Founding Theorists of Management

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Identify the founding theorists of management and then discuss the major schools of thought under which their theories can be classified.

The founding theorists of management are Frederick Taylor, Max Weber, Henri Fayol and Mary Parker Follett. Taylor’s theory is classified under Scientific Management, and he was known as “the father of scientific management”. Scientific management can be defined as the scientific determination of changes in management practices as a means improving labour productivity. Taylor’s theory focuses on efficiency in the organization, improving the productivity of manual workers, and it demonstrates how providing workers with an incentive to perform can increase productivity.

Taylor’s theory suggested four principles of scientific management. The first principle involves developing a science for each element of an individual’s work to replace the old rule of thumb methods. The second principle involves scientifically selecting, training and developing workers. The third principle involves developing cooperation between workers and management to ensure that work is done in accordance with the scientifically devised procedures. The fourth and final principle of scientific management involves the equal division of work and responsibility among workers.

While scientific management was praised for improving productivity, it was also criticized, because it ignored the individual differences among workers, and could not see that the most efficient way of working for one person may differ from that of another person. The application of scientific management is seen in today’s organizations when the best qualified applicants are hired for a job.

Max Weber developed a theory of authority structures theory is classified under Bureaucratic Management, and it may be described as a formal system of organization based on clearly defined hierarchal levels and roles in order to maintain efficiency and effectiveness. Weber believed that organizations should be managed on an impersonal, rational basis, and that this type of organization would be more efficient and adaptable to change because stability is related to formal structure and positions rather than to a particular person who may leave or die.

Weber identified six elements of bureaucratic management. This first element involves the division of labour with clear definitions of authority and responsibility. The second element involves the organization of positions in a hierarchy of authority, where each position is under the authority of a higher one, and subordinates follow the orders of their superiors. The third element involves the selection and promotion of personnel based on technical qualifications, or training and experience. The fourth element involves administrative acts and decisions which are governed by rules, and are recorded in permanent files to provide the organization with memory and continuity over time. The fifth element states that means of production or administration belong to the office, and that personal property is separate from office property. The sixth and final element of bureaucratic management states that rules are impersonal and applied to all employees. It also states that managers are subject to rules and procedures that will ensure predictable and reliable behavior.

Bureaucratic procedures provide a standard way of dealing with employees. Everyone receives equal treatment and knows what the rules are, and this has enabled many organizations to be very efficient. The application of bureaucratic management is seen in today’s organizations with the Employee Code of Conduct.

Henri Fayol’s theory can be classified under General Administrative Theory, and focuses on the one best way to run the organization. The general administrative theory focuses on how the entire organization should be organized, and the practices an effective manager should follow. Fayol proposed a universal set of management functions,...
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