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 do a job. The inventors of these trains of thought are forged in history as the ‘Universalists’ of management, and their ideas are still evident today (Collins 1993, pg 9-13).
By far, the most influential person of the classical era was Fredrick Winslow Taylor (1856-1917) an American engineer. Taylor wrote in a time when factories were creating problems for management who needed new methods to deal with the management challenges bought on by the influence of the Industrial revolution on organizations.
Taylor set out to develop and formalise the principals of scientific management. Taylor believed that by increasing specialisation and the division of labour, the production process would become more e...