When people, planning, and process combine, performance doesn’t always go well. In fact, when performance is weak catastrophic events can follow. At best, poor performance over time leads to a slow and painful demise of a system. When you peel back into what lies beneath poor performance, you find problems.
Many argue that operations management is the study of that combination of people, planning, and process to produce goods and services. When people, planning, and process combine, problems can happen. At least one major facet of operations management is the study of how to manage problems that occur within that combination that lead to poor performance.
History shows us that operations management thinkers have struggled to balance their emphasis on operations (planning and process) problems with emphasis on human (people) problems. Taylorism emphasized standardization, without which, the US military may have been hard-pressed to fight and win World War II. Taylorism, though, lacked sensibility to the humanness of the worker. This void in management thought gave rise to the Human Relations movement, which emphasized the need to pay attention to motivation. From it we learned of Maslow’s hierarchy and MacGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y. If Taylorism tipped the human and operations balance in the operational direction, the Human Relations movement tipped it equally if not more in the human direction.0