Founding Theorists of Management

Identify the founding theorists of management and then discuss the major schools of thought under which their theories can be classified. The founding theorists of management are Frederick Taylor, Max Weber, Henri Fayol and Mary Parker Follett. Taylor’s theory is classified under Scientific Management, and he was known as “the father of scientific management”. Scientific management can be defined as the scientific determination of changes in management practices as a means improving labour productivity.

Taylor’s theory focuses on efficiency in the organization, improving the productivity of manual workers, and it demonstrates how providing workers with an incentive to perform can increase productivity. Taylor’s theory suggested four principles of scientific management. The first principle involves developing a science for each element of an individual’s work to replace the old rule of thumb methods. The second principle involves scientifically selecting, training and developing workers.

Related article: Examples of Scientific Management in Healthcare

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The application of scientific management is seen in today’s organizations when the best qualified applicants are hired for a job. Max Weber developed a theory of authority structures theory is classified under Bureaucratic Management, and it may be described as a formal system of organization based on clearly defined hierarchal levels and roles in order to maintain efficiency and effectiveness. Weber believed that organizations should be managed on an impersonal, rational basis, and that this type of organization would be more efficient and adaptable to change because stability is related to formal structure and positions rather than to a articular person who may leave or die. Weber identified six elements of bureaucratic management. This first element involves the division of labour with clear definitions of authority and responsibility. The second element involves the organization of positions in a hierarchy of authority, where each position is under the authority of a higher one, and subordinates follow the orders of their superiors. The third element involves the selection and promotion of personnel based on technical qualifications, or training and experience.

The fourth element involves administrative acts and decisions which are governed by rules, and are recorded in permanent files to provide the organization with memory and continuity over time. The fifth element states that means of production or administration belong to the office, and that personal property is separate from office property. The sixth and final element of bureaucratic management states that rules are impersonal and applied to all employees. It also states that managers are subject to rules and procedures that will ensure predictable and reliable behavior.

Bureaucratic procedures provide a standard way of dealing with employees. Everyone receives equal treatment and knows what the rules are, and this has enabled many organizations to be very efficient. The application of bureaucratic management is seen in today’s organizations with the Employee Code of Conduct. Henri Fayol’s theory can be classified under General Administrative Theory, and focuses on the one best way to run the organization. The general administrative theory focuses on how the entire organization should be organized, and the practices an effective manager should follow.

Fayol proposed a universal set of management functions, which are planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling. Planning, involves anticipating the future and acting on it. Organizing requires developing the institution’s material and human resources. Commanding requires keeping the organization’s actions and processes running. Coordinating involves aligning and harmonizing the efforts of organizational members. The final management function controlling, involves performing the first four functions according o the appropriate rules and procedures of the organization. Fayol developed theories of what he believed constituted good management practices, known as the fourteen principles of management. The fourteen principles are; specialization of labour, authority, discipline, unity of command, unity of direction, subordination of individual interests, remuneration, centralization, scalar chain, order, equity, stability of staff, initiative, and spirit de corps, which means harmony and cohesion among personnel.

Specialization of labour is where managerial and technical work is amenable to specialization to produce more and better work with the same amount of effort. Authority refers to the right of superiors to give orders and to expect them to be followed. Discipline is where the members in any organization must respect the rules and agreements governing the organization. Unity of command is where each subordinate receives orders from one superior only. Unity of direction means similar activities in the organization should be grouped together under one manager.

Subordination of individual interests means, the concerns of the organization should take precedence over the concerns of the individual. Remuneration refers to compensation for work done, and it should be fair to both the employee and the employer. Centralization refers to the degree to which decision making is concentrated at the top levels of the organization. Scalar chain refers to the chain of authority which extends from the top to the bottom levels of the organization.

Order implies that all material and human resources within the organization have a prescribed place to be. Material resources must remain in the right place at the right time, and people should be in the jobs or positions they are suited to. Equity implies that everyone within the organization should be treated equally. Stability of staff implies that there should be a low employee turnover rate in order to facilitate the efficient functioning of the organization.

Initiative means that subordinates should be given freedom to share their ideas and carry out their plans. Esprit de corps means creating team spirit through the use of verbal communication, to promote harmony and cohesion among personnel. Fayol also stressed the role of administrative management and stated that all activities that occur in business organizations could be divided into six main groups, which are, technical, commercial, financial, security, accounting and managerial.

For example, production and manufacturing activities can be grouped under technical; buying, selling and exchange activities can be grouped under commercial; activities obtaining and using capital can be grouped under finance; protection of property and persons can be grouped under security; balance sheet, stocktaking, statistics and costing activities can be grouped under accounting and; planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling activities can be grouped under managerial.

Fayol then concluded that the six groups of activities are interdependent and that it is the role of management to ensure that all six activities work smoothly to achieve the goals of an organization. Mary Parker Follett was a major contributor to the administrative approach to management. However, she was also an advocate of a more humanistic perspective to management, which highlighted the importance of understanding human behaviors, needs and attitudes in the workplace, as well as social interactions and group processes.

She emphasized worker participation and the importance of goals that cannot be reached by a single party for reducing conflicts in organizations. Follett explained that managerial dominance and compromising only produced temporary adjustments. She proposed a process in which parties involved in conflict would interact despite the existing facts, and allow a new solution to come into view that none of the conflicting parties had considered. She called this approach to resolving conflict an integrating process.

Mary Parker Follett’s approach to leadership stressed the importance of people, rather than engineering techniques, and she addressed issues such as ethics, power, and how to lead in a way that encourages employees to give their best, as well as the concepts of delegation of power and authority to employees, rather than controlling them. Although Frederick Taylor, Max Weber, Henri Fayol and Mary Parker Follett are not the only theorists to make contributions to the schools of thought of management, they have all made significant contributions to management, many of which have been implemented and even modified, in today’s organizations.

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