"Management is the science of which organizations are but experiments" (John Constable) 

    Everyone belongs to organizations, but what do we really know about them?  Not the social kind, where people simply get together to do whatever comes to mind, but the enduring kind where people deliberately try to get organized to accomplish something.  Clearly there is much that is different about these kinds of organizations (Blau & Scott 1962).  We know that such organizations traditionally form along lines of a pyramid shaped hierarchy based on a military model.  We also know that in order to be "formal," an organization must have a mission statement, goals, objectives, tasks, as well as a roster of personnel or members.  We further know that in order to be "rational," an organization will be able to depict their membership in some kind of chart and there will be principles or rules such as a chain of command, unity of command, span of control, and channels of communication.  What we don't know is why and how informal organizations develop inside of formal organizations.  An informal organization almost always develops and can either help or hinder mission accomplishment.  We also don't know much about how managers are supposed to obtain accountability for the tasks and adherence to the rules.  For example, how is authority to be delegated?  Can responsibility even be delegated?  There is further the problem of size.  As organizations become larger, the units within them tend to become more specialized.  Specialization can enhance effectiveness and efficiency, but overspecialization can seriously impede the mission.  Specialization requires a high degree of coordination, and coordination is critical for any organization, large or small, specialized or not.  By design, most organizations have the following components:


    The mission is the organization's reason for existence, and it's the component held up to the outside world or external environment which makes the organization relevant to social order or societal progress.  Goals are those general purposes or functional divisions of the organization which are specific enough to enable stakeholders (people economically impacted) and clientele (people served) to relate to the organization.  Objectives are specific, measurable outcomes related to goals, such as a 30% improvement or reduction in something, and they are usually time-specific, but more importantly are designed to be what employees can relate to.  Behavior refers to the ordinary task productivity of employees.  Accountability of behavior to objectives is a personnel function, and of behavior to goals an oversight function.  Communication channels normally exist between behavior and goals in most organizational designs.  Organizations can accomplish amazing wonders when, by design, they concentrate on a limited number of functions in a systematic way to achieve coherent goals and objectives.

    All organizations have managers, but few people know what they really do or are expected to do.  At all levels, managers are supposed to have authority and power, which implies the ability to coerce compliance by making subordinates carry out orders.  Basic management skills include technical skills, administrative skills, conceptual skills and people skills.  At the top levels of management are found the administrators or executives who typically carry out the responsibilities of planning, budgeting, public relations, and the discipline of key employees.  At the lower and middle levels of management are normally found the leaders who typically motivate other employees to accomplish organizational goals.  The basic difference between managers and leaders is that managers focus on tasks, whereas leaders focus on people.  A leader in the purest sense of the term is one who influences others by example.  Classic theories about leadership have involved the study of traits which make a good leader, and modern (participative) management theories have focused on teams, which involve characteristics such as shared responsibility, alignment by purpose, high communication, future focus, task focus, creative talent, and rapid response.  In the end, what managers do is synonymous with management (the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals via planning, organizing, leading, coordinating, and controlling, these being the five functions of management according to Fayol 1949).  However, there are controversies over definitions and conceptual approaches, and the following is offered along those lines:

Distinguishing Key Concepts of Management

ADMINISTRATION      The universal process of efficiently organizing people and directing their activities toward common goals and objectives.  Administration is always a headquarters function. It is primarily concerned with stewardship of any property that the organization has already accumulated and long-range planning for the acquisition of more property, "property" being broadly defined here as anything the administrator deems valuable for the organization to pursue as a matter of social policy.
MANAGEMENT      Sometimes seen as a subtype of administrative responsibility associated with the day-to-day operations of various elements within the organization; but often used synonymously with administration in profit-seeking organizations. Management is frequently defined as the process by which elements of a group are integrated, coordinated, and utilized so as to effectively and efficiently achieve organizational objectives (Carlisle 1976). Objectives are usually the most doable things in organizations, and for this reason, some people think that management is not a function of "office" but a responsibility that permeates the entire organization.
ORGANIZATION      The coordination of groups or entities consisting of two or more persons (a collectivity) which has an identifiable boundary, and internal structure (offices), and engages in activities related to some complex set of goals. An organization always has three characteristics: structure, purpose, and activity (Stojkovic, Kalinich & Klofas 1998), and the most interesting question one can ask about organizations regards synergy, or whether the organization acts in ways beyond the mere sum total of activities by its members. The word "goals" usually implies something that cannot be accomplished by individuals working at it alone or in separate ways, so in this sense, goals require synergy and synergy requires organization. 
SUPERVISION      Also called leadership, supervision involves day-to-day direction over the activities of employees, usually implying a one-on-one relationship. Supervision, like "leadership" is always a tribal function (Dupree 1989) which means that it accomplishes its purpose (to motivate and inspire) through manipulation of cultural symbols, such as the organization's vision, subcultural rituals, and formal and informal rites of passage. Supervisors are often seen as by necessity the most futuristic individuals in an organization, but they are also carriers of the cultural "code," values, beliefs, and attitudes for the organization. 

    It is often assumed that principles exist to facilitate something called "work," but indeed, "work" or "job" may be the most difficult phenomena to study because of all the judgmental difficulties in assessing status and wages, quantity versus quality, complexity versus routine, job change over time, multiple job titles and responsibilities, and the weight of work, to name a few conceptual complications (Elliott 2001).  The ability to make money by working within organizations is not a principle, and neither is the subjective perception of unpleasantness or pleasantness.  Status and payment disputes are never-ending in organizations.  There must be stable arrangements for assessing the ability of people to carry out their responsibilities and ensure they have jobs appropriate to their abilities.  Work is therefore best defined as something which needs to be done (Auerbach 1996).  Work, like management (and organizations as well), is what we tolerate as necessary to tell us what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.  In short, work inherently provides us with rules, mainly economic rules.  It is, in fact, the whole basis of economic life, which merits a brief discussion of that dismal science of economics.

    The history of economic rules (and hence the history of organizational management) is connected to the history of "secondary" institutions as they are called in capitalism (Williamson 1985).  Of course, capitalism isn't the only economic system around, but its principles of work are the most common.  A "secondary" capitalist institution in economics is one which provides alternatives to the limitations of a totally free marketplace.  You see, most economists assume that if everybody just bought and sold what they wanted in an unregulated marketplace, then people would only buy and sell what they needed for survival.  No new markets would expand; nothing would change; and nobody would really want to work harder for bigger and better things.  Understanding this is basic Economics 101, and if you grasp that administration, organization, and management exist to orchestrate bigger and better things than mere survival, then you have grasped an important insight into what capitalism and the Industrial Revolution were all about.  Of course, numerous fads and fashions have existed before and after the Industrial Revolution, as the following table illustrates:

The History of Organizational Management

ANCIENT TIMES      The Sumerians (circa 5000 B.C.) invented "script" (first money) and record-keeping, and taxes; the Egyptians (~2000 B.C.) engineered vast projects (pyramids, irrigation), experimented with decentralized government and a form of participatory management ("get it off your chest"); the Babylonians (~1800 B.C.) put supervisor responsibility(vicarious responsibility) into Hammurabi's Code, and Nebuchadnezzr experimented with color as coding system and with wage incentives; the Hebrews (~1500 B.C.) had Moses' father-in-law, Jethro who invented the Scalar Principle (hierarchy principle, that all organizations ought to be pyramidial) and the Exception Principle (only bring big matters to your administrator); the Chinese (~1100 B.C.) glorified militarism, established system of grading workers into classes, and invented merit exams; the Greeks (~400 B.C.) invented job rotation, work to tempo of music, had a division of labor (based on superstitions about mixing wood, metal, etc), held famous debates over generic vs. distinct management styles in the dialogue between Socrates and Xenophon, and created the staff principle (adjutants or aide-de-camps); the Romans (~200 B.C.) organized the world's largest empire, engineered vast projects, created job descriptions, and debated over the traits of good leaders.
MEDIEVAL PERIOD      Feudalism (600-1500 A.D.) concerned itself with the traits of a good leader and established the delegation principle (the lending of land to vassals in return for share of the crops) ("what can be delegated can be taken away"); Mercantilism expressed economic self-protection, the accumulation of resources (bullion), managing colonies and a spirit of trade, and a concern for esprit-de-corps of workers; Physiocracy expressed the idea that land (real estate) is the greatest wealth, and developed laissez-faire (hands off) principles of management; the Venetians (~1400 A.D.) became shipbuilders to the world, invented the assembly-line technique, employee evaluations (each March & September), and the ever-popular "wine breaks" 5 or 6 times a day for workers; Sir Thomas More (1500 A.D.) argued in his book, Utopia, for leaders to set the moral climate of organizations; Niccolo Machiavelli (1525 A.D.) argued in his book, The Prince, that leaders need to be shrewd, calculating, greedy, designing, practical, daring, and of unscrupulous character.
INDUSTRIAL PERIOD      Capitalism (1765-present) instituted a free market system of production and distribution with principles based on the idea of profit and reinvestment; James Watt (1765) invented the steam engine and established employee Christmas parties and end-of-year bonuses; James Stewart (1766) - invented the piecework (incentive) system, quotas and rates for workers; Richard Arkwright (1776) created the 8-hour work shift; Thomas Jefferson and Eli Whitney (1785) came up with idea of interchangeable parts (one size fits all); Robert Owen (1810) practiced leadership through moral persuasion along with cross-training (job rotation); James Mill (1820) was an early originator of human motion and time studies; Charles Dupin (1831) focused on integrity and honor among managers; Charles Babbage (1832) invented the computer, foreshadowed scientific management (specialization), and brought back the ancient idea of using colors for efficiency; Andrew Ure (1835) had the idea of putting ventilating fans in factories; Henry Poor (1855) created information communication systems (switching data banks) for the U.S. railway system; Daniel McCallum (1856) created the way we still do organization charts (tree design); the "Robber Barons" or tycoons, such as the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers, Carnegies, Schwabs, Armours, Morgans, Edisons, and Fords, all practiced ruthless monopolization and anti-labor policies while pursuing other management initiatives.
20th CENTURY      The 1950s saw:  computerization - computers and associated gobblygook were the prophets of progress; theory X and Y - McGregor's theory of participatory management; quantitative management - the trust in numbers and cybernetic modeling; and management by objectives - Peter Drucker's idea of management by negotiation.
     The 1960s saw:  T-groups - sensitivity groups/encounter seminars to teach interpersonal skills; matrix management - people reporting to different superiors according to task; and the managerial grid - an instrument for determining a manager's concern for people as opposed to a concern for task.
     The 1970s saw:  zero-based budgeting - the idea of starting all over again from scratch each fiscal year; and the experience curve - using past experience to cut prices and gain market share.
     The 1980s saw:  theory Z - adoption of Japanese management techniques; demassing - trimming the workforce and demoting managers; restructuring - sweeping out old practices and taking on new debt; cultural climate - attending to the moral examples set by top management; and management by walking around - leaving the office to visit the workers.
     The 1990s saw: reorganization/restructuring - reorganization that changes lines of authority or restructuring that involves moving, adding, or eliminating organizational units; downsizing - streamlining, tightening, shrinking, or laying off a number of personnel; reengineering - changing the way work is carried out, to better serve the customer, client, or citizen, usually with technology; rightsizing - reducing the workforce, expenses, and redesigning policies, but can also involve upsizing (increasing the workforce) in certain areas considered vitally important; rethinking - strategically identifying and refocusing the core mission; delayering - removing one or more of the layers of management between the head and the front or operational lines; and deregulation - clearing away rules, regulations, paperwork requirements, or approval processes that affect the performance of public servants.

    Structure (how something is held together via the relationships between its parts) is perhaps the most important concept in organizational theory.  Structure is the basis of every large administration, and the structural approach tends to concentrate on top-down delegation of authority.  Almost all the well-known theories in organizational science (such as Max Weber's bureaucratic model) are examples of the structural approach, which usually justifies hierarchical arrangements or at least a way to tweak them into becoming more efficient or humane.  The structural approach is not limited to large organizations but can be used to describe systems of all kinds.  According to Kettl & Fesler (2005), there are four contenders to the dominance of the structural approach in organizational theory.  These alternative theories include: (1) the humanist approach which focuses on the life of individual workers within the organization; (2) the pluralist approach which focuses on how interest groups can shape an organization; (3) the third-party approach which maintains that with more organizational contracting-out, the less it fits structural models and so new ways of integrating third parties are necessary; and (4) the formal approach to model-building which views bureaucracies as networks of contracts, built around systems of hierarchy and authority.  An additional structural approach is systems theory which sees structure as not so much an anatomical thing, but the patterned, purposive ways people act inside organizations, or in other words, with structure being the same as the functions people carry out.  In an approach known as structural-functionalism, the functions always constitute the structure.   


    It is considered conventional wisdom that the more executive functions of an organization should operate according to principles, theories, and rules.  If there are none, then you have a situation that administrative science calls "muddling through" which is another term for "flying by the seat of one's pants."  What it usually involves is a method with no basis in theory.  Probably the number one rule in such an amorphous environment is that the organization should try to meet all its goals.  How this can best be accomplished is the subject of many theories.  It's in the nature of goals that any sizeable organization with have complex, multiple, and sometimes conflicting goals.  Often, there are parameters in the external environment (laws, for instance) that place limitations on goal accomplishment.  Sometimes, because of complex goals, organizational pursuit of a goal seems to create more trouble than it's worth, and the goals just keep getting more and more complex and unattainable.  Another common occurrence is when the internal environments (the employee subcultures or informal organization) interfere with goal attainment.  As a general executive principle, successful goal accomplishment often means that any organization worth its salt will change employees before employees are successful at changing the organization.  This is a primary characteristic of an OPEN organization, one which places priority toward external market forces, as opposed to a CLOSED organization which prioritizes the needs and interests of employees in hopes of achieving internal harmony.  Managers have to find the right balance between structuring an open and closed organization.  Open and closed organizations differ significantly in the way they deal with internal and external affairs, and most organizations are a mix of the two types.  The dichotomy of open-closed can also be used to examine organizational culture and leadership (Schein 1987).  More importantly, the dichotomy of open-closed gives rise to the first truly scientific theory of organizations -- OPEN SYSTEMS THEORY. 

    It may seem strange to present open systems theory as the first truly scientific theory, but as Munro (1974) points out, the approach has been around since the 1920's and 30's.  Open-system theory consists of the idea that some organizations are constantly interacting with their environments.  A business, for example, which requires more and more raw materials as well as operates in a rich tariff or fluctuating currency environment would need a different set of rules than one operating in a more stable environment.  An open-system organization is not passive.  It reaches out, draws energy from the environment, and tries to shape the environment, but yet at times, is at the mercy of the environment.  Rules and principles typically found in this kind of organization include intensive training of recruits and stringent selection of employees.  Job descriptions might be very detailed, and discipline might be harsh.  Decision-making might weigh some factors as more important than others.  Criteria for measuring goal attainment might be different than expected.  Katz and Kahn (1978) suggest that open-system organizations usually follow a simple cybernetic model of input -- throughput -- output, with special emphasis on throughput (how to change the inputs or alter and use the energy imported) and output (recurrent cycles of quality service to consumers).  It's unfortunate that many people oversimplify open-system theory to just mean customer service because the theory is much more than that.

    There is no closed-system theory, but any system taken in a large enough context can be considered a closed system, which is to say that every system is a subsystem of some larger system, and there exist certain subsystems for which it is unnecessary to understand their linkages to the environment.  All systems are both subsystems of larger systems and composed of subsystems at the same time.  A closed system is one that does not need to interact with its environment to maintain its existence.  Examples include overly bureaucratic regulatory and monitoring organizations as well as, of course, parasitic organizations which essentially subsist off other organizations.  Some aspects of scientific management, another organizational theory, hold that many industrial-type organizations are fairly self-contained entities and have no need to constantly interact with their environment because the environment is usually stable or presents such constants (no surprises) that it can be taken for granted (Taylor 1947).  In this view, closed-system organizations tend to "have their act together" in terms of having all the elements of the organization well-connected.  For example, communication flow in a closed-system always follows the lines of hierarchy; power and authority are always a function of office; and change is only implemented when it improves harmony in the socioeconomic dimensions of the organization.


    Administration is both an art and a science (albeit an inexact and soft science, but it is also a craft because administrators are not judged by their education or training, but by their performance on the job.  Some craft characteristics include the fact that administrators come to enjoy their authority and power, having no fear of it (i.e., "power will not corrupt").  Administrators usually believe their skills are GENERIC (transferable across organizations), but there is a debate between MPA- and MBA-educated administrators on this matter.  Administrators never feel guilty about their (higher) salaries ("it's my value to the organization").  Administrators also often "satisfice" rather than try to be efficient or effective, satisficing being a term that abbreviates and combines the words satisfactory and sufficient.  In the end, craft is the same as art, so the choice comes down to whether administration is an art or science.


Examples of the Art and Science of Administration

ART: Nine Normative Principles:

1. State clear objectives
2. Align individual & organizational interests
3. Act as final arbitrar (the buck stops here)
4. Identify reward paths for employee performance
5. Be creative, individualizing rewards paths
6. Reward performers
7. Punish nonperformers
8. Take risks & make reasonably risky decisions
9. Set an example for moral conduct and climate


Planning - advance determination of objectives and methods for achieving them
Organizing - establish a structure of authority through which work gets done
Staffing - recruiting, hiring & training workers; maintaining favorable working conditions
Directing - make decisions, issues orders & directives; aka leadership
COordinating - interrelate the parts of the organization
Reporting - keep those above you informed, via reports, records, research, and inspections
Budgeting - fiscal planning, accounting, and control


    Today, a separate field of study called organizational science exists, and theoretical work in that field often takes place not in organizational theory proper but in two analytical areas: organizational behavior and organizational development (Golembiewski 1998).  The study of organizational behavior tends, for the most part, to be characterized by the study of how people act and make decisions in organizations.  There are four models of organizational behavior (OB) which have evolved over time with no one being the "best" model, as below:

    The study of organizational development (OD) tends, for the most part, to be characterized by normative (or moral) concerns for the quality of work-life, the adaptability or flexibility of organizations, and the ways that attitudes, behaviors, and values can be changed to help an organization adapt to a fast-paced environment.  In the typical intervention which is organizational development (OD), change agents are either brought in or created to help stimulate, facilitate, and coordinate change.  Also typical are attempts to redesign jobs, and there are two models for job redesign which have generated the most theoretical interest, as below:

    Besides the above theoretical models, there's no escaping the fact that organizational science (or theory) tends to be quite heavily informed by systems thinking, or the notion that any problem tends to be best understood when its component parts are analyzed in relation to the whole.  In other words, the parts of something are believed to operate quite differently when viewed in isolation or independently.  No independent part can ever constitute a system.  All systems have interdependent parts, and when they operate together, the systemic interaction is toward some goal or end state.  Noise (entropy) and specialization (differentiation) can exist in a system, but these, like unpredictability, can all be regulated by feedback mechanisms (some portion of an output signal is passed back to the input).  All systems have inputs and outputs.  In a closed system, inputs are determined once and constant; in an open system, additional inputs are admitted from the environment.  The following chart should help illustrate systems thinking:

    The systems model above incorporates Lewin's (1958) three phases of change, making this an organizational development (OD) model, or a model for what Lewin called it - action research.  The first phase (unfreezing) involves awareness of a need to change; the second phase (changing) involves the exploration and testing of new ways of doing things; and the third phase (refreezing) involves applying the new behavior if it is evaluated well.  Notice the double feedback loops because they are there to achieve what systems theorists call "negative entropy" or the ability of a system not to lose energy to do work.  There is no way for students in public management to avoid dealing with the academics of systems theory eventually.  Systems thinking (or the systems framework) extensively permeates the whole field of organizational science via many influential thinkers, like Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1901-1972), Talcott Parsons (1902-1979), Kenneth Boulding (1910-1993), Jay Forrester (1918-), Russell Ackoff (1919-), Edgar Schein (1928-), and many others.  Further, many management consultants like Peter Drucker (1909-2005), Stephen Covey (1932-), Tom Peters (1942-), and Peter Senge (1947-) have made profitable livings out of turning academic systems thinking into digestible products for business applications.


Systems Theory
    It has been said systems theory is the dominant paradigm in administrative science (Harmon & Mayer 1986).  It can also be said that Katz & Kahn (1978) represent the most influential work in systems theory.  Not only did Katz & Kahn (1978) emphasize negative entropy in order for organizations to survive, but they also emphasized "equifinality" (the achievement of various goals by a variety of approaches) in order for organizations to grow.  According to Katz and Kahn (1978), managerial systems require four subsystems to work properly:  a support subsystem; a maintenance subsystem; a production subsystem; and an adaptive subsystem.  Further, three factors influence the manner in which these subsystems work:  the authority structure; the ideology; and the pattern of formal roles.  Katz & Kahn (1978) focused primarily on the pattern of formal role behavior because they wanted to develop a social psychology of organizations based on the relatively fruitless idea of looking at organizational ideology as a set of norms tied in with role expectations, so they never really developed their social psychology.  Other theorists have focused their attention on other components, and for the most part, systems theory is still far from fully exploited in organizational science.

Contingency Theory
    What is called "contingency theory" rests upon an understanding of uncertainties an organization faces in its environment; uncertainties being variables the organization can neither control nor predict.  For instance, Thompson (2003) claimed that most organizations are a mix of open and closed types, and often have goals that are unclear or conflicting.  These are problems that the bureaucratic and scientific management approaches have a hard time dealing with.  Employees differ in their tolerance for risk and ambiguity.  Threats to an organization can come from both inside and outside the organization.  Organizations can be attacked by elected officials, interest groups, the news media, individuals, and its own workers.  Management must deal with these attacks in order for the organization to achieve rationality, survival, and stability, but management must also protect the core of the organization.  The core of any organization is typically a technical (or technological) core (that is what gives organizations their high performance), and this core needs shielded as much as possible from uncertainty by setting up separate components which interface with the outside world instead of this core.  Hence, the technical core of an organization should always be structured in a closed-loop fashion.  In contingency theory, uncertainty determines structure.  It depends upon threats and attacks.  Other notable contingency theorists include Fiedler (1967) who explored the relevance of one's Least Preferred Coworker to one's management style and Lawrence & Lorsch (1967) who pioneered the field of human resource management by showing how the principle of "unity of effort" requires not just unity of command (integration) but managing the time orientation of workers in different subunits or subsystems (differentiation).  

Expectancy Theory
    In what is called "expectancy theory" (Vroom 1964), the focus is on choices that individuals make, and it is assumed that all workers expect a positive correlation between performance and reward.  Organizations are believed to run on the principle that the desire to satisfy the need will always make the effort worthwhile.  Motivation is the product of three components:  valence (how emotional people are toward rewards); expectancy (expectations or levels of confidence in one's abilities); and instrumentality (perceptions one will get what they deserve).  Expectancy theory is very similar to another theory, called "equity theory" as developed by Homans, other social exchange psychologists and strain criminologists.  Expectancy theory, however, tends to be measured at the level of need while equity theory tends to be measured at the level of want; i.e., realistic expectations rather than unrealistic aspirations.  Sometimes it's the desire to perform a behavior rather than the need to perform a behavior that matters.  Most systems thinkers, however, would say it's outcomes which matter.  In any event, with Vroom (1964) one can see how the study of personality factors makes inroads into organizational science. 

The Managerial Grid
    In 1964, Blake & Mouton developed a theory known as the "Managerial Grid" which can be classified as a kind of expectancy theory, although some academics regard it as a human relations theory since it is based largely on McGregor's (1960) Theory X and Theory Y.  It is based on two variables: focus on task (production) and focus on relationships (people). The grid includes five possible leadership styles based on concern for task or concern for people. Using a specially designed testing instrument, people can be assigned a numerical score depicting their concern for each variable. Numerical indications, such as 9,1 or 9,9 or 1,9 or 1,1 or 5,5 can then be plotted on the grid using horizontal and vertical axes. Although their work is frequently classified as a leadership theory, it can be useful for a number of purposes, most particularly when it comes to organizational design or the study of organizational conflict.  Hersey & Blanchard (1993) extended the model by expanding upon the leadership implications of the relationship and task dimensions and adding a readiness dimension.  Clearly, the managerial grid was extremely popular for many years, and in its simplest form looks as follows:

Blake and Mouton's Managerial Grid

     The model identifies five different leadership styles based on the concern for people and the concern for production, and the worst style is 1.1 or the impoverished style where a manager simply tries to hide out and not be noticed. Style 1.9 or the country club style makes for a comfortable place to work, but little productive work gets done. Style 9.1 is dictatorial management or Theory X (employees always need to be told what to do). Style 5.5 or the middle of the road style produces suitable or satificing performance only.  Style 9.9 or the team style is the best style and is generally synonymous with Theory Y (most employees want to do well and there is an untapped pool of creativity in every workforce).  

Compliance Analysis
    Etzioni (1975) developed an analytical framework which has some utility for explaining when systems and subsystems don't work as well as designed.  He argued that organizations are distinguishable on the basis of "compliance mechanisms" they rely upon to control workers.  Compliance, along these lines, is synonymous with power, and power within organizations can be coercive (threat driven), remunerative (reward driven), or normative (symbolic reward driven).  A key assumption of compliance analysis is that when organizations emphasize more than one type of power, over the same time and over the same group, the different kinds of power tend to neutralize each other.  Compliance structures should be congruent, otherwise alienation sets in among workers who are highly motivated but not driven by rewards and those driven by coercion tend to despise those driven by rewards.  In other words, when managers are forced to employ more than one kind of power, the system usually fails.  Further, when interorganizational subsystems are put together into one system, and each subsystem relies on a different compliance mechanism, the larger system will likewise fail, this being a common theoretical explanation of interorganizational ineffectiveness in the literature.  Etzioni (1975) has also characterized the orientations of workers toward power as one of three kinds:  alienative (intensely negative); calculative (low intensity); and moral (high positive intensity).  When these three kinds of orientations are combined with the three kinds of power, the result consists of nine possible compliance relationships, as illustrated below:

The Nine Types of Compliance Relationships

  Alienative Calculative Moral
Coercive 1 2 3
Remunerative 4 5 6
Normative 7 8 9

Gulick and Urwick
    Among those who advocated that management principles ought to be generic and have universal applicability, the names of Gulick and Urwick (1937) stand out.  These are the pioneers who invented the acronym POSDCORB to describe the eight essential, daily tasks of a manager.  POSDCORB stands for Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, Coordinating, Reporting, and Budgeting.  They are the eight things that a manager must exercise power and responsibility over, and they are to be accomplished primarily by putting the right people in the right places of the organization.  Gulick and Urwick (1937) were big believers in division of labor, as well as many other principles which have become associated with administrative science since that time, as follows:

    Gulick and Urwick (1937) provided no shortage of principles.  Another list of all the management principles they advocated includes the following which is sometimes cited as a comprehensive set of organizational principles:

    1. Principle of the Objective (Organizations must have a common purpose)
    2. Principle of Correspondence
(Organizations must have fairly coequal systems of authority and responsibility)
    3. Principle of Responsibility
(Supervisors must be responsible for the work of their subordinates)
    4. Scalar Principle
(Organizations must have a pyramidal-shaped organizational structure, or hierarchy)
    5. Span of Control
(The best span of control for most organizations should be about 5 or 6)
    6. Principle of Specialization
(Work should be limited to one function only for most workers)
    7. Principle of Coordination
(Administrators should always look for ways to creatively realign the organization)
    8. Principle of Definition
(There should always be clear job descriptions)

Mooney and Reiley
    Another group of theorists who advocated general principles were Mooney and Reiley (1939) who studied the problem of how to make large organizations as efficient as small ones.  They mostly came to the same conclusions as Gulick and Urwick (1937), but offered the following as generic organizational principles:

Henri Fayol
    The "grandfather" of all administrative science is, of course, Henri Fayol (1841-1945), a French business executive famous for turning companies around from the brink of bankruptcy  Fayol's (1949) works were not translated into English until the 1940s, and in comparison to other theorists, his principles amounted to essentially the same thing as Gulick and Urwick's (1937) POSDCORB except that Fayol added commanding and controlling.

    Fayol's (1949) suggestions for turning companies around also provided some interesting principles.  His advice in this regard was to:  (1) start at the top and reorganize the upper management echelons, including the Board of Directors; (2) teach everybody in the organization management theories and administrative thought; (3) eliminate as much red tape as possible in the organization; and (4) establish lines of lateral communication.  Here's a detailed analysis of these ideas: 

    1. Start at the top -- Fayol believed that most problems of management stemmed from management people being too far removed from an appreciation of the lifestyles and concerns of the average worker. He desired that managers should come from the ranks of workers rather than from an elite class in society. He believed that no formal education or training was necessary for the generic skills of administration; even parents by virtue of having raised children would make good managers. Today's "Executive-for-a-day" programs are a Fayolian tradition.
    2. Teach everybody management theory
-- Fayol started trade schools and college courses in the factories he supervised, not so much to afford workers a chance to move up, but to bring management and labor together in the workplace of ideas. Regular line-staff conferences and meetings were held periodically in the organization to discuss the ideas of management thinkers, and the purpose of these debates and discussions was intended to increase morale and esprit-de-corps.
    3. Eliminate red tape
-- Paperwork and mathematics were considered unnecessary by Fayol. What was needed instead of planning was careful forecasting (guesswork), concentration upon the vision and long-term (10-year) goals of the organization. Fayol even advocated periodically changing the organizational charts, for no reason at all but to shake things up a bit.
    4. Lateral (sideways or horizontal) communication
-- Although Fayol did not sacrifice the Scalar Principle, he advocated a rather narrow span of control, no more than 4, which resulted in rather tall organizations. This created the problem of "middle management", ranks of people in the middle of the organization acting as buffers for vertical (up & down) communication. Since there was little to be done about innovating vertical communication (it would go on anyway), Fayol concentrated on horizontal (lateral) communication, inventing the now-famous gang-plank principle, which means that there must be structured opportunities (not usually present in organization charts) for people at the same ranks to talk to one another, even if different departments are involved.

The Full List of Fayol's 14 Management Principles

    1. Division of work (specialization of labor)
    2. Authority
(and responsibility commensurate with authority)
    3. Discipline
(based on respect rather than fear)
    4. Unity of Command
(people cannot bear dual command)
    5. Unity of Direction
(one head and one plan for each unit of management)
    6. Subordination of individual interests to the general interest
(no individual should ever prevail, or try to prevail, over the organization)
    7. Remuneration
(a wage system that is fair, reasonable, and rewarding)
    8. Centralization
(subordinate roles must be less important than superior roles)
    9. Scalar principle
(a hierarchy of communication but using the gang-plank principle)
    10. Order
(a place for everything and everything in its place)
    11. Equity
(employee relations based on kindliness and justice)
    12. Stability of tenure of personnel
(provisions to replace human resources)
    13. Initiative
(display of zeal and energy in all efforts)
    14. Esprit de corps
(build harmony and unity within the firm)


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Last updated: Dec. 25, 2013
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