Scientific Management and Administrative theory
Category : Management Essays
This essay is about bureaucracy and human relations and how the two contributes to the understanding of management. The coherence between bureaucracy and human relations can be explored in discussing how they make connection in relation to management. First and foremost, before going through with the essay, let us expound the meaning of human relation and bureaucracy. A preview will better aid us in the further understanding of the concepts and how it is applicable to management.
(1949), the father of management, was the first person to state and widely publicize principles of management. However, the study of human relations emerges from the marketing principles. (1927 to 1932) and has earned him the label father of the human relations approach to management. The final cornerstone of the human relations foundation was laid by (1951) in the late 1930s and having been able to develop the concept of field theory, Lewin was known as the father of modern group dynamics. In a broad context, human relations can be define as the ways in which people interact to form social units and the study which seeks to deal with the subconscious or unconscious motivation of people. In other words, human relations are concerned of what may be done to foster group interactions whether in a small or in a large group scale. According to (1969), "There is no reason why social institutions should be oppressive or rigidly conservative, or why they should not rather be, as many are, flexible and progressive, fostering individuality rather than discouraging it". From the quoted saying of , human relations is an attempt to both understand the subjective and objective aspects of interpersonal behavior and if possible, recommend changes so as to foster better understanding of the essence of human relations.
From human relations, let us turn our discussion to the definition of bureaucracy as being pioneered by two great sociologists and Weber. Bureaucracy stems from sociology and political science as the way in which administration executes and enforces legal rules that is socially organized. Bureaucratic organization is characterized be standardized operating procedures, hierarchy of organization, formal division of responsibility and impersonal relationship in the work place. In Marx's theory, bureaucracy controls, coordinates and governs the production, distribution and consumption of wealth in which it serves as a social stratum deriving its income from human labor. Therefore, bureaucracy is a cost to society but this cost may be accepted to make social order possible. (1947) identified two very different sources of authority in bureaucracies: "incumbency in a legally defined office" and "the exercise of control on the basis of knowledge."A bureaucratic organization is concern is governed by seven principles: official business is conducted on a continuous basis, official business is conducted with strict accordance to the following rules, the duty of each official to do certain types of work is delimited in terms of impersonal criteria, the official is given the authority necessary to carry out his assigned functions, the means of coercion at his disposal are strictly limited and conditions of their use strictly defined, every official's responsibilities and authority are part of a vertical hierarchy of authority, with respective rights of supervision and appeal, officials do not own the resources necessary for the performance of their assigned functions but are accountable for their use of these resources, official and private business and income are strictly separated, offices cannot be appropriated by their incumbents (inherited, sold, etc.) and official business is conducted on the basis of written documents. From the seven principles that governed a bureaucratic organization, it implies that work in any sense is very impersonal and does not seek for interpersonal interaction.
Management entails the managing of people and as to how the organization structure would be implemented. Managing may seem an easy task for some but it is really not at all easy for it entails understanding the people in the workplace while at the same time maintaining order within the organization. Effective management means looking into the core of the people and the organization so that the whole organization can work effectively together.
Human relations focus on interpersonal interaction in the workplace while bureaucracy to its very nature creates only an impersonal relationship. In any organization, there is a need for human relations for management to manifest which is vital in order to create a healthy environment and not only maintaining the social order in the workforce. Maslow's (1950) theory of the hierarchy of human needs postulates needs ranked in the following ascending order: (1) physiological, (2) safety, (3) love, (4) esteem, and (5) self-actualization. Under this theory, an individual’s need for approval and belongingness is evident before it can raise the individual’s esteem needs. Meaning, every employee needs a certain amount of esteem for him or her to feel that she belongs in the social unit and thus, enhances effective functioning. The management for this reason should put emphasis and importance in the incorporation of human relations and bureaucracy so that it can create a healthy organization, promotes healthy working relations in the workforce and at the same time maintaining the social order.
Contrary to human relations which foster interaction, bureaucracy is one specific instance of the general process of alienation. Overly bureaucratic managing of employees could in turn make employees employ the avoidance and escape behavior in the workplace. For example, bureaucracy may drive an employee from effectively doing the job since he or she is closely controlled by the bureaucratic structure of the organization, in turn, not enabling him or her to function freely and make initiatives to enhance better functioning in the workplace. In the understanding of management wherein its task is not only to foresee the structure but also to manage the people, in order for the management to get more from the workforce, they are ought not to overlook to the developmental aspect of human relations
Another instance that bureaucrats can inhibit the employees for effective functioning is the manipulation and taking advantage of the employee’s insatiable need for approval. (1950) called organization men and women "the other-directed"--individuals who were unable to distinguish their thoughts from feelings and unable to express their feelings even when recognizing them. Other-directed employees are attuned to the attitudes and opinions of their supervisors so that they can satisfy the need for approval. This is a clear manifestation that the bureaucrats can take full control in the managing of people.
The structure of bureaucracy does not contribute in any way to the well-being of employees because bureaucrats tend to practice oppressiveness and hunger for power that a bureaucratic organization can bring to them. The need for human relations training emerges as a need in a bureaucratic organization. In human relations training stresses personal growth and understanding paving the way for employees to be themselves, and an opportunity for them to choose and decide for themselves. The human relations training group alleviates an individual's alienation from self and work.
(1968) called attention to the need of employees to develop wholesome personalities through workplace socialization. The personality, he noted, is shaped by the way in which workers relate to each other, and this relationship is determined by job assignments and the status structure of a company. In conclusion there exist a conflict between employees need and organization’s structure. Blue-collar employees’ are unfulfilled in terms of economic and psychological need whereas the white-collar employees’ are unfulfilled in terms of love and affection needs. Mobility tends to detach employees from significant relationships which could provide identity and values. The absence of mobility enhances employees to have a sense of well-being and not only van they focus to follow jobs.
The discussion of bureaucracy and human relations are in some way complementing such that an organization which is concern about maintaining order can derive its effectiveness from its workforce through the development of human relations. Their application to management serves as a guide for effective management to occur. The impacts of both human relations and bureaucracy provide a very good understanding as to what type of management should be implemented to an organization and how to promote interaction in the workforce.
There are three ways to approach human relations in the workplace. One approach is through behavior attributed to uncontrolled. Bureaucracy may at some point be acceptable such that it connotes order and maintenance. The subtleness of bureaucracy would appear uncontrolled through human relations. Second approach to human relations focuses on uncontrolled long-term changes in the organization culture. With the use of human relations would not necessitate the need to control behavior in the workplace, thus bureaucracy with its aims to maintain order is very much attainable. The third approach, the study of organization change that can be consciously induced. Human relation interventions may exacerbate the problem of bureaucracy.