The Evolution of Management Theory

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s): 791
  • Published: May 15, 2007
Read full document
Text Preview

During the industrial revolution that took place in Western Europe and North America in the 18th century; various machines were built and the economy which was based on manual labor was replaced by machines. Then factories of large scale in the garment sector, automobile sector etc emerged rapidly and the need to increase organizational efficiency and effectiveness has guided the evolution of management theory till today. Managers, theorists, researcher searched for way of how to utilize their resources to the maximum and thereby attain efficiency and effectiveness.


In the pre-classical era, that is during the emerge of various mass production factories after the Industrial revolution, there were two men most responsible for destroying the Old England and launching the world towards industrialization. Adam Smith brought about the revolution in economic thought and James Watt's steam engine provided cheaper power that revolutionized English commerce and industry. In doing so, they also laid the foundation for modern notions of business management theory and practice.

According to Smith, division of labor provided managers with the greatest opportunity for increased productivity. Recognized as Watt's greatest breakthrough, in 1971 he developed a steam engine. This made the engine more adaptable to factory uses as the engine replacing water wheel power for grinding grain, driving textile machines, and operating bellows for iron works. In 1800 the sons of Boulton and Watts took over the management of the company and instituted one of the first complete applications of scientific management.


Adam Smith

He compared the relative performance of two different manufacturing methods. The first was similar to crafts-style production, in which each worker was responsible for all of the 18 tasks involved in producing a pin. The other had each worker performing only 1 or a few of the 18 tasks that go into making a completed pin. He found that when a worker is specialized in a single task had greater performance.

Robert Owen

One of the first to show respect and dignity to workers in his factory. He implemented better working conditions, raised the minimum age for child labor, reduced hours, and supplied meals.

Charles Babbage

Applied mathematical principles to find ways to make the most efficient use of facilities and materials. He also advocated profit-sharing plans.


Focuses on finding the "one best way" to perform and manage tasks. Managers thought that authority, very structured and procedural methods would lead them to obtain maximum results. Some major characteristics are:

People are motivated by economic gains.

Because organizations control economic incentives, an individual is primarily a pas​sive resource to be manipulated, controlled, and motivated by the organization.

Irrational emotions must be kept from interfering with economic rationality.

Organizations can be designed in ways to control irrational emotions, and thus unpredictable, dysfunctional behaviors of employees.


The systematic study of the relationship between people and tasks to redesign the work for higher efficiency. Frederick W. Taylor (called as the father of scientific management) sought to reduce the time a worker spent on a task by optimizing the way the task was done. Looked for the best piece-rate incentives and work motions. His ideas consist of four basic parts:

Each person's job should be broken down into elements, and a scientific way to perform each element should be determined.

Workers should be scientifically selected and trained to do the work in the designed manner.

There should be good cooperation between management and workers so that tasks are performed in the designed manner.

There should be a division of labor...
tracking img