Classical Theories of Management

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Classical Management Theorists and their impact today
Management, as we know it today, exists in all forms of organizations, from private to public and even non-profit. Through the years the size and complexity of all types of organizations have grown, and as a result a defined and professional approach to the method of management has become a necessity. As devised by Byars & Rue (1980, pg 6)“Management is a process or form of work that involves the guidance or direction of a group of people toward organizational goals or objectives.” The theories in which this guidance and direction are achieved are many, however the foundation stones to modern day theory and management as a whole were laid in the years between the turn of the century and the great depression, 1900 to the 1920’s. This era of management thinking has since been named the Classical School of thought. Its developers focused on efficiency, including the subdivisions of administrative, bureaucratic and scientific management. Administrative management emphasised the flow of information within an organization. Bureaucratic management relied on a rational set of structuring guidelines; rules and procedures, hierarchy, and clear divisions of labour. Scientific management however focused on the ‘one best way’ to

The world today is a vastly different one to that of one hundred years ago, a century of two world wars, a nuclear stand off and rapid advancements in technology. However, these classical approaches serve only as a base from which new refinements of managerial applications are created. Through these objectives classical theorists have since been accused of treating workers as expendable, parts of a machine. The focus towards close supervision, rules and regulations, and an impersonal bureaucracy were all results of the circumstances that confronted managers and business owners at that time. Any assessment of the value of classical thought in modern time however must consider the time period in...
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