Organizational theory provides aframework for understanding how organizations manage and function, and whatsystems will likely lead to successful outcomes. In the case of the R&Ddepartment at Biotech, Geraldine has developed an efficient and productive, yetprocess-centered approach to management.
As Geraldine approaching retirement, she understands that she will needto retain younger employees, and those who will take over may have differenttheories of how the organization should be organized. Her observation of their different approachesto management demonstrates a conflict between the classical and behavioralschools of thought in organizational theory. Geraldine &Valerie: Classic Management SchoolThe school of thought that best fits with Geraldine theclassical school of thought. Geraldine demonstrates the classical managementschool. Her focus is on how efficient the R&D Department is run. AlthoughGeraldine listens to her employee’s ideas on innovative products and ideas,those ideas area not taken into account in any of her final decisions.
As amanager, we see that Geraldine is very efficient in defining goals, settingtasks, and dividing work among the employees, as well as organizing productmaterials and coordinating and communicating activities between the differentdepartments. She has been successful at running her lab using thisprocess-focused management style. When her employees come to her with problems,she advocates for deciding what method would be useful in a particular situation.Valerie also believes that it’s important that she maintainthe final responsibility for decision making. She and Geraldine share several similarities in the way they run teamsand their approaches to management. They both believe that they should have thefinal say in decisions. She uses theterms ‘order and discipline’ in her approach to management.
When questioned byGeraldine about a recently employee whose adjustments to a flavor had thrownthe team off, Valerie insists that the employee should have followed herdirections and stressed that order was important. She’s not interested in thebehavioral aspects or the factors that may have motivated the employee to keepmaking changes. According to Lumen Learning’s (n.
d) chapter on Classical Perspectives, one of the flawsof this perspective is the fact that human error is overlooked (p. 1) Geraldine &Valerie’s Theorist: Henry Fayol The theorist that best fits Geraldine and Valerie’s approachto management is Henry Fayol. Fayol contributed to classical management theoryby placing an emphasis on management and the various principles – known as the14 principles of management – as a way to increase efficiency and productivity.
The fourteen principles focus on division of labor, authority, discipline, aswell as division of labor. We also see Fayol’s principles of management with respect toauthority as a way to ensure completion of tasks and to encourage compliance.Geraldine relies on input from her team members with regards to developingproducts and innovating, however, she ultimately makes the decisions. Geraldine also becomes concerned that hergranddaughter’s loss of authority will lead to her not retaining control of hergroup. Melanie:Behavioral/Human Resources Theory School of ThoughtSince the classical theory did not account for human error or focus onemployees, the behavioral approach centered on how employees are motivated todo work and examine specific motivations, such as wants and needs.Melanie has adopted a human resources approach that isdemonstrated by her desire to engage her employees and make them feel part of avital group. For example, Melanie deferred decisions to others when theiropinions were different than her own, and her grandmother is concerned that sheis more of a motivator than a delegator. To her grandmother, who is more concerned with processes and production,Melanie’s ideas are a source of frustration, mainly because she feels they willlead to decentralization of control.
On the other hand, Melanie’s concern ismaking sure employees feel stable and safe and that their ideas are taken intoconsideration. Melanie implies that employees have to be encouraged to becreative, and implies to her grandmother that employee retention relies heavilyon this. Theorist: DouglasMcGregor Melanie’s observation that employees will likely stay in anorganization if they are encouraged to be creative is linked toself-actualization.
Therefore, theorist andmanagement professor Douglas McGregor, who based his assumptions about work andworkers on the Theory X and Y management would fit Melanie. Accordingto Lumen Learning Behavioral Perspectives (n.d.) Theory X makes thecase for increased supervision of employees who are seemingly unmotivated and TheoryY assumes that employees are more self-managed and should be steered towardscreative problem-solving with emphasis on employee well-being as the centralfocus (pp. 4). Melanie’s management style is that of a Theory Y manager. For example, she believes that there is acorrelation between employees being able to be creative and retention. Secondly,she believes that employees need to be in a familiar atmosphere where theirsafety is of importance, and their ready to change and adapt to a dynamic workenvironment.
Therefore, her human/behavioral approach is an aspect of Theory Y,as it’s based in human behavior as opposed to efficiency and productivity.Head of Research andDevelopment Lab Choice: MelanieMelanie’s strategic, values collaboration, and is wellsuited to manage cross-functional teams. Most importantly, she is innovative,and is constantly bring new ideas to Geraldine. Her conversations withGeraldine are centered around forward-thinking approaches to enhance operationsand help the lab maintain its competitiveness.
She also provides solid evidence in her reasoning for makingimprovements. Madsen’s article (2016) GoodLeadership and the Changing Role of Management argues that whereasmanagement used to be more centralized, hierarchal, involving top-down decisionmaking, those models proved to be problematic, and organizations have found theneed to engage employees and promote leadership (pp. 1). As a leader, Melanieis more suited to lead and organization based on her ability to work withcross-functional teams and involve employees in the decision-making process,even though their ideas may differ from hers.
Melanie’s recognition of the importance of creativity as ameans for employees to feel motivated also shows a shift from the moreindustrial ways of thinking into a more people-centered approach. Hermanagement style is more decentralized, in contrast to her grandmother’s top-downapproach. Ulrich & Lake’s (1991) article Organizational Capability: Creating Competitive Advantage arguesthat leadership is not simply confined to management, but that employees needto be enabled to think as leaders as well (p. 85).
ConclusionWhereas Valerie and Geraldine rely on the process andefficiency, and created a centralized decision-making process, Melanie’sability to incorporate people into the planning, her ability to come up withnew ideas to stay competitive, and her ability to focus on people rather thanprocesses and rules would be best suited for the R lab.