Management Theory and Its Effect on Managers Today

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Management Theory And Its Effect On Managers Today

A ‘manager’ in simple terms, is the person who gets people together to achieve desired goals. However, it cannot be that simple. This report will examine the manager’s role in more depth. Over the years, many management theories such as scientific management, administrative management and human relations movement, have been raised and put into practice, eventually evolving into a practical management for today.

A manager’s role consists of managing four main functions; planning, organising, leading, and controlling. The planning stage defines the organisation’s goals and establishes strategies in order to achieve these goals. Through this, manager’s can construct plans to integrate and coordinate these activities. The organising stage appoints tasks for each individual or group, their roles, and level of autonomy in the organisation. Leading the company means to motivate and influence employees, organise effective communication channels and deals with employee behaviour issues. Managers also need to manage the function of controlling, in which they monitor, compare actual goals with set goals, and then follow by corrective action if necessary.

Scientific Management was developed by the revolutionary Frederick Taylor whom encouraged division of labour, scientifically selecting, hiring and training staff, monetary rewards based on performance, clear lines of authority, and strict rules and procedures. The clear lines of authority together with strict rules and procedures were criticised for ignoring individual differences and promoting impersonal relationships between staff.

Henri Fayol emphasised the role of Administrative Management. He advocated the notion that all activities that occur in the business environment could be separated into six categories: technical, commercial, financial, security, accounting and managerial. Administrative management was further emphasised in Max Weber’s concept of bureaucracy; a formal system of organisation and administration. Both Fayol and Weber believed in clear lines of authority, division of labour, and rules and regulations. Division of labour was more efficient as tasks became simplified. However, it was criticism for its loss of flexibility of skills and lack of motivation. Fayol’s principles such as centralisation of certain authority to subordinates, equity between managers and employees, and unity of goals continue to be important in the present day.

Then came the concepts of Human Relations Movement where monitoring both internal and external relationships of the business were vital. This theory originated from Hawthorne studies, which examined the effects of social relations, motivation and employee satisfaction. All of which determine individual work behaviour. The external environment included technological advancements, globalization, ethics, diversity, increased competitions, and implications of risk management. As mentioned by Mintzberg, “It is not the strongest of the species who survive, nor the most intelligent; rather it is those most responsive to change”. It is now clear that ‘change’ is a constant and prepares organisations for future changes and opportunities to improve innovative activity.

Scientific management theory indeed remains in the present management system of today. As part of Taylor’s theory, he devised reward systems that interrelated monetary rewards with performance. Although Taylor received strong criticism as his methods were based on the view that human beings were like machines and were only motivated by monetary rewards alone. It is found that his theory does, in fact, work well in cohesion with other reward systems. Employees these days are not motivated by money alone, but by a mixture of both financial and non-financial rewards to provide a more motivated and committed workforce, and an improved level of performance.

The view of selecting the right person for the...
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