Sci Mgmt & Bureaucracy


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Scientific Management C Prof. S. S. Levine

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c Prof. S. S. Levine

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Scientific Management Context: economic growth and worker dissatisfaction Advanced as neutral, disinterested, “scientific” way to manage work However, makes significant assumptions about human nature c Prof. S. S. Levine

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Sci. Mgmt Presumes People are motivated solely by money People work alone; Social interaction is detrimental to performance (“soldiering”) The engineer knows better than either the employee or the manager

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Sci. Mgmt. has Been Incredibly Influential In organizations: job descriptions, scripts, standard operating procedures In industries: franchise (fast food, retail), sales, customer service centers In government and non-profits: used as a substitute for profit to measure effectiveness

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Alternatives W. E. Deming (1900-1993) “Drive out fear”, “eliminate numerical goals and quotas, “the transformation is everybody’s job” Japanese management, Quality Circle, TQM, ISO 900X Knowledge-intensive Firms The knowledge is contained in individuals and their interactions Collaborative organizations, e.g. COSI

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Bureaucracy has Triumphed The only form of organization that is accepted as legitimate for business Has penetrated many other forms of organizations Addressed issues but created new problems

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Principles of Bureaucracy Jurisdictional areas clearly specified Positions (offices) organized in hierarchy Abstract rules, stable and exhaustive Means of production and admin. belong to the position Positions are personally free, based on technical qualifications, appointed (not elected), compensated by salary Employment as a career: fulltime, long-term

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Critique Obedience becomes an end, not means Technical vs. Formal rationality Technical: do it because it makes sense Formal: do it because it says so Imprisons humanity inside an “iron cage”

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GM “Philosophy” of Management “It used to be that the old fashioned GM philosophy of management could be summed by this phrase: DON'T THINK, DUMMY – DO WHAT YOU’RE TOLD Now,…there is a new and very different credo which goes: THINK! I’M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU WHAT TO DO.” Bennis in The Human Side of Enterprise, 1985

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Conclusion The impact of sci. mgmt. and bureau. on society cannot be understated Primary social responsibility of business (and other organizations) is to balance those techniques Reap benefits while minimizing negative impacts