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Evolution of Management

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There were three approaches to management beginning in the late 1800s. The scientific method was developed and introduced by Fredrick Taylor, the administrative principles were views published by Henri Fayol, and the bureaucratic organization was an idea developed by Max Weber. Taylor’s scientific method developed within the manufacturing industries and had the main objective to improve economic efficiency, especially in labor productivity. Fayol’s approach was to the managerial practices. He focused on training the management instead of focusing on individual worker efficiency. He set forth the four functions of: planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Weber outlined the hierarchical structure for the management and workers to follow. The scientific approach was implemented by the management carefully selecting the most qualified worker for a certain job. In doing so, the worker’s compensation was now directly related to their production.

Going along the same lines of efficiency, the administrative management principles were for teaching upper management first and then moving to improve the efficiency of workers (also called a “top down” approach). For these two approaches to work well together, there also needed to be a clear outline of where each position was in the hierarchy of authority. This is how Weber’s bureaucratic organization of three distinct management levels were utilized. While each concept was developed and implemented for the greater good and to create prosperity for everyone, they were not sustainable through the evolution of manufacturing. By applying a “science” to a skilled worker’s job, it became possible to deskill a job and eventually replace a human with a machine altogether.

The administrative management principles created greedy managers that in turn created worker unhappiness. This only strengthened the labor unions in the mid-1900s. This was the opposite of what Taylor was trying to achieve. These methods were replaced over time with more appropriate to the time concepts, but they still are valued in the modern workplace. Bureaucracy is very relevant to modern times, but it does have a bad stigma associated with it. Management personnel are still trained with the values and functions from Fayol to effectively oversee workers, but there is not the same idea of control in the modern workplace. Management does not carry the same threat of force that it once did. For the workers, the monetary incentive to produce created increased intensity and that lead to unhappiness of the workers due to the high levels of uncontrolled power of managers.

In short, the classical theory ignored employee motivation and behavior. (smallbusiness.chron.com, wiki/scientific_management.org, boundless.com, wiki/max_weber) From the classical experiment, grew the behavioral approach to management in the early 1900s. This method is based on the assumption that people are social and self-actualizing with the desire to be social and who are seeking personal satisfaction. Behavioral theorists believed that a better understanding of human behavior at work improved productivity. This theory is also called the human relations movement. Through the Hawthorne studies, it was found that human and social factors resulted in higher productivity. It wasn’t changing the environment that made the workers produce more, it changed when managers started paying attention to them and asking questions about their well-being.

This supports Argyris’s theory of managers treating workers positively will ultimately yield better production. Maslow had defined what the five human needs are so that managers could visualize employee motivation. This is the theory that could define each manager as an X or a Y. The Y viewpoint would be the managers that are creating a trustworthy and creative workplace for the employees that shared the Y viewpoint and could embrace changes. All of the mentioned theories are a display of what Follett had described as organizations as communities. The shift in the power of hierarchal management to the lower level employees getting their psychological needs met created a new system for managers to communicate with workers. This style of management did not necessarily become obsolete, it has been built upon with the advancements of technology and information systems being created for understanding production output. (cliffsnotes.com/behavioral-management-theory)

The systems approach to management came to be through the evolution of computer and data analysis technologies. With these tools available, a company can be precise in decision-making to meet the corporate objectives. In this type of system, an organization is made up of interrelated parts that are working together to achieve a common purpose. These parts are input (supplies, money, technology), processing (operations, information systems, accounting, and inventory), and output (products and results). This approach has been applied to businesses in the manner of systematically analyzing data to make more informed decisions that will increase productivity and reduce wasted time and money. It can be maximized in its use to correct the errors found in the processes. This approach is not obsolete in the corporate or manufacturing industries today. This approach is how a business can change what it is doing and how it is being done to continue increasing its profitability or to sustain.

Changes will always need to be made to accommodate the external changes that a company will endure, and having the ability to make an informed decision based on its own historical data will likely create a profitable outcome. (buzzle.com/articles/systems-approach to management.html) The contingency approach is the outgrowth of the systems approach and the most modern approach to management. It came to be when it was obvious that perhaps a bureaucratic approach is not fit for all. There is not a one size fits all in approaching management. In the contingency theory, managers are relied on to assign employees with tasks based on their abilities and to create situational strategies to accommodate the company and client demands being met. With this in place, there is more pressure on the managers to not fail in how they have placed specific roles to the individual employees. The managers have to be directing employees in any tailored projects or assignments.

The disadvantage of this approach is that due to the tailored nature of the assignments, there cannot really be a strategic back up plan in place. Also, for the company to be successful, the workers have to stay in the assigned job roles until management decides to change their position or duties. This is still a relevant approach to management currently. With the motto of “It depends” for this approach, it is a sign of the times that there is no one cookie cutter style for a company to operate its management team or to strategize how to oversee a diverse workforce. We are globally connected to each other and our diverse needs have to be met with an open mind to accommodate the unique environmental and personal situations that all companies will face.

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