administrative theory

administrative theory
administrative theory, classical administrative theory
An early form of organization theory , pioneered mainly by Henri Fayol (1841-1925), which was concerned principally with achieving the ‘most rational’ organization for co-ordinating the various tasks specified within a complex division of labour (see his Administration industrielle et générale, 1916). The translation of this book into English as General and Industrial Management (1949) implies that Fayol was concerned mainly with business management, although he himself makes it clear that his ideas about management were intended to apply to all formal organizations, including political and religious undertakings. Expressing the French ‘administration’ as ‘management’ has also led to the alternative designation of this approach as the ‘classical school of scientific management’. More recent exponents include Lyndall Urwick and Peter F. Drucker.
Fayol, who is acknowledged to be the earliest advocate of a theoretical analysis of managerial activities, identified the key functions of management as being those of forecasting and planning. The most rational and efficient organizations were, in his view, those which implemented a plan that facilitated ‘unity, continuity, flexibility, precision, command and control’. Universal principles of administration were then distilled from these objectives. These include the key elements of the scalar chain (authority and responsibility flowing in an unbroken line from the chief executive to the shop floor); unity of command (each person has only one supervisor with whom he or she communicates); a pyramid of prescribed control (first-line supervisors have a limited number of functions and subordinates, with second-line supervisors controlling a prescribed number of first-line supervisors, and so on up to the chief executive); unity of direction (people engaged in similar activities must pursue a common objective in line with the overall plan); specialization of tasks (allowing individuals to build up a specific expertise and so be more productive); and, finally, subordination of individual interests to the general interest of the organization. This list is not exhaustive, but illustrates the key proposition of administrative theory, which is that a functionally specific and hierarchical structure offers the most efficient means of securing organizational objectives (see, Fayol on Administration, 1967).
Classical administrative theory, like its near-contemporary the scientific management approach, rests on the premisses that organizations are unproblematically rational and (effectively) closed systems. In other words, organizations are assumed to have unambiguous and unitary objectives, which the individuals within them pursue routinely, by obeying the rules and fulfilling their role expectations, according to the prescribed blueprint and structure. Moreover, in the attempt to maximize efficiency, it is only variables within that structure that need to be considered and manipulated. The interaction of the organization with its environment, together with the various factors which are external to the organization but nevertheless have consequences for its internal functioning, are systematically ignored. Clearly, both perspectives take a rather deterministic view of social action, since each assumes that individuals will maximize organizational efficiency, independently of their own welfare, and with no thought for the relationship between the collective goal and their own particular purposes. The Human Relations Movement in organizational analysis, an otherwise diverse group of writers and approaches, is united by its opposition to precisely this assumption. Despite such criticisms, the classical theory of administration has exerted considerable influence on the fields of business studies and public administration, and it still provides the basic concepts which many managers use in clarifying their objectives.

Dictionary of sociology. 2013.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать курсовую

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Administrative law — Administrative law …   Wikipedia

  • administrative law — the body of rules and principles that governs the duties and operations of federal or state administrative agencies, as commissions and boards. [1890 95] * * * Law regulating the powers, procedures, and acts of public administration. It applies… …   Universalium

  • Administrative divisions of the People's Republic of China — See also: Administrative divisions of the Republic of China This article is part of the series: Administrative divisions of the People s Republic of China Provincial level …   Wikipedia

  • Administrative proceeding — An administrative proceeding is a non judicial determination of fault or guilt and may include in some cases penalties of various forms.A Captain s Mast , held by a commanding officer of a warship is one such proceeding. Various administrations… …   Wikipedia

  • Administrative divisions of East Germany — The Administrative divisions of the German Democratic Republic were constituted in two different forms during the country s 41 year long history. The Republic first retained the traditional German division into federated states called Länder, but …   Wikipedia

  • Public administration theory — is the amalgamation of history, organizational theory, social theory, political theory and related studies focused on the meanings, structures and functions of public service in all its forms.A standard course of study in PhD programs dedicated… …   Wikipedia

  • organization theory — organization theory, sociology of organizations In practice these terms are used interchangeably, although the former has a slightly wider remit than the latter as it also covers work by non sociologists, including those who are concerned to… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Organizational theory in public administration — The thematic evolution of organizational theory is yet another way one might capture the development of the field. Modern public sector organizational theory can be thought of as the product of two fields of study: management and government. Each …   Wikipedia

  • Complexity theory and organizations — Complexity theory and organizations, also called complexity strategy or complex adaptive organization, is the use of Complexity theory in the field of strategic management and organizational studies. Contents 1 Overview 2 Early research 3 Later… …   Wikipedia

  • Chamberlain's Theory of Strategy — Geoffrey P. Chamberlain’s theory of strategy [1] was first published in 2010. The theory draws on the work of Alfred D. Chandler, Jr. [2], Kenneth R. Andrews [3], Henry Mintzberg [4] and James Brian Quinn [5] but is more specific and attempts to… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”