Sunday, August 26, 2007

History Questions and Answers

Which theory do you identify with the most?

I like the idea of set a procedures and rules to follow as with Webber and Taylor. However, their ideas lack the flexibility, innovation, and creativity that I require to thrive in a workplace. Gilbreths’ ideas are both great because their focus is on organization and efficiency. No one likes to feel that their short and precious time is being wasted.

I think I like Follett. I think her thinking was ahead of her time. He approach is the antithesis of the approach of her male counterparts from that time period. Her approach is holistic and focuses on the individual and the community while her male counterparts were autocratic, almost dictatorial in nature, with workers being forced to sacrifice individualism to conform to the work structure.

After looking at the linked articles, which theorist do you think was the most interesting?

I had to laugh when I read the information about the motion studies conducted by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. On a practical level, I relate to them very well. At my current place of employment, I am always on the lookout for better organization of materials for my workstation. Additionally, because this lab is very large and there is lots of walking to obtain supplies and etc., I always try to implement an “economy of movement”: More items within reach of my hands without having to walk here and there and constantly get up and down from my chair.

However, the more interesting theorist is Mary Parker Follett. She is the only female theorist mentioned other than Lillian Gilbreth. What interests me it the differences in theory development based on gender, specifically between Follett and her male theorist in the early part of the twentieth century. Their differences seem to be divided along classical gender lines and I find this very interesting and worthy of further study.

Which do you think are totally wrong?
I don’t feel any of these theorists are totally wrong. I think they all have great ideas. However, most of them need to make room for the fact that life as a manager is never black and white and sometimes the rules simply don’t apply or even work. I would say most managers and supervisors are unskilled in communicating with their employees or with even being concerned about it but are comfortable with the autocratic (and safe) nature of being the manager.

What would you like to work under as an employee? Mary Parker Follett

Which would be easiest for you to implement as a manager?
This is a hard question. The approaches of Weber and Taylor may be easiest to follow if I am unable to think for myself and take chances. There approaches are autocratic and rules based, so when in doubt, you can fall back on policy and procedure, even if they are wrong.

Which would be the most difficult for you to work for as an employee?
Autocratic rule based Max Webber. Reading about him was a bit scary because of affiliations with the 1930s German government. Taylor because of his focused “one-best way” thinking and his preoccupation with “enforcement.” Their views are just simply to patriarchal for me.

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