The concept of classical theorists being considered outdated and irrelevant in today’s organisation is observable, due to the ever growing diversity of practices that can be found in occupations through the use of new management approaches in today’s labour market.
However, scholars arguably deny this statement as they believe that we are still living in a bureaucratic era where scientific management and bureaucracy are still in fact systematically utilised. This essay will investigate on the concordant of which bureaucracy has little relevance to work in organisation today, and to further increase the credibility of this essay, the use of research and exploration of manufacturing methods that are said to be post bureaucratic, and the progression of employment towards the Post Industrial era will be analysed. Firstly, it is crucial to understand Classical Management Theory and the utilisation of such method. Classical Management Theory is essentially thoughts or beliefs that workers merely possess economical and physical needs and needs such as job satisfaction and social needs are inessential or unimportant (Terry, 2017). Utilisation of such method could be seen in the twentieth century when Henry Ford recruited Frederick Winslow Taylor to create the model T assembly line.
Taylor stated that independent labourer would have an increase in productivity when tasks are appointed that matched workers distinctive supremacy and ability (Ibis, 2015). Although an increase in productivity is clearly recognisable in the Fordist Era, the utilisation of scientific management is unlikely used in today’s generation. As the car industry switches from a uniformity mass produced cars seen in the Fordist era, we are now living in a modern era where customisation is present. Additionally, in the twentieth century, it is apparent that the use of Taylorism in the Fordist era disregarded social framework and job satisfaction. Moreover, dissension occurred due to the rise of ‘Post Fordist’ competitions which led to the innovations and utilisation of new management strategies (Jessop, 1995).
The rise of the Japanese culture in fact took over new methods for manufacturing. In other words, Japanisation is an approach where Japanese culture influence other cultures or when put in a manufacturing sense, it could be seen in Lean, Kaizen, and JIT (Just-In-Time) (Staff, 2012). In today’s economy, the usage of Japanese management strategies is still widely used due to the increased efficiency of production, cost reduction, and easy implementation. Corporations choose to utilise this technique due to the positive implication towards employees. In comparison to scientific management, workers are not individualised and are placed to work in groups to increase employee morales (Economist, 2009). Post Fordist paradigm strategy such as the lean production shows a greater deal of efficiency in comparison to the outdated technique of the scientific management.
In reality, this methodology is utilised commonly in car manufacturing companies such as Toyota. Toyota uses the lean production method in order to increase efficiency and decrease wastage. In Toyota, the deliverance of components are distributed to each group’s work place Just-in-time (where they hold no stocks and materials are distributed when they are required), every employee is pushed to halt production when the discovery of defects and flaws are present. This is a vital difference seen from the assembly line method used in classical management, where halts are deemed to be very costly and to be evaded in any case in Japanese methodology. Furthermore, defects and flawed items are to be placed aside in scientific management, leading to a substantial amount of stocks piling up thus increasing not only cost, but also decreasing efficiency.
Due to this methodology used in scientific management, employees working on the assembly line will attain no knowledge and the increase in flaws and defects persevere (Economist, 2009). All in all, it could now be considered that Classical theorists are generally considered old fashioned in organisation today in comparison to Japanisation due to the sheer number of hindrances and the introduction of customisation. Additionally, David Bell, a sociologist and a professor at Harvard University was one of a few who recognised the rise of the ‘Post-Industrial era’. Bell stated in his book “The coming of post-industrial society”, that the concept and expression of ‘post-industrial society’ is now utilised extensively. There was a substantial amount of alterations of social structure in the post-industrial era, where new modes, classes, and fundamentals of innovations in society are clearly visible (Bell, 1999).
Over the span of twenty-five years in the twentieth century, Bell wrote in his book the immense modifications that had transpired in the United States. Firstly, he stated that there was a significant decrease in the manufacturing sector from twenty-six percent to a mere fifteen. Out of 126 million Americans in the labour market, only 18.
8 million are in the manufacturing sector. This shows a significant change in adaptation from the manufacturing sector to the service sector. In addition, a drastic change in employment could be seen with the advancement of professional and technical occupations and the proportional reduction of semi-skilled workers (Bell, 1999, pages xv-xvii), as the service sector requires workers with high education, with professional and technical skills.
In perceiving the supremacy of a society, human capital is very crucial as the idea of workers having more education, knowledge, and expertise is vital in the modern era. This was inessential and disregarded during the Fordist Era, and scientific management as a whole (Bell, 1999). Another important idea stated by Bell was that, scientific management was outdated and is irrelevant in the modern era. He stated that “knowledge is the sources of invention and innovation” and thus leads to the increase of capital saving and profits, in comparison to the scientific management, where the successfulness of industries comes from labour saving devices and the substitution of capital for labour (capital intensive) (Bell, 1999, pages xi-xv). Significant diversification in the modern society is seen through the expansion of ‘human services’.
This is mainly in the sectors of education and health, which are key tools in the proliferation of productivity in society, where education increase the advancement of skills, especially in numeracy and literacy, and health, where it decrease diseases and making employees healthier to complete jobs (Bell, 1999, pages x-xi). As a result, it is apparent that society as a whole is moving towards contemporary services where scientific management’s fundamental is likely to be irrelevant. However, scholars such as George Ritzer may perhaps argue that society in the modern era are in fact still industrialised. Ritzer uses the prosperousness of McDonald’s as a metaphor to distinguish a trend, benchmarked in the modern American society (Ritzer, 2002). In other words, McDonaldization is a metaphor utilised by Ritzer to personify the usage of scientific management and bureaucracy in the twenty-first century. He stated in his book “McDonaldization: The Reader” that in the American society, a range of process in practicing rationalisation is transpiring throughout America, with this influential technique affecting other societies in the world and rationalisation has a remarkable foundation in the western culture.
In addition, Ritzer stated that the idea of rationality is identified in society as having efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control (Ritzer, 2002). It is stated that the modern American society having two wage earners has limited time in preparing intricate meals. For most modern families, fast food is an option they opt to pursue. In order to efficiently feed their diners, fast food chains such as McDonalds, KFC, and Burger King capitalise methods such as scientific management to become efficient and organised (Ritzer, 2002). In addition, the usage of McDonaldisation could be seen in higher education.
The rationalisation came into surface at for-profit universities and was very successful.In both examples, all four factors of rationality could be seen, having efficiency, calculability, predictability, and control. First, the usage of McDonaldisation will trigger efficiency where an optimum method is used to complete jobs.
This could be seen in the assembly line used in fast food chains and the usage of detailed course outlines in universities. Calculability could be seen through the idea of having quantity over quality. Marianne Paiva, a professor in a higher education institute stated that universities will pass students as long as they completed their assignments and classes (Paiva, 2015).
In addition, this could be seen in McDonalds where their primary objective is to sell large portioned meals instead of delicious gourmet food. Predictability could be seen in the uniformity of product and services, seen in both fast food chains and universities. Lastly, control could be seen in the substitution of more predictable nonhuman labour seen in the rise of online classes and the rise in precision machines to distribute produces in the fast food market, and it could be said that the fast food industry is becoming more capital intensive. This shows that universities and major fast food chains are still in fact utilising scientific management in the modern era. In addition, some perhaps argue that due to the sheer number of disadvantage of scientific management, the utilisation of such method is disregarded in the modern era. However, Grey mentioned in his book a study done by Delbridges, on two manufacturing plants that are utilising different production methods.
One plant was using a post Fordism paradigm and the other was utilising the traditional scientific management. It was said that little to no difference was shown between both methods. This shows that both methods are similar in terms of employee participation and hierarchy (Grey, 2017). Hence, this suggest that classical management theory such as scientific management and bureaucracy are still utilised and influencing today’s modern society.Moreover, scientific management could be seen through Digital Taylorism in today’s modern era. The rise of improvements in efficiency seen in organisations is considered as ‘new Taylorism’.
Three basic concepts encapsulates the idea of the ‘new Taylorism’ consisting of the utilisation of digital technology, with adequate management, and applying all to a more extensive span of employees. This could be recognise in the article written by Cadwalladr, where workers in Amazon are divided into jobs that are straightforward. Such part consist of “Picker” and “Packer” and are guided by technologies through the use of trackers and scanners to decrease time wastage of employees and increase efficiency. Comparably, in another MNC or multinational company, the division and specialisation of jobs can be seen at Microsoft. There is a distinctive division of labour between workers, for example, programming engineers, venture supervisors, and HR. As Taylorism advocates, company have composed sets of responsibilities with clear characterized abilities and skills to guarantee workers supremacy.
Moreover, their performance is administered and measured frequently utilizing the SMART criteria (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) in a way it echoes Taylor’s ideology on examining and measuring. In addition, as Microsoft mass produce their products, Microsoft outsource their production to one of India’s largest corporation, infosys (Thibodeau, 2010). The usage of assembly line is still used in their production process. It could now be said that a movement to post-fordist society is actually premature and evidence from the utilisation and growth of McDonaldisation in the modern era would suggest otherwise. However, in order to increase successfulness, Microsoft tries to enhanced their management strategy by incentivising workers through the use of money related stimulus, as well as by thinking about more dynamic drivers for worker satisfaction and interest.
Due to this, workers are more motivated to work, for example the programming software engineers at Microsoft work extend periods of time, and to keep motivating its employees, Microsoft provides additional inducement such as free food, no clothing regulations, increase worker autonomy, and fringe payments (Birkinshaw and Cramer, 2008). However altered, the essence of scientific management is still seen in Microsoft in the Post Industrial era. To conclude, the indication of classical management theory regarding scientific management and bureaucracy are still infact used in today’s era, however it is not as applicable as it was in history. The technique used in classical management theory could be considered outdated and old fashioned due to the rise in diversity of management theories such as the inception of Japanisation. However, some scholars disagree with such statement due to technological advancement.
The implementation of classical management theory in companies such as Amazon developed the theory into something called ‘New Taylorism’ and thus keeping this management method modernised. However, as there is a rise in customisation and the transition of employment from the manufacturing sector to the service sector, classical management theory would potentially be outdated. Additionally, jobs in the service sector requires knowledge as a fundamental rather than skills.
This could be concluded that as a transition of eras is currently happening, the usage of scientific management and bureaucracy could be considered old fashioned and outdated. However, the essence of classical management theory is still present and is the basis of new management tactics seen in Microsoft and the rise of McDonaldisation. All in all, a further analysis on the subject is essential to draw a conclusion of this study.