theory concerned the optimization of individual workers and work
processes. During the same period, classical organization theory
complimented scientific management by providing a framework for the
structuring the organization. The leading proponents of classical
organization theory were Henri Fayol (a French engineer), Lyndall Urwick
(a British company manager), and Max Weber (a German sociologist).
organization theory is the “B” in bureaucracy. Weber defined the
organization elements which comprised the “ideal bureaucracy.” These
- A clearly
defined (and documented) set of rules and procedures.
This is the company handbook, and other written instruments of company
- Division of
labor according to functional expertise.
This is the notion of individual departments (sales, purchasing,
- A clear
chain of command. There
is a hierarchy based on management rank. Weber also stipulated that
authority in an organizational setting should be based on the office
itself—not on the individual. (Consider a political analogy: Neither
Gerald Ford nor Jimmy Carter would be empowered to declare war or veto a
bill today. Their past executive powers were based on the office they
held—not on their individual persons.)
advancement based on merit.
Promotions should go to those who
deserve who perform well on the job.
managers. The person (or
other entity) who owns the company doesn’t necessarily possess the
expertise needed to keep it running smoothly on a day-to-day basis.
As you can see, many
aspects of Weber’s “ideal bureaucracy” are simply measures that ensure
fairness and objectivity. But critics of classical organization theory
charged that it placed too much faith in the infallibility of rules and
procedures, while ignoring important aspects of individual motivation.