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Examine and Critically Evaluate the Use of Classical, Behavioural, and Quantitative, Approaches to Management in Facilitating the Success (or Otherwise) of Qantas

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Examine and critically evaluate the use of classical, behavioural, and quantitative, approaches to management in facilitating the success (or otherwise) of Qantas


Organisational behaviour is a discursive subject and there is currently extensive debate over which approach to management best facilitates success. (Hs, 2014, pp. 1-2)  Over time there have been several approaches to management which can all have various effects as to how an organisation functions. Classical, behavioural and quantitative are amongst the more favourable approaches when facilitating success. Whilst one can critically evaluate each of these it is evident that throughout each organisation it will be different in terms how these are applied. Qantas have been around since the 1920’s and overtime have been able to clearly demonstrate these approaches to management in a business like way. However it is clear that within the management of Qantas they don’t just use one approach as this would lead to a downfall due to the fact large organisations need several management styles in order to be successful. Another successful way to determine effective organisational objectives is through the SMART approach, and when directly focusing on Qantas this plays an important role. Identification of major trends in management and organisational behaviour provide a perspective on concepts and ideas, which will be further discussed. (Hs, 2014, p. 1)

Understanding organisational behaviour and the way large corporations work can at times be difficult to understand and the chain of management can vary from business to business. One important way that helps those with understanding this can be through the SMART model. The SMART model is an approach to determining effective organisational objectives, and in this case can assist and lead to the success of Qantas. Within the SMART model are the specific, measurable, actionable, reasonable and timetabled objectives. It is evident that all of these objectives essentially lead to how classical, behavioural and quantitative do facilitate success. A prime example of the SMART objectives being used can be evident in the media release written by Qantas, where they introduce a five year change to enable a greater focus o the priorities of turning around the Qantas international business and enhancing the strong Qantas domestic business, as part of the overall group strategy.  (Qantas Corporate Communication, 2012) These examples especially exemplifies the timetabled objective, and Alan Joyce reiterates this by quoting “Over the past 18 months we have established a clear path to building a better, more competitive Qantas”


The classical approach of management “Professes the body of management thought based on the belief that employees only have economical and physical needs and that the social needs & need for job satisfaction either does not exist or are un-important. Accordingly it advocates high specialisation of labour, centralised decision making and profit maximisation” (Carroll, 2015, p. 41). The classical approach has been around since the 1900’s and is the oldest formal school of thought that is mainly concerned with increasing the efficiency of workers and organisations. Although within the classical approach includes the scientific administrative and bureaucratic management styles, which also assist in facilitating success within organisations, especially Qantas, as they are a large corporation, which do utilise these management styles on a daily basis.


As Qantas are still a growing organisation it is important they clearly demonstrate the key elements of classical management as well as behavioural approaches. The management of Qantas today however doesn’t use just one single approach, as that wouldn’t suffice, in fact they utilise a contingency approach adopting the best management style to suit the circumstances and issues at the time. As Qantas are a business enterprise over the years they have been able to provide excellent examples of a classical approach towards their business management. Over time Qantas have developed their complex hierarchical structure into numerous layers of management and this closely links to the classical approach as it aims to provide a high level of efficiency purely based on the division of labour.

It is evident that after extensive research Qantas’ main function of their business is planning, organising and controlling not only employees across the board but however all those under the Qantas name. With it being such a large corporation it is important that the structure of management is intricate and precise as this is needed to maintain levels of control and such a large organisation like Qantas, when undertaking the classical approach they need to be able to function along with the need for financial and quality control. Ultimately the organisation needs a strong supervisory role for the management position in order to facilitate success.

The hierarchal structure at Qantas isn’t like other large organisations, as their communication flow mainly comes from the chain of command, straight from top to bottom, where as it is clear that other large organisations have a communication flow structure in place. Furthermore Qantas implemented this complex structure to keep a high level of supervision in place from the managers over the subordinates, which ultimately results in a narrow control span. The classical approach has encouraged an autocratic leadership style, which involves leaders and those in charge to take control of all subordinates, a prime example of this is at school, principals are in charge of the deputy and deputy’s are in charge of head teachers and head teachers manage those underneath them and so on. The classical approach seems to work well for Qantas, as they are a successful corporation.


The behavioural approach is something that can be learned, thus all behaviour can be unlearned, and new behaviours learned in place of the old. The behavioural approach is concerned primarily with the observable and measurable aspects of human behaviour, and various theories, such as Watson (1878-1958) and Skinner (1904-1990) exemplify these. Therefore when behaviour becomes unacceptable it can be unlearned, and various views can influence organisations.  (Bustamante, 1996) The way human factors are managed at Qantas are portrayed in the management structure, and through the use of the ‘Expected Behaviours” chart that was made by Qantas purely for the human interaction process in which they implement at a high standard. Whilst it is clear that the International Civil Avaitaion Organisation has made it clear that behavioural issues are somewhat challenging and are all facing organisational issues within management positions, they believe this stems from human error and building a motivation based workforce will better not only the human interaction but also help with the success it is highly important that behavioural theories play a part in doing so. (Edkins, 2001)



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