Classical Conditioning Theory

Classical Conditioning Theory of Learning is one of the Learning Theories based on Individual Behavior, generated as result of Learning developed in occurrence of  certain events. Such behavior is a result of combination of conditional stimulus and unconditional stimulus. Conditional Theory of Learning implements that individual behave in a certain pattern during some specific events like, whenever we listen to our favorite songs it gives a pleasant memories of those moments when we first heard them or when we gave our performance on it.

Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist did an experiment on a dog with a bell and a piece of meat, bell being a conditional stimulus and meat loaf an unconditional stimulus. The dog always responded to sound of bell when it is paired with meat loaf as the dog had a set behavior pattern of getting meat loaf when he listen bell sound. After a few days the dog had developed a Learned behavior pattern of responding merely to sound of bell even if no food was offered. This 'set behavior pattern' lays down the base of Learning of an Individual.

Suppose in an Organization employee feedback is updated every 3 months and the supervisors increases their visits at different centres during the day and when the staff is leaving. The staff would behave in the most decent and sincere manner during the visits as they have now understood that it's time for feedback and their sincerity and decency would add 'plus' points in their feedback. Now continuing the visits during the third month will make employees to relate visits with the feedback and change their behavior. Whenever the supervisors will change their visit schedule from third month to the first or second month would trigger the same behavior of employees and force them to work in more sincere way and give a little extra effort to their department.

On the other part management can use this behavior theory to create a more disciplinary environment by randomly changing the visit schedules. In above two cases, food and feedback are unconditional stimulus and bell sound and supervisor visits are conditional stimulus which triggered and individual behavior and paired their behavior with food or feedback.

Conditional Theory is reactive and we behave in specific way when something happens. These are very obvious behaviors of individuals and are argued to be related with the consequences of events that actually changed their behavior as it's also the environment that is responsible for change in behavior like every time special arrangements are done during the supervisors' visits or bell is used by the same person or at a specific time. Such complex behaviors can be studied better with Operant Conditioning Theory. 

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

During 1950's four theories were developed of Employees Motivation, 'Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs' remains on of the well known theory that emphasize on employee needs that motivates him to perform. Maslow believed that there exist a hierarchy of needs that motivates employees/individuals at different levels.
This theory emphasize that every individual can be motivated depending on the level of needs he is. If we are able to determine on what level of need an individual is we can focus on satisfying those needs on that level and above that level. These needs grouped on five categories/levels.

Physiological: Physiological needs are those required to sustain life such as:

  • Hunger 
  • Thirst
  • Shelter 
  • Air
  • Food
  • Drink
  • Sleep
  • Sex
Higher needs such as Social and Esteem will not prevail unless these needs are satisfied.

Safety and Security: Once physiological needs are satisfied and individual moves to next level of needs to make sure he is free from physical and emotional harm. These needs may include:
  • Living in safe area
  • Security from physical harm
  • Law and order
  • Medical insurance 
  • Job security
  • Freedom

Social needs: Once a person has met Safety and Security needs, the higher level needs activates. Social needs being the first of these higher needs relates with relationship of an individual with the society and these may include:
  • Belongingness
  • Affection
  • Acceptance
  • Friendship
  • Family and social relationship
  • Team work

Esteem: Once a person has feel of social belongingness and relationship his desire of next level of need of 'being important' arises. This level arises right next to the social needs and can be described as to how maintain or gain this 'being important' need. The answer to his question may be found in:
  • Self respect
  • Achievement
  • Mastery
  • Self-recognition
  • Consideration
  • Respect from others and respect in society
Maslow, later on has also suggested the need for knowledge and aesthetics as the next level of need after Esteem needs and before  Self-actualization. The needs for knowledge arises when a person has strong desire for Esteem Needs then having good knowledge and impressive personality will definitely lead to achieve Esteem needs and starts moving towards Self -actualization needs.

Self-actualization: Self-actualization is the highest level of need in Maslow Need hierarchy. These needs are tend to never satisfy and individual and when one of Self-actualization need is satisfied another arises. These include: 
  • Growth
  • Self potential
  • Success
  • Justice 
  • Wisdom 
  • Self-fulfillment
  • Personal growth 
Maslow categorized these needs in hierarchy starting with lower needs to higher needs. Lower order needs- Physiological and Safety needs- are satisfied externally by things such as pay, promotion and respect and Higher order needs- Social, Esteem and Self actualization- are satisfied internally within an individual. 

Maslow need hierarchy theory is well known among new practicing managers. No need is ever satisfied and a satisfied need never motivates. So if the managers want to motivate their employees then they must know whether at which level their employees are and then focus to satisfy those needs while giving them ample of opportunities to fulfill those needs.

14 Principles of Management

Henry Fayol, a French Industrialist gave a very influential contribution to the management business manages under his 14 Principles of Management. Fayol became Director of a mining  company in 1888 and developed these Principles with his experience of taking a company from difficult times to profit earning.

When he retired, Fayol gave these 14 Principles and prescribed that every manager should follow these principles in order to run the company smoothly. Here they are:

Fayol's Principles of Management
  1. Division of Work: The workers/employees will be more effective if they are given a limited set of activities. Work overload will make them exhaust and reduce their functionality.
  2. Authority: Managers should be given some sort of authority over their work units so that they can take decisions at their end too. However, along with the authority comes responsibility also.
  3. Discipline: The work units and personnel should obey the rules and regulations of the company in order to achieve the organizational goals and run the company smoothly. The workers can be penalize if found violating the norms.
  4. Unity of Command: All the managers should lead their own departments and that their work units should receive orders from their respective managers only. It would be very effective if the Directors and Departmental Heads should contact with the Team members only and not the individual team members.
  5. Unity of Direction: Each department and team should have their unique plan and should have only one manager/boss for better coordination.
  6. Subordination of Individual Interest over general interest: Individual interest of employees should not be taken over the general interest of the company. The company interest is supreme and should not be compromised for the interest of individual.
  7. Remuneration: Workers and employees should be paid fairly to avoid dissatisfaction of services.
  8. Centralization: Centralization means involvement in the Decision Making activities of the company and effective planning. Fayol has proposed that the structure of the organization should be either centralized or decentralized depending on the conditions and the Decision Making activities should be limited to the directors and the departmental heads only.
  9. Scalar Chain: Hierarchy is necessary in every organization and that it is required for Unity of Command and Unity of Direction.Organization in proper hierarchy ensures proper flow of authority, plans and policies.
  10. Order: Here comes the Organizing Function of Management which ensures that the personnel and resources should be available in the right place when required. 
  11. Equity: Managers should treat their work units with kindness and that the operations should be unbiased and fair.
  12. Stability of Tenure of Personnel: The management should ensure that the tenure of the employees in the company should be long enough and that the turnover rate should be low. This include motivational activities and proper Remuneration of services.
  13. Initiative: Employees should be allowed to create plans on their own to achieve their goals and targets effectively. Planning here means short term plans required to carry out a specific task. This generates confidence in the employees and encourages them to work hard.
  14. Esprit de Corps: There should be harmony and kindness between the departments in the organization. 

Functions of Management

Before discussing on Management understanding the term Management is obvious. Management is managing certain activities with predefined policies and strategies. These activities are performed by skilled persons known as 'Managers'. The more deeper we go in this term the more close we get to the roles and responsibilities of Managers. Management is a process that includes planning, leading and controlling organizational activities in or within two or more departments in a way to reach organizational goals.

There are obviously certain Roles and Responsibilities of Managers. There are basically three characteristics of Managers that every management needs and these activities differentiate Managers from other personnel at all levels.
  • Management:- Management includes managing and supervising the activities of others and to make sure that that each activity is carried out in the manner it was supposed to be. Management includes activities like organizing and controlling and hence managers don't do whatever they want to do but in in a way that the goals targets are achieved in the most efficient and effective way.
  • Efficiency:- Efficiency means to get the most output from limited resources. Managers have to work with the most scarce and sensitive resources like man, money and equipments and have to take care that without any extra investment they should be responsible to do a particular task with the given resources. Sometimes they have to work on the saying "If you want something to be done right, do it yourself."
  • Effectiveness:- Effectiveness is somewhat related with Leadership. The managers are responsible not only for designing and creating policies for management but also to make sure what is planned is achieved effectively. The tasks assigned to the individuals should be done and completed in time. Managers have also to see whether the tasks are assigned in accordance with the individual's experience, knowledge and capability. "Never send a boy to do a man's job."

Management Functions

Functions of Management includes Planning, Organizing, Leading and Controlling and certain Management Skills and Management Roles. Since every organization is different from each other in terms of processes, roles and responsibilities the function of managers also differ. To understand the roles and responsibilities of managers, management researchers have developed various approaches to categorize 'what do managers do?'. Management function is one of them. The other two are Management Roles and Management Skills.

Functions of Management:
  • Planning:- Planning includes defining organizational goals; establishing strategies to achieve those goals and developing plan of action to integrate work activities throughout the organization. In simple words planning includes 'what' is to be done and 'how'. For 'what' a detailed discussion is done to decide whether a particular course of action is beneficial for the organization and whether the organization really need it. In 'how' a detailed course of action is planned to define how a particular task will be completed. Whether two or more departments are to be coordinated and what will be the individual goals of the respective team members. This function is carried by the managers at all levels. 
  • Organizing:- Organizing includes designing the roles and responsibilities of all the departments and their respective members. When a goal is to be accomplished at organizational level, work is divided at all levels and to each and every personnel. Not only this but the complete organizational structure is defined and designing policies and tasks, who will be doing and what will be the authority of each personnel and  what will be the hierarchy chart. 
  • Leading:- Leading is another type of managerial function. When the work is assigned to individual departments, the heads of those departments are responsible to work in coordination with their team members to accomplish organizational goals. Their tasks is to work with and through people to complete the assigned tasks in given time frame.
  • Controlling:- Controlling is the process of monitoring and comparing the performance of individuals to check whether the work is done in the manner it was planned and whether the team is going in the right direction. The managers will not get the actual report without doing the complete analysis of the work done in particular time. Controlling not only includes analyzing the work done but also corrective actions are taken to improve performance and secure the future error free reports. Also some motivational activities are performed to increase the efficiency and sense of responsibility among the work units.
Managers not always perform these functions but also perform certain Management Roles that again describes managerial functions. There are basically 10 roles that define managerial functions and are grouped into three categories: Interpersonal roles includes roles like leadership, liaison and figurehead concerning subordinates and persons outside the organization. Managers here can be seen as a head performing routine duties of legal and social in nature. Managers here motivates subordinates and are also responsible for staffing and training activities of work units. Informational roles include collecting and disseminating withing the departments and also transferring information to the outsiders about organization's policies, plans, etc. Finally the managers perform Decisional roles as entrepreneur, disturbance handler, resource allocator and negotiator. In Decisional role managers are responsible for improvement projects, taking corrective actions and to make sure all the organizational resources are allocated accordingly. Decisional Role includes Decision Making function and Decision Making Process.

Management Skills include basically three types of skills: Technical Skills proficient in certain fields like computer technology, engineers and manufacturing units. These skills lies at Lower level management. 
Human Skills involve skills like working with other people and to make that tasks are distributed evenly. These skills are related with Assistant Managers and Team leaders at Middle level management.
Finally Conceptual Skills are those skills that require thinking and analyzing techniques or we can say planning techniques. Using these skills managers see the organization as a whole and are able to design plans and policies for the organization in complex situations. These skills are most required at Top Level Management.

Decision Making Process

Decision making is a management process and it is to be taken care that the decision so taken should be error free and that it has been taken after analyzing all the possible alternatives. Also apart from the different alternatives, all the available resources should be reviewed properly before coming to any decision.

Though the Decision Making is not a tough job but it should be done in a process in order to avoid future amendment and save time and so there are a few steps in Decision Making Process. Lets have them below.

5 Steps of Decision Making Process

1) Identify the problem: The purpose of decision making should be identified as it is the logical reason to gather around to plan or decide. The problem the the organisation or a department is facing should be clearly  presented along with the possible reasons for it. The reasons for any problem can be either any past failures or due to loopholes in present actions. Only after studying these problems and their possible reasons managers can move ahead with the decision making. Some important factors of the problem should be studied and identified:
a) Duration of the problem,
b) Areas affected by the problem,
c) Possible reasons of the problem,
d) Time available to solve the problem.

2) Standards: Standards in decision making includes organisational values, goals and the resources engaged in it. Every decision that is taken revolves around these three standards. If these factors are taken into consideration then the chances for future amendments will be lesser.

3) Analyse the alternatives: Once the problem is identified and understood, the possible alternatives or solution(s) should be identified. 'What can be done:'  is this step. Though not necessary the possible solutions will be error free, changes need to be made in future, and so they should be shortlisted on the basis of various things like cost involved, if any, time required to implement that solution, future effects on the organisation/department, duration till it can be implemented.

4) Select the best solution: Once all the available solutions are reviewed, managers can select one of them that suits them well and have lesser risk involved. There can be levels in judging that particular solution and once everything done well, select that option.

5) Implement the decision:Now its the final step in Decision Making when the solution is derived and implemented. Once done, it should be reviewed regularly so that if there is any loop hole remaining then it should be examined in advance.

When in the mid of Decision Making Process one should take into consideration both the positive and negative impacts of the solution on the organisation's activities. This reduces future risks and helps organisation running smoothly. However not matter how much efficient any decision is it will be changed in the near future as neither the conditions are always the same nor the actions.