Academic research into work and employment has contributed

Academic research into work and employment has contributed greatly to
the everyday practice management. The rise of Taylorism, and later Fordism
presented a significant shift in power from the employees to the managers, as
well as greatly increasing levels of output and efficiency. From a Marxist point
of view however these advancements sacrifice the ownership of the work, and
only contribute to the alienation of the employees. Instead of taking the ‘cog
in the machine’ approach to managing the workforce, an employer could instead use
the findings of the Hawthorne’s studies to better understand their employees
and help raise efficiency and output by understanding what motivates them.

Taylorism shows that breaking a task down into its component parts, and
assigning those parts to an individual employee is extremely beneficial to the
daily practice of management. Before Taylorism, employees with craft knowledge
held a great deal of power over management, as they were the ones that knew how
to produce the goods; therefore, they could decide how long it would take for
something to get produced. Taylor removed the advantage they held by breaking
down the task into small, repetitive actions and
creating a division of labour among the workforce. Employees were trained for
their specific roles, and performed their tasks repetitively all day (King and
Lawley, 2016).

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With the application of Taylorism, employees could no
longer use their craft knowledge to slow down production by ‘soldiering,’ a
practice that involved workers restricting their own outputs. Highly skilled
jobs became extremely simple, which meant if the worker became inefficient, they
could receive further training, or a replacement could be trained and put to
work quickly. This motivates the workforce to do a full day’s work without soldiering,
out of fear for losing their job. Breaking down the tasks gives management more
power over production as the nature of the work became more uniform and
predictable, the control that workers once held with their craft knowledge was
transferred to management and the level of skill required to perform the job is
greatly reduced, making every worker replicable (King and Lawley, 2016).

Henry Ford took this concept a step further, by taking
the small repetitive actions and putting it on an assembly line. Ford improved
upon Taylors work by breaking down the task and then creating a “whole sequence
of tasks which went into the manufacture of a finished product” (King and Lawley,
2016: 83) meaning that a production line could start with a single screw and eventually
end with a fully functioning Model T car. In 1909, Ford Model T’s “were produced at a
rate of approximately $14,000 a year at a cost of $950 per car” (King
and Lawley, 2016: 84). By 1916, with the full
application of an assembly line, they were producing over half a million Model
T’s at $360 per vehicle (King and Lawley, 2016). Because of Fords research, the production
line and mass production became a new form of management practice, a practice
that extends beyond Model T’s, and into “most electrical items, computers, and
clothing” (King and Lawley, 2016: 85). Manufacturing jobs were very popular in the
UK and US, but eventually it became cheaper to mass produce items in developing
countries such as China or India.

After the manufacturing industry had significantly receded, call centres
very quickly filled in the gap. “Over 3.5% of the entire UK workforce” (Hudson, 2011: 2) are employed in call centres. Due to
the Fordism-style method of management, they have been labelled as “the
modern-day equivalents of the factory production line” (Hudson, 2011: 1). Call
centre workers were instructed to follow a predetermined script, and repeat it
daily; whilst aiming to get everything done in 35 seconds. Call centre
employees were given “four 15-minute breaks in a day” (Hudson, 2011), which were also monitored.

Following a predetermined script very much falls in line with the
examples set by Fordism and Taylorism. The worker must make the repetitive
action of reading from their script, and they must do so within 35 seconds to
keep up with the targets set for them. This is beneficial for the practice of
management as new workers will be easy to train, and the suggested
time-of-completion will measure if the worker can keep up with the required
output. From a Marxist point of view however, it can be seen as very poor
management practice. This ‘activity alienation’ limits the workers potential
for creativity, as they are following a script. Taylorism and Fordism both
assume that there is a better, quicker way of doing something, but if the
worker has no time for trial and error, the potential for finding more
efficient methods is limited. (Edgell, 2013,
King and Lawley, 2016, Hudson, 2011).

Furthermore, setting four, monitored fifteen-minute
breaks reflects the findings of Foucault’s prison design; in which a central
tower looked out on the inmate’s cells and left them uncertain as to whether
they were currently being watched. If the toilet breaks are monitored, a staff
member can assume that everything else may be monitored as well. This keeps the
staff members acting professional at all times because they cannot be certain
that they aren’t being watched. Members of staff will be less likely to start ‘soldiering’
during working hours as they would not want to face the consequences of doing
so if they were caught. From my own personal experience, I can say with
certainty this type of management practice is very effective at keeping
employees working in a professional manor (Bain and Taylor, 2000, (Hudson,
2011).

In February of 2017 I was working in a well-respected
and fast paced restaurant, that regularly had high a customer turnover. Because
of this, tables needed to be cleared away and set up in a presentable way for
the next customers, and it all had to be done in under a minute and thirty
seconds. On multiple occasions I caught my manager recording my time on a
stopwatch. Because of this I always tried to clear away the tables as quick as
possible, because I was anxious that the manager would be standing just around
the corner and timing me. This type of management is very effective, as its
effects linger even if you are not being watched. From a manager’s perspective
it is a great contribution to management practice as their workers will behave
as if they were being supervised at all times, however it creates high levels
of anxiety for the workers, and could lead to an increased staff turnover, as they
will not feel comfortable in their workplace if they are being constantly monitored.

If a manager truly wanted to find the best way to
improve their management practice and motivate the workforce in a way that does
not leave them anxiety, then they should consider the Hawthorne’s studies. The
six experiments conducted between 1924 to 1932 in the Western Electric Company
in Cicero is one of the largest contributor to the practice of management. The experiments
went into great depth to measure the effects that illumination, rest periods,
wage incentives, morale, and the role of the informal group had on output (King
and Lawley, 2016).

The first few experiments, which focused on the effects
of illumination and rest periods, didn’t yield any well-correlated results.
However, later experiments were much more successful and yielded results that
made great contributions to the daily practice of management. During an early
experiment that focused on rest periods, researchers found that their test
subjects benefited greatly from a “relaxed and harmonious atmosphere” in which
there were no “formal bosses present and increased freedom” (King and Lawley,
2016: 140). They found that in this relaxed atmosphere, the subjects were more
punctual, worked better together, and found methods of doing the job in ways
that were more suited to them (King and Lawley, 2016).

If this more relaxed style of management were to be
applied in the call centre, it can be argued that conditions for the workers
will improve, and as a result, efficiency may increase as well. If the bathroom
breaks were no longer monitored, and the supervision were relaxed slightly the
workers morale would greatly increase, much like the test subjects in the Hawthorne
studies. The workers could find a way of working that better suited them, which
could lead to finding ways of working that suits others as well; a concept that
agrees with the Taylorist principles of finding the best, most efficient way of
going about a task (King and Lawley, 2016).

The penultimate experiment was an interview programme
that aimed to find a link between morale and supervision, to improve the
relations between supervisor and staff. The employees spoke of the “work
conditions, attitudes towards supervisors, and the nature of their jobs” (King
and Lawley, 2016: 144). Those three categories alone can contribute greatly
towards the practice of management, as it lists the three main issues that’s on
an employee’s mind. The experiment concluded that an employee’s “personal
backgrounds and experiences shape how they perform,” if an employee comes to
work and spends their working time “brooding on their personal lives the
worker will be less productive” (King and Lawley, 2016: 144).

Using the research of the Hawthorne’s study in the
workplace can be considered good management practice. Managers can talk to the
employees and make sure that they are not going into work with home-problems,
as well as allowing them to enjoy a controlled amount of socialisation to
create “a more harmonious atmosphere” (King and Lawley, 2016: 140). During my employment
in the restaurant, my grandfather became ill. He recovered, but at the time we
were worried for his health. It was easy to see that I was concerned, so I was
pulled into the office to talk about my worries. Afterwards, I felt fine and
carried on with the day’s work without any issues. This style of management is
a stark contrast to Taylorism and Fordism, which treats its employees as cogs
in a machine rather than people with their own individual lives, concerns and
opinions.

To conclude, the everyday practice of management

 

 

References

Bain, P. and Taylor, P. (2000). Entrapped by the ‘electronic
panopticon’? Worker resistance in the call centre. New Technology, Work
and Employment, 15(1), pp.2-18.

Edgell, S. (2013). The sociology of work. Los Angeles
etc.: Sage Publications, pp.33-40.

Hudson, A. (2011). Are call centres the factories of the 21st
Century?. online BBC News. Available at:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-12691704 Accessed 22 Dec. 2017.

King, D. and Lawley, S. (2016). Organizational behaviour.
2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.70-95, 134-156.

Warhurst, C. and Nickson, D. (2007). A new labour aristocracy? Aesthetic
labour and routine interactive service. Work, Employment and Society,
21(4), pp.785-798.

 

Management
in Context: Annotated Bibliography

Journal 1

King, D. and
Lawley, S. (2016). Organizational behaviour. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, pp.402 – 440.

Search Criteria

In my essay I intend on finding common ground
between two conflicting sources. I needed a source that explains how management
works in practice, and if these advancements made in management theory have any
real-world effects. This essay claims that management is not actually at the
forefront of staff motivation, and that better results can come from good
leadership. To find this source, I referred to the module handbook, and
searched for ‘organisational behaviour’ in the library search engine.

Summary

The purpose of this chapter was to explain
the advancements made in leadership theory over a hundred-year period. It
delves into the differences between leadership and management, summarising that
a leader focuses on helping the organisation evolve while a manager focuses on
keeping things running smoothly as they are. They developed the definition of
‘leader’ further by introducing the ‘great man’ and ‘trait’ theories, the
former looks at the lives of great leaders and the latter lays out a list of
characteristics all great leaders are said to need if they want to stand out.
It challenges the points that it made by considering whether the facts match up
with the folklore, the inequalities that come from the glass ceiling and what
is being done to reduce the inequalities. (King, D. and Lawley, S. (2016))

Evaluation

This information draws mostly from a wide
range of sources, but also references a few things that the wider society
believe to be canonical facts, such as Winston Churchill being a great leader (King, D. and
Lawley, S. (2016)). This
textbook is intended for students who do have a familiarity with the subject of
leadership theory, which is clear from the layout as it gradually guides you
through in a very natural way. All the information presented can be easily
verified by going through one of the many sources that it draws its information
from. The source can be considered objective as it offers the reader the chance
to make up their own mind. It does this by introducing an argument and then a
counter argument; for example, it gives the reader a definition for what a
leader should be, but and then goes on to discuss what they do on a day-to-day
basis. The information presented is relevant and up to date, it was published
in 2016, and uses case studies from 2015 (King, D. and Lawley, S. (2016)).

Reflection

This chapter excels in slowly introducing the reader to leadership
theory, taking them from the very basics, to the real-world application, and
the current issues that face the theory. It is laid out in a way that
inexperienced students, which I believe to be the main audience, can work
through with ease and gather information without being overwhelmed by text. I
think this will be a useful source in the essay as it gives insight into
whether management is as effective as leadership. I believe this source will be
a useful counterargument that could show how academic research may not always
have massive impacts on management and employment, as good leadership may be
able to produce the same results.

Journal 2

Denning, S. (2015). Does management
innovation need a new change model? Strategy & Leadership, 43(2),
pp.33-40.

Search Criteria

In the essay I intend to argue the point that current management
practice is still in dire need of improvement. This article explains that
current management practice is a ‘hindrance to companies practicing continuous
innovation’ (Denning, S. (2015): p33) in their management styles. To find this
source I typed in to the Keele library search ‘management innovation’.
(Denning, S. (2015))

Summary

This article argues that the ‘enshrined principals … of leadership and
management’ are ‘obsolete’ (Denning, S. (2015)). The article expresses that
there is a need for thought leaders to come together and find a common
language, and work together to give management innovation a stronger and
singular voice that can find the true direction of needed change, and proves that
such a thing is possible by referring to how this has been successful in the
tech industry. The article points out how flawed the system of bureaucracy is
by explaining that when resources move away from innovation and to the
executives and shareholders, employees will become uninspired and lose their
desire to engage with their work. The article claims that a consensus is
forming around Peter Druckers foundational insight that the goal of every firm
is to create customers. This point is increasingly urgent in this digital age
as the power shifted from sellers to buyers and the customers’ expectations
changed. The article concludes that if change is to come about, better
management practice is needed, as well as more pressure from all levels of the
business to achieve their goals. (Denning, S. (2015))

Evaluation

Information is taken from an array of articles, most of which were
written by the author himself. This article is less a study of management and
more of a well-informed rant that seeks to express real core issues and genuine
solutions. The article is intended for academics, as they will likely need to
have a good deal of knowledge about management innovation to fully grasp what
the author is expressing. All the claims made in this article are backed up
with more information to explore, making this a transparent article. Denning
has taken a definitive stance in this article, and while he is open to the
limitations of his argument, his goal is to persuade the audience to his way of
thinking, and he is bias towards the point that he is trying to prove. The information
is relevant to today’s issues with management innovation as it details how
management style and bureaucracy is failing modern businesses (Denning, S.
(2015)).

Reflection

Denning presented a very strong and convincing argument, and thoroughly
criticises the issues with modern management innovation. Despite the article
being aimed at people with a wide knowledge of management innovations, he lays
out his arguments in a very natural way that succeeds in easing the reader into
seeing how he has come to his conclusion. The information is presented in a
clean and well laid out way, free from intimidating chunks of text. This
article will be valuable in my essay as it gives honest opinions on the current
state of management innovation, and how the system seems to be failing
(Denning, S. (2015)).

Bibliography

Denning, S. (2015). Does management
innovation need a new change model? Strategy & Leadership, 43(2),
pp.33-40.

King, D. and
Lawley, S. (2016). Organizational behaviour. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, pp.402 – 440.

 

 

 

 

 

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