During the past 50 years, major social, political, economic, and technical changes have had a tremendous impact on the practice of management. Simultaneously, this time period produced a growing interest in the study of management. Of course, earlier steps in this direction had been taken by Frederick W. Taylor (1856-1917). Taylor and his associates searched for better ways to cut cost, improve productivity, measure performance, and select and train workers. Through his experimentation and writing, Taylor became known as the father of the movement called scientific management.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the focus of management, study shifted to a more detailed examination of the human element in organizations. The study of interrelationships between people and work environments resulted in a new field of management called human relations. Pioneers, such as Elthon Mayo and F.J Roethlisberger, were among the first to be involved in extensive research directed toward providing a better understanding of human behavior in work situations. Since the 1930s, contributions from the areas of psychology, sociology, and anthropology have added significantly to the behavioral knowledge available to modern managers.
During the 1950s, other approaches to the study of management started to develop. The proliferation of these approaches was quite rapid and continues even today. Writing in 1961, for example, Harold Koontz discussed six schools of management thought and referred to them as the " management theory jungle." Almost 20 years later, Koontz revisited the jungle, and identified 11 approaches to management theory and science, as outlined below:
- Empirical or case--seeks to advance the understanding of management through a study of past experience, usually through cases, and a transfer of the lessons of such experience to practitioners and students.
- Interpersonal behavior--studies management by concentrating on interpersonal relations in organizations, with a focus on individuals and their motivations.
- Group behavior--concentrates on the study of group behavior patterns in organizations rather than on interpersonal relations.
- Cooperative social system--modifies the interpersonal and group behavior approaches by studying human relations as cooperative social system that link two or more persons together in the pursuit of common purposes.
- Sociotechnical system--emphasizes the need for considering social and technical systems simultaneously in the practice of management since technical system have a great influence on the social system(s) of organizations.
- Decision theory--stresses decision making as a major responsibility of all managers and focuses on the development of management thought around the decision-making process.
- Systems--studies the interdependent parts of organizations as they interact with, and are influenced by, their environments.
- Mathematical or "management science"--considers management as a process that can be studied through mathematical models that express the basic elements of a problem, while providing a means for identifying and evaluating alternative solutions to the problem.
- Contingency or situational--examines managerial behavior as a response to a given set of circumstances in order to suggest management practices that appear most suitable for dealing with a particular situation.
- Managerial roles--observers what managers do in an attempt to identify ad classify those roles common to all managers.
- Operational--attemps to tie together the concepts, principles, theory, and techniques that underpin the practice of management by relating them to the functions of managers.
While each of these approaches presents a somewhat different avenue to the study of management, all have the potencial to contribute something to the advancement of management knowledge. Similarly, they can contribute to improving the practice of management. Since managers must deal with a variety of environmental influences an organization inputs, they opten find that a combination of approaches is usefull in the practice of management. For example, the operational approach can be used as a framework for guiding some managerial actions, while an understanding of system and human behavior in the work environment can be benefit in other situations; or, quantitative methods and mathematical models might contribute to improving managerial decision making. In this sense, management theory does not include approaches that represent the "one best way" for dealing with all situations. Instead, it is a body of interrelated concepts, principles, and techniques that prividers useful guides to managerial thought and action.
For detail and updates : Management
For detail and updates : Management