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The Origins of the Anglo-American Industrial Age Class System


Gantt & Williams

MacGregor and Theories X & Y


Analysis of the Trends

The Hawthorne Effect

General Foods







It is very interesting to note that what is lauded today is the subject of derision tomorrow. For all the criticism that it received, Scientific Management was able to affect great changes in the workplace. The efficiency gained at the Bethlehem Steel Works—almost a 75% reduction in the size of the workforce required to perform the tasks—is extraordinary. And while Scientific Management angered workers in the 1950s, it reduced the turnover at the Franklin Motor Car Company by 90% just twenty years earlier.

As discussed previously, there are management styles that can be implemented that are proven effective, but they are difficult to implement, and many companies are unwilling or unable to commit to full implementation. There are also many quick-fix management styles that fill the racks of bookstores, ideas that are not guaranteed to work, but do.

For the largest companies, especially companies that want to compete internationally, there are advantages to adopting certain management processes, especially ISO certification. Without ISO certification, non-European companies cannot do business in many fields in the EC. For smaller companies, it may be sufficient to simply change management styles periodically.

The Hawthorne Effect, the fact that workers’ performance improves when the workers believe that management is making changes to help them increase performance, is the most useful tool that any middle manager can have. In his book 57 Management Mess-Ups, Mark Eppler describes an office staffed by happy, satisfied workers. While he was visiting the company, an announcement was made for the employees to assemble in the courtyard for the dedication of the new flagpole. Everyone assembled, the flag was raised, the workers pledged allegiance, a high school band played a patriotic song, and red-white-and-blue Popsicles were distributed. According to someone he questioned, management planned something like that every week, just to make work fun.52

Playing silly games does not change how a company is managed. It does not affect pay scales or perquisites or how interesting a job assignment is. But this change, this attention from management, goes a long way toward keeping workers happy and productive.

The lesson of trends in management styles is, if you cannot do something you can prove is effective, do anything, and change it often.


“Possessions, Power, and blooming health,
Must all be lost at last,
The mill will never grind with water
That is past.”

“The Water-Mill,”
Major General Daniel Craig McCallum
General Superintendent of the Erie Railroad Company.

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52.  Eppler, Mark; 57 Management Mess-Ups: 57 Pitfalls You Can Avoid (And Stories of Those Who Didn’t); Franklin Lakes, NJ: Career Press, Inc.; 1997; pp. 186-187.