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Management can be described as ‘getting things done through people’. This means that there must be a manager to control and motivate these people or human resources. While there are many different styles of managers and management techniques the management theories are most important. Management theories describe certain behaviours that are renowned for achieving the goals of the business. The four main management theories are classical-scientific, behavioural, political and contingency. These all have various styles, outcomes and have many similarities and differences when put into practice in a business environment.
The Classical-Scientific theories of management developed in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Most of the workforce was inexperienced and uneducated so they had little managing experience. Democracy was not fully developed so as a result most owners and managers ruled with an ‘iron hand’ and rarely consulted employees. Though from these roots many different management techniques and styles sprouted which would form the basis of management today. These include Hierarchical structure of organisation, Division of Labour, and Autocratic and Authority styles of management.
Hierarchical structure of organisation is the tradition form of organising a business. This can be best displayed in a shape of a pyramid, with the owner, CEO or Board of Directors at the top. This top level of management is concerned with planning organising and controlling. They are usually required to develop long and short term strategic plans to achieve the business objectives. They are also responsible for any change to the business such as a change in the Prime Function or introduction of a new product line. The second stage is the Middle Management which coordinates the activities of supervisors. It prepares policies and plans, and has the responsibility for its budgets and for appointing new employees. At the third level of the structure are the supervisors which have the power of concurrent control. They are the link between workers and the top level of management. They are chosen for their technical skills and ability to motivate others.
An important management tool that developed from this time is called Division of Labour which can be found in many workplaces today. The idea behind Division of Labour is to break up complex tasks into many simpler tasks and assign a different person to each task. This inturn makes each person proficient at their task and increases productivity of the business. However it has been proven that workers can sometimes get bored performing repetitive tasks so the Behavioural Theory of management created an idea called Multiskilling which is similar to Division of Labour except workers perform many different tasks and become proficient at them.
Max Weker developed the idea of an ideal organisation which included Division of Labour, a Hierarchical structure, and a set of rules and regulations. He named this a Bureaucracy. However it could not be the ideal organisation because it does not fit into every management situation.
Another Classical-Scientific management style is the Autocratic leadership style which is based on leadership power where workers and low levels of management have no participation in decision making in the business. This style may sound effective fits very few managing situations and is limited in its level of success due to poor worker relations. Workers and low levels of management are the people working for to achieve the business’ goals so inturn they would have many different ideas on how to improve productivity, however, limiting their decision making power will result in workers attitudes towards work decreasing which will limit the organisations growth through the business cycle.
The Classical-Scientific management theories moulded what management is today however some methods are limited in their success because they do not account for workers needs whereas the Behavioural theories of management account for the needs of workers and informal aspects of the organisation.
Behavioural theories are quite different to the Classical-Scientific theories in the sense of there methods and outcomes of management. They looked more to workplace relations and human resource management instead of limiting workers power. The Behavioural theories of management consist of improved communication between top level management and workers as opposed to the Classical-Scientific styles where workers had no contact with top level management, the managing methods of Mary Parker Follett, Elton Mayo and Abraham Maslow, the Flat structure of organisation opposed to the Classical-Scientific method of Hierarchical structure of organisation and the participative/democratic leadership style opposed to the Classical-Scientific Autocratic and Authority leadership styles.
The Behavioural school of thought took on new areas of management which proved to be extremely effective. It emphasised that managers should become leaders instead of dictators which built up employee relationships which inturn improved their efforts towards work and production.
The management studies of Elton Mayo concluded that people work better if they know that management is concerned about their welfare. Money is less important than group standards and social needs and workers enjoyed the fact that they were part of a team. In other words Elton Mayo discovered theory of managing based around leading workers, by setting standards looking after their social welfare motivating workers by offering rewards and communicating with workers to increase job satisfaction, which in turn leads to better output.
Mary Parker Follet had views of management, which were also affective due to the fact they were people orientated. She believed that managers should lead rather than command and should be partners with workers to evoke the workers full potential. Abraham Maslow contributed to this theory with his own, which was concerned with motivation of workers. This looked once again to praise, non monetary and monetary rewards.
The organisational structure of Behavioural theories was still hierarchical but it was a lot flatter due to the elimination of middle management, which in turn increase communication between top levels of management and workers. This structure also improved on the Classical-Scientific theory of Division of Labour, which has limited success because it became repetitive and boring. Instead workers were broken up into teams which lead to further increases in productivity. This also surpassed the standard of the Classical Scientific method because workers could become competent at many jobs due to rotation, which was called multiskilling.
There are different leadership styles taken on by managers. The Classical Scientific style was Autocratic, which gave workers limited decision making power in the business. This method is limited in its success due to poor customer relations, so other theories emerged, such as the democratic style where mangers can delegate decision making power to subordinates with define limits. There is even leadership styles that are the exact opposite of the autocratic style, which are known as laissez-faire management. This is where managers allow subordinates to make all decisions, such as at NUMMI.
The Behavioural Management theories are a huge step up from the Classical Scientific theories in the sense of management and worker relations. The Classical Scientific theories of management consisted of Autocratic styles and Division of Labour methods which left workers unsatisfied and bored. The behavioural theories of management looked more into the social needs of workers with methods such as, motivation, rewards, multskilling and decision making duties. This helps to encourage a positive environment, which motivates workers to strive harder the business’s goals.