Classical Organization Theory focuses on both formal and informal structures, internal dynamics, and surrounding social environments of complex human organizations (Milakovich & Gordon, 2013). Max Werber (late 19th century) and Federick Taylor (late 1800s-early 1900s) were the main scholars during these time periods to organize theories on how to effectively and efficiently develop organizational theory functions into the scope of bureaucracy. Although both scholars provided different theories and strategies to hep improve organizations, both had different and diverse approaches.
Max Werber’s Bureaucratic Model was broken into 5 components: division of labor and functional specialization, hierarchy, formal framework of work and procedures, maintenance of files and other records, and professionalism. In short, Werber emphasized clear lines of authority and control. Werber believed that in order for an organization to run smoothly, there would have to be rules, procedures, files and authority through hierarchy (Milakovich & Gordon, 2013). Werber also defined bureaucracy as a structure for social organization and as a way of promoting hierarchical control. In the United States, however, bureaucracy was not designed for efficiency, instead it was designed for accountability. Therefore, the Weberian Ideal was not necessarily ideal. But still, Werber’s theory influenced American public administration and helped influence today’s administrations.
Unlike Werber, Taylor emphasized on specific guidelines and believed that production became before people through “scientific management” (Milakovich & Gordon, 2013). Taylor’s scientific management relied on 4 elements: achieve efficiency in production, rational work procedures, maximum productivity, and profit. Managers and management played key roles in scientific management. According to Taylor, in order to have a successful organization, management had to accomplish 3 tasks in order to increase productivity and profit: time and motion studies, standardizing procedures, and task-related capabilities, this was the “science” of management.
Both Werber and Taylor developed unique methods to better organize bureaucracy. Even though, both theorists have received backlash through out the years. For example, Werber was criticized for viewing workers “too narrowly” and Taylor for failing to take into consideration external problems, such as employees and the effect of supply and demand (Milakovich & Gordon, 2013). Still, both theorists settled a solid foundation for organizations and public administrators today.
Gordon, G. J., & Milkakovich, M.E. (2013). Public administration in America. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Shafritz, J. M., & Hyde. A. C. (2017) Classics of public administration. Australia: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.