The Evolution of the Management Thinking and the
Organizational Behavior- Part 1
The Industrial Revolution
"When you could have the visual demonstration that, instead of a pecuniary lost, a well oriented attention to form the character and increase the commodities of those who are entirely at your service, will increase essentially your earnings, prosperity, and happiness, no reason, except those based on the ignorance of the own good, could in the future impede you to pay the greatest attention to the living machines you use; and by doing so you will impede an accumulation of the human misery, of which now is hard to have an adequate idea."
Speech to factories' supervisors
Robert Owen, 1813
As we have seen, already since beginnings of the mechanization there was people who got worried about the "living machines". In this speech for the managers of factories of that time, Owen, a notably prosperous director of a chain of spinning mills in Scotland, -who could demonstrate in his own factories that it was as important to worry about the "living machines" as it was to worry about the "inanimate machines"- he made a point and is interesting to see how, with a visionary mind, he warns about a future "accumulation of human misery" which later would happen with the advance of the Industrial Revolution. As it happens many times in these cases, nobody paid attention to him.
Although a criticism done to Owen is that he didn’t succeed on one of the first agricultural collectivization projects in the United States, time and history recognize his fatherhood of the cooperativism, and according to Merrill "he was qualified to be called the father of staff management".
Changes Produced by the Industrial Revolution
Few years before the beginning of the 19th century and extending through all the 20th century, appears, develops, and finally booms, one of the most impacting transformations in the history of humanity. Indeed, the traditionally called Industrial Revolution -which later Alvin Toffler, in his new and generally accepted approach, baptized as "The Second Wave"- produced uncountable and radical changes in the production systems as well as in the society as a whole.
The Machine appears and installs to stay. But also starts replacing the human being tasks. In vane there was dreams and utopist illusions that bloomed, at beginnings of the 20th century, about a substitution of the labor force managed in such a way that would diminish the effort of the human being and privilege him with a donation of enjoyable free time within a context of financial security.
But focusing on beginnings of the 20th century it is interesting to remember that the strength of the changes produced great impact, as much in the factory world as in the economic, social, and political areas. Going into these topics is pointless for the proposal of this work, but is important to keep in mind that:
- Socially, the changes generated much unrest, new resistance forms (workers started organizing to defend their interests and unions come up vigorously.
- In the business and specifically labor areas - in that period of mainly "factory production", if we let the state offices apart- appeared situations of work characterized by a great display of labor force working in an authoritarian regime within the workplace and many times without much organization from part of the businessmen, which generated a latent predisposition to chaos.
Is interesting to observe how the artistic personality, with its emotional and intuitive components, allows many times to perceive, or at least to make notorious in advance, certain phenomenon which experts and scientists still haven't tackled in a more decidedly way. Such is the case of Charles Chaplin who at middle of the decade of 1930's reports these situations in an entertaining way (those who know about communications assure that this is one of the deepest and more long lasting ways of impact on the audience) taking on both aspects: the labor-related and the social. In his classic film "Modern Times" Chaplin includes, within the development of the first scenes, a dark humor criticism to the taylorist and fordist production methods, their negative repercussions over the factory worker, and to the ruling situation of social unrest.
Therefore, and always trying to keep an as objective as possible historic perspective, nothing impeded the women and men from that time, who in one or other way had to be in charge of these situations, to focus their work in a humanistic as well as rational way.
Such as were the cases of, among others, Mary Parker Follet from the United States and of Henry Fayol in France. The first of them had to work in a very taylorist environment and maybe because of that her work wasn't so renowned or embracing.
The craftsmanship in the middle Ages
To have a better understanding of the significance of the impact produced by the Industrial Revolution, it is necessary to keep in mind the work situations previous to that revolution, such as was the production form in the middle Ages, through a system of craftsmanship.
Characteristics of the Craftsmanship:
- The Master craftsman protected the officers and apprentices to whom he would teach the occupation as a payment for the work they did, although they also received a salary.
- The craftsmen applied their knowledge and techniques to produce certain goods that the Master would market.
- It was a harmonious and simple system, without the existence, generally, of opposition of interests.
- The price of the products was set by the Church, the so-called "fair price". The craftsmen would charge for their work just what it was worth.
- The work was done in a small workshop, many times in the house of the Master craftsman; within a family environment.
- Each craftsman had expectations to become a Master craftsman, this means, to learn the occupation, acquire the tools and reach a labor independence.
- Each craftsman would begin and finish his own work; which would satisfy him and develop him as a human being; and by feeling a self-realization, he would obtain a high degree of motivation.