The classical theory is the beginning of a systematic study of organisations. This theory has dealt mainly with anatomy of formal organisations. Organisation is viewed as a machine and human beings as different components of that machine. Therefore, efficiency can be increased by making each individual working in organisation efficient.
The main pillars or elements of classical organisation theory are as follows :
Division of labour. It implies that work must be divided to obtain a clear-cut specialisation with a view to improve the performance of workers.
Departmentalisation. This requires grouping of various activities and jobs into departments so as to minimise costs and to facilitate administrative control.
Coordination. Orderly arrangement of group effort is necessary to provide unity of action in pursuit of common purpose. There should be harmony among diverse functions.
Scalar and functional processes. Scalar chain refers to a series of superior-subordinate relationships from the top to the bottom of the organisation. It serves as a means of delegation of authority (command), communication (feedback) and remedial action (decision).
Structure. Structure implies the logical relationship of functions in an organisation arranged to accomplish its objectives efficiently.
Span of control. This implies the number of subordinates a manager can effectively supervise.