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Development of Management Thought

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1-0 Introduction:

” Management is tasks, Management is a discipline. But management also people. Every achievement of management is the achievement of a manager. Every failure is a failure of a manager. People manage rather than ‘forces’ or ‘facts’ .The vision, dedication and integrity of managers determine whether there is a management or mismanagement’

Stewart, R, Management and organizational behavior, Sixth Edition, Laurie J Mullins. Prentice Hall (2002)

Management takes place within a structured organizational setting with prescribed roles. It is directed towards the achievement of aims and objectives through influencing the efforts of others.

This role encouraged a lot of writers to study management aspects, where they came out with theories that’s become the sprit of management thinking.

Management theories came according to the industrial situation at the time, but a lot of these theories are still relevant till today and most of the manager still believe in it.

So in my assignment I will give a look at the four main management approaches and evaluate them then I will give my opinion to which one is still relevant based on my own experience at work.

2-0 Major Management Approaches

Studying management started around the end of the nineteenth century , and study was relevant to than one before even by completing it or by view other parts of the organization that the one before didn’t concentrate in it.

So studying these theories is very important to managers to understand the development of management thinking and to base on it when dealing with different parties of the organization.

So in order to help managers these studies categorized as approaches , where there is four main approaches that identified the development of management thinking , some of these approaches are still applied in our daily living where things required managing like business ,military ,religion and political.

The four main approaches of management thinking are:

1- The Classical (traditional) Approach

2- The Human Relation Approach

3- The system Approach

4- The contingency Approach.

To understand these approaches I will discuss each one of these individually and evaluate them.

2-1 The Classical Approach

The classical approach was raises after the growth of organizations due where the automation and mass production became the concern of productivity. But management thinking was still slow to evolve during this revelation ago there was a need to develop a theory of management to provide a tools for managers while dealing with their organizational challenges.

So the need of classical approach arise which encourage Taylor, Fayol and Weber.

2-1-1 Frederic Taylor (1856-1915)

Taylor is known as the ‘father of scientific management’

Taylor started working from the bottom till he reached the position of chief engineer at a steel company. During this period he experiment the best way of performing each work operation, he sough to establish a clear division of labor between management and employees.

Taylor developed four principles of scientific management:

路 The development of a science for each element of a man’s work to replace the old rule.

路 Mangers should assume the responsibility for selecting, training and developing the employee.

路 The development of a cooperate spirit between workers and management to ensure that work would be carried in scientific management method.

路 Management should share an equal share with workers; each group will take over the work that is fitted to it.

Scientific management helped in having a system for supervising employees, improving work methods, also Taylor suggest that the best way to increase job performance and productivity to reach financial incentives is by paying employees by the piece through the piece rate system

He had a special frame wok of organization:

路 Clear authority

路 Clear responsibility

路 Separation of planning from operations

路 Incentive plan for each worker

路 Task specialization

Strengths of Scientific Management:

1- It helps in measuring the accuracy of tasks and procedures

2- Measuring tasks and process gave useful information that helps in improvements and designing.

3- Improving task methods will increase productivity.

4- It helps managers to be a leader starting from low level

5- It helps in improving the physical work condition for workers

Weaknesses of Scientific Management:

1- It reduce the worker involvement in methods and procedure

2- It gave control and planning at the manager’s level

3- It ignored human aspects of employment and concentrate on financial side as a motivator.

4- Ignoring the employment human needs create a boring job and reduce their moral.

5- However Taylor was the first to point that it’s management’s primary responsibility to make and organization productive, and that what make his theory still relevant to today.

2-1-2 Henri Fayol ( 1841-1925)

Henri Fayol belongs to the administrative management of classical school, Fayol started as an apprentice to General manager at a minining company, he credited with turning the company around from a threatened bankruptcy into聽strong financial position.

As a result of his experience, Fayol believed management theories can be developed and taught to others .

His theory developed at the same time as scientific management, but while Taylor recognized from bottom to up, administrate theory looked at productivity improvement from the top all the way to the bottom his theory analyzed the activates of industrial undertaking into six groups:

路 Technical (production, manufacture and adaptation)

路 Commercial (buying, selling)

路 Financial (obtaining capital and making use of the funds)

路 Security (safeguarding)

路 Accounting (information on the economic position, stocktaking)

路 Managerial

As a result of his long management careers, he believed that management had five principle roles:

路 To Forecast and plan was the act of anticipating the future and acting accordingly.

路 To organizes the development of the institution’s resources, both material and human.

路 To Command by keeping the institution’s actions and processes running.

路 To Co-ordinate the alignment and harmonize of the groups’ efforts.

路 To control mean that the above activities were performed in accordance with appropriate rules and procedures.

Then he developed fourteen principles of administration to go along with management’s five primary roles. These principles are

1- Division of work

2- Authority and responsibility

3- Discipline

4- Unity of command

5- Unity of direction

6- Subordination of Individual interest to General Interest

7- Remuneration

8- Centralization

9- Scalar chain

10- Order

11- Equity

12- Stability of tenure of personnel

13- Initiative, all levels of staff should be encouraged to show initiative within the limit of authority and discipline.

14- Esprit de corps.

Strengths of Administrative theory:

1- Fayol was the one who give a definition to management today ‘ management is to forecast and plan, to organize, to command, to coordinate and to control’

2- A lot of the management terminology that’s used today came was taken from Fayol’s principles.

Weaknesses of Administrative theory:

1- He was describing the structure of formal organization not the real one.

2- Look at the employee as a machine rather than an important part of the organization.

3- The absence of attention to issues likes individual verses general interest.

In general The 14 Fayol’s principles are still used in management today also his management 6 roles are still what separate the good manager from the bad one.

2-1-3 Max Weber (1864-1924)

Weber was an economist and social historian, he came when environment changed from older emotion and tradition driven values to technological one, He believed that civilization was changing to seek technically optimal results at the expense of emotional or humanistic content.

Through analyses of organization Weber identified bureaucracy in organization as a form of certain dominant characteristics such as hierarchy of authority and system rule.

Based on this he described authority of three types:

路 Traditional authority: where acceptance and obey come from tradition and custom.

路 Charismatic authority: where acceptance arises from loyalty to, and confidence in.

路 Rational-legal authority: where acceptance comes from the office, or position of the person in authority as bounded the rule and procedures of the organization.

His main characteristics of Bureaucracy were:

路 Hierarchy, All position with a bureaucracy are structured from top to down which provides a clear chain of command throughout the organization.

路 Division of labor and specialization, all responsibilities in an organization are allocated as official duties among positions

路 Rules and regulations, all organizational activities should have a clear standard.

路 Impersonal relationships between mangers and employees, Weber believes it’s necessary for managers to maintain an impersonal relationship with the employee.

路 Competence, Employment, job assignment and promotions are based on technical qualification.

路 Records, he believes it’s important for organization to keep complete files regarding all its activates.

Strength of bureaucracy theory:

1- Having promotions and employment based on written rules and procedures
make it distributed equally.

2- Bureaucracy helped organization to grow into large complex organized system.

3- It increase the communication between top management and employee

4- It provides a clear chain of command control and order inside the organization.

5- Provide a rules and regulation to all activates provide certainty and facilitate coordination.

Weakness of bureaucracy theory:

1- Organization will concentrate on procedure rather than goals.

2- Jobholder will lose initiative and flexibility.

3- Position and responsibility may lead to bureaucratic attitude.

4- Impersonal relations can lead to un responsible employee when incident or problem occur.

Weber shares a common ground with Fayol’s thinking, like scalar chain, specialization, authority, are typical bureaucracy also Weber’s idea of employment and promotion based on technical competence would have a common idea with Taylor scientific management.

With all the differences between classical approach theories it draw the picture of the practical manager. But with the concentration at the machines it forgets the human factor.

2-2 Human Relation Approach

The classical theories forget the human factor of the organization this led to a deeper consideration of the employee’s need and the role of management to provide these needs also things like motivations, group work, leadership. The major organizational theory in the human relations movement was Mayo the Hawthorne studies then Neo-Human relation theories came with Abraham Maslow and Douglas McGregor.

2-2-1 Elton Mayo, Hawthorne studies:

Hawthorne studies carried out in the Hawthorne plant of the western Electric Company (USA) in 1927-32,these experiments consist of two studies focused on lighting and attempts to operational many of the principles of scientific management. The result of these experiments made it clear that the group dynamic and social makeup of an organization were an extremely force either for or against higher productivity. This caused the call for greater participation for the workers, greater trust and openness in the working environment and a greater attention to teams and groups in the work place.

2-2-2 Maslow (1943)

Abraham Maslow was the first psychologist to develop a theory of motivation based upon a consideration of human needs. Maslow’s theory of human needs has three assumptions. First, human needs are never completely satisfied. Second, human behavior is purposeful and is motivated by need satisfaction. Third, needs can be classified according to a hierarchical structure of importance from the lowest to highest.

He believes the needs hierarchy can be classified into five specific groups. To reach successive levels of the hierarchy required the satisfaction of the lower level needs:

1- psychological needs 2- Safety needs

3- Love needs 4- Esteem needs

5- Self Actualizing need

so managers role is to figure out what stage is subordinate at and try to motivate them to reach the next level.

2-2-3 McGregor (Theory x and Theory y)

McGregor believes there are two basic kinds of managers. One type of manager, Theory X, has a negative view of employees assuming they are lazy, untrustworthy and incapable of assuming responsibility while the other type of Manager, Theory Y, assumes employees are trustworthy and capable of assuming responsibility having high levels of motivation.

McGregor’s Theory X and Y is appealing to managers and dramatically demonstrate the divergence in management viewpoints toward employees. As such, Theory X and Y has been extremely helpful in promoting management understanding of supervisory styles and employee motivational assumptions.

2-2-4 Herzberg’s motivation hygiene theory:

Herzberg later extended the approach with an expansion of two-factor theory. He asserted that job satisfaction and dissatisfaction are affected by the way workers feel about the work in which they are engaged.

The research showed that the work itself and achievement as well as recognition for the achievement are the primary motivators. Herzberg terms these factors satisfiers or motivators.

Factors having a negative motivation impact on the research subjects are the working conditions, salary, job security, supervisory methods and the general company management climate. Herzberg terms these factors hygiene factors or dissatisfies.

The difference between motivators and hygiene factors is that motivators cause an employee to develop his/her own internal motivations, whereas聽hygiene factors can make an employee unhappy and dissatisfied, but cannot motivate him/her. The job itself is the motivator.

Strength of Human relation approach

1- It concentrates at the employee’s need and look at them as an important factor of the organization not as a machine.

2- It increase the communication between top management and employee

3- It looks at involving employee in decision making as a way of motivation.

4- It makes organization as an open and trusting environment.

5- It emphasized on group rather than individuals.

Weaknesses of human relation approach:

1- It concentrates on human factor and ignored the organization production.

2- It gives employee more power, which can be sometimes stronger than the management.

3- Looking at the human vector is a narrow view, which affects the organization goal.

2-3 Systems Approach

This approach views work in an interdisciplinary manner. It stems from the belief that all organizations operate as systems and as parts of an even greater system.

Managers need to take into account organizational behavior and factors and their effects on the systems as well as outside influences on the organization

Mangers need to be aware of the influence of the systems that affect the organization, such as:

路 Physical environment

路 Social environment

路 Information environment

路 Political environment

路 Moral environment

路 Technological environment

Strength of system approach

1- The system thinking is different of the traditional approach that looks only into task and structure and the human approach which concentrate on human factor, system approach look at organization as whole.

2- The system approach looks at the organization as an open system, which interact with the environment.

Weakness of system approach

1- There is no authority at system approach

2- There are no rules or regulation because everything depends on the environment changes.

2-4 Contingency Approach

An outgrowth of the systems approach, the contingency approach asserts that聽managers must be prepared for all possible occurrences and have plans of action prepared for adaptation to any situation that might arise. Because of the firm’s internal system and the greater system affect activities, any changes to parts of those systems will have affects on other parts of the systems. Managers then must be constantly ready to adjust to changes than can arise.

Strength of contingency approach

1- It emphasized the fit between organization process and the changes situation at the environment.

2- Always there is a back up plan.

Weaknesses of contingency approach

1- It argues that there is nothing control management behavior, the appropriate behavior depend on the situation.

2- It looks at each organization as a unique one so there are no fixed policies that can applied to all organization.

3- The Most Approach Relevant to Today’s Mangers

In my opinion today’s managers are a mixed of the three-management approaches

. The traditional, human relation and contingency approach but they took the strong one in each and implemented well

At any management you will find an evidence of using traditional, we will find managers are controlling, coordinating, organizing, forecasting and command, all of that controlled by principle to make it fair, also we will find rules and regulation that control productions.

Most of the organization fallow the golden rule of promoting and employment聽according to that give the best job performance.

Also management concentrate on their employee, they encourage teamwork, they look at ways to motivate workers and to have a good leadership technique and that all a part of human relation approach.

Finally with the idea of world became a small country managers find them self beside adopting traditional and human relation approach they had to take the contingency approach, that organization no more closed system it became an open system that effected by environment some how and a good manager will always have a back up plan.

My opinion based on my work experience at Saudi Aramco Hospital, Laboratory Department.

The medical laboratory manager runs the department in mix of the three previous approaches.

There are written rules and regulation that control the work procedure, and each step is saved in a record. then we will have the manager checking the quality of each procedure to make sure the result are correct .

Then there is a part that’s taking care of employee training, yearly there is a survey that distributed among employee to get their feedback. then this survey will analyzed and find where is the deficiency and ways to correct it.

Also the amount of lab test done everyday depend on how many patients we receive which depend on the environment out side so manager always put a backup plan in case one day there is a high number of blood test.


“There is much truth in the saying every living practitioner is prisoner to the idea of dead theorist. Imuuniized by their daily confrontation with ‘real world’ corporate managers typically exhibit a healthy distrust of聽theory that, has in general, served them well” Clarke, K (Mulleins ‘ Management and organizational behaviour’ 6th edition,2002, Prentice Hall.

Management approaches implemented 100 years ago because of the need to have clear management role that go on with the industrial revolution at that time, but we can see no that modern manamegent are still influenced by these theories, their perspective became a strong part of modern management even that there are strong and weak point at each one of them .

And the good manager is the one who can work with the strong points of these theories and avoid their weaknesses.


路 http://www.healthknowledge.org.uk/knowledgebase/Part1/Organisation3_classical_theory.htm

路 http://www.accel-team.com/scientific/scientific_02.html

路 http://cbae.nmsu.edu/~dboje/teaching/503/weber_links.html

路 http://www.comp.glam.ac.uk/teaching/ismanagement/manstyles1f.htm

路 http://www.managementhelp.org/mgmnt/cntmpory.htm

路 Mullins J, Management and Organisational Behaviour, Sixth Edition, 2002.

路 Huczynski A & Buchanan D , Organisational Behavior, fourth edition,2001

路 Hackson M , Development of Management though, An MBA Study guide, University of Hull,UK,2000

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