Organization Theory in the Practice of Management

Organizations refer to social goal-oriented entities designed under deliberately structured and coordinated activity systems, which have links with various external environments. On the other hand, a theory is a scheme or work that only exists in the minds of human beings, which is based on principles verifiable through observations and experiments. Therefore, organization theory thus refers to a set of propositions attempting to provide an explanation or prediction of how individuals and groups behave in different organizational setups. In the practice of management, leaders apply a number of theories including the classical theory, the bureaucratic theory, the functional specification theory, the human relations theory and the systems theory. Through the use of the following theories, the management is able to understand the underlying relationship between theory development, organizational behavior and the general management practice. For the effectiveness and efficiency of realizing organization goals and objectives, leaders and management have the obligation to lay emphasis on the above organization theories. In so doing, the business performance and excellence for the organization surfaces with ease.

Explaining the Theories

Each of the above approaches to the organization theory with respect to management practice bears different precepts. To start with, the classical approach lays much emphasis on specialization, unity of direction and leadership control span. More so, it reflects on following the chain of command, implementing functional specifications and differentiating between authority and responsibility. The bureaucratic approach embarks on diving tasks among various holders with respect to their abilities. The positions should be in a hierarchical structure with official decisions emanating from a formally established regulatory system. More so, internal promotions should be based on the universalistic creation of abilities. In the modern structural approach, objective establishment depends on control and coordination. This approach emphasizes on the ability of both division and labor increasing the quality and quantity of organization output. Extra participation and reliance on workers in dynamic conditions is also a precept of this approach. The human relation approach stresses on group oriented management, which heavily depends on teamwork and voluntary cooperation. Self control and group decision making are also important maxims in the human relation approach. Lastly, the system approach views organizations as dynamically intertwined and complex interconnected elements that include inputs, processes, outputs, feedbacks and the environment.

Analyzing the Human Relation Approach

The roots of the human relations theory trace back to the Hawthorne Studies carried out in the 1920s and 1930s in Chicago’s Western Electric Company (Naidu, 2005, p. 94). According to the studies, workers are not solely motivated by economic considerations. In this case, the informal side of the organization was as important, or even better, than the formal side of the organization. All the same, Taylor did not completely ignore the formal side of the organization while introducing the human relation theory. In today’s world, human relations theory takes a different aspect. In a way, it culminates into scientific management limitations as a means of organization control. However, the theory still bears the same footprints of formal rationality present in scientific management. The human relation theory helps the management to understand what appeals to its workforce. It engages direct understanding of actual workmanship. In essence, this theory suggests that other than the economic motivations of Taylor’s workers, the workers also lay emphasis to some realities that require specialized kind of managers to understand. This theory requires the management to concentrate on who workers are than what they do. Therefore, under this theory, all the hopes, anxieties, fears, motivations and aspirations of workers fall in the locus of the management. Where scientific management indicates a distinction between one’s self and his or her work personality, the human relations theory nullifies such a distinction (Naidu, 2005, p. 98). Thus, incorporation of the human relation theory to organizations and organization theorists elaborates a huge understanding and concern about people at work. More illustrations to elaborate how the organization theory is effective in enhancing worker and manager work relationship surface on Herzberg’s distinction of Motivators and Hygiene factors. Also the distinction of tasks and roles of management orientation styles by McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y serve in constructing the organization theory. The human relation theory helps the management and organization leaders to have an impoverished view of people and optimistically enhance enthusiasm while practicing managerial duties in the organization.


Organization theory, in all different approaches emphasizes on different setups of dealing with a group of individuals. The implementation of different approaches to organization theory in the practice of management is important in organizations since the excellence in performance of organizations depends on how well individuals relate with one another towards accomplishing the uniform organization objectives.


  • Naidu, S. P. (2005). Public Administration: Concepts And Theories. New Delhi: New Age International.
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