The Application of Classical Theories in Management

144 views 8 pages ~ 2124 words Print

Organizational governance, administration and management are initiated by the processes of bringing people together and ensuring they function collectively in harmony to achieve the goals, vision and mission of a particular organization (Bratton & Gold, 2017). The management of today's organizations relies highly on the application of theories that were initiated centuries ago including the set of classical and human relations approaches. These theories have been very influential in determining how institutions and organizations from small businesses to large organizations are governed, achieving employee motivation and high productivity levels. Different companies and firms have adopted the application of classical theories including Fredrick Taylor's scientific management theory, the administration principles approach by Henri Fayol and the bureaucratic organization approach adopted by Max Weber to ensure effectiveness and efficiency in management.

On the other hand, the application of human relations approaches to management encompass the Hawthorne investigation by Elton Mayo, the Maslow's Need Model, the theory X and theory Y. Also, the view of organizations as communities fronted by Mary Parker and the focus on the personality of the organization by Chris Ayris has greatly contributed to the management of organizations today. The theories have been applied across organizations singly and at times combined to achieve high levels of efficiency and effectiveness based on multiple alternatives and viewpoints developed in decision-making. Therefore, the paper will focus on the literature review of the classical and human relations as well as the application of the theories in modern management of organizations to determine the impact of the approaches in management today.

Classical theories

The classical theories of management including Taylor's science-based management theory (1947), Weber's bureaucratic organization approach (1947) and Fayol's administrative principles (1949) focus on the establishment of formal organizations as the means of ensuring management efficiency and effectiveness (Mahmood, Basharat, & Bashir, 2012). The scientific management approach pays attention to the division of labor within the organization through the application of scientific methods to achieve job design and description for the workers. The principles developed by Taylor involved the application of scientific principles to ensure task completion, focusing on training and development of employees to ensure maximum efficiency, matching the employees to their relevant skills, equal division of tasks among the employees and the management focus on planning and controlling activities in the organization.

Henri Fayol added to the organizational efficiency in management through the inclusion of principles including forecasting, being resourceful, commanding, coordination and control (Mahmood, Basharat, & Bashir, 2012). The Fayol's approach to management, therefore, involves the management of the current resources while taking into account the future of the organization through effective forecasting and governance. Lastly, the bureaucratic approach supported by Max Weber involved the development of regulations, standards and rules to establish a system of authority through which the employees in the organization are guided and controlled to achieve high productivity. Therefore, organizations have focused on the development of policies and ethical provisions to guide behavior and conduct.

Application of Classical theories in today's management

Scientific management approach is highly applied in manufacturing and production industry. One of the companies, which have focused on the application of the scientific management approach involves Ford Motors founded by Henry Ford. Today, Ford's management focuses on the use of lean manufacturing process which is important for ensuring cost saving, time management and improved efficiency through the Ford Production System (Kurdve et al., 2014). The Ford Production System has the workers organized in a moving assembly line in which every group focuses on specific tasks as the cars go along the assembly line. Through performing specific tasks the process has the ensured improved production and the reduction in the turnaround time. Furthermore, as provided by the scientific management principles, Ford employees are trained and undergo development before joining the real process of production and assembly in the organization. The establishment of training and development opportunities within a firm increases the efficiency of the organization through equipping the employees with the right knowledge and skills, therefore, leading to the satisfactory achievement of goals and objectives. The application of the scientific methods of management has been significant in streamlining the manufacturing process at the company leading to improved productivity and profitability hence defining fords Success. 

Similarly, organizations have also adopted the application of the Fayol's administrative principles to management to ensure improvement and sustainability in the market. The application of the Fayol's administrative principles has been important in ensuring organizational coordination, control and governance (Mahmood, Basharat, & Bashir, 2012). For instance, in the modern society, McDonalds a fast food chains and restaurants employ the application of Fayol's administrative principles to management through the establishment of control, command and coordination. Every McDonald restaurant across the globe have a single supervisor who has been provided with the authority to give orders to the employees and also take the responsibility of ensuring the smooth functioning of the restaurant. Furthermore, McDonald’s restaurants and fast food outlets provide for the use of a centralized system of governance with the employees, reporting to the supervisor and the supervisors have the decision-making authority in the business.

Additionally, McDonalds has incorporated other principles of supervision and personal accountability through effective division of labor, the unity of direction and unity of command to ensure accomplishment of tasks and improved service delivery to the customers. Apart from the scientific methods and the use of administrative principles, organizations today are increasingly using the bureaucratic organizations approach to management to influence organizational culture and behavior of the employees. Max Weber in the bureaucratic organization theory indicated that rules, regulations and standards are significant in ensuring effective management. Today, organizations are focused on the use of best practices as defined by rules and regulation to achieve efficiency in management (Mahmood, Basharat, & Bashir, 2012). Therefore, organizations are increasingly establishing constitutions, policies and standards to provide the control on how workers undertake their duties and responsibilities. For instance, General Motors have focused on the application of bureaucracy as the method of management, thereby giving the employees to be guided by the ethical codes of conduct and focusing on the use of best practices to achieve success at the company.

Human relations approach to management

Human relations theories have been influential in the management of modern organizations through the establishment of improved relationships and interaction between the employees and management. Also, the theories create motivational channels leading to improved commitment to organizational goals and objectives (Wickert & Schaefer, 2015). Therefore, human relation theories are significant in the establishment of social relationships within ordered administrative systems. One of the models developed by Follet stated that organizations should be regarded as the communities in which the management and the employees work together to ensure high productivity. The theory advocates for providing employees with a sense of belonging and the development of effective reconciliation processes to instill a sense of high productivity among the employees. However, human relations theory was initiated based on Elton Mayo's Hawthorne experiments, which indicated that the interactions and associations in the workplace are significant towards achieving high productivity.

Additionally, the Maslow's need theory classified the human needs into five categories including psychological, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualization in order of hierarchy.  The needs of an individual are satisfied from the bottom upwards until an individual achieves self-actualization. Therefore, the combination of human relation theories has installed the aspect of motivation and engagement in the modern organizations, which has led to the means of establishing competition among companies for skilled human resources (Wickert & Schaefer, 2015). The level of motivation in an organization determines the attraction, recruitment and retention of workers by a particular organization.

Application of human relation theories in management today

Based on Elton Mayo's Hawthorne studies, motivation is a key aspect of improving employee’s productivity, which in turn leads to increased profitability. Motivation techniques employed by companies in the form of bonuses, paid leaves, increased pays, holidays, rewards, promotions, and health and education support instil a sense of value and empowerment, therefore, leading to an improved commitment to organizations goals and objectives. For instance, one of the companies best placed regarding motivation to work for is Google. Google's motivation policy focus on the creation of a fun, happiest and most productive workplace in the globe. Hence, Google offers amazing employee benefit packages to attract the best employees and ensure their retention through investing in them. Such motivation packages include health, education and travel insurance, on-site medical attention, laundry services, lunch, employee massage and a 20% work week to engage in personal projects of interest.

Additionally, Google work environment focuses on the use of inclusion, teamwork and a free place to work following Mary Parker Follett's approach of viewing organizations as communities. Google focuses on the use of teams and groups to ensure the development of new ideas and embrace diversity in the organization. Thus, all Google employees are considered as one huge community focused and committed to the accomplishment and achievement of the Google's vision and mission. These reward perks and additional bonuses offered to the employees at Google makes the company the most wanted regarding attracting new employees and ensuring the achievement of the high retention rates at the company. Hence, Google through taking into consideration the human resources as the most significant asset in achieving organizational goals focuses on making the employees feel highly valued and trusted in committing to the success of the company.

            Similarly, the Maslow's need theory application in organizations ensures that organizations are committed to meeting the needs of the employees at all levels through providing the psychological, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualization needs. Modern organizations are focused in ensuring employee self-actualization through the provision of the training and development opportunities to ensure the employees are highly confident in accomplishing tasks based on necessary skills and knowledge (Johnson & Senges, 2010). Taking the example of Google Inc. the training and development opportunities offered by the company are focused towards ensuring employees discovering their full potential and get committed to something they love and cherish. Therefore, Google maintains high employee morale through the research and development opportunities coupled with the recognition of the employee’s contribution to the achievement of the milestones. As a result, achieving self-actualization, which is important for improved morale among the employees to ensure high levels of productivity. Moreover, Google Inc. provides opportunities for employees to engage in corporate social responsibility initiatives focused on changing the lives of communities across the world. Providing support to these employee initiatives ensure high levels of self-discovery (Do Paco & Cláudia Nave, 2013). Therefore, human relation theories are significant toward the creation of great relationship from the employee levels, with the management and outside communities.


            Despite having different approaches to ensuring effectiveness and efficiency in management, both classical and human relations theories are significant towards the achievement of organizations success. While classical theories pay attention to the establishment of control, authority and administration, the human relations theories focus on the creation of quality relationships, recognition and motivation hence achieving high morale and productivity. The success stories of most international corporations such as Ford Motors, General Motors and Google Inc. are tied to the application of the classical and human relation theories. Therefore, both human relations and classical theories of management are highly significant in the establishment of effective coordination and governance of the modern organizations as well as establishing a quality organization of the human resources.  Furthermore, the application of classical and human relations theories in management today can be seen at different types of organizations from small, medium and large corporations as well as government institutions and nations like the United States. Though several new management styles are rising, and new ways of achieving success are being created in different organizations, these new theories are still embedded as well as borrow critical features from the classical and human relation theories. Therefore, the classical and human relation theories are the pillars to achieving successful management in the modern competitive world of business as well as improved institutional management.


Bratton, J., & Gold, J. (2017). Human resource management: theory and practice. Palgrave.

Do Paco, A., & Cláudia Nave, A. (2013). Corporate volunteering: A case study centred on the motivations, satisfaction and happiness of company employees. Employee relations, 35(5), 547-559.

Johnson, M., & Senges, M. (2010). Learning to be a programmer in a complex organization: A case study on practice-based learning during the onboarding process at Google. Journal of Workplace Learning, 22(3), 180-194.

Kurdve, M., Zackrisson, M., Wiktorsson, M., & Harlin, U. (2014). Lean and green integration into production system models–experiences from Swedish industry. Journal of Cleaner Production, 85, 180-190.

Mahmood, Z., Basharat, M., & Bashir, Z. (2012). Review of Classical Management Theories. International Journal of Social Sciences & Education, 2(1).

Wickert, C., & Schaefer, S. M. (2015). Towards a progressive understanding of performativity in critical management studies. Human relations, 68(1), 107-130.

January 19, 2024

Business Economics


Management Workforce

Subject area:


Number of pages


Number of words




Writer #



Expertise Organization
Verified writer

JakeS has helped me with my economics assignment. I needed an urgent paper dealing with Brexit. JakeS has been awesome by offering an outline with ten sources that have been used. It helped me to avoid plagiarism and learn more about the subject.

Hire Writer

Use this essay example as a template for assignments, a source of information, and to borrow arguments and ideas for your paper. Remember, it is publicly available to other students and search engines, so direct copying may result in plagiarism.

Eliminate the stress of research and writing!

Hire one of our experts to create a completely original paper even in 3 hours!

Hire a Pro

Similar Categories