Management Administrative Theory

Topics: Management, Mary Parker Follett, Theory Pages: 5 (1598 words) Published: May 19, 2012
Mary Parker Follett has been described by Schermerhorn et al. as an Administrative Theorist within the Classical approach to management. However, others have seen her as ahead of her time, and have even described her as 'thoroughly modern'. What were Mary Parker Follett's main contributions to management thought and practice; how do they relate to classical management theory and practice and how are they relevant to managers in contemporary organisations? Ever since the early of 20th century, management has been studied as a science due to its important role in influencing various factors of life: from economic, technological to political. Many scholars tried to give us the exact definition of the term “management”. Unfortunately, since management is a purposive activity, the definitions are differing toward various purposes in each field it involve. “Management is a process of planning, organizing, leading and controlling the efforts of organizational resources to achieve stated organizational goals”, stated Stoner (1982, p. 8). Classical Approach is the rooted school that considered the efficacy of managing in organizations. There are three areas of studies within this approach, which are: scientific management, administrative management, and bureaucratic management. Mary Packer Folett, one of the few women who interfere in this field of study, is an Administrative Theorist as described by Schermerhorn et al. Her contributions towards Classical Approach in general and Administrative Management in particular are so vital as other have seen her as ahead of her time, and have even described her as “thoroughly modern”. This essay briefly states the main features of Classical Approach, follows by examine the three main contributions of Marry Packer Follet to management, how these three relate to classical school theory and practice, and lastly, how they being applied by managers in contemporary organizations. Classical approach is the oldest form of theories of management, developed during the Industrial Revolution in the early of 20th century (Fellot, 1942). At that time, factory systems were facing the problem between satisfying work outcomes and worker’s capacities. Management, as a result, mainly focuses on how efficient the manager can plan the work and the organization to achieve specific goals. It emphasises “rational system design”, based on the belief that “employee have only economical and physical needs, and their social needs and job-satisfaction either don’t exist or are unimportant” (Business Dictionary). Standardisation and consistency can be achieved by policy and procedures. Therefore, classical approach only heads to the best way to have workers performing their best to succeed the planed goal. Administrative management theories inherited the main features of classical school, as well as rivet their own focus on managerial techniques. These theories concentrate on improving managing method in order to achieving goals. Mary Parker Follet (1868 -1933) is one of the administrative management’s key theorists. Her contributions to this study are essential and ahead of time. The three main theories are : group’s capacity, organizations are “communities” combined by managers, workers and manager’s functions of helping workers in order to perform the best results. Contrasting to scientific management (also called “Taylorism”, based on the name of Frederick Taylor, the father of scientific management), which focus on individual’s performance, Mary’s theory believed that “groups were the mechanism through which people could combine their differing talents for a greater good of the organization” (Govindarajan & Natarajan, 2005, p. 14). Also, she felt that “group dynamics were the key to understand organizational life as well as political life” (Danhart, 2011, p. 67). The theory considered that in a group of people, there will be no perfect human beings, but...
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