Like most modern disciplines, contemporary management thought is an evolution of the dynamic process of human communications, experience and learning to which many eminent management authors have contributed.
One such author, Henry Fayol (1841 – 1925), known as the father of modern management, was Europe’s most distinguished management author and the first to develop a general theory of management. He maintained that management is “to forecast and to plan, to organize, to command, to co-ordinate and to control”. The basis of his theory is that organizational activities can be classified into technical, commercial, financial, security, accounting or managerial activities.
He concentrated on the managerial activities and went on to create the first general theory of management, and identified that the basic principles of management deals with fourteen concepts; 1.Division of work known as specialization where each worker is given a small amount of work at which he becomes the specialist which ultimately leads to better efficiency and maximum output. 2.Authority & Responsibility, the right to command to get the work done for accountability and also to avoid misuse of authority. 3.Discipline implying the respect for rules and regulations to secure obedience 4.Unity of Command to avoid conflicting orders and to ensure order and stability in the organization 5.Unity of Direction to ensure unity and coordination in the organization 6.Subordination of individual to general interests to reconcile individual interests to common interests and to ensure the prevalence of organizational interest over individual interest should there be a conflict between the afore mentioned
7.Remuneration should be just and fair to provide maximum satisfaction to both employer and employee and should also serve to retain employees in service over a period of time 8.Centralization of responsibility and control to verify that the authority delegated are properly utilized for the benefit of the organization and to assure that all safeguards are followed 9.Scalar Chain, the number of levels in the hierarchy should not over stretch 10.Order of arrangement of materials and stores, and also of personnel 11.Equity among all employees with regard to justice and kindness essential for the creation of cordial relations between management and workers
12.Stability of tenure of personnel through the assurance of job security and career progress, as high rate of employee turnover will affect the organization adversely 13.Initiative opportunities to exercise judgment in the formulation and execution of plans should be given to employees at all levels as this develops employees’ interest in the jobs and provides them satisfaction 14.Esprit de corps which refers to the harmony and mutual understanding among the members of the organization to maintain team spirit so that they can work together as a team for the accomplishment of common objectives.
Mary Parker Follett (1868 – 1933) known for pioneering ideas introducing human psychology and human relations into industrial management, described management as philosophy and defined management as “the art of getting things done through people”.
Having worked as social worker, she observed that the ideas that come out of group thinking cannot be duplicated by any individual working alone and that all group participants undergo important changes in thought patterns simply because of their participation in the group. She believed that when group members take part in a discussion, they begin to think in a more compatible, harmonious way, and reasoned that the role of the manager is to cultivate this group interaction so that it produces the optimal results.
Central to Follett’s theory is the harmonious blending of the differences of group members to produce a solution acceptable to all. She strongly believed in the power of the group where individuals could combine their diverse talents into something bigger.
She believed that the artificial distinction between managers (order givers) and subordinates (order takers) obscured the natural partnership between these two. In a 1924 essay, “Power,” she coined the words “power-over” and “power-with” to differentiate coercive power from participative decision-making, showing how “power-with” can be greater than “power-over.” “Do we not see now,” she observed, “that while there are many ways of gaining an external, an arbitrary power through brute strength, through manipulation, through diplomacy, genuine power is always that which inheres in the situation?”
Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856 – 1915) known as the father of scientific management, defined management as “an art of knowing what is to be done and seeing that it is done in the best possible manner”. Taylor thought that by analyzing work, the “one best way” to do it would be found. He would break a job into its component parts and measure each to the hundredth of a minute.
He rested his philosophy on four basic principles; the development of a true science of management so that the best method for performing each task could be determined, the scientific selection of workers so that each worker would be given responsibility for the task for which he or she was best suited, the scientific education and development of the worker and intimate, friendly cooperation between management and labor.
Perhaps the key idea of scientific management and the one which has drawn the most criticism was the concept of task allocation. Using time study as his base, he broke each job down into its components and deigned the quickest and the best methods of performing each component. The main argument against Taylor is this reductionist approach to work dehumanizes the worker. The allocation of work “specifying not only what is to be done but how it is to done and the exact time allowed for doing it” is seen as leaving no scope for the individual worker to excel or think.
This argument is mainly due to later writing as Taylor stated “The task is always so regulated that the man who is well suited to his job will thrive while working at this rate during a long term of years and grow happier and more prosperous, instead of being overworked.” Taylor’s concept of motivation left something to be desired when compared to later ideas. His methods of motivation started and finished at monetary incentives. While critical of the then prevailing distinction of “us “and “them” between the workforce and employers he tried to find a common ground between the working and managing classes.
Reasoning that any goal-oriented organization consisting of thousands of individuals would require the carefully controlled regulation of its activities, Max Weber (1864 – 1920) developed a theory of bureaucratic management that stressed the need for a strictly defined hierarchy governed by clearly defined regulations and lines of authority.
He considered the ideal organization to be a bureaucracy whose activities and objectives were rationally thought out and whose divisions of labor were explicitly spelled out. Weber also believed that technical competence should be emphasized and that performance evaluations should be made entirely on the basis of merit.
Weber believed that the use of specialists in a bureaucracy provides advantages over other forms of organization. He also specified various requirements for an effective bureaucracy: technical training for its personnel, appointment on the basis of merit, set salaries and retirement benefits, guaranteed careers, separation of peoples’ private lives from their organizational positions, set hierarchy of jobs and offices, implementation of an adequate control system, rational rules and regulations within the organization, and certain obedience to a superior’s command.