Question details

This question is designed to get students to think about
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LaTrobe University

Faculty of Law and Management

School of Management

MGT1FOM: Foundations of Management

Tutorial Review Questions: Answer Guide

Topic 2: The Evolution of Management Thinking

2.

Based on your experience at work or school, describ

e some ways in which the

principles of scientific management and bureaucracy

are still used in

organisations. Do you believe these characteristics

will ever cease to be a part of

organisational life? Discuss.

This question is designed to get students to think

about these two subfields of classical

management theory. Some may be quick to dismiss sc

ientific management and

bureaucracy as irrelevant because they happened ‘in

the past’. If students are struggling

to see the contemporary relevance of these two sub-

fields, consider scientific

management in relation to McDonalds, and bureaucrac

y in relation to the university (or

school).

McDonald’s success is built on uniformity, predicta

bility and volume and arguably

embodies many of the principles of scientific manag

ement:

Developing a standard method for performing each jo

b. One could argue there is

a science of hamburgers. McDonalds are renowned for

the standardisation of the

way jobs are performed; for example, specifications

are printed and also

inscribed into machines (the buzzers) and each work

station has a check list.

Both the food and the interactions are regulated.

Selecting workers with appropriate abilities. Domin

ated by adolescents and

combines high turnover and career development (Schl

osser, 2001)

 

 

 

Training workers in a standard method. Both potenti

al franchisees and crew

members undergo extensive training in the ‘science

of hamburgers’; for

example, ask students to google ‘hamburger universi

ty’

Supporting workers by planning their work and elimi

nating interruptions.

According to the McDonald’s website, there are, for

example, 119 daily food

safety checks. Well developed system for scheduling

employee shifts

Providing wage incentives for increased output. Can

be easily linked as part of

remuneration package.

If there are students in the class who have worked

in the fast food industry they will be

able to further expand on these discussion points.

Also see the book by Eric Schlosser

‘Fast Food Nation’ (now a movie) for more detail ab

out the fast food industry.

The university (or school) provides a good example

of an organisation that relies on

bureaucratic characteristics:

Clearly defined authority and responsibility. The i

nstructor has the formal right

to make decisions and issue directives (e.g. decisi

ons regarding course content,

assignment questions). The instructor is responsibl

e for the education of the

students by ensuring that they carry out the task o

f teaching to an appropriate

standard.

Positions organised in a hierarchy of authority. In

a university context there is a

very clear hierarchy in terms of titles (e.g. tutor

s, lecturers, professors) and also

in terms of paper coordinators, heads of department

s, heads of schools, and so

on.

Personnel selected and promoted on qualifications.

There is a very clear merit

system based on qualifications, research outputs an

d teaching excellence.

Administrative acts and decisions recorded in writi

ng. In academia there are any

number of forms that need filling out (e.g. student

s grades recorded on a

spreadsheet; for granting extensions, for processin

g late assignments,

remarking).

 

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