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Critical Analysis of the Theories of Management (Classical) as It Pertains to Senior Managers in the Built Environment

In: Business and Management

Submitted By mujehi
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Scholars in the field of management, from the late 19th century till modern times, have come up with different perspectives on how to manage people and organizations. These gave rise to what is called ‘Management Schools of Thought’. This study looks at the Classical School of Thought in relation to modern day management, as it pertains to the built environment. Though so many years have passed since the Classical School of Thought was developed, it is widely used in modern day management as the preferred choice by many organizations in the built environment.

One major area that arose from the Classical School of Thought is productivity and efficiency in the workplace [,articleId-8851.html]. Managers were so much inclined to assign workers to areas that best fitted their expertise. This was in order to increase their productivity and efficiency in their various responsibilities. A facilities services provider, ISS, uses a system that effectively manages its workers and all facets of a worker’s responsibilities by placing the right people in the right positions, based on their qualifications (BOOTY, 2008). This is also evident in Faceo FM UK, according to its Chief Executive, Chris Kenneally. In his words, “Our focus has been on the sustainability of our customers and putting the right people in the right positions to deliver what the client wants, as evidenced in a turnover of £40m of the £250m made by its parent company in France, where the bulk of the business is” (PFM Journal, 2008).

Bureaucracy is another important aspect of the Classical School of Thought (DAFT, 2005). Facilities management and Organizing go hand-in-hand, as the former cannot function effectively without the latter. A proper organizational structure gives room for specialisation and division of labour, as no one manager can manage, directly, all functions of an organization (LEWIS, 1998). This eventually avoids failures that may arise in the organization due to issues such as: the combination of the planning and design functions, with the operations and maintenance functions; or non-integration and synchronisation of the works of external consultants and contractors with in-house providers; or even classifying every single job to be done as a project, thereby trying to use the principles of project management (COTTS, 1999). In a research carried out by the R&D department of Spotless Sparkle Cleaning Services Limited (SSCSL Feasibility Report, 2006), leading and upcoming cleaning services providers in Nigeria operate a structured organizational model that enables them monitor and effectively manage people and resources within their respective organizations. In this structure, the janitors report to Head Janitors, who in-turn report to site supervisors. Site managers take charge of a certain number of sites each, and report to the operations manager. Other departments that complete this structure are Finance/Admin, as well as Sales/Marketing, all of which report to the Managing Director. Fayol and Weber were major proponents of the organizational structure/hierarchical system, which they say is the proper and most effective way in combining, communicating, coordinating and controlling individuals and departments (MORDEN, 2004). A proper organizational structure gives room for division of labour and specialization. WSP, a major player in the facilities management industry providing services in all continents, has a clear-cut organizational structure were the various divisions that pertain to the built environment work hand-in-hand to contribute to the bottom-line of the organization. 43% of their annual revenue comes from the Property department, while 33% comes from their Transport & Infrastructure department. The Management & Industrial, as well as the Environment & Energy departments contribute 13% and 11% respectively to the total revenue generated by the Facilities Management group [].

Cost-cutting and control were important features of the Classical School of Management, developed by Henry Gantt – who used charts in the form of diagrams to actually compare achieved production output with the budget for that specific production period (MORDEN, 2004). Organizations in recent times, following the aftermath of the global economic meltdown, have been very particular of ways of cutting cost. In Nigeria, some major banks have decided to close branches that are presently occupying leased properties and merge them with branches occupying owned properties, all in the name of cutting costs. Eleanor Johnson, Vice President of Marketing for Olympic Toy Company said, “Everyone is hired to be a professional rationalist, irrespective of the position the person occupies” (KOONTZ & WEIHRICH, 1998). Every action must be thought out carefully and logically, as companies no longer want to take unnecessary risks that may hinder their growth through bad decision making and uncalled-for investments. In 1997, Facilities & Services Management, the FM unit of Rolls Royce, made tremendous cost savings when they reduced their existing 700 in-house service providers and over 1,000 service contracts nationally to just four (4) strategic partners supporting less than 70 in-house service providers. These cost savings were mostly in the reduction of both management systems of both Rolls Royce and its suppliers, a functional alignment of the risks involved in the buyer-supplier relationship, and utilising point of delivery synergies across the service lines (PFM Journal, 2007).

Lastly, recruitments, appointments, staff appraisals, promotions, technical expertise & competence, as well as legitimate managerial authority with respect to subordinates (MORDEN, 2004) are very important aspects of today’s management, with particular reference to the built environment. Non-core aspects of an organization are equally as important as the core aspects, as both contribute to the bottom-line of the organization. People that possess the right skills for FM positions are known to perform better and save money for their organizations than those who do not possess the requisite skills. When Reliance FM, a subsidiary of Reliance Group, under the leadership of Jane Skelton contributed about £75m to the group’s total revenue of £400m, she attributed it to effective selection of personnel based on technical experience and competence, as well as constant and continuous improvement through the Reliance Academy, an initiative for workers and frontline supervisory teams to enhance their skills required for their jobs, as well as leadership skills (PFM JOURNAL, 2008). The Real Property Management Division of the General Services Administration (GSA) under the leadership of its Director, Jack E. Babcock, takes so much importance in training and development of its workers. “Last year, we (Real Property Management Division) spent $750,000 on training; this year we want to spend $1million”, Babcock said to justify the significance of training the right people for the right job [].

Following the recent global economic crisis, managers, particularly Facility Managers, have developed common managerial styles in their approach to doing business. Their methods and styles of approach to management have all leaned towards the Classical School of Management Thought. The major theorists of the Classical School, Henry Fayol, Max Weber and Frederick Taylor, clamoured for division of labour and specialization of functions, which subsequently would lead to having workers with vast experience and competence put in the right positions (MORDEN, 2004). William Coleman, Associate Vice President for facilities, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and winner of Today’s Facility Manager Facility-Executive-of-the-Year 2007 attributes his successful style of management to “getting the right people in the bus and then getting them in the right seats” (SCHWARTZ, 2007). The Director of Facilities and Engineering at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Houston, and Today’s Facility Manager Facility-Executive-of-the-Year 2004, Charles Ayoub, cited innovation and improvement of working conditions as his approach to management, through his email-based billing system and direct deposit payment system that ensured contractors were paid early to keep them financially healthy and motivated (SCHWARTZ, 2004).

In conclusion, all facets of the Management Schools of Thought are all relevant. Different organizations choose which school(s) suits their needs. From the research carried out in this paper, Facility Management firms or departments have shown that the Classical School of Management Thoughts is the preferred school, as it pertains more to the built environment as against the other schools.

Mujib Ojeifo

COTTS, D. 1999 The Facility Management Handbook, 2nd Edition, AMACOM, New York, USA.
DAFT, R. 2005 Management, 7th Edition, Thomson, South Western Australia
KOONTZ, H. & WEIHRICH, H. 1998 Essentials of Management, 5th Edition, McGraw-Hill, USA.
LEWIS, P. et al. 1998 Management, 2nd Edition, South Western College Publishing, Cincinnati.
MORDEN, T. 2004 Principles of Management, 2nd Edition, Ashgate Publishing, USA.

BOOTY, F. 2008 Premises & Facilities Management Journal, January Edition “FM Services Provider, ISS, Improves its Time & Attendance Solutions to Manage its Workforce More Effectively”
SCHWARTZ, H. 2004 Today’s Facility Manager Journal, January Issue “TFM Names Charles Ayoub Facility Executive of the Year”
SCHWARTZ, H. 2007 Today’s Facility Manager Journal, January Issue “TFM Names William Coleman Facility Executive of the Year”
Premises & Facilities Management Journal, July 2008 Edition “Case Study: How Faceo is Meeting the Needs of Having Clients with Facilities in Multiple Countries”
Premises & Facilities Management Journal, May 2008 Edition “Profile: How Jane Skelton was Groomed to become the Managing Director of Reliance Facilities Management”
Premises & Facilities Management Journal, September 2007 Edition “How the Rolls Royce FM Group Coped with Big Changes”

The Classical Schools of Management at The Study Guide, accessed on 18th September, 2010 SRAEEL, H. JULY 1991 “Defining the Facilities Manager of the 90’s”, accessed 18th September, 2010 WSP AT A GLANCE 2010, accessed 18th September, 2010

Spotless Sparkle Cleaning Services Limited, Lagos, Nigeria, 2006 Feasibility Report.…...

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