Theories of Organizational Behavior

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Revisiting the Classical theories


Organization indexes considerably more than the structures that lifts us out of ‘bare life’. Organization is also intimately, and utterly, connected to thought. While many, and by no means just those in the West, think of themselves as ‘free’ from enslavement by others, and even free from the organization of the state, who can argue that they are also free from the pervasive effects of language, culture and science? These are matters into which we find ourselves ‘thrown’, long before we wake up to their organizing effects. If, indeed, we ever do wake up. For if the intricate relations between language and thought came to be examined late in the 19th century, questions about the
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After the First World War, the focus of organizational studies shifted to analysis of how human factors and psychology affected organizations, a transformation propelled by the identification of the Hawthorne effect. Prominent early scholars included Chester Barnard, Henri Fayol, Frederick Herzberg and so on. These people together constitute what is generally called the Classical school. One of the first schools of management thought, the classical management theory, developed during the Industrial Revolution when new problems related to the factory system began to appear. Managers were unsure of how to train employees (many of them non-English speaking immigrants) or deal with increased labor dissatisfaction, so they began to test solutions. As a result, the classical management theory developed from efforts to find the “one best way” to perform and manage tasks. It arose because of the need to increase productivity and efficiency. The emphasis was on trying to find the best way to get the most work done by examining how the work process was actually accomplished and by scrutinizing the skills of the workforce.
Later on there were many developments in the field, but the role and importance of this school remains almost unparallel and they can be grouped among the most influential of all the theorists because it was these theories that the later day schools and thoughts took as their beginning point.
Even today,
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