By emphasizing formal relationships in the organization, classical approaches tend to ignore informal relationships characterized by social exchange among workers, the emergence of group leaders other than those specified by the formal organization, etc. Therefore, his focus is understandably narrow.
Lack of consideration of informal organization
It was not common for workers to think in terms of what “career” they were going to pursue. His basic assumption is that workers are primarily motivated by money and that they work only for more money. First, the workforce was not highly educated or trained to do many of the jobs that existed at the time. In fact, for many writers, technology was the driving force behind organizational and social change. For example, classical approaches seem to consider that a worker’s life begins and ends at the gate of the plant. These assumptions fail to recognize that employees may have wants and needs unrelated to the workplace or may view their jobs only as a necessary evil. For example, Taylor and Fayol’s work stemmed primarily from their experiences with large manufacturing companies experiencing stable environments. Perhaps much more could be achieved if the rules were not so explicit.
Many of the assumptions made by the classical writers were based not on scientific evidence but on value judgments that expressed what they believed to be appropriate lifestyles, moral codes, and attitudes toward success.
Classical theories give the impression that the organization is a machine and that the workers are simply cogs that fit into the machine to make it work efficiently.
Trust in experience
Many of the classical management school writers developed their ideas based on their experiences as managers or consultants with only certain types of organizations. Finally, very little had been done before in terms of generating a coherent and useful body of management theory. Rather, for many, the opportunity to secure a job and a level of pay to support their families was all they demanded of the work environment. The classical theories and the principles derived from them continue to be popular today with some modifications. For example, a strong emphasis on rules and regulations can cause people to blindly obey the rules without remembering their original intention. Therefore, many of the principles are concerned first with making the organization efficient, with the assumption that workers will adapt to the work environment if financial incentives are acceptable.
Classical approaches aim to achieve high productivity, make behaviors predictable, and achieve equity among workers and between managers and workers; however, they do not recognize that various unintended consequences may occur in practice. Several of the main ones are discussed here. It may be unexpected to generalize from these situations to others, especially to today’s young high-tech companies that are grappling with changes in their competitors’ products on a daily basis. They also assume that productivity is the best measure of a company’s performance. Therefore, their attention turned to finding ways to increase efficiency. Since many of these criticisms of the classical school are harsh, it is necessary to make several points in defense of the writers during this period. Often, since the rules set a minimum level of performance expected of employees, a minimum level is all they achieve.
Organizations are influenced by external conditions that often fluctuate over time, yet classical management theory presents a picture of an organization that is not shaped by external influences. It was assumed that all humanity could do was adapt to rapidly changing conditions. Second, much of the writing took place when technology was undergoing rapid transformation, particularly in the area of manufacturing. When such things are not considered, many important factors that affect satisfaction and performance, such as allowing employees to participate in decision making and task planning, are likely never to be explored or tested. Many of the classical theorists were writing from scratch, forced for the most part to draw on their own experience and observations.