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Evolution of Management Essay


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, and required good 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.

Another example of early management can be found in the city of Venice, which was a major economic and trade center in 1400s. the venetians developed an early form of business enterprise and engaged in many activities common to today’s organizations. The venetians used warehouse and inventory systems to keep track of materials, human resource management functions to manage the labor force and an accounting system to keep track of revenues and costs.

Two historical events significant to the study of management are work of Adam Smith, in his book,’ The Wealth of Nations’, in which he argued brilliantly for the economic advantages of division of labor (the breakdown of jobs into narrow, repetitive tasks). The Industrial Revolution is second 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 six major approaches to management. They are explained as follows;


Scientific management is defined as the use of the scientific method to determine the “one best way” for a job to be done. The most important contributor in this field was Frederick W. Taylor who is known as the “father” of scientific management. Using his principles of scientific management; (1) scientifically study each part of a task and develop the best method of performing the task, (2) scientifically select and then train, teach and develop the worker, (3) cooperate fully with workers to ensure that they use the proper method, (4) divide work and responsibility almost equally between management and workers. Management takes over all work for which it is better fitted than the workers.

Taylor was able to define the “one best way” for doing each job. Frank and Lillian Gilbreth were inspired by Taylor’s work and proceeded to study and develop their own methods of scientific management. They devised a classification scheme to label 17 basic hand motions called therbligs in order to eliminate wasteful motions Guidelines devised by Taylor and others to improve production efficiency are still used in today’s organizations. However, current management practice is not restricted to scientific management practices alone.

Elements of scientific management still used include:

1. Using time and motion studies
2. Hiring best qualified workers
3. Designing incentive systems based on output


This group of writers, who focused on the entire organization, developed more general theories of what managers do and what constitutes good management practice.

Henri Fayol and Max Weber were the two most prominent proponents of the general administrative approach. Fayol focused on activities common to all managers. He described the practice of management as distinct from other typical business functions.

He stated 14 principles of management which are as follows:

1. Division of Work. Specialization increases output by making employees more efficient. 2. Authority. Managers must be able to give orders, and authority give them this right. 3. Discipline. Employees must obey and respect the rules that govern the organization. 4. Unity of Command. Every employee should receive orders from only one superior. 5. Unity of Direction. The organization should have a single plan of action to guide managers and workers. 6. Subordination of individual interest to group interest. The interest of any one employee or group of employees should not take precedence over the interests of the organization as a whole. 7. Remuneration. Workers must be paid a fair wage for their services.

8. Centralization. This term refers to the degree to which subordinates are involved in decision making. 9. Scalar Chain. The line of authority from top management to the lowest ranks is the scalar chain. 10. Order. People and materials should be in the right place at the right time. 11. Equity. Managers should be kind and fair to their subordinates. 12. Stability of tenure of personnel. Management should provide orderly personnel planning and ensure that replacements are available to fill vacancies. 13. Initiative. Employees who are allowed to originate and carry out plans will exert high levels of effort. 14. Espirit de corps. Promoting team spirit will build harmony and unity within the organization.

Max Weber was a German sociologist who developed a theory of authority structures and described organizational activity based on authority relations. He described the ideal form of organization as a bureaucracy marked by division of labor, a clearly defined hierarchy, detailed rules and regulations, and impersonal relationships.

Some current management concepts and theories can be traced to the work of the general administrative theorists. The functional view of a manager’s job relates to Henri Fayol’s concept of management. Weber’s bureaucratic characteristics are evident in many of today’s large organizations—even in highly flexible organizations that employ talented professionals. Some bureaucratic mechanisms are necessary in highly innovative organizations to ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively.

Weber’s Ideal Bureaucracy


The quantitative approach to management, sometimes known as operations research or management science, uses quantitative techniques to improve decision making. This approach includes applications of statistics, optimization models, information models, and computer simulations. The quantitative approach originated during World War II as mathematical and statistical solutions to military problems were developed for wartime use.

The relevance of quantitative approach today is that it has contributed most directly to managerial decision making, particularly in planning and controlling. The availability of sophisticated computer software programs has made the use of quantitative techniques more feasible for managers.


The field of study concerned with the actions (behaviors) of people at work is organizational behavior. Organizational behavior (OB) research has contributed much of what we know about human resources management and contemporary views of motivation, leadership, trust, teamwork, and conflict management.

The early advocates of OB approach were Robert Owen, Hugo Munsterberg, Mary Parker Follett, and Chester Barnard. Their ideas served as the foundation for employee selection procedures, motivation programs, work teams, and organization-environment management techniques.

The Hawthorne Studies were the most important contribution to the development of organizational behavior.

This series of experiments conducted from 1924 to the early 1930s at Western Electric Company’s Hawthorne Works in Cicero, Illinois, were initially devised as a scientific management experiment to assess the impact of changes in various physical environment variables on employee productivity.

After Harvard professor Elton Mayo and his associates joined the study as consultants, other experiments were included to look at redesigning jobs, make changes in workday and workweek length, introduce rest periods, and introduce individual versus group wage plans.

The researchers concluded that social norms or group standards were key determinants of individual work behavior.

Although not without criticism (concerning procedures, analyses of findings, and the conclusions), the Hawthorne Studies stimulated interest in human behavior in organizational settings.

In the present day context behavioral approach assists managers in designing jobs that motivate workers, in working with employee teams, and in facilitating the flow of communication within organizations. The behavioral approach provides the foundation for current theories of motivation, leadership, and group behavior and development.


During the 1960s researchers began to analyze organizations from a systems perspective based on the physical sciences. A system is a set of interrelated and interdependent parts arranged in a manner that produces a unified whole. The two basic types of systems are open and closed. A closed system is not influenced by and does not interact with its environment. An open system interacts with its environment.

The Organization as an Open System

Using the systems approach, managers envision an organization as a body with many interdependent parts, each of which is important to the well-being of the organization as a whole. Managers coordinate the work activities of the various parts of the organization, realizing that decisions and actions taken in one organizational area will affect other areas.

The systems approach recognizes that organizations are not self-contained; they rely on and are affected by factors in their external environment.


The contingency approach recognizes that different organizations require different ways of managing. The contingency approach to management is a view that the organization recognizes and responds to situational variables as they arise.

Popular Contingency Variables

Organization size
As size increases, so do the problems of coordination.
Routineness of task technology
Routine technologies require organizational structure, leadership styles, and control systems that differ from those required by customized or non-routine technologies. Environmental uncertainty

What works best in a stable and predictable environment may be totally inappropriate in a rapidly changing and unpredictable environment.

Individual differences

Individuals differ in terms of their desire for growth, autonomy, tolerance or ambiguity, and expectations.


The following are the current concepts and practices are changing the way managers do their jobs today.

Globalization: Organizational operations are no longer limited by national borders. Managers throughout the world must deal with new opportunities and challenges inherent in the globalization of business.


Cases of corporate lying, misrepresentations, and financial manipulations have been widespread in recent years. Managers of firms such as Enron, ImClone, Global Crossing, and Tyco International have placed their own self-interest ahead of other stakeholders’ welfare. While most managers continue to behave in a highly ethical manner, abuses suggest a need to “upgrade” ethical standards. Ethics education is increasingly emphasized in college curricula today. Organizations are taking a more active role in creating and using codes of ethics, ethics training programs, and ethical hiring procedures.

Workforce diversity:

It refers to a workforce that is heterogeneous in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, age, and other characteristics that reflect differences. Accommodating diverse groups of people by addressing different lifestyles, family needs, and work styles is a major challenge for today’s managers.


It is the process whereby an individual or group of individuals use organized efforts to pursue opportunities to create value and grow by fulfilling wants and needs through innovation and uniqueness, no matter what resources the entrepreneur currently has.

Three important themes stand out in this definition:
a. The pursuit of opportunities
b. Innovation
c. Growth

Entrepreneurship will continue to be important to societies around the world. Managing in an E-Business World: E-business (electronic business) is a comprehensive term describing the way an organization does its work by using electronic (Internet-based) linkages with its key constituencies in order to efficiently and effectively achieve its goals.

Knowledge Management and Learning Organizations:

Change is occurring at an unprecedented rate. To be successful, today’s organization must become a learning organization—one that has developed the capacity to continuously learn, adapts, and change. Knowledge management involves cultivating a learning culture where organizational members systematically gather knowledge and share it with others in the organization so as to achieve better performance.

Quality Management:

Quality management is a philosophy of management that is driven by continual improvement and response to customer needs and expectations. The objective of quality management is to create an organization committed to continuous improvement in work.

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