In Poor Richard’s Almanac, Benjamin Franklin cleverly writes “There are no Gains without Pains”. What does this mean in today’s organizational landscape? Is the classic management model still a viable way to run business? Looking at my life and my current job, I’d say that the classic management model is still alive and well. I work in education. Public education’s model hasn’t changed much. Its “efficient machine” like model shows that the classic management is at play (Eisenbuerg, Goodhall and Trethewey, 2014, p.65). Technically, education is not supposed to be a business, but it is. Education provides a service to its “customers” aka students; an education. The teachers are not the managers, but the workers. I could even go as far as saying the teachers are better suited to the “doing work” instead of the “thinking work” (Eisenbuerg, Goodhall and Trethewey, 2014, p. 71). Anyone in education would argue that teachers have to do plenty of thinking, and that’s true, but we think in the guidelines that are given to us by our leaders. Going back to Franklin’s quote, representatives and government officials that create these mandates, curriculums, and laws on education create the “pain” for teachers. They feel that with these pains, comes gains. Even with my negative intonation, I think there is a place for the classic management model. The previous high school I worked at was very successful. We were one of three high schools in North Carolina that earned an “A” for test scores and improvements in the school. Teachers did the work to acquire the excellent results, and it worked.
Education, specifically at a high school level, shows Taylor’s assumptions of this model clearly between the ranks of superintendent, principal, assistant principal, department chair, and teacher. For example, as a teacher I would never go directly to the superintendent; I’d have to use the “chain of command” to voice my issue or opinion. Looking at Fayol’s ideas, it connects well with the teacher evaluation process. The management principles are planning, organizing, goal setting, coordinating, and evaluating (Eisenbuerg, Goodhall and Trethewey, 2014, p. 72). Teachers go through a yearly evaluation process by their administration. Teachers have to follow a plan and are ranked on how well they execute this plan.
Personally, I think the classic management model works well for education. Sure, like any company there are parts that could be changed and improved. However, education needs to run like a well oiled machine. There needs to be order to help create responsible, intelligent citizens. The pros for both administration and teachers are that there are clear goals that need to be met each year, not only by the teachers, but by the students as well. The cons are that it leaves no wiggle room. I taught high school English, and there were some books I couldn’t read with my students because they weren’t on the “list”. This list was created by “management” that had no real connection with my students. There were books on my own list that could have helped poor readers succeed, but I wasn’t given that chance.
This model is viable today not only in education, but also in the commercial world. In the article, “Renovating Home Depot”, the classic management model is seen from a more military standpoint. The military mindset helps employees operate well in a high pressure environment and “follow orders”. This has made Home Depot more successful over the years.
Do I think that the classic management model still has a place? Absolutely. Would Benjamin Franklin agree? Probably.
Eisenberg, E. M., Goodall, H. L., Jr., & Tretheway, A. (2014). Organizational Communication Balancing Creativity and Constraint (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford
Renovating Home Depot. (2006, March 6). Retrieved September 11, 2016, from http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2006-03-05/renovating-home-depot