In today’s world of management where the bottom line is all about efficiency and production it’s easy for managers to forget that workers are human beings. Henry Ford once said “Why is it that when I ask for a pair of hands I also get a human being?” This is a mindset of classic management that has been adopted by many modern day companies. For example at Qdoba, one manager opposes employee’s opinions and stifles any employee feedback when it may arise. Although this method, which treats organizational communications as a machine, may be an effective means to increasing production, it can cause a high employee turn overrate and leave employees at the mercy of their superiors. Ultimately, I believe the command and control structure is archaic, ineffective and should be replaced. This is important because the new structure of business is a living breathing organism that is always changing and adapting.
When I first went to Qdoba I noticed an effective system. Customers would come in, order their food, and pay their bill, all within 45 seconds to a minute. As I examined the employee’s faces I noticed a grim reality. The employees hated their job. Employees tried to be cordial but as the line of irritated, hungry customers stacked up during busy hours they focused less on the customer and more on completing their assigned task. This method was an effective means of productions but devalued the customer and only recognized their money.
The theory of classic management was once applied to one of the world’s largest organizations, Home Depot. Military veteran Robert L. Nardelli applied the command and control model to Home Depot as a newly hired C.E.O. of the company. Nardelli enforced a militaristic style of leadership and ran the organization like a well-oiled machine. At first profits increased and productivity raised for the first few years. After that profits began to stagnate and employee morale was at an all-time low. What started off as an effective means to increase productivity ended up hurting the organization and causing it to fall behind of its competitors.
Classic management is used by many assembly line organizations such as Burger Barn. In one incident, Burger Barn bought out a local ice cream shop, evaluated the shops operations, and began to implement changes. What was once a mom and pop shop where the same employee made your order from start to finish began to turn into an ice cream assembly line productions organization. Slowly over time less people were eating inside of the ice cream shop and more customers began to purchase take-out orders. Profits slightly increased and management begin to take more juristic measures in the name of profits, such as deciding whether or not to continue the sale of exotic ice cream toppings. While this method increased efficiency there was no evidence to show the slight increase in profits would maintain over time, especially with upper management constantly evaluating the production line and making changes.
There is one special case of classic management that is unique amongst any others in its field. This special case is an organization called Chic-Fil-A. This organization focuses on being swift and attentive, all while developing a personal relationship with each one of its customers. This focus on developing authentic relationships with customers is highlighted in a Fastcompany.com article as being the new bottom line in business. By simply respecting the customer and saying a respectful my pleasure at the end of every transaction could explain why Chic-Fil-A has received “best drive-through in America” by the quick-service restaurant trade journal QSR 2 years in a row.
In conclusion, the takeaways of classis management are that it is dehumanizing while effective. Although classic management is an effective means to production it devalues customer service, the way you treat your employees, and operates as well-oiled machine. Like any phenomenon in life you will always have an exception, as such the case is with Chic-Fil-A and classic management theory. The fact of the matter is that this archaic style of management is being phased out by new methods of management and is slowly being deemed ineffective.
Miller, K, 2003, Organizational Communication Approaches and Processes 4th Edition, Belmont, California, Holly J. Allen
Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine, March 05, 2006, Renovating Home Depot, http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2006-03-05/renovating-home-depot,
Salter, C, 2013, Chick-fil-A’s Recipe for Customer Service, Chick-fil-A’s Recipe for Customer Service, http://www.fastcompany.com/resources/customer/chickfila.html
Fastcompany.com, 2013, Relationships: The New Bottom Line in Business, http://www.fastcompany.com/events/realtime/florida/rlewin.html