29 October 2013
The Office Report
Organizations are present in both our daily and our work lives. An organization may be defined as: Organizations are communicative structures of control – the result of dynamic discursive struggles between multiple organizational stakeholders (McDonald, class notes) In a capitalist society, productivity and maximizing profits will always be the main purpose for any organization, throughout the years environments in organizations had changed radically and it is because economy is telling us that if an organization is not earning more profits every year, that organization is actually losing; and in order to maximize profits and trying to make employees work more effective, organization theories have arisen since the 19th century to our days. Organization theory is an important tool to help us think about concrete problems in abstract terms. Understanding the relationships between the organizations, technology, social structures, cultures, physical structures and the environment will aid the information professional in making the best and most informed decision in regards to the success and survival of their organizations In the Classical Approach of Organizational Theories, authors such as Taylor, Weber and Fayol were concerned with the structure and the activities of formal organization. The utmost importance in the achievement of an effective organization was seen to be the issues such as the establishment of a hierarchy of authority, the division of work, and the span of control. Also the classical approach does not give any financial reward; it deals with very little communication and no social interaction between employees. It also assumes that the organizational members are the tools of the management and as tools they are part of the organization’s system and is expected to perform accordingly to their function.
In the human relations theorists such as Elton Mayo, Mary Parker Follett, Douglas McGregor and Rensis Likert tried to integrate psychology and sociology with management. According to them, organizations are a social system of interpersonal and inter group relationships. They gave importance to the management of people. In fact, they felt that management can get the work done from the workers by satisfying their social and psychological needs. Workers around the world do not know what type of theories their bosses are implementing to them in order to have a better productivity. In fact, they don’t even know that their bosses are actually controlling them with one or several of these theories.
The TV program “The Office” let us identify different organizational theories. The working environment that we see in this TV series is very similar to the ones we have worked in or we will work. Also with the different concepts we have covered in class, we can now appreciate what the theorists were referring to in office environments.
On the episode “The Coup” of the third season, Max Weber with his bureaucratic theory and Elton Mayo with his Hawthorne effect studies are represented. Max Weber (Classical Approach) believes that bureaucracy is the formal system of organization and administration designed to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. He gave emphasis on division of labor, hierarchy, detailed rules and impersonal relations. In fact, Weber believes in his theory that officers are organized in a manner in which higher officer controls lower position holders and that officers can control the workers to make sure that job is well executed. Max Weber didn’t care of the employee as a human being. On the other hand Elton Mayo (Human Relations School) focused on the individual and on ways in which employees’ performance could be improved. Mayo studied the effects of physical conditions on productivity. His studies focused on the employees working conditions in many ways, working hours, surroundings, changing lighting, etc; Mayo noticed that with