Management Theorists

Topics: Management, Scientific method, Organization Pages: 6 (1722 words) Published: October 29, 2013
The evolution of Management theories

Since the birth of modern management theory in the early 1900s, management experts have developed theories to help organizations and their managers coordinate and oversee work activities as effectively and efficiently as possible. In presenting the history of modern management, Chapter Two explores the evolution of management thought and practice during the twentieth century. Students discover how knowledge of management history can help us better understand current management practices while avoiding some mistakes of the past. The practice of management has always re¬flected historical times and societal conditions. For instance, innovation, global competition, and general competitive pressures reflect a reality of today’s business world: “Innovate or lose.”

There are four important reasons to study management theory. •Theories guide management decisions
Theories shape our views of organizations
Theories make us aware of the business environment
Theories are a source of new ideas


Many fascinating examples from history illustrate how management has been practiced for thousands of years. A.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, requiring the efforts of tens of thousands of people. How was it possible for these projects to be completed successfully? The answer is 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. B.Examples of early management practices can also be seen by studying the Arsenal of Venice. Assembly lines, accounting systems, and personnel functions are only a few of the processes and activities used in business in the fifteenth century that are common to today’s organizations as well. C.Adam Smith, author of the classical economics doctrine The Wealth of Nations, argued brilliantly for the economic advantages that he believed division of labor (the breakdown of jobs into narrow, repetitive tasks) would bring to organizations and society. D.The Industrial Revolution is possibly the most 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 three established schools of management thought: classical, behavioural and management science. In addition, the systems approach and contingency approach to management are discussed to integrate the best components of the three major schools.


A. Scientific management is defined as the use of the scientific method to determine the “one best way” for a job to be done. 1.Frederick W. Taylor is known as the “father” of scientific management. Taylor’s work at the Midvale and Bethlehem Steel companies stimulated his interest in improving efficiency. a.Taylor sought to create a mental revolution among both workers and managers by defining clear guidelines for improving production efficiency. He defined four principles of management b.His pig iron experiment is probably the most widely cited example of his scientific management efforts. c.Using his principles of scientific management, Taylor was able to define the “one best way” for doing each job. d.Frederick W. Taylor achieved consistent improvements in productivity in the range of 200 percent. He affirmed the role of managers to plan and control and the role of workers to perform as they were instructed. 2.Frank and Lillian Gilbreth were inspired by Taylor’s work and proceeded to study and develop their own methods of scientific management. a.Frank...
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