History of Management Thought – Paper Sample

History of Management Thought


History plays a very important part in the current world and understanding history helps define the future. Therefore, learning and understanding the mode of management in the past would help in coming up with the best ways and modes of managing the current institutions. The history of management dates back in early 1800,s where the evolution and determination in the manner in which the people could get governed within any formal institution. That developed with time as better and more complex means and strategies of management cropped up and ensured efficiency and smart way of managing and ensuring that different firms engage the employees in the best manner.

With the development of the historical management, their developed new concepts, and strategies that would define better the manner in which managers relate to their junior employees and ensure maximum output of the organization. The historical management thought brought about the idea in the change of culture, quality control, and the healthy measure at the workplace hence the continuous change in the mode of management. Therefore the thought brought forward several stages that would get engaged to define the manner in which the management kept evolving till the modern era. That would include the classical theory of management, bureaucratic management theory, and the human relations movements. The three theories played a vital role in the understanding of the history of the thought in management. Therefore, the paper would explore and bring out the understanding of the thought in the history of management.
According to Kahl, et al (8), management refers to the coordination and organization of the activities that any organization would engage in order to meet the goals and objectives of the business. Management hence becomes important in the production, marketing and distribution of the products and services that an organization would produce to the target market. Therefore, management would involve planning, directing, making policies and ensuring that they achieve the specific objectives that the organization sets. ‘Management history’ refers to that stage in time when the history of the management developed over time including the practices that were conducted (Hole 19). However, with the development of new and varied ways in the management styles, they all remain the same with the only change of names to suit the current environment and the organizations that would employ such techniques. The development of the management of history developed significantly under the following three theories.

Scientific Management Theory

The theory, also known as Taylorism got proposed by Frederick Taylor in the year 1909. Taylor took time and studied the manner in which work got accomplished as he studied the scientific process of how work got done. In his study together with his friends, Taylor explored the manner in which work get done and the manner in which the same affected the productivity of the employees. The philosophy got premised on the assumption that pushing the employees to work as much as they could not sufficiently and efficiently as ensuring that the employer optimizes the manner in which their duties could get accomplished. Therefore, in 1909 Taylor proposed that to ensure that increased productivity gets experienced within an institution, they required to simplify their jobs and ensure they optimize on the employees through what they engage in their daily operations. However, in doing so the managers and employees of an organization need to work hand in hand with one another to ensure maximum production (Chiu, 35).
The proposals brought forward by Taylor proved unique and different from the manner in which business hot conducted during that era. At that point in time, there existed little contact between the employees and the managers who left the employees to work on their own and produce that product for their target markets. Tylor believed that employees got motivated by money hence proposing the idea of ‘a good day’s pay for a relatively a good day’s work.’ Therefore, that meant that workers could get paid depending on the type of work that they accomplish in a single day. Given the fact that employees get motivated by money they could work extra hard to earn the extra cash for a single day’s work (Sheldrake, 28).
The principle of scientific management proposed by Taylor got premised on four contingent principals. The principals help in the better understanding and working on the theory and they include the avoidance of the use of force, common sense and the ability to do any work and employ the scientific systems where the employer would study the work process (Agarwal 48). When doing so, they would get the opportunity to get and determine the most efficient ways of getting tasks and duties accomplished within the organization with minimum resources. That would enable maximum output with minimum resources hence the increase in profit margins. Workers could also get subjected to specific duties within the organization based on their abilities and talents rather than just assigning tasks to employees. Such a move would allow for the training of employees hence getting the best from the employees and profits to the organization.
When allocating work to the employees, it remains necessary to assign work to the managers so that they continue planning and organization as the employees carry out their tasks freely. That would ensure concentration on the duties that each individual carries out hence efficiency and accountability on the work that the employers and employees do. The employer needs to provide direction by giving direction, instructions and supervision that would ensure the managers and employees get to work in the most efficient and proper manner to ensure that the organizations run on a profit continually (Cole 65).
The theory assumed that the continuous viewpoints within an organization got differing perspectives but do not replace each other. Such views could differ on the manner and direction of the organization’s goals, the behavior of individuals, varying issues facing an organization and how such issues could get solved.

Strengths of the theory

The theory could prove useful to the specific employees and to the society because of the following reasons like better and unique ways of utilizing of resources through the scientific method hence increased profit margins to the organization. Therefore, training and selection of employees ensure a better workforce hence efficiency on the work done.
The target market would get better and improved products at reduced costs as there stands increased productivity through proper utilization of the available resources. Scientific methods allow for the use of technology and promote technological development hence improved living standards of the people who receive better products and services (Morgan 91).

Limitations of the theory

The theory focuses on the best way of doing things rather than focusing on the entire organization. Such a system would remain effective to smaller organizations as they would not fit the complex organizations that exist in the modern era. The theory also focuses on the performance of an individual and neglects the effort done by a group in accomplishing any given task. The efficiency of the theory remains in doubt as it categorizes the employees of an organization as either ineffective or effective employees.
Employees would lack creativity while performing their individual duties as they get developed under their specific managers have attracted a lot of frustrations. As it concentrates on the specialization of duties to increase productivity, monotony breaks in as people engage in a single activity hence they would find their work boring which would eventually affect their output (Morgan 123). The more people engage in their duties to make money, they would not develop their human resource system rather lose out on money as that would remain the only driving force of the employees.

Bureaucratic Management Theory

The theory got proposed by Max Weber, a political economist, and a German sociologist. It consists of two important elements that include clearly defining the rules that would assist in governing the members of an organization and the structure of hierarchy that an organization implements. Weber, in his theory, proposed a system that could get based on the standardized procedures and a well-defined protocol of command (Roussel, et al. 87). Theory stresses on efficiency, however, the theory throws a caution on over emphasizing on technology and technological factors at the dire expense of the emotions that the employees or the target market. Bureaucracy, therefore, refers to the different ways of managing life in social institutions that incorporate patterns, procedures, rules and regulations that would enhance the simplification of the functioning of a complex institution (Kessler 14).
The theory got based on six vital principals that define the manner in which the theory works in the contemporary society. The principals include the formation of a formal hierarchical structure. The theory proposed that every control in the hierarchy gets controlled by the other level above it (Roussel, et al. 36). That form of governing allowed on the basis of a central planning and every decision made within the organization could get done centrally. Therefore. The decisions made within the organization need consulting and making consultative decisions that would benefit the organization.
The different institutions could engage in their activities and functions based on their specialty. The theory proposed that any work done within the organization would get done by specialists that the organization employs hence allowed the categorizing of and placing the employees in smaller units based on the type of work that they do and the skills acquired. That would allow the employees to engage in their work based on their skills and knowledge and ensure that they produce and provide the best services to the market. The theory got developed between 1930 and 1950 proposed that organizations established comprehensive measures for all the routinized task of the organization (Kessler 43).
The theory proposed the system of management by rules, the rules which were made at the top level of management. In such a case, all the rules that could get seceded on and decided by the top level management, it could get executed and followed keenly by all the lower levels of the company. The move allowed for proper direction and called for the execution of duties without questioning hence the workforce remaining on the same page. The institutions under the theory could carry well-defined mission statements that could define the manner in which they would engage in their work. When the mission of the organizations remained ‘in-focused,’ it meant that they would serve themselves in having high-profit margins, the free flow of cash, market share, the target audience (Kessler 78). If the mission got defined as ‘up-focused,’ the organization could then concentrate on serving the shareholders, the board, the financiers of the organization and the stockholders.
The theory allowed for the employment of new staff based on their technical qualifications and the need for the organization. Therefore, every employee and the clients of the company ought to get fair and equal treatment without prejudice hence employees should not get subjected towards personal or individual difference. The above six principles gave a wide and open approach towards the bureaucratic system of management.

Strengths of the theory

The theory allowed for the central authority, therefore, making it effective in organizing in the organization. The formation of hierarchy in the organization ensured the effectiveness in the management of managing an institution. As it allowed for hierarchy and a chain of command, there developed specific tasks for different people in their department because of the specialized skills that different employees have in the organization. That allowed the clear check on the manner in which junior employees engaged in their specific duties (Hales 47). With that continued trend with strict measures of carrying out duties, it would allow for good and proper policies that would enable effective management of an organization.
The use of standard operating procedures under the theory got emphasized. The theory believed that the formalized rules would encourage predictability of the desired results towards an organization. The managers and junior employees would follow strictly the instruction they get, hence the easy determination of the output that the firm would anticipate having all other factors at constant. Therefore, with that kind of predictability, any output would remain in range and proper planning for the same would remain ideal.
Under the theory, it allowed for merit when hiring new employees or promoting the already employed individuals. Such a move would always ensure that qualified individuals with the desired skills and knowledge occupy the offices hence increasing the output of an organization (Hales 55). Therefore, by using the theory it would play a vital role when making policies of the organization. When the management gets the opinion and gets down to formulating policies and ideals for the organization, they would likely come up with the best policies for the institution.
When hiring professionals and individual with the right experience in doing their work, they would likely accomplish their work effectively. Moreover, bureaucrats have the required training and skills that would enable individuals to completely engage in their work. As people employed would bear the required knowledge and skills in doing their work, on most occasions, they would always provide solutions to the challenges affecting the institution. The most outstanding precept with the theory remains as its capability that allows no room for favoritism to its employees or towards the clients. Since the need to follow rules and regulations in achieving the goals and objectives of the company could get outlined, favoring a specific individual becomes impossible (Hales 60). That encourages every individual to work and provide the best products for the company to merit any promotion.

Limitations of the theory

Despite having a strong and sensible way of motivating employees, the theory developed weaknesses that included the ability to breed and cause boredom to the employees hence affecting their level of productivity. As employees specialize in doing their work, over time they would get bored doing a repetitive task over a long period of time. With that continued routine of doing the same kind of activity on a daily basis could lead to employees missing their work due to absenteeism hence resulting to low productivity of the organization (Hales 70).
The desire to follow a specific chain of command remains ideal however, such a move could derail the achievement of desired results over a period of time. The need to follow a particular chain in carrying out and implementing duties would at some point delay the accomplishment of duties as some things could require immediate action. Following bureaucracy remains important but could also hamper the manner in which activities and decisions could get accomplished hence affecting the productivity of the organization.
In most cases bureaucracies would lead would lead to inefficiency while performing duties towards the institution. People employed under that plan would employ their skills and techniques in their areas of specialization and would not become productive in the other areas of the organization. Therefore, such individual would only work for their departments and wait for their wages and salaries (Hales 71). Such a move would prove unproductive and demoralize employees especially the civil servants who work under the system governed by bureaucrats.
When employees get subjected to strict rules and regulations as they work, the freedom of such people gets limited and would only work and reason under discernment. That would minimize on the way they engage with their work and the limit on the productivity.
The bureaucracy would become important when practiced with the caution of ensuring that the employees do not get subjected to strict rules and regulations. When that gets observed, the employer would get the best from the employees hence increasing the production of the organization and get increased profit margins.

Human Relation Movement

In 1930,s George Elton Mayo, a sociologist found the human relations movement after carrying out several experiments referred as Hawthorne studies that focused on the link between workplace productivity and the employee satisfaction (Daft and Marcic 68). Therefore, Human relation refers to the entire process of addressing the needs of the employees, training, encouraging the culture at the workplace and the resolving of conflicts between the management and employees or between employees (Gross and Compa 32). In his study, Hawthorne effect brought forward the notion that increased productivity and motivation would get experience when employees get placed in a group or work as a team.
Professor Elton Mayo conducted the Hawthorne studies between 1927 and 1932 in Chicago. In his study, he examined the work conditions provided in an institution and the productivity experienced. The study conducted brought forward the notion that the relationships that existed in an organization on a larger extent influenced the production of an organization. Elton believed that when an individual become part team their performance would get affected by the groups that they associate with.

However, the study played a major role in determining how motivation affected productivity hence the name Hawthorne Effect. Therefore, the human relations movement originated from the studies conducted by Professor Elton Mayo. The findings of the study proposed that employees setting goals and objectives and personal development remained essential to the effective running and management of a business (Haslam 61). Therefore, the movement stressed that motivation that could get affirmative and derived from greater production and team goals resulted from positive reinforcement from employees and encouragement from the management.
Human relations movement remains as the precursor of the modern and functioning human resource functions in the contemporary society. Before the emergence of the movement, employees were treated unfairly and could get easily replaced as their employers’ bases their usefulness based on their production capability. Human relations could get the consideration of an interdisciplinary as it studies the behavior of human beings in an institution and associates its finding with management, sociology, management and communication (Haslam 85). Therefore, it remains as an important field in the study and understanding the manner which employees behave with the changing traits in their workplace.
The major players in the said theory include Follet who brought forward the idea that there remains the continuous engagement of the management in the manner in which other employees carry out their tasks. The continuous work down by the employees would become very vital in the manner in which work would get done and accomplished at the right time. Bernard proposed the idea that organizations stand as social systems where people interact and work together for the common good of the company and their individual aspirations. From the understanding of Bernard, the theory accepted authority in the manner in which tasks would get accomplished and in the right manner. That would allow the employees to get and see the benefits, believe and understand the way the organization moves forward.
Therefore, it would remain important to understand that employees to an organization should get the consideration of social being who get out to work and ensure that the company runs at a profit. Hence they ought to get the respect that they need and not get the consideration that they only get motivated by the money that they receive in return for the work that they do. The management that oversees the daily operations of a firm needs to address the social aspect of their employees hence enabling them to carry out their tasks in a more efficient and the right manner hence making the organization to get increased profit margins. Therefore, the understanding and fulfilling the needs of the employees would ensure that employees remain motivated and engage in their work in a more productive manner.
The theory views the system within an organization as mere machines that carry out their work within an environment provided for them. Such an environment would involve finances, human input and the required information of running the organization. Therefore, a change in one part of the system affects the entire system as they depend on each other in the manner in which they provide the products and services to the target market. The approaches used for the better understanding of the theory include:

Contingency Approach

A theory of management theory that suggested that the most accurate style of management would depend on the existing situation that an organization would encounter and getting one or a rigid style of management would become a disaster I the long term. The theory got developed a management psychologist Fred Fielder with the view of getting the most effective leadership to an institution. The theory reiterates that effective leadership relates entirely to the effectiveness of the group stands as a component of two factors in the organization (Josien 12). The circumstances in an organization and the motivation would determine the way employees would work and consequently the output of the employees. When measuring the motivation of the workers or the relative motivation, the employer would need to use the least preferred co-workers scale. That would enable the employer to understand the manner in which their employees would engage in their work and ensure maximum output.
The theory found on the premise that implies that the relation motivation would become contingent on the basis that the manager would have the capability to have an effect and control the group’s favorable situations. The situations could get determined under three distinct factors that would include the position of power of the manager in any given organization. Under that factor, the manager would get considered based on the manner in which they exercise their authority over their employees. The manager could either reward or punish behavior based on their individual and institutional approach (Josien 34). Therefore, the manager could engage in terminating the employment contracts of employees for any mistake that they cause or provide bonuses for the good work that employees accomplish like meeting targets that they were given.
Leader-member relations could prove important under the contingency approach because such factors would help in the determination of the manager’s viewpoint with the way they relate with their junior employees in the company. Relations remain as an important tool as it would enhance the manner of production and the way different individuals in the organization work together especially the managers and the junior employees (Josien 43). Therefore, it would determine the kind of relationship that exists between employees and their managers if it would provide an ample atmosphere for working and ensuring maximum output using the available resources.
The task structure of an organization plays a pivotal role and gets associated with the structure that exists in an organization. It would determine the kind of structure subject to the procedures of the organization and would heavily rely on the exact measurements. There exist different tasks that a company would engage itself hence the need to classify the easy and complex tasks that need the attention and define the manner in which they would get assessed and accomplished.

Strengths of Human Relations Movement

The theory continues to prove vital in the management of the modern institutions and the well-being of the employees. That resulted from the fact that employees would get recognition and receive appreciation from their managers and employers. Therefore, in such a move of appreciating employees and the work that they do, they would work harder and ensure that they give their best and ensure the organization runs smoothly with increased profits (Gross and Compa 86). When employees get appreciated, they tend to give their best and would work with dedication hence build their self-esteem and would enhance the growth of the brand among the competitors.
The theory proposed a critical and unique aspect that every organization would employ. The improved relationships between the employees and the management remain vital for the success of any organization (Gross and Compa 88). With improved and good relationships between employees and the management, the employees would work freely and get the full backing of the managers hence quality production of their services and products. The development of good relationships would ensure that employees do not get intimidated by their managers hence maintaining the respect and working comfortably without fear and intimidation.
Under the theory, the employee’s welfare and well-being would get taken care of by the employer. That would ensure that employees remain in the best shape and would, therefore, love their work. Employees would get the opportunity to get off days from work, get treatment when they fall sick and even recognized when they do something outstanding for the organization. Therefore, they would always do their best and ensure the organization’s profit margins continue to increase.

Limitations of the Human Relations Movement

Despite having its strengths in the manner in which it would ensure improved and increased profit margins, the theory developed some shortcomings that would affect the way it gets implemented. The limitations of the theory include the strategies set by the organization would mainly get based on the observed behavior against the predictable behavior. Such a move would not prove effective at all time because sometimes behavior in the market changes like the preference of the employees, competitions and the social environment (Gross and Compa 99). With such trends in mind overlooked, the organization would most likely run into losses and consequently affecting the operations of the organization.
The theory advocates for one-way flow of information, from the management to the junior employees of the organization. That oversimplified mode of ensuring the flow of information would prove fatal to the organization given the fact that employees who work for the company have no moral authority of making decisions. Therefore, the probability of the organization making wrong decisions could increase and put the activities and the well-being of the organization in jeopardy.
Given the fact that employees only receive direction on the things that they ought to accomplish, predicting the behavior of employees at their workplaces would prove difficult. That would prove difficult to read and understand the employees given that they do not have an opportunity to speak their mind regarding the running and meeting the targets of the company. Such a move could not enable the employer to understand their employees hence controlling them fully would remain difficult and challenging and consequently could run the business out of competition and out of business (Gross and Compa 102). Therefore, unless the behavior at workplace gets predicted in the right manner, the organization would not perform well and have the finances to ensure that its activities continue and also meet the needs of the employees.


Management remains a vital tool in the society today and understanding how it developed from the early days would enable the current managers to effectively manage their institutions. From the early days of 1890,s when the scientific management theory got developed than the bureaucratic management in 1930,s to the human relations movement, management continues to evolve with the current systems to suit the people in the digital era. However, the management styles would relatively remain the same but coined to suit the existing and available set up for the modern day hence, bringing on board improved and efficient management systems to the existing organizations. With time, more sophisticated and unique techniques would evolve and ensure that management befits the digital era that the world seems to adopt. Therefore, ensuring that organizations get good leadership that would ensure that they run smoothly on increased profit margins as they take good care of their employees.

Works Cited

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History of Management Thought – Paper Sample
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