According to Gerald Lynch (2006), the history of criminal justice system management can be divided into three types and time periods: (1) scientific management (1900–1940), (2) human relations management (1930–1970), and (3) systems management (1965–present). 1. Scientific Management Scientific management has perhaps received the most recognition and study. It was the dominant orientation in the preunion (1900–1940s) industrialization era. The dominant writers on the scientific management approach were persons such as Taylor (1911), Fayol (1949), and Gulick & Urwick (1937).
Their writings are still central in the early training of contemporary managers. The basic orientation of scientific management is that “people are replaceable” and should be treated as if “they are parts in a machine. ” It is, as Rogers and Agarwala-Rogers (1976) describe it, a “mechanistic view of behavior” (p. 30). People should be pushed or driven like machines, it is argued, as they were treated as if they were cogs in a machine that could be replaced if the job was not done well. The ultimate scientific manager, therefore, is the skilled efficiency expert.
Scientific management exists today, but circumstances certainly are not as brutal as they once were. Under scientific management, people are seen as being in organizations to work—not to communicate. The presumption is that the people at the top know how things should be done, and it is the duty of those at the bottom to do as they are told. The emphasis is on written or oral formal communication that follows the channels of the top-down chain of command. Most personnel learn to do their jobs, work hard, and stay out of the way of management. If they get into trouble or try to change the system, they are likely to be replaced.
Unemployment still is feared by many workers. In conclusion, the scientific approach is a mechanistic, driving type of management style. The management tolerates little change, allows limited communication, and expects people to work, work, work. Although it is less popular than it once was, it still exists in a few criminal justice system organizations as I have observed today. Most people employed in such organizations simply accept the conditions management requires and do their job. They are not necessarily pleased with the conditions, but they need their job.
Fortunately, not everyone has to work under this form of management. 2. Human Relations Management Mayo (1933), Barnard (1938), and others led the way for the human relations style of management. Mayo is still considered by many to be the founder of the Human Relations School. Mayo, Roethlisberger, Dickson, and many others were asked to complete a series of studies between the 1920s and 1940s which became known as the “Hawthorne Studies. ” Although these studies originally were designed as part of the scientific management style, they proved to be the foundations of the human relations management.
These studies, and several others during that time period, were designed to determine what variables could improve employee production. In these studies and many others, the researchers found that if employees were treated like human beings—not like cogs in a machine—were given some time to have informal communication among themselves, and could communicate with management and make some changes in the environment, then production would increase, regardless of the working conditions. The researchers manipulated the working conditions and inadvertently manipulated the communication between employees and management.
They “stumbled” into the discovery that communication on the informal and formal levels will improve production even when working conditions are less than desirable. When this was done on purpose, it became known as the human relations management style. The human relations management style takes a more sensitive view of the employee. The developers of this approach did not believe the employee was replaceable; in fact, they tried to integrate the goals of the organization with the goals of the individual.
The human relations advocates were aware that employee participation in decision making, employee communication with management, affect toward work, job satisfaction, and some fulfillment of social needs—all of these—would increase worker productivity and increase the profitability of organizations. One should not look at this approach as an “altruistic” or “humanistic” one. It was simply an alternative way to make management more effective. Human relations managers encourage both formal and informal communication. In fact, the “suggestion box” was originally introduced by such a manager.
There is emphasis on communication at all levels, and good human relations managers realize that rumor mills exist. Finally, much of the communication is directly related to concern for employees’ welfare. This type of management style worked well when first introduced. Then, people started abusing the system. Sometimes the task would become lost and communication was mostly about employee concerns. The “Happiness for Lunch Bunch” was born. 3. Systems Management The systems management style includes contributions from both scientific and human relations management styles.
However, it focuses more on the intellectual contribution which may be made by workers. In short, in this style employees are expected to do their assigned work, but it is also anticipated that they can contribute by sharing their ideas related to that work. While in many ways the behaviors of systems managers are like the behaviors of human relations managers, the big difference is the former are not likely to accept all the assumptions underlying human relations management. They have a more realistic view of their workers.
Employees may be placed in work teams, not to make them “feel good” about participating, but because the group of workers may be able to share ideas and come to better decisions than could distant supervisors and managers, or individual workers by themselves. The focus of managers in this approach is on using the intellectual expertise of workers and, of course, often this results in expanded training for workers so as to improve those intellectual skills. Like the earlier styles, some of these systems efforts (such as self-management teams) have been more successful than others (such as Total Quality Management).
While many workers like working in groups, others hate it—particularly shy and/or high communication apprehensive workers. Assuming that all workers like to participate is equally as bad an over-generalization as the assumptions made by scientific or human relations managers (Blake & Mouton, 1964). The key to understanding the systems management style is the recognition by managers of the intrinsic value of a good employee. Organizations that foster system management recognize that investments in training and improved working conditions (high-quality benefits included) are likely to result in more loyal employees and less employee turn-over.
Turn-over has become a serious problem for many organizations that depend on educated and skilled employees for their success. Such people are needed in a wide variety of organizations, hence may leave for another job if they do not feel satisfied in their current position (McGregor, 1960). While not all organizations that attempt to employ the systems management style are successful, it is important to recognize that just having a “human resources division” in an organization is not always an indication of the use of systems management.
In many cases, organizations with such divisions are, in reality, simply using the same old human relations approach. A critical component in making the systems management work is management’s total commitment to believing that their employees are valuable assets of the organization and then treating them in that way (McGregor, 1967). Hence, I believe the Systems Management style would be the most effective to use in the criminal justice system since it combined the best features of the other two management styles; namely, the Scientific Management and Human Relations Management.
I believed this style really is an attempt to help managers use employees to reach desired production goals which is the ultimate goal in any organization. This style is designed to bring the individual and the organization together and work for the success of its mission and vision since this style has a number of exciting innovations and positive activities are occurring. Both of the early styles to management were acceptable for the times in which they were developed. Neither was perfect. They both had positive aspects and they both had drawbacks. Either extreme today is unacceptable.
Too much of a scientific approach can restrict communication so severely that employees become deeply dissatisfied and even try to sabotage the organization. Too much of the human relations approach can focus so much communication on employee needs and so little communication on the task that the organization could be in danger of collapsing. Hence, both worked, both were successful for their times; however, neither in the extreme would be desirable today. Today, both exist in modified forms. However, both are being replaced in many organizations by a new style—systems management.
I strongly believe that the Systems Management is the best style of managing any organization i. e. the criminal justice system. But it is not necessary that all three components (police, courts, and corrections) should use the same type of management style. But rather, each component should innovate the management style with which caters its vision and mission. Moreover, its innovated management style should be linked to organizational competitiveness, increased productivity, higher quality of work life, and greater profitability (Schuler and Jackson, 1996).
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