New patterns of management

Understanding Organizations


Seminar 1 - Organizing Production

In deciding how to organize ourselves for the production of paper aeroplanes, we considered various theories that assisted us in understanding the various elements of creating a successful corporation.

Using the theory of the division of labour, we separated the jobs into the smallest identifiable tasks; these being the role of the Manager, Inspector and Employees. Carl Jung's nomothetic approach to personality types presents the theory that there are only two sets of behaviours: sensation-intuition and thinking-feeling that create four personality types: practical, conceptual, gregarious and creative. Using this basic principal, Rikard was quickly established as the Manager by the group through his practical understanding of the task in hand. As Manager, the task of assigning job roles fell to Rikard. The role of Inspector was assigned to Katherine as her rapport enabled her to create a strict building manual for the employees to ensure every plane was built accordingly. Gurpreet, through trial and error, created the best flying aeroplane within the scope of the building manual. This successful idea was standardised through the acceptance of the Manager and the Inspector. Gurpreet trained Tami in the production process and both were efficient and effective at producing their high quality paper aeroplanes.

Through this division of labour, our Paper Plane Corporation took on a Tayloristic and Classical approach to corporate structure and organization with elements of the Modern Contingency approach. Taylorism, which is also known as Scientific Management, is a systematic method of determining the best way to do a job and specifying the skills needed to perform it. Its aims are to achieve efficiency, standardization and discipline. The five principles of scientific management are:

  1. A clear division of tasks and responsibilities between management and workers
  2. Use of scientific methods to determine the best way of doing a job
  3. Scientific selection of the person to do the newly designed job
  4. The training of the selected worker to perform the job in the way specified
  5. Enthusiastic cooperation with workers to ensure that work was done in accordance with scientific principles and this was secured by economic incentives

Our corporation took on the first principle very strongly in that we had a clear division of labour and a hierarchical management structure. There was also a clear separation between the management and the workers, with both parties specialising in their own field and emphasizing the scientific management aspect of our organization. Even though there was a clear separation of job roles, this did not affect or deter enthusiastic cooperation within the workforce. This shows how principle five was met within our organization, however the economic incentives did not play a part in motivating the employees. To a certain extent, we used principle three selecting the inspector's role, however, due to time constraints we could not enter into a too detailed selection process and essentially in such a small organization this principle was relatively negligible. As mentioned above, Gurpreet applied principle four in training Tami in the construction of paper airplanes. Due to the fact that our organization had a mixture of the two approaches to modernism (organization as a machine and organization as an organism) not all principles fully applied to our organization. Since we were such a small entity there was no need to enforce principle two in our production process.

The contingency theory, representing the organization as an organism, is "a perspective which argues that an organization, to be effective, must adjust its structure in a manner consistent with the main type of technology it uses, the environment within which it operates, its size and other contextual factors."[1]

Seminar 2 - Behaviour Modification

In this particular case, Lesley is a lecturer in charge of 250 students in a lecture and is faced with many difficulties to manage her students. As a group, we identified five issues plaguing Lesley's lecture. These are the poor lecture attendance level, late and noisy arrival for lectures, disruptive talking during lectures, lack of tutorial preparation and an unwillingness to enter into discussions during tutorials. Looking at this case from a business perspective, Lesley represents the manager, the students the employees and the class as a whole represent the company. The scientific management theories are important for their contributions to organizations in understanding their composition; but ignore essential components such as the human side of an organization. The theories of scientific management are limited to studying the technical and scientific organization of management.

Elton Mayo highlighted the importance of human factors in productivity. In his experience, he concluded that working conditions could not be considered the only explanatory factor of productivity.[2] It was concluded from previous experiments that had been pursued, that more than physical, working and social conditions influence productivity in a company. For example, wage is not the only form of motivation. Participation, cooperation and discussion within the working group have a decisive impact on behaviour. This is why Lesley should focus on targeting behaviour, such as encouraging and motivating students to participate in discussions and create interactive unbiased discussions. Kurt Lewin introduced the concept of "group dynamic". His theories are based on the reactions of groups with different styles of command. Lewin's experiment was conducted on groups of children making masks and subjected them to three different leadership styles: democratic, authoritarian and laissez-faire.[3]

Under the leadership style or management used, it noted differences in group behaviour. The Democratic leader was involved in the life of the group, emitted suggestions and encouraging children. The leader "laissez faire" share part of his knowledge, participated a little in group activities and refrain from emotional involvement. The authoritarian leader was directing group work under form of orders and had to stay away. The "democratic" style led to warm relations between group members who were showed to be autonomous after the departure of the leader. The quality of work was also deemed superior. Conversely, the style "laissez-faire" has led to have information request from student to the leader, and a low cooperation among group members, lack of independence and poor quality of work. Finally, the "authoritarian" style either led to aggressive reactions and rebellions to argue with the leader or resignation. Lewin concluded about this experiment that the "democratic style" was superior in both performance and satisfaction of work. Lesley should try to adopt a "democratic style" and consider students in order to improve the quality of work. If she punishes them, it will create a vicious circle with little respect, increase aggressiveness and impoliteness.

Rensis Likert studied developing interactions between group members.[4] Participation in decision making, goal setting and solving problems at the group level resulted in greater efficiency because everyone feels valued and as if they are an essential part of the organization. Likert identified four management systems: the exploitive authoritative system is defined by a communication from top to bottom, decisions from the top without consulting, a strong centralization and the use of fear and punishment as a way of incentive, lead to a low team spirit.

The benevolent authoritative system is where the leader uses threats and rewards as a means of motivation. There is little decentralization except for minor decisions and everyone defends his own interests at the expense of a true team spirit; seeking to be appreciated himself by the hierarchy.

Consultative system results in false pretence of participation in the decision, although subordinates viewed have no real influence, however, teamwork is encouraged. The communication is two-way, workers seem more motivated.

Finally, participative group system is when the group contributes to the decision, the definition of goals, conflict resolution and communication system plays in both sense. Cooperation is strong and the team spirit is developed. According to his results, Likert concluded that the superiority of "participative group system", which leads to satisfactory economic performance and greater employee satisfaction. Nevertheless, the theory developed by Likert can be criticised because if it is true that the satisfaction of employees can increase, it is difficult to conclude that the productivity of work would be improved and that the quality of the decision making from employees is higher than a decision provided by an expert. For example, if Lesley wants to give her students the possibility to contribute to the decision making, she is skilled to have the final decision and to resolve conflict in order to improve the behaviour of her student.

Douglas McGregor[5], following the model of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, has a very strong critic to theories of scientific management, which according to him, is based on a very particular vision of human nature that develops in his theory X. According to theory X, man would feel an aversion to work, be lazy and should be threatened with sanctions for his work. Moreover, man is devoid of ambition, he would flee the responsibilities and wants to be directed and would prefer stability to change. In accordance to McGregor's theory, Lesley should supervise her students and create strict rules, use the punishment and reward system to control her students. For McGregor, these theories assume that man has only one level of needs, which leads to the conclusion that the only system of motivation is economic in nature, or man has higher levels of needs that the organization must seek to meet in order to motivate him. McGregor then further developed Theory Y on human nature, as opposed to Theory X. According to this theory, humans are not adversely affected by work. It may become a source of satisfaction. Humans can change their behaviour themselves, by seeking responsibility, contributing to the company's creative potential, provided that the organization puts up methods and a framework conducive to meeting its own needs, in the accomplishment of corporate goals. Lesley as a manager should create work setting conditions for encouraging commitment of students and give them the opportunity to be creative, imaginative and to be motivated by feelings of doing a good job. Lesley should create a climate of trust and of strong cooperation toward students. Herzberg showed that factor of "Job enrichment" which contributes to the satisfaction at work are those which enable a personal development. To give to students more responsibilities and initiatives, the control is not necessary.[6]

Please put what your write, your notes...we should talk about positive reinforcement ...

Seminar 3 - Motivating Employees

Seminar 4 - Working in Groups/Teams


  1. Organizational Behaviour 6th ed. Huczynski and Buchanan
  2. MAYO, Elton. The human problems of an industrial civilization. New York : Macmillan, 1933.
  3. Lewin, Kurt, 1890-1947. Field theory in social science: selected theoretical papers / by Kurt Lewin ; edited by Dorwin Cartwright. New York, N.Y.: Harper Torchbooks, 1964
  4. Likert, Rensis. New patterns of management. Tokyo : McGraw-Hill Kogakusha, 1961.
  5. McGregor, Douglas. The human side of enterprise. Nickson. Harmondsworth : Penguin, 1987, c1985
  6. Herzberg, Frederick. Mausner, Bernard. Snyderman, Barbara Bloch. The motivation to work. New York : John Wiley & Sons, 1959

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