of organizing works. He also stated that a clear line of command is necessary. Moreover, a manager needs to be high moral, impartial and firm to achieve the overall goal of particular area of organization and promote harmonious relations through face to face communication. The third approach, bureaucratic management, is developed by Max Weber. It focuses on the overall organizational system and is based upon firm rules, policies and procedures, hierarchical form or organization and a clear division of labor. In this management approach, methods of appointment are contractual and the fitness of managerial office was determined by technical competence which was delivered by training and tested through examination.

When new challenges appear, Morgan develops metaphors to help managers understand their organization's situations. But what are Morgan's metaphors? Morgan's metaphors are management approaches in which we discover our organization in one specific area or aspect. Following paragraphs will discuss four of Morgan's metaphors:

In Machine metaphor or mechanistic model, organization is a machine and organizational life is rational, structured, formal, technical, ideal and scientifically grounded. However, because most machines can only perform easy and simple tasks, mechanistic approaches to organization work well only under condition where machine work well: (a) when there is a straightforward task to perform; (b) when the environment is stable enough to ensure that the products produced will be appropriate ones; (c) when one wishes to produce exactly the same product time and again; (d) when precision is at the premium; and (e) when the human "machine" parts are compliant and behave as they have been designed to do (Morgan, 1986, 27). In Vietnam, we can find that Pho 24's situation meet these conditions. The demand of eating "Pho" - traditional Vietnamese soup is stable, its franchises are designed to produce uniform products, employees are trained scientifically to create a bow of Pho with modeled taste and nutrient, and both full-time and part-time workers are happy to fulfill their work mechanically. When I get in every of Pho 24's franchise, I always receive the same salutation. Even though that saying is spoken by people, I sometimes think that it is recorded and played by machine. Other organizations such as aircraft maintenance departments or finance offices are quite successful in applying machine metaphor because their precision, safety and clear accountability are at a premium. However, mechanistic approaches have great difficulty in adapt new circumstance, can result in mindless bureaucracy and underplay the human aspect. Mechanistically structured organizations lack of adaptability because they are designed to attain predetermined goal; they are not designed for innovation (Morgan, 1986, 28). For example, in a car factory, workers are specialized to achieve first class standard in doing one task. If we transfer a man form one section to another, the whole chain of working can be delayed. Moreover, after a long time working, workers in car production line tend to obey commands of managers unquestionably; they are like robots. That is what we call mindless bureaucratic and dehumanizing effects.

While other metaphors tend to underplay the relation between power and organization, the political metaphor overcomes this deficiency. This metaphor basically interprets the organization as a political body and explores how power is distributed in the organization (Hibberd, 2012). Political approaches indicate that the one who has the right to give decision, set boundaries, hierarchies and attain new technology, latest information and knowledge is the one who got real power. The metaphor's strengths include: Firstly, it emphasizes that organizational goal may be rational for some people's interest but not for others; secondly, it helps us find a way of overcoming the limitations of idea that organizations are functionally integrated systems (Morgan, 1986, 203). In other metaphors, a company is considered as a body or a family and can be torn apart, but why there are many good workers are fired in order to cut costs? It is because the survival of the company itself is now more important than maintaining the organizational integration. Thirdly, the metaphor helps us understand how individuals are personally

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