Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Management Theories ??

What people thought about 'management' was subject to great changes and paradigm shifts over the past century. Basically there are three 'periods' that produced typical management theories.

1. Period of the Scientific Management Theory (1890-1940)
Around 1900 organizations became 'industrialized'. The manufacturing process was based on ongoing routine tasks. Management in the factories started to measure and specify their activities and results. In this atmosphere a Frederick Taylor developed his "scientific management theory". His 5 principles of management were:
- Develop a science for each element of an individual's work.
- Scientifically select, train and develop the worker.
- Heartily cooperate with the workers.
- Divide work & responsibility equally between managers & workers.
- Improve production efficiency through work studies, tools, economic incentives.
Frederick W. Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management (New York: Harper Bros., 1911)

2. Period of the Bureaucratic Management Theory (1930-1950)
Most well known advocate of this theory was a Max Weber. Weber made a breakdown of organizations in hierarchies, focusing on strong lines of authority and control. He advised the industry to start standardizing the operational procedures for at least all routinezed tasks.

3. Period of the Human Relations Focused Theory (1930-today)
Former theories lacked the 'human' element. One could say that the worker was compared with and measured against machines in the past. The paradigm shifted from dehumanazing industrial linework to individuals who seemed to be able to make a difference in the results of the company. The first Human Resources departments were introduced to tap into this unknown pool of capacities and opportunities. Revolutionary was the idea that the organization would prosper if the workers were actually 'happy' and prospered as well.

(Various new theories came to existence later on, most of them based on the behavioral sciences.)