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Management Evolution Essay

The evolution of management can be traced back to the start of the Industrial Revolution. “Management and leadership abilities were not thought of as learnable skills but derived from one’s heredity. There did not exist the need for a theory of management: leaders were born, not made. ” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 14). This belief ignored the need for a written theory of management and focused on the practice itself. As industrialization increased and spread, problems related to the factory system began to appear. Large numbers of workers were needed to keep up with the rapid economic expansion.

Many of these workers were immigrant, unskilled, and non-English speaking. Managers did not know how to train these employees. This led to a scientific study of management and to what is today known as management theory. Classical School of Management The first management theory, Scientific Management, arose because of a need to increase worker efficiency and productivity. Emphasis of this approach was placed on the best way to get the most work accomplished. Focus was on examining the work process and developing the skills of the workforce.

The classical school owes its origins to several contributors; including Frederick Taylor, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, Henry Gantt, and Mary Parker Follet. Frederick Taylor is often referred to as the “father of scientific management”. He believed that organizations should study and gain an understanding of work and develop precise procedures to complete it. “Taylor believed that economic prosperity could only be achieved by maximal worker productivity, which in turn, would be the product of making workers more efficient” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 5).

By analyzing every job through scientific observations, he felt there was only one best way of doing a job. He believed managers should study each job and determine the minimum necessary steps needed to complete it. Individuals step would be analyzed to determine the most efficient way of performing it. Managers would then total the time of each individual task to determine the optimum amount of time necessary to complete the entire task. Workers would then follow the precise instructions of management.

If tasks were not completed in the optimal amount of given, workers were removed from the job. He believed this system gave managers power over workers. Workers could no longer resist management demands. Managers possessed the knowledge and workers performed their detailed steps. Frank and Lillian Gilbreth were a husband and wife team that studied job motions. “The Gilbreths are considered pioneers in making use of motion studies to improve worker efficiency” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 16).

Frank analyzed worker actions to determine the best possible method of performing a given job. When he understood all the motions, he would seek to improve the efficiency of each action and reduce the number of motions required to accomplish the job–a process called job simplification” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 16). Managers would then select, train, and develop workers with devised procedures. Lillian extended this theory into the home in an effort to determine the ideal way to complete household tasks. Henry Gantt developed the Gantt chart; a work scheduling chart that measures planned and completed work along throughout each stage of completion.

The Gantt chart is a powerful planning and evaluation tool used by managers. He believed inefficiency was a result of management unrealistic production standards. According to Gantt, “work standards should be determined by scientific observation and measurement, and only then may realistic work standards be set” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 17). Gantt also believed that workers should be rewarded for good work through a bonus system. He felt that workers would be more productive and achieve higher levels of production if there was an incentive. To motivate workers to go beyond the daily production quotas, he pioneered the use of a production bonus (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 18).

Gantt also focused on the importance of quality leadership and management skills and their relationship to building effective industrial organizations. Mary Parker Follet is often referred to as the “mother of conflict resolution”. “Her research and writings pointed to a collaborative approach to problem solving that advocated compromise” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 17). Follet focused on the importance of establishing and developing common goals within the workplace.

She believed workers should be allowed to participate in the decision making process. She believed workers could and would comply and follow management’s logical requests without being given too many orders; workers should not be micromanaged. “The classical approach to management theory had asserted that the key to worker efficiency and organizational productivity was efficient job design, use of appropriate incentives, and effective managerial functioning” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 23).

This approach emphasized the work elements and eliminated the human dimensions. Behavioral School of Management The behavioral approach stresses that effective management will come from an understanding of the worker” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 23). Emphasis of this approach is based on the belief that every human being has social and physiological needs which affect performance and motivation. Focus was on improving the self-esteem and self-confidence of the workforce. Contributors to the behavioral school include Elton Mayo, Chester Barnard, and Douglas McGregor. Elton Mayo was the founder of the human relations movement. “Mayo concluded that factors other than the physical aspects of work had the power of improving production.

These factors related to the interrelationships between workers and individual psychology” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 25). Mayo believed that if workers were treated with respect and their needs were being met, they would be more productive and their work would be more efficient; therefore both the employee and management would benefit. Mayo is known for his work conducted at the Western Electric Company in Chicago; known as the Hawthorne Experiments. He was able to prove that the relationship that employees have with management directly affects productivity.

He concluded that management needed to be more directly involved with employees. Chester Barnard developed the acceptance theory of management, which focuses managerial authority. He believed that employees themselves determined if managerial order is legitimate and acceptable. He felt that in order for employees to accept that managers have legitimate authority to act, they must first understand the communication they receive from management. Employees must also feel that the communication that is received is consistent with the organization’s purpose.

Bernard believed that managers needed to share a common purpose and express a willingness to cooperate with the employees. “Douglas McGregor, in distinguishing between the pessimistic Theory X view of employees and the optimistic Theory Y, had a dramatic impact on management theory and practice” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 27). Theory X which characterized the views of Taylor is based on the assumption that the average human being dislikes work and that because of this dislike they must be threatened and controlled before they will work.

Theory X also assumes that the average person desires security and prefers being directed. Average people dislike responsibility and have little ambition. Theory Y which characterized the views of Mayo is based on the assumption that if a job is satisfying and the working conditions are good, then the worker will be committed to the organization. Theory Y also assumes that if the average worker is committed, then they will not only accept, but seek responsibility. McGregor believed that managers should operate with the belief that workers will contribute more to an organization if they feel valued and are treated responsibly.

The behavioral approach to management theory focused on the workforce and their needs; the human element of the organization. This approach emphasized work as a group activity and aimed at increasing work productivity through collaboration. Production Operations Management (POM) Approach The Production Operation Management Approach to management was developed in response to increasingly difficult operational problems and a rapidly changing environment. The concepts of the POM Approach were based on the belief that the scientific method was the solution to problem solving.

Herbert Simon was a major contributor to the POM Approach. “Herbert Simon is best known for his research in decision-making and information processing but also made contributions to cognitive psychology, computer science, public administration, philosophy of science, and artificial intelligence” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 29). Simon coined the term satisficing which was based on the belief that executives rarely had access to perfect information. They were more apt to accept data acquired early in a search and seek solutions or accept choices that are deemed good enough for their purposes.

He believed that seeking the maximal solution or result expended resources. “Production operations management stresses a systems approach that views the total operating system and analyzes a problem within that system. The problem is seen to exist as it relates to the total system, and any proposed solution is evaluated as it relates to the same system” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 30). The POM approach focused more on production and less on the human factor. Contingency Approach The contingency approach to management is the most recent school of thought about management.

It combines the ideas of the other three approaches and states that there is no one universal set of management principles or one best way by which to manage an organization. This approach is based on the belief that to effective, planning, organizing, leading and controlling must be contingent on the circumstances in which an organization operates. Different problems require different solutions. “This approach arose out of the observation that the three earlier approaches to management–the classical, the behavioral, and productions operations research–did not always lead to an acceptable solution” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 1). The contingency approach applies to all areas of management, not just organizing and leading. This approach takes into consideration both the internal and external environments of the organization. Conclusion “The foundations of the various approaches to schools of management theory are found in a variety of disciplines, including economics, psychology, sociology, mathematics, philosophy, and industrial engineering.

But management theory, even though it makes use of other scholarly areas and the observations of the practicing manager, has emerged as a separate area of study since the 1940’s” (Montana & Charnov, 2008, p. 4). The thoughts and ideas of the classical school have been analyzed and developed over the years; however the basic concepts are still in practice today. Relation to Work Environment I believe that the contingency approach to management is the most effective. The classical, the behavioral, and productions operations research approaches all are based on a universal approach, one best way, of management that applies the same techniques to every organization. As a manager I have come to realize that not all people and every situation should be handled identically.

I believe managerial decisions and actions are contingent upon a given situation. Managerial styles and techniques must vary according to the circumstances of the situation. To be effective, managers must determine which factors are relevant in what situation. I believe the most important aspect of the contingency theory is that it accounts for the human factor. As the Dining Services Director at Miles Community College, I am required to make daily decisions concerning both my department and the organization as a whole.

I believe that to be an effective manager it is necessary to evaluate each and every situation to come up with the appropriate decisions and actions. I understand that each and every situation is unique and requires a situational analysis. I also believe that every decision I make affects the organization therefore my decisions are based on the goals and values of the organization as a whole. I believe that the contingency theory best fits my management style.


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