Classical Organization Theories in Management of Healthcare

Topic: Administration
Words: 1190 Pages: 4


The classical perspective developed during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries emphasized a rational and scientific approach to management research. In the 1800s, the manufacturing system encountered issues such as tooling facilities, establishing managerial structures, teaching non-English speaking personnel (immigrants), settling strikes, and scheduling. These new issues, as well as the growth of authoritative, complex organizations, necessitated a shift in control and coordination thinking. This paper aims to discuss the role of classical organization theories in healthcare management and discuss the importance of the theories in healthcare. The classical approach consists of administrative principles, and bureaucratic structures, each one with a slight significance. It is necessary to identify the role and importance of management in the healthcare sphere and analyze the type of bureaucratic organization.

The Role of Management in Healthcare Organizations

Management in health care is the science of managing, regulating, and controlling the financial, labor, and material resources of health care. The goal of management in health care is to reduce the losses of society from morbidity, disability, and mortality of the population with available resources. Concerning medical production activities, the concepts of “management” and “manager” can be legitimately extended to the following processes and persons managing these processes:

  • Management of production and economic activities of state healthcare organizations that directly provide medical services;
  • Management of production and market business activities of commercial healthcare organizations by hired managers involved by the owners. In some cases, the owner, the owner of the business, may perform the functions of a manager;
  • Direct management of medical, and support staff, performing health care services.

Health care management is management, the object of which is a complex, sociotechnical open dynamic system. The very specificity of the object makes it extremely difficult to manage. The main features of health care management include the special responsibility of decisions made, on which the life and health of people depend, and the difficulty, and sometimes even the impossibility, of predicting the long-term consequences of decisions. The task of health care management is the most effective achievement of the goal by improving the quality of treatment and preventive measures and the rational use of health care resources.

In healthcare and medical activities, and management is focused on the production, distribution, circulation, consumption of medical goods and services, participants in these processes, and, to a certain extent, patients – consumers of services. Medical activity is a rather specific part of the non-productive sphere, and the medical service is different from any other, but the application of the theory of classical management in healthcare is possibly subject to some adjustments. The validity of such a statement is proved by the already existing experience in applying management methods in the organization of management in some (especially non-state) medical institutions. Against the background of general trends in the development of domestic production in the direction of applying the theory and practice of management in management, the healthcare system lags far behind. This is evidenced by the lack of specialists in the field of medical management and the scarcity of literature on this topic.

Bureaucratic Organizations

In the late 1800s, European organizations were administered on a “personal” family-like basis. The employees were more devoted to individual administrators than to the institutions. According to Bueno & Salapa (2021), administrations should be governed impersonally, and having a formal organizational structure with defined responsibilities was crucial. In other words, in such systems, the key role lies not in the personality of a particular individual, but in the entire structure and its speed. Three categories of legitimate authority were discovered through an investigation of organizations (Nadrifar et al., 2019). The first category was the traditional authority whereby dates back to ancient times and gets its power from tradition and custom. Due to its special faith in the historic rank and personal attachment to the dominating individual, this type of patrimonial authority obtains ready compliance. Relatives, servants, and personal relations would be the administrative apparatus in this type of authority.

The second category is Charismatic authority, whereby the word charisma refers to a leader’s gift of grace, as well as the authority they possess. Acceptance of power originates from a sense of devotion to and trust in the ruler’s traits. The third category is the Rational – Legal authority founded on a conviction that the law is correct. People follow the law because they believe it is adopted through a fair and impartial process (Nadrifar et al., 2019). Managers in bureaucracies rely on legal power invested in their managerial positions rather than personality to provide orders successfully. Thus, the main principles of bureaucracy are discipline in the team and system, and the authority of experience and expertise. In more advanced bureaucracies, there are usually well-defined mechanisms for engaging definite types of judgments.

Administrative Principles

In the early 1900s, managers had limited external tools to develop and guide their management practices. In this concept, the managerial functions of regulating, coordinating, commanding, organizing, and planning were defined, which focused on the entire firm rather than the single worker. Henri Fayol, known as the father of modern management, was a French mining engineer who established the functional management approach (Hussain et al., 2019). He claimed that there was an “administrative science” on its own whose ideas could be applied not only to businesses but also to religion, government, and other institutions. Fayol argues that “At higher levels of an organization, administrative competence rather than technical knowledge is required” (Samanci, 2021, p. 77). As a result, management was recognized as a distinct business activity. Fayol came up with a list of fourteen management concepts whereby one of the principles was a division of labor. Fayol believed that the greatest approach to employing human resources is to specialize in work. He felt that the work should be split among groups and individuals to focus attention and effort on certain aspects of the job.

An Approach that Will Enhance Performance in Hospital

Management science technique is capable of uncovering the deep relationships between the pieces of a complex system like a major clinic or a hospital, and it considers scale naturally. Management science is critical for understanding how processes and systems respond to a variety of inputs with non-random and random variability (Samanci, 2021). This knowledge allows decision-makers to predict actual resource requirements and performance, allowing them to be proactive rather than reactive. The most important benefit of bureaucracy is that it enables large hospital organizations with multiple hierarchical layers to organize and work efficiently (Baykan & Uzunboylu, 2018). Due to responsibilities, reporting relationships, and the formation of rules within a chain-of-command hierarchy, it allows high consistency and performance of work execution by all employees.


As a result of the analysis of the bureaucratic structure of medical organizations, it was revealed that this type is the most relevant and common among organizations. This is explained by the fact that discipline and experience are key factors in the delivery of medical services because mistakes have dire consequences. The principles that guide corporate leaders in carrying out their activities were formed by Henry Fayol, and they have proven their worth over time.


Baykan, H., & Uzunboylu, H. (2018). Administrator’s management preferences and management theories, IIOAB Journal: A Journal of Multidisciplinary Science and Technology, 9(3), 21-29.

Bueno, D. C., & Salapa, A. C. (2021). The metamorphosis of management theories from classical to modern: Analysis in the context of public administration. Journal of Institutional Multidisciplinary Research and Development, 5(3), 1-16.

Hussain, N., Haque, A. U., & Baloch, A. (2019). Management theories: The contribution of contemporary management theorists in tackling contemporary management challenges. Journal of Yaşar University, 14, 156-169. Web.

Nadrifar, A., Bandani, E., & Shahryar, H. (2019). An Overview of Classical Management Theories: A Review Article. International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR), 5(9), 83-86. Web.

Samanci, M. (2021). Are we going back to Taylorism with COVID-19? Journal of Health and Management, 1(1), 49-56. Web.

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