Chapter 3: PublicAdministration and Organization Theory: The Humanistic Response
This new view took more notice of informal structures and the need for greater flexibility and
autonomy in the workplace. The humanist perspective the employee constituted a complex
individual who could achieve a high level of productivity with the application of the appropriate
motivation. Innovative behaviour
The organizational humanists focused on what actually happened on the factory floor. The
informal system was categorized by the network of friendships, workplace banter and informal
sanctions that occur in every work setting.
Mary Parker Follett
Circular response means no one unilaterally acts on someone else; rather people interact with out
another in ways that influence both parties. Integration referred to the need to combine diverse
elements into a useful whole.
It was however, the particular genius of Follett’s contribution that she recognized and held fast to
the nation that the process of change that generates conflict also provides the opportunity for the
further changes necessary to resolve that conflict. She frequently emphasized the significance of
executives exercising leadership rather than wielding power.
Roethlisberger and Dickson and the Hawthorne Experiments
This led experimenters to focus on the Hawthorne or sympathetic observer effect – the idea that
workers given special attention will experience an increase in morale, which will lead to greater
Chester Barnard and the Importance of Cooperation
His crucial ideal was that an organization is a cooperative system held together by a good
communication system and by the continuing desire of individual members to see the
Members of the organization continue to make contributions to it, but only when they receive
adequate inducements to encourage them to continue to do so. The essence of good management
is maintaining a balance between these two. The inducements offered to workers could be in the
form of monetary rewards, but Bernard felt that other forms of inducement such as loyalty, good
working conditions, and pride in both the work and the organization were probably more
efficient. He felt that workers were rather docile, uninspired creatures who depended on leadership to
accomplish anything. It was the responsibility of the executive to establish good communication
systems that would in turn instil the appropriate company spirit in employees.
Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
The five levels in the hierarchy of needs are as follows:
1. Physiological – food, shelter, clothing, sex, and sleep
2. Safety – security, stability, freedom from fear
3. Belongingness and love – friendship, love, membership in some community
4. Esteem – achievement, competence, independence, prestige, status
5. Self-actualization – self-fulfilment, attaining ultimate goals in life
Instead, management must be sensitive to the fact that workers have a variety of needs beyond
the simple need for money.
Some of the concepts are poorly defined.
Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y
Attitudes of individual managers
Theory X – depicts people as seeking to do as little work as possible and who must be
threatened and closely supervised to ensure that they will do the necessary work.
Theory Y – claims that work is a natural activity and that employees will be quite productive if
given the opportunity to reach their potential.
Difficult to test empirically
• Respect for workers as complex human beings with diverse sets of needs
• Distrust of simple, one-dimensional the theories of motivation
• Recognition that the informal organization can be as instrumental as the formal one in
setting work rules
Criticisms of Organizational Humanism
The most significant are based on the idea that the presumed community of interest between
workers and management does not exist. It is obviously in management’s interest to extract as much work as possible from employees.
This is the profit motive; however, it is in the employees interest to restrict their output to what
they can do in physical comfort.
In the end, therefore, the human relations approach to management proves to be simply another
technique for managerial control.
The human relations approach was also criticized from the opposite perspective by production-
conscious managers. They were concerned that this school was too employee-centred.
The participatory theories held that the tension could be controlled and directed, but probably not
totally eliminated, by allowing workers a real decision-making role in the workplace.
The problem is the inability to focus on the overall organizational goal; the solution is a more
participatory form of management that would allow managers to have a braoder view of the
organization and a clearer understanding of its overall goals.
Organizational development (OD) is based on the idea that all organizations tend to become
rigid or “frozen”. While the organization remains rigid, the environment around the organization
changes and this has serious consequences.
The purpose of OD is to locate the barriers to change and to show the organization how to
engage in planned, goal directed change and not directionless evolution or radical revolution.
The unfreezing stage involves identifying current dysfunctional behaviour and helping the
organization to “unlearn” that behaviour. In the second phase, the improvments needed are
identified and implemented. The third stage involves refreezing the organization with its new
behaviour in place so that the organization does not unconsciously revert to the old behaviour.
Total Quality Management
W. Edwards Deming – before WWII with the development of statistical process control (SPC)
This involved using various statistical techniques to identify and correct deviations from the idea
quality production standard.
The guiding principle for TQM is “Get it right the first time”
The basic tenet of TQM is eliminating quality control as a separate function, and instead making
every employee responsible for quality and giving each role in designing production processes to
ensure maximum quality. One method of establishing TQM in the public sector focuses on three basic princples:
1. Working with suppliers to ensure that the supplies utilized in the work processes are
designed for your use
2. Continuous employee analysis of work processes to improve their functioning and reduce
3. Close communication with customers to identify and understand what they want and how
they define quality
Criticisms of the Participative Approach
One of the criticisms frequently levelled at the participative approaches is that the require a huge
commitment of resources on the part of the organization.