“The father of scientific management” Taylor in the book of “Principles of Scientific Management,” said that: “management is to know what others should to do, and to guide them do it in the best and most economical way.” French management scientist Henri Fayol think that “management, is the implementation of planning, organization, command, coordination and control.” Modern management master Peter F．Drucker is more concerned about the “culture” in the management, he pointed out that management “rooted in a culture, a value tradition, habits and beliefs, rooted in the government system and political system.” In the definition of Drucker, it contains the elements of management aesthetics. Aesthetics management is to analyze, explore and discuss the aesthetic factors in management, and into management art. On the one hand, management aesthetics is different from the general management, it is not the general method of business management or principles, and it rather study the issue of how to use aesthetic principles in production and operation. On the other hand, aesthetics management is not a simple combination of management and aesthetics, but a fusion and mutual penetration of aesthetics and management science. It is a sign that aesthetics step from speculation, philosophy to the empirical and practical use, and it is also a contemporary aesthetic development trend.
In the history of the development of management science, which is founded by Taylor (1856–1915) about a century ago, it has gone through four stages: classical management, behavioral science management, management science and, since the beginning of the 1980s, the corporate culture management stage. The theory of management science can be regarded as a new form of classical management theory, emphasizing the prominent role of scientific rationality in management. Corporate culture management theory is to a certain extent a new development of behavioral science management theory, emphasizing the management of human emotional factors (Peng,2013, p12). To date, however, there has been several theory of management aesthetics which emphasizes the important role of artistic factors in management.
Management is not only science, but also art; not only a social behavior, but also a social culture. The extension of aesthetics in management is gradually coming into being, and this kind of study aims to seek the truth, the goodness and the beauty in human organization and the world. This is not only a need of modern management, but also a development of modern life and aesthetics itself. Ramirez (1996) suggested that future research in organizational aesthetics should address the aesthetic experience of everyday organizational life, organizational design and issues of form, and intervention and research strategies; and Ottensmeyer (1996) argued that we already refer to organizations in terms of beauty and art, but we have not approached them that way academically.
Strati (1992) explicitly made an epistemological argument that aesthetics was the way to get at the feel of an organization. Then in 1996, there was a special issue of Organization in which Strati (1996) argued that aesthetics was an important form of organizational knowledge; “Broadly, aesthetics is concerned with knowledge that is created from our sensory experiences. It also includes how our thoughts and feelings and reasoning around them inform our cognitions” (Li, 2004: p66). Aesthetics is a criterion by which we judge the environment. Bateson (1979) suggested that by aesthetic he meant experience that resonated with the pattern that connects mind and nature. Ramirez (1991) developed this idea in terms of systems and suggested that aesthetics were about the ‘belonging to’ aspect of a system (as opposed to the ‘separate from’ aspect of being in a system). Sandelands (1998) argues that humans are fundamentally both part of a group and individuals and that artistic forms are how humans express the feelings of being part of a social group. In organizations, a specific aesthetic was defined as beauty equated to Taylorism, or the scientiﬁc management of efficient organizations, which still dominates modern organizations. “In that sense, ‘it’s working beautifully’ (Li, 2004: p66) means that it is working smoothly, efﬁciently, exactly as planned—the realization of twentieth century management ideals of planning and control” (Li, 2004).
White (1996) argued that an aesthetic approach to organizations is apposite, and provided insight into beauty which is a constitutive element of organizations; Dean et al. (1997) argued that an aesthetic perspective addresses questions and issues that are not fundamentally instrumental or ethical and that people’s aesthetic experience of organizations matter because people are attracted to things they see as beautiful and are repulsed by the ugly.
◆ Western modern aesthetics management
The behavioral science school
The behavioral science school deems that the aesthetics of management lies in interpersonal relationships and motivating people’s behavior, emphasizing its importance to the organization of the individual’s needs and characteristics (Zhang, 2000). The coordination of interpersonal relationships has a decisive effect on the organization’s work efficiency, which coincides with the idea of working beautifully. According to the needs and characteristics of people setting up organizational positions and levels, this involves paying attention to the role of informal organizations, establishing a relationship between the upper and lower levels of governance, and emphasizing the distribution of jobs according to people’s interests and hobbies (Yin, 2000). The theory of behavioral science mainly includes organizational strain theory, interpersonal relationship theory, interest combination theory and decision type theory.
A. Beautiful mechanism: organizational strain theory
The main representative of organizational strain theory, Warren Bennis (1925–2014), stressed that the organizational form and mechanism should be constantly adjusted to the time and the environment, and always maintain fresh vitality and adaptability, stressing the management of human factors (Simpson, 1997). In particular, Bennis (1956) pointed out that the progress of scientific and technological revolution requires organizational ability to adapt to change, thus predicting that dull slow bureaucracy would disappear. Organizational strain theory reflects the management being constantly updated to keep up with the strain of human nature, human beauty and dynamic beauty. Organizations are like the human body, and in order to maintain strong vitality and present a beautiful body, it is necessary to continue to get rid of the stale and take in the fresh. Bureaucracy is a closed, rigid system and a pool of stagnant water. Where there is no source of water, there will be no running water, and where there is no running water, there must be filth and choking. The beauty of management according to organizational strain theory lies in its adaptability and movement (Sullivan, 2013).
B. Beautiful interpersonal relationships in management
The main representatives of the theory of interpersonal relationships are Carnegie, Mayo, Roethlisberger and Whitehead, the famous interpersonal movement researchers. They proposed interpersonal theory, which pointed out that the satisfaction of workers is related to production, increased employee satisfaction can improve work efficiency, and groups have a great influence on the behaviour of individuals (Sullivan, 2013). Communication channels should be established to exchange experiences and exchange information at all levels of the organizational hierarchy (Kiesler, 1997). Carnegie (2010) warned people that the road to success was to praise people’s advantages, which includes the humility of beauty, the respect of beauty and the beauty of tolerance. The beauty of the image of participation in management is an important factor in the interpersonal relationship movement. Interpersonal relations in itself is a manifestation of human nature, because communication must be friendly, mutually beneficial, equal, moral and reasonable, with material exchanges and respect as the premise, both of which have ethical and formal beauty. Participation in management is not only the embodiment of democratization, but also the embodiment of group wisdom. Interpersonal relationships and participation in management together constitute the management of harmony to achieve the highest state of beauty.(Zhang, 2000)
C. Beautiful scenario of win-win situation
The main representative of the interest combination theory is Mary P. Follett (1868–1933). Follett believed that contradictions within an organization and contradictions between the organization and the external environment can be resolved through combining the interests of both sides (Follett, 1942). In order to achieve interest for both sides, we must change the traditional definition of power and authority, advocating the impersonal order and obeying the law of the situation instead of obeying the individual. So-called impersonal orders are not orders or decisions given or made by one person or one side, but by two or more parties with a common interest as their target. The theory of interest combination embodies the principles of balance, incentive, honesty and management aesthetics, and also conforms to the beauty of human nature. Although it is profit-driven, but it still permeated by ethical beauty and formal beauty.
D. Beautiful decision-making processes
The main representative of decision theory is the Nobel laureate in economics, American scholar Simon (1916–2001). Simon (1965) believed that decision-making is the centre of management, running through the entire process of enterprise management (Abelson, 1985). The task of management is to pursue the rationality of decision-making. The organization as a decision-making system is composed of individuals, each of whom will participate in various forms of decision-making. To this end, the organizational structure design should be consistent with the type of decision-making process, which is the basis for the internal division of labour in the organization, the degree of decentralization and centralization, and the relationships between the functional staff, all of which should be consistent with the decision-making. At the same time, Simon made an in-depth analysis of the whole process of decision-making, guidelines, procedural decision-making and non-procedural decision-making, making decision-making a science rather than an experience. Decision theory reflects the high degree of intelligence of management, which is a beauty of scientific thinking and operation. With the premise that management is decision-making and the beauty of decision-making management is the beauty of management, so decision-making is the embodiment of thinking, and planning and management are the visualization of thinking. Decision-making is a hybrid of scientific thinking and intuitive experience, so decision theory is represented by the management of scientific beauty and thinking beauty (Abelson, 1985).
The behavioral science school fully take into account the initiative of the people, initiate and mobilize the enthusiasm as well as the sense of belonging to the organization of all staff, reducing the levels of the organization. It is conducive to the improvement of work efficiency and a manifestation of human beauty.
But due to its neglects to institutional management, it easily leads to decentralism, selfish departmentalism, which demonstrates that restraint mechanism should be introduced to the humane management and thus constitutes an ideal management.
System contingency school management aesthetics thought
System contingency theory formed in the 20th century 60 years, in the 1970s, it has become the mainstream of management theory. Its essence is to treat the organization as an open model, start to realize the organization’s external environment plays a decisive role on the internal structure, the organizational structure and management method should subject to the overall strategic objectives. This theory emphasizes that the organization is a social organization, stressing the organization’s survival value, social role and character traits, emphasizing the center of the organization.
Contingencyists argue that in the field of management, there is no universal effective management approach that fit for any age, any organization, and any individual, so there is no “best” management approach. The management of the organization should be based on its internal and external environmental conditions and changes according to time and local conditions, due to time and flexibility to use different management methods.
The system contingency theory shows the overall beauty of the management, such as beautiful process, beautiful cooperation, and beautiful dynamic. The system contingent regard the system as a whole, a coordinated movement and a constantly changing body. The holistic view and dynamic view in the theory of system contingency is the soul of modern organization theory. In the endless practice, organizational theory will continue to deduce many more new forms. Any theory, thought is a certain historical phenomena. There cannot be absolutely correct, generally applicable theory, experience and methods. With the development of social economy, science and technology, people’s understanding of the rules of organization and management will be more clear, combined with the specific national conditions, different characteristics of the organizational theory system will be created.
◆ Ancient Chinese management aesthetic thought
Two thousand years of Confucianism is the backbone of the Chinese traditional management culture. Confucian aesthetics of management can be seen from the following aspects.
A. Beauty of the guidance and constraint functions of management
Confucian management strategy puts more focus on the function of guidance; on the other hand, it emphasizes constraint. Guidance and restraint are a dialectical unity and the two arms of management. Confucius put forward the idea that binding people with rules and punishing them with penalties could prevent people from committing crime to a certain extent, but would not be helpful for them to acknowledge that the crime is shameful; if people are educated with morality and constrained by rules, people will not only have a sense of shame but can correct their own faults (Cheng, 2001).
B. Beauty of scientific talent selection
Confucianism pays attention to the selection of talents. Employees are the blood of the company. It is important to know how to recruit and promote the right people (Cheng, 2001). The beauty implied here is the sound and scientific talent selection process which is human based.
On the issue of select the talents, Confucius are against judging a person based on one’s word, but rather do a comprehensive observation on one. The leaders cannot promote or employ one because he or she can say nice words, nor can ignore one’s opinion because the level of adviser is low or for personal hatred.
C. Beauty of self-discipline
Confucian emphasizes the impact and exemplary role of the leaders. This is the ‘self-cultivation’ thinking of Confucius. Both man and animal have the ability to imitate (Zhang, 2000). Every move of the leader will have a big impact on the employees. Self-governance embodies not only the ethical requirements for moral cultivation, but also the requirements for aesthetic leadership and management. The behaviour of the manager himself has a great influence on, or even plays a decisive role in, organization policy, cultural phenomena and customs. From the aesthetic point of view, with beautiful behaviour and language to lead the employees, the employees will be affected and will beautify themselves (Zhang, 2000). Self-discipline is about the beauty of self-cultivation and self-governance. Disciplining others is the beauty of leadership and guidance.
D. Beauty of forgiveness and trust
Forgiveness and trust. The essence of “forgiveness” includes understanding, patience, be nice and friendly with people, don’t blame people harshly for minor mistake, don’t bring up the past issues. Otherwise, subordinates would be so cautious and fear of punishment, which is not helpful to encourage the initiative and creativity among employers.
Confucianism repeatedly stressed the “forgiveness”, as it is the essence of self-cultivation, and as one of the strategy of the rule of the country. This requires the leader has a broad mind, noble personality, extraordinary tolerance. Confucianism advocates forgiveness, advocate tolerance. Both from the perspective of self-cultivation and from the point of view of the management, forgiveness is the lubricant to eliminate social contradictions, coordination of interpersonal relationships, enhance group cohesion in in the intense survival competition of the world. Trust is an aspect of loyalty, is an attitude of frankness, open and honesty. Trust is also an aspect of respect, employees should be granted the appropriate authority to help them complete the work and it also recognize their status. Forgiveness and trust is the law in the use of talent, forgiveness is the premise of trust, and there is no sincere forgiveness if there is no real trust. The “tolerance” in the management gives a sense of intimacy, stability, openness, freedom, and a sense of ease. Is a kind of peaceful beauty, open-minded beauty and warm beauty “Trust” gives a sense of sincerity, loyalty, a sense of friendliness, which is a sincere beauty, frankness beautiful, loyal beauty, transparent beauty.
This coincides with the idea of good interpersonal relationships in western theory. Do not blame the small mistake, do not bring up past issues and do not remember the resentment; otherwise the subordinates will be too cautious and so cannot show initiative and creativity (Cheng, 2001).
E. Beauty of Harmony and people oriented
To achieve management goals, to achieve aesthetic and humane management, we must have a harmonious management and interpersonal coordinated management environment. China’s management culture promoted the employees loyalty to the manager. The Confucian social management aesthetic thought advocate people-oriented, pay attention to honest interpersonal relationships. “People – oriented” is the core of Confucian thought of management, “harmony is beauty” humanistic aesthetic is the essence of Chinese management aesthetic thought.
In an enterprise, between managers and employees, as well as between managers, each have their own responsibilities, at the same time, as people who have independent minds, there will be many different ideas and individual differences which cannot be completely consistent , this is what the manager must take care of. This requires a humane and aesthetic management so as to promote each person to fulfill the task as far as possible, make each one to be responsible for their own work and review themselves and blame others less.
Business is war without bullets. In current society, enterprises must strengthen the aesthetic operation in the management and market competition. Right place, right time and harmony people are the keys to achieve success in the fierce competition. Putting man at the highest position is the most prominent of Mencius’ management aesthetics. He emphasizes “harmonious people”, which is a kind of wisdom that should be bear in mind by our managers today. In the management activities, human issues and interpersonal harmony plays a decisive role. On the other hand, management aesthetics, as a discipline, is the study of human and aesthetic relationship. Ancient Greek esthetician Pythagoras once said that: beauty is harmonious. What is the most beautiful — harmony.” “Harmony” is the highest level of aesthetic activities, the spirit of harmony should be the basic spirit of social management aesthetics. In the trend of modern management, the Confucian management aesthetic thought, which is humanistic, pursues humanized and aesthetic social management aesthetic thought is more suitable for the needs of social management today.
◆ The aesthetics of demand motivation
Incentives are an important part of the management process, and the most fundamental and most effective part, fully displaying the beauty of human nature in management activities. Demand motivation is the desire to meet people’s needs, mobilizing their enthusiasm, initiative and creativity (Abelson, 1985). Demand is the need for life, the need for survival and the need for development. The beauty that comes from these needs is real beauty, natural beauty. The aesthetics of demand motivation is mainly embodied in the following theories.
A. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is the study of human needs by the American psychologist Maslow (Huitt, 2004). Maslow put forward the theory in The theory of human motivation, published in 1943. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs argues that needs are inherent, natural, subconscious and sequential, and that the needs that are satisfied are no longer the motivating factors (Maslow, 1943). The demand hierarchy is the overall inspiration from the material to the spirit, the organic integration of natural beauty and social beauty, the fully displayed beauty of human nature and personality in management. It is also a major achievement in instilling life aesthetics in management.
B. The need for achievement theory
The theory of achievement needs was put forward by Professor David McClelland, a psychologist of contemporary research on motivation. From the 1940s to the 1950s, he began to study the needs and motivations of people, putting forward the famous ‘three needs’ theory and drawing a series of important conclusions. David McClelland and colleagues (1976) proposed that people with a strong need for achievement are eager to do things more perfectly and more easily to arrive at greater success. In the process of pursuing success, they enjoy overcoming difficulties, solving problems, working hard and having fun, and experience a personal sense of accomplishment. Individual achievements need to be related to the degree of economic, cultural, social and political development in which they are located. Social climate also restricts people’s achievement needs.
Achievement needs theory is the high-level needs theory beyond the theory of people’s basic needs, is a kind discussion to the entrepreneurship and the pursuit of life, which is a more humanistic management art. From the aesthetic point of view, it shows the beauty of entrepreneurship and the life value. “Achievement” shows the beauty of people’s wisdom; “authority” is the lever, the way, the condition to get the achievement. The authority and power for the good cause of career is a manifestation of the beauty of masculinity. “Affinity” is the nature character of the human group behavior, it is because of “affinity”, the internal contradictions of human groups could have been resolved, harmonious development of human society could have been achieved. The affinity of the manager needs is the important factors to achieve a high degree of harmony management.
C. Expectancy theory
Expectancy theory was put forward by the famous American psychologist and behaviourist, Yale University Professor Victor H. Vroom. Vroom believed that the degree to which people can be motivated by an activity depends on the expected value multiplied by the expected probability of achieving the result (Heneman, 1972).
Expectation theory is the reflection of life beauty on the management and the incentive method to meet the needs of different individuals, different objects, different environments, different scenarios and different time. It shows the respect for life and individual differences. It is an application of the Principle of Life Aesthetics. The theory set a vision with a higher goal which can make people to pursue it actively, which is the application of life aesthetics and a kind of ideal beauty in practice.
D. Equity theory
The theory of equity is a motivation theory put forward by American behavioural scientist Adams. The theory focuses on rationality and fairness and the influence of wage compensation on enthusiasm for production. From a psychological point of view, the theory of equity is about achieving psychological balance in management. Psychological balance is a very important psychological need of people: once psychological imbalance appears, it will lead to psychological metamorphosis, and psychological abnormalities will lead to abnormal behaviour. Psychological balance is not only for the interest, but also for the needs of aesthetic vision; it is a balanced beauty. Balanced beauty is both a physical phenomenon and a form of beauty.
Barnard’s organizational aesthetics
“Many people are not interested in organizational science because they do not feel the art of the organization and do not see the important factors.” Chester I. Barnard said in the preface of his book The Functions of the Executive. Perhaps because Barnard has a profound musical attainments, in his book, he has conducted a review of organizational science with an artist vision, redefine the meaning of the organization with the use of psychological and philosophical dialectical thinking, analyzes the structure of the organization from the people-oriented perspective, explore the role of professional managers in the organization combined with his many years of manager experience.
People is the starting point of all organizational research
Tracing Barnard’s previous management theory, such as Taylor’s scientific management and Faure’s management theory, they all emphasis on professional division of labor and structural efficiency. The purpose of these theories is to improve efficiency whether from the perspective of social and psychological feelings of people or from the enterprise management technology and scientific analysis. Organization as a starting point to carry out research –in general, the theories before Barnard’s theory, all regarded people as a tool, organization is the master of all
In the eyes of Barnard, people have become the starting point of all organizational research, the organization is to achieve people’s desire to exist. Barnard’s theory, completely abandon the organization-based thinking of predecessors. Therefore, the cooperative system can become the classic definition of organizational theory.
The thought of “people-oriented” began to take root in management, since then, this concept has become the core content of the organization, and the organization was only a link and a medium for people to cooperate, a tool to achieve self-purpose. The theory before all demonstrates that the organization is only a cold body that is striving for efficiency with no human touch.
Like organizations, work manifests itself in terms of its result, in terms of its setting, and in terms of the actions it entails. This third actual manifestation takes place within organizations. To achieve the goal and take regardless of the emotions, the members of the organization will gradually dislike the organization, especially the company. But since Barnard, the position of organization and the people began to swap. The interests of the members of the organization placed as the organization’s most fundamental purpose. Only by achieving the goals of the organization, their own goals of the members will be achieved. Therefore, as a prerequisite, the organization began to fill with the warmth and care.
The core of Barnard’s social system theory is “organizational balance theory”, “organization is a conscious system to the human activities or forces and to coordinate them.” In the existing environment, when individuals seek their own higher purpose and desire, due to the constraints brought by the environment and lack of experience, all of them will require cooperation with others to overcome obstacles to achieve their goals. Fundamentally, the balance within the organization depends on the incentives provided by the organization to the members and the contribution of the members to the organization.
The balance in the organization is somewhat like the inflection point in the calculus. A curve on a coordinate axis can only be found the inflection point position when the data on the horizontal and vertical axis data being control and adjusted at the same time. In business, this inflection point may represent the best price. In the organization, this balance is representative of the high efficiency and good results, the incentives brought by the organization to bring members can be represented by the vertical axis, the contributions and sacrifice made by the members to the organization can be seen as the horizontal axis, therefore, only achieve balance these two aspects can the “inflection point.” Of the organization can be found.
The Evolution of “Informal Organization” and “Formal Organization”
The distinction between informal organization and formal organization can be said to be a very important contribution to Barnard. “A formal organization is a system that consciously coordinates the activities or forces of two or more people. In any particular context in which there is cooperation, there are several different systems, some of which are material systems, some are the biological system, and some are the psychological system, and so on, all of these systems contributes into the elements of a specific co-operation, which is organization. “But the establishment of an organization, with the increase in the number of members, The network of relationships between organizations will be more complex. At this point, people under different organizations will contact with each other with no specific purpose of contact, informal organizations will thus produce.
Unlike the consciously formed formal organizations, informal organizations are created by unconscious social processes, and informal organizations tend to produce two important outcomes: first, it make people to form a certain attitude, understanding, customs and habits ; Second, it will create conditions for the creation of a formal organization. “And this distinction can make people to grasp the connection method of the individual needs and organizational need. With the help of informal organizations, the company could meet the needs of members in terms of emotion, hobbies and interests, which can help lead to the achievement of formal organizational goals. s