Management Thoughts and Theories

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The industrial revolution, which began in Europe in mid-1700s, was the starting point for the development of management concepts and theories.


Name Period Contribution
Robert Owen 1771- 1858Proposed legislative reforms to improve working conditions of labor Charles Babbage 1792-1871 Advocated the concept of ‘division of labor'; devised a profit-sharing plan which led to the modern-day Scanlon Plan Andrew Ure 1778-1857 Advocated the study of management

Charles Dupin 1784-1873
Henry R. Towne 1844-1924 Emphasized the need to consider management as a separate field of study and the importance of business skills for running a business.


He was a successful British entrepreneur in the early 19th century. He was the one of the earliest management thinkers to realize the significance of human resources. He believed that workers performance was influenced by the environment in which they worked. He proposed the legislative reform that would limit the number of working hours and restrict the use of child labor. He recommended the use of a ‘silent monitor' to openly rate employee's work on a daily basis. Blocks of wood were painted in 4 different colors, with each color signifying a certain level of accomplishment. Owen wanted other manufacturers to share his concern for improving workers' working and living conditions. He argued that a manager's best investment was in his workers. Though Owen's ideas were not accepted by his contemporaries, they laid the groundwork for the human relations movement. Owen is also considered a forerunner of the behavioral school because of his concern for human welfare.

Charles Babbage: Inventor and Management Scientist

British professor of Mathematics, Charles Babbage (1792-1871) is widely known as the "father of modern computing." He was a pioneer not only in the field of computing but also in the field of management. Babbage was an advocate of the concept of division of labor. He was impressed by the idea of work specialization, or the degree to which work is divided into various tasks. He believed that each factory operation should be thoroughly understood so that the necessary skill involved in each operation could be isolated. Each worker could then be trained in one specific skill and made responsible only for that part of the operation Babbage believed that the interests of employees and management were closely linked. He therefore devised a profit-sharing plan under which bonuses were given for useful suggestions contributed by employees and wages were based on the profits generated by the factory. His employee incentive techniques are used even today. The modern-day Scanlon Plan, under which workers offer suggestions to improve productivity and then share the resulting profits, is based on Babbage's ideas. Andrew Ure and Charles Dupin: Management Education Pioneers

Andrew Ure (1778-1857) and Charles Dupin (1784-1873) were the early proponents of the study of management. Ure was a British academician and Dupin, a French engineer. Ure, who taught at Glasgow University, published The Philosophy of Manufacturing, in which he explained the various principles and concepts of manufacturing. In 1819, Dupin was appointed as a management professor in Paris, which marked the beginning of an illustrious career. His writings, well-known throughout France, may have influenced Henri Fayol's contributions to the theory of management. Henry Robinson Towne (1844-1924)

Henry R. Towne, President of the Yale and Towne manufacturing company and a mechanical engineer, realized that good business skills were essential for running a business. He emphasized the need to consider management as a separate field of systematic study on the same level as engineering. In a paper, "The Engineer as an Economist," presented in...
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