Group Dynamics and the Public Sphere

Psychology in the Workplace

What are the classic theories of organization?

Classic theories of organizational psychology date back to the late nineteenth century. Writing in an age of massive industrialization, early theorists of organizational structure aimed to replicate the precision of a finely tuned machine. Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915) introduced the notion of scientific management. He believed that the methods of empirical science should be adapted to engineer efficiency in the workplace. His work influenced the development of factory assembly lines. Another pioneer in this arena was Max Weber (1864-1920), a renowned German sociologist. While Taylor focused on the structure of tasks, Weber focused on the authority structure. Weber idealized the precision and control of a hierarchically organized bureaucracy. His aim was to standardize worker behavior and company policies into a completely impersonal, rule-bound system.


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