EVOLUTION OF MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES FROM THE CLASSICAL SCHOOL TO THE PRESENT
Management theories and practices today have evolved through the years. The changes in approach to management theory depict the economic and social trends, milieu, and attitudes. In order to comprehend the various approaches, it is crucial to explore their evolution (Duft, 2013). Comparing and contrasting the management theories highlights their differences and similarities in concepts and practices. The analysis shows how management practices evolved to the modern day management theories. Management is a theoretical discipline that dates back to the 199th century; it emerged due to the need for control and coordination of many people working in the founded industrial companies. Theories of management are necessary in ensuring efficiency and effectiveness; this occurs through the creation of a link between cause and effect thus establishing a productive model (Goddard, 2009).
Several theorists make attempts in the creation of organizational principles of management practices; throughout the century, this led to the adoption of varied theoretical approaches. The approaches constitute the five main schools of management; these include classical, open systems, human relations, contingency and social action schools of management. The analysis focuses on the classical and human relations schools.
The Classical School
The 20th century saw a need for the development of a comprehensive management theory; the classical school of management focused on the improvement of management efficiency in various organizations (Hartman, 2013). The classical theorists did not just develop a comprehensive theory, but also went a step further. They focused on the provision of tools required by managers in coping with organizational challenges.
During the classical period, managers exhibited uncertainty in training employees, labor dissatisfaction and other challenges. They focused on improving organizational efficiency through the formulation of rational rules of conduct. The school of thought consists of three main branches; scientific, bureaucratic and administrative management.
The branch received support from Weber Max; his views on the institutionalization of authority and power facilitated his interest in organizations (Hartman, 2013). His ideals supported the view that legality of patterns of rules and authority’s right to issue commands depends on the rules and regulations; this prevented members from favoritism. His view states that all bureaucracies have certain characteristics.
First and foremost, a well-defined hierarchy ensures the control and supervision of lower positions by managers. It ensures the establishment of a clear chain of command; this encourages order and control in the organization. Subsequently, specialization and division of labor ensures every employee has the necessary expertise in carrying out specific tasks. It ensures all employees complete allocated tasks. Thirdly, rules and regulations are necessary; this ensures standard operation procedures facilitate coordination and certainty. The fourth characteristic is the development of impersonal relationships between employees and managers. It encourages rational decision-making processes through the avoidance of prejudice and favoritism. Competence is the fifth characteristic; it should apply to all job assignments, hiring and promotion decisions. It eliminates the influence of personal bias in organizational decisions. Lastly, records are necessary in a bureaucracy; this ensures the maintenance and filing of all activities. The bureaucratic principles exist worldwide; despite their advantages, they also faced a lot of criticism.
It focus on the acceptance of authority as the central tenet is questionable; it encourages the development of additional authority; this encourages unresponsiveness and inefficiency. Impersonality between managers and employees may result in employee frustration due to the disregard for their personal needs. They view bureaucracy as incapable of responding to human needs (Hartman, 2013); specialization and division of labor eliminates sharing and interpersonal communication between employees.
The scientific management branch of the classical school encourages the use of empirical research in developing comprehensive management solutions (Hartman, 2013). It focuses on the need to improve efficiency and productivity; this is evident in the work of Taylor, Frederick W., Lilian and Frank Gilbreth. The branch focuses on ways of getting the most work done; this occurs through an examination of how work process occurs and workforce skills.
Taylor is the father of scientific management; he developed his views through experiments on worker productivity. They focused on; determining the materials, time required, and the best way of performing each work operation. Through this, a clear division of labor between employees and management can be achieved. His views state that managers are superior intellectually and have a duty of organizing and supervising the average employees. It places emphasis on the technical specification of every employee’s responsibility, and the use of monetary rewards as motivational factors. Management has the responsibility of identifying the most appropriate way of carrying out tasks, and then ensure the workers follow it.
Taylor developed principles of rational and logical operations in the workplace (Goddard, 2009). The first one advocated for the development of a scientific management methodology. Subsequently, the managers have a responsibility of; selecting, developing and training the organization’s employees. Thirdly, it is necessary to establish cooperation between the employees and managers; this ensures an efficient application of scientific management strategies. Last but not least, the manager should be involved in their employees’ work.
Taylor’s scientific management is efficient in ensuring organizational progress. It establishes a system ensuring the; improvement of work methods, supervision of employees and provision of incentives on a piece rate basis. It gives rise to modern management practices such as; emulation of best practice, application of standard procedures, demanding compliance with company processes, and the adoption of world-class practices. Even today, some management practices view the employees as rational economic agents motivated by monetary gain.
Just like bureaucratic management, Taylor’s views face criticism. His insistence on close supervision of employees is not an efficient strategy; research in the modern workplace reveals that it is counterproductive. The piece rate system of incentive provision is compromised by the management continually increasing quota in modern workplaces. Many critics claim his views; de-skilled labor, drained work of its interest, denied employees pride in their work, gave managers excess power and treated employees as mindless automata complying with instructions from others.
The branch received support from Fayol Henri; it encouraged the division of work, responsibility and authority by managers, and employee discipline. Managers maintain discipline through the application of sanctions whenever violations occur. All activities in the organization should have one plan and central authority. The organization’s goals are also prioritized over individual interests. According to Henri, the remuneration of employees should be a fair process; this depends on the value of services rendered and ensures employee satisfaction. The chain of command must be maintained in order to increase the efficiency of organizational communication. The achievement of employees’ maximum productivity requires the provision of; equity and equal treatment, maintenance of a stable workforce, encouraging initiative among employees, and a teamwork spirit.
Barnard Chester, a contributor to administrative management, encourages the view of organizations as communication systems. He encourages the flow of communication from the bottom to top; this contradicts Weber’ bureaucratic view. It ensures the employees; understand the communication, accept it as being consistent with organizational goals, act in line with other employees’ needs, carry out commands from superiors. It increases the employees’ willingness to accept authority (Hartman, 2013).
The Human Relations School
Apart from the classical school, there are other schools providing an analysis of management theories and practices. The human relations school is one of them; its analysis provides evidence of similar and contradictory factors in comparison to the classical school. Before the human relations school, the classical school exhibited bias towards rational and quasi-scientific design of organizational structure, working methods and job content; it ignores the psychological dimension of employees.
The human relations school makes changes to the views; it realizes that employees are not machines thus should not solely be subject to the superiors’ commands. Employees should have control over their behavior and exercise ingenuity and imagination; this encourages the adoption of challenging tasks and taking responsibility for the acquired results. Ignoring people’s preferences feelings and aspirations has a negative impact on organizational performance (Goddard, 2009). The inclusion of human and personal attributes contributes to increased group performance and work efficiency. For instance, The Great Depression depicted the need for a social dimension and human relations in the workplace.
The human relations school of management emerged from experiments by Hawthorne and Mayo Elton. It showed that the integrity and quality of social relations in the workplace contributed to performance. Thus, high performance depended on the incorporation of; work groups, quality communication, efficient leadership styles, interpersonal relations and personal motivation.
It contradicts the classical schools’ focus on the authority’s role in organizational progress. The human relations school focuses on the employees’ perspectives and not the superior’s. Organizational performance rises through a focus on humanizing the workplace; this is contrary to the classical school’s focus on rationalizing the workplace.
It recognizes the informal organization as the main part of the organization; the employees determine progress and the accomplishment of tasks. They should take part in the setting of values and rules governing their operations within the organization; this is contrary to the classical school’s rules created and enforced by the superiors.
In human relations school, various groups form; these facilitate the collaborative accomplishment of tasks and activities. Through the combination of forces, they regulate the pace of work and set performance standards. In classical school, there is a focus on individual and specialized achievement of goals and objectives. It also ensures employees discuss the best ways of meeting the managers’ and formal organization’s requirements.
The theory shows there are diverse reasons why people work. The workplace creates a sense of loyalty towards the employees’ colleagues and not the superior. Every person prides the ability to make own decisions and judgments. Apart from earning a living, the workplace also satisfies emotional, physiological and social needs. It is an avenue for; group activities, socializing, gaining respect and so on. The human relations theory is incorporated into various successful organizations today. They focus on; job enrichment, job satisfaction, empowerment strategies, promotion of self-management, learning and development activities, internal communications, climate survey, group dynamics and coaching leadership styles (Goddard, 2009).
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Goddard, J. (2009). A Brief History of Management Theory. The Leading Edge Forum: Rethinking management and employee engagement, Retrieved December 20, 2013 from http://www.lhstech.com/chair/ETPP/History%20of%20Management%20Theory.pdf
Hartman, S. W. (2013). Management Theory. New York Institute of Technology, Retrieved December 20, 2013 from http://www.iris.nyit.edu/~shartman/mba0120/chapter2.htm