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ERIC Number: EJ888806
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jan
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1740-4622
The Bread and Butter of Classical Organizational Approaches: The Time-and-Motion Study
Peterson, Dan W.
Communication Teacher, v21 n1 p21-25 Jan 2007
The thought of learning about the principles of classical management and the machine metaphor of organizing can get many organizational communication students yawning just by seeing the subject in a syllabus. Abundant movie and television examples associated with the machine-like nature of workplace productivity are often used to demonstrate classical organizational communication principles and metaphors. However, while video is an excellent way to create understanding in students by providing them a visual example of classical organizing, the use of a simple, hands-on classroom activity creating a time-and-motion study can solidify in students' minds concepts associated with principles of classical management. This article describes a simple interaction using the common activity of spreading butter on bread to demonstrate organizational issues associated with the mechanistic metaphor of organizing such as specialization, standardization, and predictability. As students participate in this activity, they experience how a time-and-motion study is conducted, including determining the most efficient or one best way to do a job, proper selection of workers, and proper training of workers. The activity also enables students to apply century old concepts to the organizations in which they work today. This simulation encourages not only comprehension but also discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of classical organizing, helping create a bridge for discussion of other more communicative styles of organizing. [A list of references and suggested readings is included.]
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A