Classical Theory, Bureaucracy and Contingency Theories Explained

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The earliest contributors to our understanding of management theory include practising managers and social scientists. More recent theorists have tended to be academics or management consultants. The early the early theorists can be divided into two main groups- the practising managers, such as Taylor and Fayol, and the social scientists, such as Mayo and McGregor. The Classical Theories

The classical management theory is a school of management thought in which theorists delved into how to find the best possible way for workers to perform their tasks. The classical management theory is divided into two branches, the scientific and the administrative. The scientific branch comes from the scientific mindset of attempting to increase productivity. During the height of the scientific theory, theorists would use almost mechanical methods towards labour and organization to achieve goals of productivity and efficiency. Some of the basic techniques of the classical scientific theory include creating standardized methods for a task and dividing work between employees equally. * Henri Fayol (1841-1925)

* Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915)(Scientific management) * Frank and Lillian Gilbreth (early 1900’s)(Scientific management) * Henry Gantt (early 1900’s)(Scientific management)
* Lyndall F Urwick (mid 1900’s)
Thanks to these contributors, the basic ideas regarding scientific management developed include the following: * Developing new standard methods for doing each job
* Selecting, training, and developing workers instead of allowing them to choose their own tasks and train themselves * Developing a spirit of cooperation between workers and management to ensure that work is carried out in accordance with devised procedures * Dividing work between workers and management in almost equal shares, with each group taking over the work for which it is best fitted Strengths of Classical Management Theory

Current management organization and structure can find much of its roots from the classical management theory. One of the main advantages of the classical management theory was to devise a methodology for how management should operate. Management principles devised during this period can be seen as a foundation for current management behaviour today, such as serving as a force of authority and responsibility. In addition, another benefit of the classical management theory is the focus on division of labour. By dividing labour, tasks could be completed more quickly and efficiently, thus allowing productivity to increase. Division of labour can be seen in many applications today, ranging from fast food restaurants to large production facilities. In addition, the classical management theory also gave rise to an autocratic leadership style, allowing employees to take direction and command from their managers. Hierarchy: Clear organisational structure with three distinct management levels; Top management, middle management, and supervisors. Division of labour: tasks are broken down into smaller tasks so it is easier to complete. Employees’ responsibilities and expectations are clearly defined. This leads to increased productivity and higher efficiency as workers are not expected to multitask. Incentives: if the workers complete their tasks they are rewarded hence they are motivated towards productivity. Employees feel appreciated when they are rewarded for hard work. Autocratic leadership: there is a single leader to make decisions, to organize and direct the employees. All decisions are made at the top level and communicated down. It is beneficial in instances where small business decisions need to be made. This helps the organisation to grow and have a strong leader.

Bureaucratic Theory by Max Weber
Embellished the scientific management theory with Bureaucratic Theory was developed by a German Sociologist and political economist Max Weber (1864-1920). According to him, bureaucracy is the most efficient...
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