Are these theories still relevant to today’s organisations? Can the behavioural organisation theorists present a structural model suitable for implementation in practice? The answer to both these questions can be found in the work done by Rensis Likert of the University of Michigan.
The linking pin idea, although conceptually very simple, represents an actual model for organisation structure. It is based on the concept of every man’s functioning as a linking pin for the organisation units above and below him. Under this arrangement every man is a vital member to two groups. He is the group leader of the lower unit and a group member of the upper unit. In the linking pin structure a group-to-group as opposed to the traditional man-to-man, relationship exists.
One foundation for this theory is a research finding that good supervisors tend to have more influence on their own superiors than poor supervisors do. When supervisors who had above average influence with their bosses followed the procedures that are generally considered to be good supervisory behaviour, their subordinates tended to react favourably.
But when supervisors who were below average in the amount of influence they had on their supervisors practised the same desirable supervisory procedures, they usually failed to obtain
a favourable reaction from their subordinates and not infrequently got an adverse reaction.
Strengthening the bonds of organisation by the linking pin method is believed to ensure three-way communication (up, down and sideways, between people on the same level and to permit each supervisor some opportunity to influence his boss. In this way, it is thought, the goals of the persons in the organisation and those of the organisation itself will become comparable if not exactly identical.
The behavioural scientists have given a new orientation to administrative thought by focusing attention on the role of the individual leadership in organisation, groups dynamics, motivation and satisfaction. The behavioural studies are a growing body of knowledge and these are increasingly being used in organisational redesigning and problem solving.
More importantly, many of the behavioural scientists are now active in the role of change agents. They are not merely satisfied with interpreting the organisation; they are also interested in changing it. As the scientists put it, “Human interventions designed to shape and modify the institutionalized behaviours of men are now familiar features of our social landscape”.
It is important to note that the early theories of Mayo, Roethlisberger and Dickson were criticised for underestimating the scope of worker management conflict or even labour unrest. They were termed anti-union and their theories were allegedly, misused by managers to exploit the working class.
As a consequence, the later human relation theorists, such as Argyris and Bennis, have stressed the significance of “fusion” approach, where the individual worker in an organisation is considered as important as the organisation itself.
Organisational goals and demand were as important as goals of individual’ workers. Every effort should be made to see that the organisational work fulfils the worker’s talent and creative potential and leaves him satisfied with his job. It is the goal of every management to strike a balance between the worker’s needs and those of the organisation.