organizational approaches, it is easiest to start with the classical approach, mainly because the focus is different here: if for the two latter approaches, the focus is on the human resource, on the employee, in the case of the classical approach, the focus is on the manager and on the management process. The classical approach proposes principles of management that should guide the manager in the decision making process, as well as in the subsequent implementation phase.
The number of principles varies, depending on the different authors who have worked on this approach, ranging from the three principles proposed by Mooney and Reiley (the principle of co-ordination, the scalar principle and the functional principle) (Mooney, Reiley, 1947) and the fourteen principle that Fayol has put forward, with his own admission that there is, in fact, no limit to the number of management principles.
Perhaps the most important difference between the classical approach and the other two is that the classical approach does not take into consideration personalities as a factor in the managerial process. As previously mentioned, the exclusive focus is here on mechanisms, on structures and processes. The organization, as seen by the classical approach, is not a group of individuals: it is, instead, a group of mechanisms that need to be regulated through a series of processes and through the decisions that the manager makes. It simply makes things overly scientific and bureaucratic.
In opposition to the classical approach, the human relations and human resources approaches take more into consideration the social aspects of management, notably looking at how the working force needs to be managed in order to produce the best results in the organization. The classical theory had proposed principles and regulations as the way to boost productivity. The human relations approach makes the point that managers need to take into consideration motivational strategies in order to stimulate the employees to increase their productivity.
The human relations paradigm also emphasizes the role of the manager as a communicator. The approach emphasizes that a successful management binds the workforce to some joint objectives that favor both the employees and the organization (Eisenberg, Goodall Jr., Tretheway, 2009). As such, the manager needs to successfully identify and communicate to the workforce these common goals, their importance in the overall development of the organization and the way these have a positive impact on both workforce and company.
The human resources managerial approach takes things even further, as an extension of the human relations approach. Instead of looking at the employees, this approach looks to the organization itself in an attempt to identify ways in which the entire organizational culture and climate can be improved so as to stimulate the performance of the employee. The idea is to ensure that the objectives of the employee and those of the company merge into one unique objective, stimulating thus the employee to work towards achieving this.
The main addition of the human resources approach is that it puts the human relations approach in the wider context of the organization, with all its processes and complex mechanisms. At the same time, it does a better job than the human relations approach in correlating the two fundamental aspects: the maximization of individual satisfaction and the maximization of organizational performance.
As a direct consequence of the paradigm presented in the previous paragraph, the core cell of the organization is the team, a group of employees that work together with a distinct objective and purpose, usually towards the delivery of a certain product or project or towards fulfilling a company goal. The human resources approach is overarching, almost exhaustive: it uses all channels of communication that are available, it proposes a wide array of communication content etc.
Very useful in the development of the human resources approach were different motivational theories, such as Maslow's, who proposed five different levels of behavioral needs that each individual has. According to his theory, managers need to take into consideration these different levels of needs when implementing policies and making decisions. The degree to which these needs are satisfied are essential for the success of the company.
The human resources approach appears as the most complete of the three approaches and the best to deal with the challenges that the organization faces in the current global business environment. In many cases, it puts together the instruments that the classical and the human relations approaches propose. For example, when referring to communication, the human resource approach proposes both formal and informal communication style, depending on a given situation. The human resources approach appears, as such, to be flexible, taking characteristics and tools from both other approaches.
2. The concept of organizational culture is defining for any modern organization. A complex concept, it can reflect different perspectives, depending whether one looks at it from a workforce perspective, from a principle or tradition perspective etc. Depending on the perspective of analysis, several different types of organizational cultures have been identified.
Hofstede, for example, uses four dimensions of power to define the concept of organizational culture. According to his studies, these dimensions of power define the personalities that make up different peoples and this, in turn, plays an important part in the organizational culture of an organization.
One of the most interesting definition of organizational culture, including because it points out a certain perspective, is given by Deal and Kennedy, who said that organizational culture is "the way things get done around here" (Deal T.E. And Kennedy, A.A., 1982). This short definition gives a perspective into how organizational culture is seen by the two: a set of procedures and rules, as well as a set of managerial practices.
Indeed, their model is based on two dimensions, giving four types of organizational culture. The two dimensions are the degree of risk that is encouraged within the organization and the feedback and reward. For example, the high risk, rapid feedback and reward is the type of "tough-guy, macho" culture. From all the companies in the last decades, perhaps no organization is a better example here than Enron, a company that encouraged huge levels of risk and rewarded performance that came out of such operations. Investment banks and brokerage companies are also good example of this type of organizational culture.
Schein (1992) brings several additional elements in the definition of organizational culture. According to his work, organizational culture includes a series of elements, which he calls artifacts, that stay on with a company no matter what policy, vision or strategy the management has. These artifacts include things such as company values, tacit assumptions, rituals etc. In a way, these are elements that influence "the way things are done" in an organization, something previously discussed in another paragraph.
Other theories about organizational culture seem a blend of other theories. The idea is, of course, to put together elements such as those described by Schein with more concrete elements, such as mechanisms, control systems or structures, processes that impact the way knowledge is communicated around the organization.
All these attempts to define organizational culture as a concept prove one particular thing: the culture of any organization is the basis of all things that the respective organization does and represents. The organizational culture is thus defining for any profit or non-profit entity: it shows what the company is, how it goes about doing things, what it believes in etc. All decisions will be made taking into account the organization's culture as well, its values, its history, its beliefs etc.
With this in mind, studying the culture of an organization could prove relevant in terms of anticipating the decisions that an organization is likely to make at a certain point, in all its areas of activity. The organizational culture thus gives elements about how such an entity is likely to act and how it will develop.
The case of Home Depot, for example, is an interesting one. A lot of information about this company's organizational culture can be found on their website. The best place to start is with the company values that include excellent customer service, taking care of our people, building strong relationships, respect for all people, entrepreneurial spirit, doing the right thing and giving back. Each of these elements gives a good idea about the type of company that Home Depot is.
As such, the first thing that the values mention is the excellent customer service. Home Depot is a retailer and, as a consequence, it interacts a lot with consumers. It is important, because of that, to focus on the consumer, to ensure that the customer receives all the needed attention and service.
The second set of values refers to the company's human resource. The company encourages and supports diversity (respect for all people) and wants to take care of its people, namely it has a series of human resource policies in place that provide for a motivational framework within the company and that encourage the development of the workforce.