Scientific Management, Administrative Theory, Bureaucratic Principles and Human Relations

How are scientific management, administrative theory, bureaucratic principles and human relations similar? How are they different? When you think about bureaucracy – what comes to mind and why?

Increase productivity, operating with low cost is the targets of every organization. In order to do so, it is not always necessary to invest money in hiring more employees or modernize technology, but it can be done by reorganizing, rearranging effectively the available resources within the organization. Aiming at organizing organization effectively, there are four organizational theories: scientific management, administrative theory, bureaucratic principles and human relations.

In these four theories of organization, there are scientific management and human relations that focus largely on individual worker while the two others concern more about the structure of the organization. In scientific management, Frederick Taylor, writer on management, believed that managers could help workers to work in “the best one way” by scientific management which replaced the tradition method “rule of thumb”. Also focus on human factor, but human relations approached the field of psychology in which workers’ productivity is affected by peer norms, recognition, team work, participation and cooperation. Concentrating on addressing the organization as the whole, Max Weber created bureaucratic principles where hierarchy structure is required; legitimating is the core; law and regulation is the fundamentals and reference to all actions. On the other hand, administrative principles concern about specializing jobs and employees into departments and groups and coordinating process between them.

The four methods are different in content; however, we can see that, three out of four had the mechanical approach, and only human relations approached by psychology. [Johnson. Chapter3]

Bureaucracy relates me strongly to bureaucrats – government officials, hierarchy structure and “red-tape” procedures. Because bureaucrats, itself means person working in office and usually imply those who work in government department. Furthermore, people around me or myself, all have experienced as a citizen visiting public service department to get something done; however, none was satisfied with the service. There are always long waiting, slow actions, time-consuming respond and the gesture is bad. Therefore, bureaucracy soon became an adjective with negative meaning indicating all the disadvantages of the rigid, complicated hierarchy structure organization.

Reference: James A.Johnson. Health organization: Theory, Behavior and Development

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  1. I am grateful for the summary on the following management viewpoints as it does inspire and helps me alot in my research.

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