Classical Management Theorists and their impact today

Length: 9 Pages 2258 Words

Management, as we know it today, exists in all forms of organizations, from private to public and even non-profit. Through the years the size and complexity of all types of organizations have grown, and as a result a defined and professional approach to the method of management has become a necessity. As devised by Byars & Rue (1980, pg 6) “Management is a process or form of work that involves the guidance or direction of a group of people toward organizational goals or objectives.” The theories in which this guidance and direction are achieved are many, however the foundation stones to modern day theory and management as a whole were laid in the years between the turn of the century and the great depression, 1900 to the 1920’s. This era of management thinking has since been named the Classical School of thought. Its developers focused on efficiency, including the subdivisions of administrative, bureaucratic and scientific management. Administrative management emphasised the flow of information within an organization. Bureaucratic management relied on a rational set of structuring guidelines; rules and procedures, hierarchy, and clear divisions of labour. Scientific management however focused on the ‘one best way’ to Continue...


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Centralisation: A balance between centralisation of authority and responsibility of a manager and delegation to employees should be consistent. In the time of the classical theorists money was a major concern of the majority of the organizational workers who were living in relatively primitive conditions. Taylor believed that by increasing specialisation and the division of labour, the production process would become more efficient. The focus towards close supervision, rules and regulations, and an impersonal bureaucracy were all results of the circumstances that confronted managers and business owners at that time. (Schermerhorn, Campling, Poole Wiesner, 2004 pg 98)Fayol also formulated fourteen "principals of management"tm, emphasising that managers should be flexible in the application of his developed principals and that allowances should be made for different and changing circumstances. He introduced the development of a science for each unit of a task of a persons work, replacing the old "rule-of-thumb"tm methods previously used in industry. Stability of Staff: A low turnover rate of employees and long-term commitment are necessary for an efficient organization13. He dealt with rationalisation when applied to human organizations and associated this with the term bureaucracy. The theories devised by Taylor, Weber, Fayol and other members of the classical school before these events were designed for organizations of another world, though still a world of human organizations. Remuneration: Appropriate and fair rewards for effort give incentive. These principals today are generally regarded as out dated, but it must be emphasized that managerial processes are constantly changing with the changing nature of society and industry to enable managers to be able to cope; a phenomenon that continues at a rapid rate in the modern world. However, these classical approaches serve only as a base from which new refinements of managerial applications are created. Weber outlined the roles of each employee within a hierarchy system, and candidates for a job should be appointed on their qualifications and merit and are subject to the rules of the specific organization.

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