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Theories of management essay

Back in the early part of the 20th century, organisations had very little structure, and the workers simply did tasks the easiest way, and not the most efficient way. Decisions that needed to be made were simply made on guesses or hunches, with no real thought of what would benefit the company and production efficiency.

Now days due to 4 management theories that have evolved over time, organisations usually have a very defined structure, with managers to make all the important decisions. Before these decisions are made, much consideration and thought goes into the matter, and a final decision will be made, and this decision will more than likely be of benefit to the organisation. There are four main principles that have been created, all of which define processes and ways in which decisions can be made. These four principles are Scientific Management, General Administrative, The Quantitative Approach and Organisational behaviour.

In 1911, Frederick Winslow Taylor published ‘Principles of Scientific Management’. These principles, which formed the basis for Scientific Management, uses scientific method to define the best and most efficient way for a job to be done. Taylor was a mechanical engineer, and he was appalled at how slow the workers were. He thought that if the job was done a more efficient way, rather than the easy way it was currently being done, production could quite possibly be increased. This resulted in him publishing the guidelines, in the hope that efficiency of the workers would increase. One flaw with scientific management is that it treats people as machines.

General Administrative management formed from two main peoples ideas. Henri Fayol and Max Weber. Fayol described management as a set of functions, planning, organising. commanding, coordinating, and controlling. Fayol’s 14 principles formed the basis for General Administrative. Weber’s ideal organisation was one of bureaucracy, where there was a division of labour, a clearly defined hierarchy, detailed rules & regulations and impersonal relationships. Weber regarded rationality, predictability and authoritarianism very highly. These idea’s created the basis for many of today’s organisations, as most organisations have a clear hierarchy, and some rules. The General Administrative approach however, does inhibit creativity and new ideas.

The Quantitative approach uses statistics, optimisation models, information models and computer simulations in order to make statistically the correct decision. While these tools are often very effective in decision making, managers find it difficult to relate to models and computers, in relation to real life situations. Therefore this approach to management is not the most widely used principle.

Organisational Behaviour is concerned with the actions of people at work. It promotes motivation, leadership, teamwork and conflict management. The Hawthorne studies were extremely important to the ideas behind Organisational behaviour. In 1924 a study began of the effect of illumination on the efficiency of workers. Despite varying levels of light, over time production continued to increase. It was found that the behaviour of a person was closely related to their sentiments, and that group influences have a significant effect on an individuals behaviour. Not surprisingly after this was found, a new emphasis was placed on human behaviour in the functioning of a company, resulting in the human relations movement, where people believed very strongly in employee satisfaction.

All of these principles of management are used today to at least some extent, and different organisations use different forms of management. For example Macdonald’s uses Scientific management mainly, as each task has a specified procedure, with specific times to cook food. This does however limit the amount of creativity that an individual can put into the job. There is one way of doing things, and one way only, leaving no room at all for creativity and new ideas. Whilst Macdonald’s uses mostly scientific management, they also use some of the principles of bureaucracy- they have a defined hierarchy, predictability, and a high level of efficiency. As with Macdonald’s, most organisations do not solely use one principle of management, but uses portions of many types in order to run their company efficiently.

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