Principles and Application of the Classical Theory

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Boston College
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Organizations throughout the world struggle with the changing operational conditions to achieve sustainable high output levels, efficiency, and competitiveness. The role of management within such contexts is to streamline inputs, labour, and activities in such a way that lead in the achievement of set goals. In business operations or any other form of competitive activities of organizations, strategic human resource management is a key factor that differentiates processes and influences the achievement of both short-term and long-term objectives (Berman, 2013). Human resource has unique characteristics that make it a critical concern for businesses intending to attain competitive edge (Cole, 2004). For instance, the level of orientation of workers towards the corporate goals, their perception of work environment, remuneration, expertise, motivations, and any other forms of treatment potentially influence their activity either positively or negatively. In addition, the employees in an organization are more sensitive to changes in the management, or operations than any other means of production including capital, land, and entrepreneurship (Berman, 2013). Due to the sensitivity of labour to changes in the internal and external work environment, it is important to develop a model that contextualizes its patterns.

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Classical theory is one of the models of human resource management that explores the behaviour patterns of workers within their job environments. The basic premise of the classical theory is that employees have only two sets of needs including physical and economic needs. In essence, the model does not take into account the social needs, or job satisfaction as important things that influence workers orientation (Cole, 2004). The model supports specialization of labour, profit maximization, hierarchical leadership, and decision making. Though classical theory was framed mainly to streamline organizational operations, improve productivity, and enhance the bottom-line processes, I perceive it to have various inherent flaws and some degree of practicality.

The practical concepts advanced by the classical theory include hierarchical structure, specialization, and incentives. The chain of command also known as a hierarchy is a critical tenet of the classical theory that is necessary for virtually every workplace since it ensures that instructions and processes reinforce each other to achieve organizational goals (Nhema, 2015). Without an efficient chain of command, individual interests of workers are more likely to overrun corporate goals. Under the classical management theory, the organizational structure has three primary levels of hierarchy (Berman, 2013). The first level consists of the owners, board of directors and executive. The long-term objectives of a firm are made at this level. The second tier is called middle management that comprises of individuals overseeing supervisors and making department-level objectives within the ceilings of the managers budgets (Nhema, 2015. The lowest level of classical theory hierarchy is occupied by supervisors who monitor everyday activities and address emerging employee problems. In a civilized organization, delegation of management responsibilities as proposed by the model is inevitable as long as such undertakings do not create unnecessary bureaucracies that undermine efficient operations.

It is important that organizations match the expertise of its workers with the specific designation given while at the same time offering them training to direct their skills towards the corporate interests. According to the classical theory, tasks ought to be subdivided into smaller ones that are easier to do by specialized workers. In practice, specialization increase efficiency and output (Cole, 2004). Nonetheless, it is important to offer diverse and pervasive training to employees on the activities within the work environment to prevent them from being robotic and increase their flexibility to take up new roles within the firm.

From a psychological standpoint, human beings are motivated by the rewards that they obtain from their activities. Workers are more likely to feel as being part of a process that rewards their efforts. Therefore, the classical theory is based on the ideology that financial rewards are essential in improving employees morale (Cole, 2004). It rightly posits that workers will work harder and attain higher productivity if their work and contributions inform the nature of rewards that they get. The application of employee rewards based on their exemplary work leads to increased production, efficiency, and profit.

Despite the fact that classical management theory is not commonly used in most management environments today, it has various strengths that appeal to contemporary situations (Montana & Charnov, 2008). The model sets clear governance structure, functions, and operations. In addition, the classical theory advocates for the division of labour whose consequence is easing accomplishment of tasks leading to higher productivity. It also sets clear roles of employees within their jobs without any sense of ambiguity thus limiting incidences of overlapping mandate or conflicting interests (Montana & Charnov, 2008). Therefore, a monitored application of the theory in business situations has the potential of making companies realize increased productivity and competitiveness.

Apart from the pros of the classical theory, it has some flaws which make it less attractive for use in workplaces. These demerits include the theorys prediction and control of human behaviour patterns. These predictions and monitoring relegate the significance of human relations and creativity in any work situations. In essence, the theory frames employees just like machines or robots without adequately accounting for the contribution of job satisfaction, workers input and morale in the achievement of organizational goals.

In practice, human labour at the workplace is the most dynamic, flexible and sensitive hence its strategic use in enhancing competitiveness. However, the theory establishes its assertions on prior experiences and applicability to manufacturing settings hence fails to take into account the differences in working situations and dynamisms of human capital (Berman, 2013). The classical management theory has a broad potential in streamlining manufacturing operations that require high productivity is a must. Nonetheless, its application is not consistent with the need for a better understanding of the things that motivate human beings to attain higher levels of productivity.

Application of the Classical and scientific models within Ford Motors Inc.

Ford Motors Inc. is one of the multinational businesses that adopted the classical management theory. Using classical theory, the body of the automobile under manufacture would be set at a stationary position where each employee would fix individual parts based on their areas of specialization (Hughes, 2012). Therefore, each motor vehicle manufactured by the company was a culmination of the efforts of individual workers within the company working together without due cognisance specializations (EyeWitness to History, 2005). Nonetheless, this process proved to be very expensive and time-consuming hence impractical. Through the insights of a management theorist called Frederick Winslow Taylor, Ford capitalized on the efficient use of employees labour to achieve operational efficiency.

Fords new management theory was based on the foundational principle that individual workers would be more productive when assigned tasks that appropriately suit their personal capabilities and competencies. In addition, it argued that the elimination of employees movement in moving parts to the cars stationary assembling point would save time hence increased productivity (EyeWitness to History, 2005). Ford made much of the changes in decision-making in consultation with economic and social theorists. The outcome of the deliberation was after that communicated to the junior employees from the company for implementation as prescribed by the classical management theory (Montana & Charnov, 2008). The application of theory in Fords operation led to massive sales of various automobile models including model T which became popular among consumers. By the end of 1908 Model T specifically attracted sales of over ten thousand units.

The company established an assembly line along which its labourers remained stationed through which the body of the car being assembled was moved. The workers would use a rope to pull the vehicle from one location to the other using a belt. This chain of movement of the motor vehicle allowed each employee to perform highly specialized tasks on them before moving it to the next station (EyeWitness to History, 2005). Thus created an efficient complementary chain that would proceed until the car manufacture is complete. Through assembly line production process, it was very easy for Ford to realize the inherent flaws in operations such as longer time taken at some workstations than others hence his decision to recalibrate tooling methods in other assembly points to compensate for the longer wait times (Montana & Charnov, 2008). He adopted appealing pricing, innovation and increased production as its operational principles leading to substantive sales volume and profitability. The increased sales volume made an effort to embrace favourable remuneration for his employees and support innovative technologies.

Guided by the entrepreneurial spirit, Ford realized that lower prices for their vehicles would translate to increased share of the automobile market and higher profit margins (Montana & Charnov, 2008). Therefore, Ford moved down its prices for motor carriages to sustainable levels. This pricing was even affordable for the company workers to meet. Due to the attractive pricing that attracted increased sales, Ford raised the wages he paid to employees for a nine-hour daily work from $2.83 to $5.00 for eight hours day (EyeWitness to History, 2005). This increased wages boosted the morale of workers and improved base of potential customers. At the onset of 1924, Ford achieved great milestones after just sixteen years of implementation of the classical theory. The advancement of Fords auto assembly line in line with the classical scientific model resulted in the production of high quality vehicles at affordable prices (Hughes, 2012). This practices were embraced by other manufacturing plants and continue to transform the ways in which automotive products are mass-produced.

Tri-County Home Health Agency Layoff Case

Carrying out workforce reductions can pose significant challenges and risks to employers regarding disparate treatment or adverse impact on protected employee groups. Several options are available when planning necessary workforce reductions. While undertaking a cut of labour in Tri-County Home Health Agency, it is important to consider the long-term needs of the departments or positions about objectives of the organization and the best criteria to use in a layoff (Deems, 2007). It is also important to ensure that the number retained is enough to accomplish all the work done within the organization without unduly overstretching their capacity. It is important to involve the human resources personnel, executive management, employee representatives, and departmental heads in enlisting workers or sections that should be subjected to layoffs.

Deciding the criteria to use for the downsizing workforce is a tasking experience. The procedures that I would use include seniority based selection, employee status-based selection, merit, skills and multiple ranking. In the seniority-based approach, I would use the concept...

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