Fredrick Taylor developed the scientific management theory to increase economic efficiency by improving labor productivity among workers. The phrase ‘scientific management’ is derived from the systematic and observational ways used to analyze and arrange work for regular members in industries. The theory, which is based on facts, was proposed in 1930’s, but it is still applicable to date. Taylor argued that the aim of an organization should be to maximize the employer’s prosperity and improve on employees’ productivity level (Tompkins, 2005, p.26). There are four principles attached to the theory of scientific management: development of scientific methods, thoughtful selection of labor, education and development of labor, and specialization and collaboration of managers and workers.
Administrative theory emphasized management strategies and attempted to create various administrative principles that would guide people in the rationalization of activities in an organization. Administrative theorists developed strategies to formalize organizational structures and work relations (Tompkins, 2005, p.37). Various principles such as the scalar principle, which emphasized on the importance of a hierarchical structure of management, were derived from this theory. The excerption principle argues that subordinates in a firm are obliged to handle the routine chores while the managers monitor their progress.
The span of control principle states that a manager has a number of employees that he or she can effectively oversee. Unity of command principle argues that a subordinate should not receive orders from more than one manager since this may cause conflicts. The departmentalization principle focuses on combining related administrative activities in the same unit to enhance efficiency in production. The final principle is the line staff principle, which states that all activities designed to achieve a common goal are line functions while other activities that assist are staff functions, which are subordinate to line functions.
Human relations theory is also known as behavioral theory, and it focuses on employees rather than the rules or processes in a work environment. Elton Mayo and other researchers, who conducted various experiments to determine factors that increase workers productivity, formulated the human relations theory. Mayo believed that workers’ productivity depends on social issues and the work environment. The theory provides a mechanism of effective communication between employees and managers, which facilitates a healthy working environment, and reliable decision-making process (Rudani, 2011, p.53). The human relations theory emphasizes that when workers interact with others, it improves their creativity and innovative skills. This has a positive impact on the productivity of the organization.
Management within Public, Private, or Third World Sectors
Management within an organization determines the growth rate of the firm as the decisions made by the leaders are implemented to achieve the firm’s goals (Zenger, & Folkman, 2003, p.15). Companies aim to maximize the available resources to achieve their targets. Profit-oriented businesses have learnt how to incorporate the theories of management to improve the coordination of their activities.
The three theories have played a vital role in management as both public and private organizations apply them to achieve their objectives. Scientific management focuses on increasing productivity, and this has been evident in firms that apply the theory. Public sectors organizations such as hospitals also use scientific management tactics to make improve workers’ productivity. The profit levels of companies have increased after determining the factors to maximize workers’ efficiency. Companies can now compete globally due to increased productivity resulting from application of the scientific theory in management.
Another application of scientific management theory is in the creation of offshore markets. Most private organizations have established their businesses overseas because foreign countries offer lower labor costs than the USA (Tompkins, 2005, p.48). Scientific management theory had guidelines on most effective and cost efficient means to produce goods and services. Several companies have embraced this policy and have moved to countries such as China, India, and other countries where there are lower taxes and costs of production. Scientific management has led to the development of six-sigma and product quality improvement. The automotive industry in Japan has applied the principles of scientific management in quality development, which has led to the industry’s success.
Scientific management has facilitated division of labor, which has led to growth of industries in both private and public sectors. Firms’ managers divide tasks according to the area of specialization, and this fastens the completion of tasks as workers do what they are good at, hence increasing the firm’s productivity. Division of labor enhances creativity and innovativeness where large projects are involved, hence achieving desired results and standardization. Managers today benefit from scientific management by applying systematic performance management in their activities. This is achieved by ensuring that the workers are aware of their roles, which eases the supervision these employees require. Many organizations have organizational charts that indicate the level of performance: this is a product of scientific management.
Human relations theory has improved the working relations among managers and employees in various organizations. Employers have now focused their resources on motivating workers through compensations and promotions. This increases the workers’ productivity as they develop both their professional and personal knowledge. The human relations theory enabled the managers to develop better ways of treating workers rather than concentrating on improving the work environment alone (Rudani, 2011, p.62). Companies have increased their profit margins and expanded geographically due to application of the human relations theory.
The human relations theory has enhanced interaction among workers. Employees share useful ideas, which enable companies to increase their productivity levels. This also enhances teamwork, and reduces lead times. Teamwork enables firms to solve their challenges as collective individual input increases the chances of finding a solution. A person gets more confidence to be innovative when in a group than when working on a challenge alone (Zenger, & Folkman, 2003, p.27). Firms in the public sector have realized that by using the human relations theory, they reduce on operational costs. Allocating resources to individuals can be more costly than distributing to a group to complete a task. The management teams views the workforce as a team, and involves them in decision-making of the firm. This plays a vital role in determining the future of the company.
The administrative theory is applicable in various departments, especially in the public sector. Many private firms have abandoned the use of this theory as they focus on creating personal relationships with their employees. The administrative theory argues that it is vital to formalize working relationships in an organization so that workers know their roles and their respective places in the firm. In this case, managers have control on the company’s activities, and monitor subordinates to ensure implementation of the firm’s operations. The theory aims to enhance the management structure of firms, but does not focus on problems faced by workers in the working environment. This reduces the productivity level of the firm and overall profitability because the management does not exploit the full potential of workers.
Various concepts of the administrative theory were adopted from military science, and cannot be applied in social or business organizations. Henri Fayol argues that it is essential to command workers, but the social nature of human beings calls for directing workers rather than commanding them. The command approach does not have a positive effect on the firm since it reduces the productivity of employees. The administrative model focuses on a mechanical approach in implementing management activities; it does not allow crucial aspects of management such as motivation, leading by example, or effective communication within an organization.
Challenges in Management
Organizations experience various administrative and management problems. Some of the problems include increasing workforce diversity (Pearsons, 2012, p.85). Some workers may not be interactive with others, and it is vital to incorporate them into the work team by offering guidance. A successful manager should implement relevant strategies to solve conflicts that arise in the firm before they get out of control.
The second challenge is how the management deals with unrealistic deadlines, whereby tasks are not completed at the scheduled time. The human relations theory provides guidelines on the importance of teamwork in completing the tasks by engaging several minds on a challenge and getting a quick solution. Managers should provide incentives to the workers to ensure a creative and accurate implementation of the work.
Lack of workers’ training is a problem that managers face in implementing a firm’s activities. Lack of skilled workforce reduces a company’s productivity level and the profitability margin. The firm does not develop despite the emerging changes in the global market today. It is essential to train workers on the relevant skills required at work to ensure competitiveness in the market share.
There is a challenge while delegating duties in a firm because some workers may not possess the appropriate skills to assume certain duties (Pearsons, 2012, p.86). Managers should identify the strengths of their employees before delegating managerial duties. This helps the managers to appoint the most responsible worker to take charge and lead others in implementing the company’s activities.
Lack of resources in an organization affects the management as it delays the accomplishment of the company’s goals. A manager should strategize on how to use the scarce resources to maximize the firm’s productivity level in the company. A manager should be profit-minded, and reduce unnecessary costs to save the available resources.
Impact of the Three Theories on Organizations
The benefit of applying the scientific management theory in an organization is its ability to create a healthy relationship between managers and employees. The cordial relationship promotes development among the workers and the entire organization. The scientific management theory provides guidelines to achieve economies of scale in an organization. Managers achieve this by increasing efficiency and eliminating waste, which reduces operational costs. The challenge of applying this theory on management is the inability to monitor many workers in large organizations. Managers have to keep up with the competitors’ strategies in the market, which makes it hard to create time to monitor each employee’s activities
The administrative theory provides guidelines on the importance of division of labor and specialization. This ensures that employees build on their strengths and so increases the firm’s productivity. The management team has control of the employees, and this encourages coordination of activities. The theory, however, has a negative impact on companies by introducing the command approach. This approach is often misused by some mangers for their own interests. This happens when a manager is lazy or when they are arrogant and do not want anyone questioning their decisions. This theory is mainly applicable in sectors where following commands is crucial to the success of each operation, for example, in the military and hospitals.
The human relations theory has a positive impact on organizations in all sectors because it focuses on the manager-worker relationship. The theory provides means to achieve a firm’s goals through teamwork and better working relationships. Workers realize their potential when they are allowed to make their own decisions (O’Toole, & Mayer, 2010, p.46). Managers know the weaknesses of their subordinates and should formulate strategies to address the challenges. The negative impact of this theory is that it may lead to misuse of authority by workers, who may feel free to make decisions and make inappropriate choices. The social level of managers and employees may make some workers not to take orders from the leaders due to the casual relations.
Application of the theories in management has contributed to success of organizations in all sectors. The theories highlight the appropriate means to make use of scarce resources to achieve an organization’s objectives. Managers can use the theories to improve on their relations with subordinates, which will help create a pleasant working environment. The use of these theories should be subject to a manager understanding the pros and cons of each theory. This helps in the manager mitigating the limitations of each approach.
O'Toole, J. & Mayer, D. (2010). Good business: exercising effective and ethical leadership. New York : Routledge.
Pearson, G. J. (2012). The rise and fall of management a brief history of practice, theory and context. Gower: Farnham, England.
Rudani, R. B. (2011). Management and organizational behavior. New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill.
Tompkins, J. R. (2005). Organization Theory and Public Management / J.R. Tompkins. Sydney : Thomson.
Zenger, J. H. & Folkman, J. (2003). The extraordinary leader going from good to great. Des Moines: VisionPoint.