Principle 1: Division of work
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According to Fayol’s principle one of management, division of work, he proposed that “work can be performed more efficiently if it is divided into smaller elements and assigning specific elements to specific workers” (Rodrigues 2001, p. 880). Contrary to this principle, workers might get bored of doing the same task. For instance in a factory, work is divided into many parts where each of the worker is responsible for a specific task. Eventually these workers will be proficient in their job, where it will become a routine work. However, if they were to continue to perform the same routine task over a very long period of time, they might lose interest or become too complacent. They are not being challenged or made to encounter new or different situations during the job. Thus, this does not create opportunities for them to develop new skills. Employees need to be exposed to job opportunities so that they will be able to pick up new skills, and not just focusing on a specific task. If these employees are given the opportunity to develop new skills, it will give them a sense of importance and belonging in the organisation, and these new knowledge will inspire and motivate them to be more engaged and have a better understanding in their work. Every employees would seize it as an opportunity whenever they face challenges (McGregor & Harpaz, cited in Rodrigues 2011, p. 881).
Therefore, organisation should come out with methods and tools that are able to increase the opportunities and challenges of the employees (Schmitt, Zacher & de Lange 2013, p. 516). To support this, employers can provide workshops and trainings for employees to broaden their skills and specializations. This will also open up the employees’ room for professional development. For example, Singapore Workforce Development Agency, WDA encourages employees, professionals, managers and executives to upgrade and build up on their skills through skills-based trainings (Singapore Workforce Development Agency 2012). Opportunities given to employees at work will allow them to learn and gain more skills and knowledge. In addition, this will also boost up their growth and confidence level in their work as they are empowered with multi responsibilities. In the presence of job enrichment, employees are able to deepen their job responsibilities and have control over their work (Dickie & Dickie 2011, p. 71).
Job enrichment will benefit the organisation as it will reduce the number of absenteeism, turnover intentions and social loafing while increase employees’ job satisfaction, organizational commitment and individual productivity (Davoudi 2013, p. 107). In other words, organisation should encourage and send their employees for skills upgrading to stretch their capabilities. In contrast to Fayol’s understanding that an employee doing one task will increase their efficiency, employee that have more than one skill will benefit the organisation as their knowledge has become greater than before.
Another disadvantage to this principle in this 21st century context is the impact of technology whereby machines has taken over some but not all, specialised jobs (Rodrigues 2001, pp. 880-881). Back to the factory example; then people were hired to do manufacturing jobs such as assembling cars. Each worker was given a specific task to assemble a car, but now these tasks are carried out by robots, where they are able to do more than one task (John Markoff 2012). As a result these workers might lose their jobs. Thus this principle, to a certain extent, it may not be relevant today. There are still organisations who practice this principle, but with the fast moving technology and employees who are eager to learn, it might not apply to this day. ?
The managers have the power to instruct their employees to perform work that they give. Thus in this principle, managers give their employee rights (authority) and let them be responsible to complete the task (responsibility) that is being delegated to them (Bushardt et al. 2010, p. 9). In this context, it shows that the manager’s role is authoritative, which makes the subordinates have to follow the manager’s instructions (Cheng 2004, p. 91). Managers must stay in mind that they must have a shared understanding with their employees when they assign the task to them (Miles, cited in Evans et al. 2013, p. 24). They must take in consideration not to misuse their authoritative power to the extent that their employees have no choice nor say when their managers delegate the task to them.
When the manager and the employee have a common goal, it will open up opportunities for employees to share opinions and make decisions to accomplish the required task. This also allows the managers to understand their employees and get engaged with them. In support of this, managers need to be a good example to their employees so that they will feel inspired and motivated to reach their organisational goals. Hence, managers have to be a transformational leader by moving their team forward to inspire and motivate them (Warrick 2011, p. 12). Whenever someone thinks of a leader, he will associate them with acquiring power, influence and authority (Dickie & Dickie 2011, p. 83). One can have power and authority, but only a few are able to influence, inspire and motivate their employees.
Leader behaviour continuum (Tannenbaum & Schmidt, cited in Dickie & Dickie 2011, p. 87) The two-dimensional model in fig 1.1 explains that managers’ role of authoritativeness and sub-ordinates empowerment has to be balanced between managers and the employees. Employees are able to participate in the decision making by voicing out their ideas to their managers. Managers can then make a decision based on this shared understanding (Tannenbaum & Schmidt 1973). Hence, employees are given the permission to complete the given task which was based on a clear and discussed understanding with the manager. In contrast of Fayol’s perspective, delegation of work to the employees should be tasked responsibly with a shared understanding. Thus, employees will feel that their role in the organisation is worthy and trusted.
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