Systems Of Organization Approach


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Among contributors to the work of the Behavioral School there was Maslow, who explored personality and motivation during 1940s, although not specifically within the workplace. Maslow posited a hierarchy of needs – ranging through physiological needs ultimately to self-actualization. As lower level needs are satisfied individuals will seek to move to the next level. When physiological needs are met say through monetary reward they will satisfy their safety needs by seeking say job security. Other research and writing on workplace motivation was developed from Maslow’s work including McGregor, Herzberg and Alderfer who improved upon Maslow’s original work.

Organizations began to be seen as socio-technical systems by Trist and Bamforth who researched the consequences of changes in work practices in British coalmines upon the introduction of mechanization. The pre-existing short wall method was operated by self-managing and close knit teams, which were fiercely competitive with other teams. These relationships were carried over into the wider community.

The introduction of new mechanical systems led to the re-organization of these teams into larger groups under a single supervisor. The teams were spread over much wider areas and divided into specialized task groups. These changes to the old sub-systems made supervision difficult. Aspects of the old system were re-introduced and this led to improvements in productivity and morale. Organizations came to be seen as open systems reacting not only with their internal sub-systems, but also with the wider external environment creating the Contingency Theory Approach.

The principal schools of thought that existed around 1950 have been briefly described above. There has since been further work and study on organizations, the behaviour of people at work and the impact of changes in processes, technology and the nature and extent of markets. The initial reaction of many is that these earlier approaches have no place in the 21 Century. Organizations, now, no longer supply goods they supply services.

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