Classical Theory StructureIntroductionBy way of illustration, in this document we will describe and explain theclassical structural theory as presented by Max Weber. To highlight theadvantages and disadvantages of this classical structure as used in a realisticmodern organization we will apply this theroy as used today in our public policedepartment. Classical Structural TheoryIn the classical structural theory a person is hired for their technicalexpertise rather than on the recommendation of a connection from within thecompany. Generally these people are more inclined to work in very well-definedprocess oriented positions. Employees are given titles in which the authorityto perform specific duties are vested. Outside of the defined position theemployee has little or no authority.
Lines of authority and positions are clearly defined by formallyestablished rules and regulations that help to ensure uniformity of operations,and provide for continuity of business as well as making responsibility easy toplace. In his 10 points Weber implied that procedures imposed on all who fallwithin their reach are formal and impersonal (Pace & Faules, 1994, p. 30-31). In addition to these procedures, It is suggested that an attitude of disciplineis an integral part of the organization that wants to promote efficiency (Pace &Faules, 1994, chapter 3). They are intentionally designed without attention topersonal or emotional considerations to prevent distortion of employees’rational judgment in carrying out their assigned duties.
Employees working ina classically structured organization are encouraged to maintain distinctionbetween their private and professional lives. The last tenet of Max Weber’stheory involves security and advancement. He held that security in a positionwas gained by tenure. For motivated individuals who want to advance theircareers, hard work and achievement are viewed in this type of organization asthe best way to develop a good rapport with the supervisor.
Becauseresponsibility is so easily laid on individuals, awarding recognition on anindividual basis is the rule. In today’s society, even as we progress from the so-called Industrial Ageto the Information Age, such organizations still exist. The police departmentis a high visibility organization that continues to utilize the ideas founded inclassical theory. Potential officers are given a series of tests, both physicaland mental, which determine to a great extent their probability of being hired. In line with Weber’s work, each position in the department has a title which isrepresentative of their level in the hierarchy (Pace & Faules, 1994, p. 30-31).
Strict self discipline is praised and there are many policies in place to ensurethat rational judgment is maintained. The most common way to advance in thepolice department is through time on the job. Seniority, especially whencombined with competency, is given a great deal of weight. Maintaining thepremise that authority is vested not in a person but in the position, when anofficer leaves the force he or she looses the power to chase criminals throughred lights, arrest drug lords, and perform other duties for which the authorityrises out of the position once held. Advantages of Classical Structural TheoryThe opinion that easily identifiable structure and tightly managed rulesand regulations are advantageous in public organizations is widely held.
Structure and policy are of tremendous interest to all those interested in theuniformity and continuity of public safety. The advantages of the classical structure within our example have multipleimpacts on how the organization operates. As affirmed by Frederick Taylor, witha clear and concise reporting path we can visualize how the police departmentutilizes this in their daily operations (Pace & Faules, 1994, p. 32-33).
In acrisis situation it is imperative that the police department work in a unisondirection with as little verbal interaction as possible. This allows partnersto communicate with a structural nonverbal direction. Strict rules guiding thebehavior of officers on duty help to protect the public from officers acting outdomestic aggressions at work. In this way, the separation of private andprofessional lives is a distinct advantage. Disadvantages of Classical Structural TheoryDespite the many advantages associated with this type of arrangement withinthe police department, a number of disadvantages also exist. For employees,goals of advancement maybe slow to realize due to the tenure required to obtainvarious levels in the hierarchy.
In addition to tenure, employees of the policedepartment are also limited by budget restraints and number of employees neededto provide an acceptable level of service. For the public, the rules andregulations followed by officers leave little room for consideration ofindividual circumstances. ConclusionAs a result of several years of this type of structure, and the culminationof several high tech jobs in the market place, many companies are beginning tomove away from this type of organization. Companies have come to realize thatemployees’ personal goals and environment are critical to their workperformance, which classical structure tends to stagnate. Thus, it is theconsensus of the group that classically structured organizations should start toexamine the impacts that a more subjective approach to organizing may have ontheir specific organizations.Philosophy