Evolution of Management Principles Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1698 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 14  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Management

¶ … Evolution of Management Principles: Classical School to Present

The evolution of management principles, from classical theory (closely linked to scientific management theory) to present, includes three major stages, or schools of thought. These are: (1) the classical school; (2) the human relations school; and (3) the human resources school (Miles, 1975). Each of these distinct approaches to management theory reflects social and economic trends, attitudes, and milieu. In this essay, I will explore the evolution of the classical; human relations; and human resources schools of management theory, and compare, contrast, and explain key differences between these three management theories. I shall also touch briefly on a few of today's other, more recent, management theories: systems theory; contingency theory; quality theory; reengineering theory, and chaos theory.

The classical school of management began in around 1900, and remained the most popular school of management theory well into the 1920s ("Management History"). The classical, or traditional (or scientific) management approach:

focuses on efficiency and includes bureaucratic, scientific and administrative management. Bureaucratic management relies on a rational set of structuring guidelines, such as rules and procedures, hierarchy, and a clear division of labor. Scientific management focuses on the "one best way" to do a job.

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Administrative management emphasizes the flow of information in the operation of the organization. ("Management History") need for greater effectiveness and efficiency in organizations gave rise to the classical theory. Workers were thought, under that theory, to be primarily motivated by money. Further, division of labor was based on specialization. Classical school management featured hierarchies of distinct authority, from the top down (Miles; Jangla; "Management History").

Human relations theory, on the other hand, began during the 1920's, as a counterpoint to classical management theory. It:

TOPIC: Term Paper on Evolution of Management Principles Assignment

emphasized the emotional, unplanned, non-rational elements in organizational behavior. It discovered the significance of friendship and social groupings of workers for the organization. It also pointed out the importance of leadership in the organization and of emotional communication and participation. (Jangla)

As the article "Management History" explains:

Behavioral or human relations management emerged in the 1920s and dealt with the human aspects of organizations. It has been referred to as the neoclassical school because it was initially a reaction to the shortcomings of the classical approaches to management. The human relations movement began with the Hawthorne Studies which were conducted from 1924 to 1933 at the Hawthorne Plant of the Western Electric Company in Cicero, Illinois emphasis original].

In comparing, contrasting, and relating these two different schools of management theory, classical and human relations, within their current work environment, one can say that human relations theory is, in general, more based on consensus. Under its original owners, for example, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream used such a management style. Today, so do Southwest Airlines and Dell Computers.

Classical-style management, on the other hand, is exemplified within organizations like IBM; Hitachi; Wal-Mart, and others. In fact, human relations-style management seems to have mostly gone out of style in most of today's organizations, particularly larger ones. Many times, companies like Wal-Mart or Starbuck's, with their stock option opportunities and other employee perks, seem to try to create an effect of employee inclusiveness, but such perks are in fact mere gestures within an essentially top-down (classical) organizational structure. In corporate life today, "top down" classical management is, although the oldest, also the most common. Increasingly, moreover, even non-profit entities like colleges and universities which used to practice (or at least had a reputation for practicing) principles like shared governance, are instead using top-down, hierarchical-type management approaches and systems (El Khawas, 1998).

When comparing and contrasting the classical and human relations approaches to management in particular, it can be said that one perceived flaw of the classical approach (at least as human relations and human resources theorists, and other, more recent theorists would see it) is that classical theory does not adequately take into account the very real possibilities (and realities) of disagreements and conflicts between workers and management (Trask; Jangla; Miles; Barnard). As Jangla further points out, classical theory.".. assumed that what was good for management was good for the workers" (November 4, 2005). Classical theory holds that work effort, and efficiency, ultimately pay off for management and workers alike, through increasing organizational effectiveness; thus yielding greater productivity, leading to more profit; more pay; and more employee satisfaction at all levels (Miles; Jangla; Dixon; "Management History").

Scientific management theory, which is closely linked to classical theory, and began emerging at about the same time, focuses on principles of worker efficiency. Frederick Taylor, author of the groundbreaking work Principles of Scientific Management (1911):

proposed work methods designed to increase worker productivity...

Taylor broke the job down into its smallest constituent movements, timing each one with a stopwatch. The job was redesigned with a reduced number of motions as well as effort and the risk of error. Rest periods of specific interval and duration and a differential pay scale were used to improve the output. With scientific management, Taylor increased the worker's output from 12 to 47 tons per day! The Taylor model gave rise to dramatic productivity increases. ("Management History")

Other contributors to scientific management theory included Frank Gilbreth, author of the book Motion Study (1911); his wife Lillian Gilbreth, a Ph.D. psychologist by training, and the author, with her husband, of Applied Motion Study (1919) (and the mother of twelve children!) ("Management History"). Henry Gantt, who invented the "Gantt Chart," "for scheduling multiple overlapping tasks over a time period" ("Management History") was another significant contributor to scientific management theory in the early decades of the 20th century (Dixon). Gantt, for his part:

focused on motivational schemes, emphasizing the greater effectiveness of rewards for good work (rather than penalties for poor work). He developed a pay incentive system with a guaranteed minimum wage and bonus systems for people on fixed wages. Also, Gantt focused on the importance of the qualities of leadership and management skills in building effective industrial organizations. ("Management History")

In the 1950's, the human resources school of management came into being.

Within this management theory, issues of employee motivation and leadership rose to the forefront (Dixon; Miles; Jangla; "Management History"). The human resources school sought to acknowledge creativity and competence of employees, and to identify, encourage, and use untapped employee talents. Human resources management theory holds that "Employees want meaningful work; they want to contribute; they want to participate in decision making and leadership functions" ("Management History").

Chester Barnard, the author of the book Functions of the Executive (1968), based his Acceptance Theory of Authority on insight gained from his own experiences as a Bell Telephone CEO ("Chester Barnard"). Functions of the Executive outlines Barnard's Acceptance Theory of Authority, and explains, based on Barnard's experience, that managers have only the authority employees grant them (Barnard; "Chester Barnard"). Barnard's Acceptance Theory of Authority holds that there can be no lasting authority not accepted by one's subordinates. In other words:

for a communication from a boss to a subordinate to be authoritative, it must meet the following four conditions: first, it has to be understood by the subordinate; second, it should be possible to [sic] the subordinate to comply;

third, the subordinate has to see no incompatibility between the communication and his/her own goals; and fourth, the subordinate has to see no incompatibility between the communication and the objectives of the organization. ("Chester Barnard")

The idea of a manager's authority's needing to be accepted by subordinates was a novel one in Barnard's time (Miles; "Chester Barnard"; "Management History"), but it influenced management theories and practices greatly, in the 20th century and beyond ("Chester Barnard").

Today, systems theory, which holds that synergy (or the combining of the parts of a whole system of operating individual parts), can accomplish more than any single part operating independently (Jangla; "Management… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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