Management Theories

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A manager’s role is to plan, make decisions, and co-ordinate the organising, leading and controlling of an organisation’s resources, in order to achieve organisational goals in an efficient and effective manner (Davidson, Simon, Woods & Griffin, 2009). Management theories from the past can be utilised by contemporary managers, enabling them to consider a range of perspectives on how to approach problems, make decisions and develop systems designed to reap the benefits of employees exhibiting desirable behaviours (Davidson et al, 2009). Despite the common conception that theories are abstract and irrelevant to practical situations, management theories are grounded in reality (Davidson et al, 2009). Knowledge gained from experiences in the past should be used as a foundation for future plans (Campling & Pool, 2008)- understanding the history of management thought can help managers avoid the mistakes of others (Davidson et al, 2009), as well as emulate their successes. Management theories from the past have been drawn upon to create contemporary theories, making a study of the evolution of managerial thought entirely beneficial for an understanding of the modern ones, and thus the current roles of modern-day managers.

The classical management approaches were the first management theories focussed on developing universal standards for various situations (Campling & Pool, 2008). This approach to management arose between 1885 and 1940 in an effort to provide a rational basis for the management of organisations. It stemmed from the Industrial Revolution when people begun to work in large scale factories. Industrialisation created a need for efficient planning, organising, influencing and controlling of work activities (Pindur, Rogers & Kim, 1995). Classical management consists of two branches: scientific management and administrative management (Davidson et al, 2009). Scientific management, also called Taylorism, is centred on methods for improving productivity.

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