Evolution of Management

Topics: Management, Organization, Organizational studies Pages: 6 (1866 words) Published: August 24, 2014

Organizations and managers have existed for thousands of years. The Egyptian pyramids and the Great Wall of China were projects of tremendous scope and magnitude, and required good management. Regardless of the titles given to managers throughout history, someone has always had to plan what needs to be accomplished, organize people and materials, lead and direct workers, and impose controls to ensure that goals were attained as planned.

Another example of early management can be found in the city of Venice, which was a major economic and trade center in 1400s. the venetians developed an early form of business enterprise and engaged in many activities common to today’s organizations. The venetians used warehouse and inventory systems to keep track of materials, human resource management functions to manage the labor force and an accounting system to keep track of revenues and costs.

Two historical events significant to the study of management are work of Adam Smith, in his book,’ The Wealth of Nations’, in which he argued brilliantly for the economic advantages of division of labor (the breakdown of jobs into narrow, repetitive tasks). The Industrial Revolution is second important pre-twentieth-century influence on management. The introduction of machine powers combined with the division of labor made large, efficient factories possible. Planning, organizing, leading, and controlling became necessary activities.

There are six major approaches to management. They are explained as follows;


Scientific management is defined as the use of the scientific method to determine the “one best way” for a job to be done. The most important contributor in this field was Frederick W. Taylor who is known as the “father” of scientific management. Using his principles of scientific management; (1) scientifically study each part of a task and develop the best method of performing the task, (2) scientifically select and then train, teach and develop the worker, (3) cooperate fully with workers to ensure that they use the proper method, (4) divide work and responsibility almost equally between management and workers. Management takes over all work for which it is better fitted than the workers.

Taylor was able to define the “one best way” for doing each job. Frank and Lillian Gilbreth were inspired by Taylor’s work and proceeded to study and develop their own methods of scientific management. They devised a classification scheme to label 17 basic hand motions called therbligs in order to eliminate wasteful motions Guidelines devised by Taylor and others to improve production efficiency are still used in today’s organizations. However, current management practice is not restricted to scientific management practices alone. Elements of scientific management still used include:

1. Using time and motion studies
2. Hiring best qualified workers
3. Designing incentive systems based on output


This group of writers, who focused on the entire organization, developed more general theories of what managers do and what constitutes good management practice.

Henri Fayol and Max Weber were the two most prominent proponents of the general administrative approach. Fayol focused on activities common to all managers. He described the practice of management as distinct from other typical business functions.

He stated 14 principles of management which are as follows:

1. Division of Work. Specialization increases output by making employees more efficient. 2. Authority. Managers must be able to give orders, and authority give them this right. 3. Discipline. Employees must obey and respect the rules that govern the organization. 4. Unity of Command. Every employee should receive orders from only one superior. 5. Unity of Direction. The organization should have a single plan of action to guide managers and workers. 6. Subordination of...
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