Two Schools of Management Theory in Broadcast Station Management

Essay, 2014
7 Pages


A theory is a haphazardly related set of avowals about the causes or relationships underlying observable phenomena (Rudner, 1966) cited in (Hollified, 2005). Broadcast station includes radio, television etc. Albarran (2006) defines media management as a global phenomenon, research and inquiry into the field of media management across interdisciplinary lines, theoretical domains, and political systems. Management science is seen as one of the applied sciences that would serve managers in a similar way as the physical sciences serve engineers (Reed, 1996).This essay seeks to critically discuss the various theoretical approaches pertinent to broadcast station management by gauging major schools of thought that dominated early management science.

Olum (2004) identified two schools of thought. Firstly we have the classical school of thought, which is prejudiced by the doctrines of capitalism and the Protestant Ethic, it views workers as ‘machines’ and encirclements the use of productivity measures. According to Albarran (2006) various approaches used in this classical school of thought includes: scientific management, administrative management, and bureaucratic management. Secondly, we have the behavioural school of thought views workers as ‘people’ and embrace the use of sociological or psychological techniques.

Scientific management approach introduced several practices, including determination of the most effective way to coordinate tasks, careful selection of employees for different positions, proper training and development of the workforce, and introduction of economic incentives to motivate employees. It was developed by Frederick W. Taylor, in the early 20th century, Taylor (1991) in (Albarran et. al, 2006). What differentiate this approach from others is that it was developed by a mechanical engineer and it focus on labour productivity and efficiency.

The second approach under the classical school of management is known as Administrative Management, unlike the scientific management approach this approach was developed by a French mining executive called Henri Fayol who approached worker productivity differently from Taylor by studying the entire organization in hopes of increasing efficiency (Fayol, 1949) cited in Albarran (2006). Henri Fayol’s administrative theory mainly focuses on the personal duties of management at a much more granular level. In other words, his work is more directed at the management layer.

Many of Taylor’s principles of scientific management approach are still found in modern organizations, such as detailed job descriptions and sophisticated methods of employee selection, training, and development Whereas, Fayol’s Administrative management approach’s functions and principles are widely used in contemporary business organizations (Albarran et. al, 2006).

Under scientific management approach Taylor (1991) in Albarran (2006) proposed that workers would be more productive if they received high wages in return for their labour however, later approach proposed that workers need more than just economic incentives to be productive. To emphasize this, ‘fayol’ of the Administrative Management approach stated that he is more interested in establishing principles of management that must be flexible enough to accommodate changing circumstances in terms of management (Picard, 2002).

The third approach under the classical school of thought/management is known as Bureaucratic Management, it was developed by the German sociologist, Max Weber. What makes this approach to differ from other approaches is that it focused on another aspect of worker productivity organizational structure. Weber (1947) in Albarran (2006) theorized that the use of a hierarchy or bureaucracy would enable the organization to produce at an optimal level. This approach was used during early development era of radio (Marvin 1988: 5).

Bureaucratic Management approach called for a clear division of labour and management, strong central authority, a seniority system, strict discipline and control, clear policies and procedures, and careful selection of workers based primarily on technical qualifications while Administrative Management approach deals with worker productivity. Scientific Management approach on the other hand deals with determination of the most effective way to coordinate tasks (Albarran et. al, 2006).

The similarities between these approaches is that they are all classified under the classical school of management and another thing is that all these three approaches concentrates on how to make organizations more productive, with management responsible for establishing clearly defined job responsibilities, maintaining close supervision, monitoring output, and making important decisions (Stoner et. al. 1995, pp. 31-2).

Homans (1958, p. 5) cited in (Olum, 2004) states that the ideas which were raised by the classical school of thought were challenged, for example, the belief that workers were motivated only by wages and economic factors began to be challenged in the 1930s and 1940s, giving rise to the human relations school of management also known as the behavioural school of thought, this is the second major school of thought. What differentiate this school from other school of thoughts is that it recognized that managers and employees were indeed members of the same organization and thus shared in the accomplishment of objectives (Albarran, 2006).

The approaches under the human relation school of management are from a micro perspective, centering on individuals rather than organizations but similarly to the classical school of thought approaches all of them can be applied to broadcast station. Key contributors include Elton Mayo, Abraham Maslow, Frederick Herzberg, Douglas McGregor, and William Ouchi (Albarran, 2006).

“Elton Mayo who was a professor at Harvard University had the greatest influence on the development of the human relations approach to management; it involves a series of experiments conducted from 1924 to 1932 conclusively known as the Hawthorne experiments” (Albarran et al, 2006). The word “Hawthorne” is derived from a plant that can conduct light, Mayo concluded that human aspects of their work affected the productivity of the workers more than the physical conditions of the plant.

“The Hawthorne experiments denote a vital yardstick in management thought by recognizing that employees have social as well as physical and monetary needs” (Olum, 2004). Elton Mayo and his associate’s experiments contradicted Taylor’s beliefs that science dictated that the highest productivity was found in ‘the one best way’ and that way could be obtained by controlled experiment.

It is important to note that the scientific management approach of Taylor (1991) under the classical school of management proposed that workers would be more productive if they received high wages in return for their labour, contrary, to this professor Elton Mayo of the Hawthorne experiments under the human relation school of thought argues that employees has needs other than just wages and benefits, and with those needs met, workers would be more effective and the organization would benefit e.g. employees of small broadcasting stations such as community radio can still do better job if their needs are met.

Psychologist Abraham Maslow contributed to the human relations school through his efforts to understand employee motivation. Maslow (1954) theorized that employees have many needs resembling a hierarchy. A hierarchy is a series of ordered grouping of people or things within a system (Sage, 1999). As basic needs are met, other levels of needs become increasingly important to the individual as the person progresses through the hierarchy. Unlike Taylor, Maslow identified five areas of need: physiological, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization (Olum, 2004).

Elton Mayo Hawthorne’s approach help to identify and meet employee needs as well as to motivate workers, and the results of the experiments stimulated new ways of thinking about managing employees. Whereas, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests that managers may require different techniques to motivate people according to their needs because each individual is motivated by different needs, and individuals respond differently throughout the life cycle (Olum, 2004).

Another approach or perspective is of the psychologist Frederick Herzberg who introduced what is known as ‘Hygiene and motivator factors’. Olum (2004) believes that Unlike Maslow and Mayo, Herzberg studied employee attitudes through intensive interviews to determine which job variables determined worker satisfaction Herzberg (1966). Herzberg’s work suggests managers must recognize a twofold typology of employee needs, hygiene factors and the need for positive motivation for satisfaction.

Whereas Maslow and Herzberg helped advance an understanding of motivation in management, industrial psychologist Douglas McGregor (1960) in (Albarren, 2006) noted many managers still held traditional assumptions that workers held little interest in work and lacked ambition. McGregor labelled this style of management Theory X, which emphasized control, threat, and that employees had a ‘carrot and stick’ mentality. In contrast to this “Theory Y”, the opposite of “Theory X”, argues that people want to fulfil themselves by seeking self-respect. Olum (2004) says that “Theory X” is more ‘classical’ in nature while “Theory Y” is more ‘behavioural’ in nature.

According to Albarran (2006), the classical and human relations schools are similar in the sense that they share organizational productivity as a common goal, although they differ on the means. The classical school of management proposes efficiency and control, whereas the human relation school thought endorses employees and their needs and wants. Neither approach considers the importance of effectiveness, nor the actual attainment of organizational goals. In both the classical and human relations schools, effectiveness is simply a natural and expected outcome.


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Two Schools of Management Theory in Broadcast Station Management
University of Venda
Media studies
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ISBN (eBook)
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schools, management, theory, broadcast, station
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Lutendo Nendauni (Author), 2014, Two Schools of Management Theory in Broadcast Station Management, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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