The modern approach to organizational behaviour is the search for the truth of why people behave the way they do. The organizational behaviour is a delicate and complex process. If one aims to manage an organization, it is necessary to understand its operation. Organization is the combination of science and people. While science and technology is predictable, the human behaviour in organization is rather unpredictable. This is because it arises from deep needs and value systems of people.
Historical Background for Modern OB
Scientific Management Approach
Scientific management approach was developed by F.W. Taylor at the beginning of the 20th century. This theory supported the use of certain steps in scientifically studying each element of a job, selecting and training the best workers for the job arid making sure that the workers follow the prescribed method of doing the job. It provided a scientific rationale for job specialization and mass production. His assumption was that employees are motivated largely by money. To increase the output, Taylor advised managers to pay monetary incentives to efficient workers.
Yet, his theory was criticized by many employers and workers. Workers objected to the pressure of work as being harder and faster. Critics worried that the methods took the humanity out of labor, reducing workers to machines responding to management incentives. Therefore, Taylor’s view is now considered inadequate and narrow due to the points given by the critics.
While scientific management was focusing on the interaction between workers and the task, me researchers were studying how to structure the organization more effectively. Instead of trying to make each worker more efficient, classical organization theory sought the most effective overall organizational structure for workers and managers.
The theory’s most prominent advocate, Max Weber, proposed a ‘bureaucratic form’ of structure, which he thought would work for all organizations. Weber’s idea! bureaucracy was , logical, rational and efficient. He made the naive assumption that one structure would work best for all organizations.
Henry Ford, Henry Fayol and Frederick W. Taylor, the early management pioneers, recognized the behavioral side of management. However, they did not emphasize the human dimensions. Although there were varied and complex reasons for the emerging importance of behavioral approach to management, it is generally recognized that the Hawthorne studies mark the historical roots for the field of organizational behaviour.
Even, as Taylor and Weber brought attention with their rational, logical approaches to more efficient productivity, their views were criticized on the ground that both approaches ignored worker’s humanity.
The real beginning of applied research in the area of organizational behaviour started with Hawthorne Experiments. In 1924, a group of professors began an enquiry into the human aspects of work and working conditions at the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric Company, Chicago. The findings of these studies were given a new name ‘human relations’ the studies brought out a number of findings relevant to understanding human behaviour at work. The Human element in the workplace was considerably more important. The workers are influenced by social factors and the behaviour of the individual worker is determined by the group.
Hawthorne studies have been criticized for their research methods and conclusions drawn. But their impact on the emerging field of organizational behaviour was dramatic. They helped usher in a more humanity centered approach to work.