Schools of Management thought

10/03/2020 2 By indiafreenotes

School of Management Thought 1. Scientific Management School:

This school envisages management to be a scientific management.

It means that, scientific methods and scientific principles are to be followed and applied in managing the affairs of an enterprise.

Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915), popularly known as the ‘Father of Scientific Management Movement’, was the first to recognise and emphasise the need for adopting a systematic scientific approach to the task of managing an enterprise.

Taylor joined the Midvale Steel Company in the USA, as a worker and later on rose to the position of chief engineer. Subsequently he joined the Bethlehem Works where he experimented with his ideas and made his contribution to management theory for which he is so well-known.

He studied the causes of low efficiency in industry and came to the conclusion that much of the waste and inefficiency is due to the lack of order and system in the methods of management. He observed that the managers were usually ignorant of the amount of work that could be done by a worker in a day and had no clear notion of the best method of doing the work.

It was his realisation that there was lack of efficient work standard, absence of clear-cut division of works between the managers and workers, lack of incentive of the workers, unscientific selection and placement of workers. He, therefore, suggested that the managers should follow a ‘scientific approach’ in their work and apply scientific methods for achieving higher efficiency.

With a view to improving management practice, he conducted a series of experiments. On the basis of these experiments he developed his concepts and techniques into a philosophy which is known as ‘Scientific Management’.

He published many papers and books and all his contributions were compiled in his book “The Principles of Scientific Management’. Taylor’s ideas on scientific management were greatly expanded by H. S. Person, Henry L. Gantt, and Lillian Gilbreth, Harrington Emerson and M. L. Cooke.

School of Management Thought 2. Management Process School:

This school builds up the idea that management is a process of getting things done through and with other people operating in organised groups. It analyses the management process by describing its functions like planning, organising, directing, coordinating and controlling. The executives perform this process. In this approach importance is given to the activities of the managers, the general principles and rules which they should follow.

Henry Fayol is considered to be the ‘Founder of Management Process School’. He points out that management is a functional concept which is universal and applicable to any type of enterprise, be it a business enterprise or otherwise. Other persons who worked to develop this approach are J. D. Mooney, A. C. Reiley, Lyndall Urwick, Harold Koontz and O’Donnell, Newman, Luther Gullick, George Terry, E. F. L. Brech, Mcfarland, etc.

School of Management Thought 3. Human Relations School:

In scientific management, importance is given to its technical side to increase the efficiency of the organisations. On the other hand, ‘Human Relations School’ believes in the importance of human resources in the management. This approach focuses attention on the relationship between the management authority and the working personnel.

The importance of working personnel in management is immense. If their mentality, aspirations, desires, wants and needs are properly looked into and satisfied by the managers, their activities become effective and meaningful. The main aspect of this approach is to treat the workers as human beings.

This school highlights the importance of informal social groups in the organisation, good human relations, the need for managerial motivation, greater recognition, participation, better communication and good leadership.

According to this school, an organisation is not merely a formal arrangement of men and functions, more than that, it is a social system, and the human factor is the most important element within it.

In the early twentieth century Elton Mayo, professor at the Harvard University, could realise the importance of this thought by experiments and observations in the factory of the Western Electric Company at Hawthorne city in Chicago. These experiments and observations of Prof. Elton Mayo are known as ‘Hawthorne Experiment’.

These experiments revealed that physical and environmental factors do not materially influence the workers’ performance and attitude to work. Mayo realised first the necessity to consider and solve the problems of the workers with human relation approach.

He thought that the productivity of workers depends upon human relationship. Other important propagators of this school of management thought are—Roethlis Berger, William J. Dickson, Mary Parker Follet and A. F. Maslow.

School of Management Thought 4. Human Behavioural School:

The behavioural approach to management relates to the application of the methods and findings of psychology and sociology to the organisational behaviour. This school emphasises the actions and reactions of the human beings in group activity. Mental reactions like emotions, feelings, aims, instincts, hopes and desires regulate a man’s behaviour or conduct.

‘Human Behavioural School’ believes that, unless these mental reactions of the workers are considered, and their problems are either solved or at least attempts are made to fulfill their needs and demands by the managers, effective and meaningful management is not possible.

Thus, according to this school, performance of managerial activities in consideration of the conduct or behaviour of working personnel is an effective and decent management.

As a result of the experiments, observations and researches of many psychologists and sociologists, and after the Hawthorne Experiment, ‘Human Behaviour Management Thought’ was evolved out. In this respect, the contribution of Mary Parker Follet, a member of Human Behaviour School, is particularly mentionable. Other notable propagators of this school are A. F. Maslow. F. H. Herzberg, McGregor, Keith Davis and Chrris Argrys.

The following other schools of management thought are also important in modern management:

School of Management Thought 5. System Approach School:

According to this school, management is a ‘system’ of co-ordination of some different factors forming the parts of an overall management process, which are inter-related or inter-dependent. If the activities related to production of an enterprise are performed, giving much importance to one of its factors or parts, without considering its relationship and dependence on other factors, the desired result cannot be obtained.

For example, men, machine, money and raw materials are the factors of production in management. These elements are not isolated rather they are correlated and inter­dependent on one another. A perfect assemblage of these factors results in production. Efficient workers cannot perform their activities well with bad machines.

Good work cannot be expected of inefficient workers working with good machines. So, management is a system to assemble the different correlated and inter-dependent factors that are parts of the overall system. It must be viewed in the context of total environment, and the managers should take into account the various characteristics and changes therein in managing the organisation.

The major contributors to this school are Kenneth, Boulding, Johnson, F. E. Kast, J. E. Rosenzwig, Katz and Kahn, Forester and C. W. Churchman.

School of Management Thought 6. Decision Theory School:

The essence of management lies in decision-making. Whatever a manager does is the outcome of a decision made by him from several alternatives available to him. The ‘Decision Theory School’ of management thought concentrates its attention on decision-making and treats the various aspects of decision-making as constituting the scope of the study of management.

Advocates of this school opine that decision-making is the most critical function of management and any study of management should focus directly on the decision-making process. Rational approach to decision-making is the basis of this school.

To perform the managerial functions properly and effectively, one has to learn the procedures, techniques, causes and effects of taking decisions. Top level management authority has to take decisions at the stage of planning and the managers in charge of execution of plans have to take decisions at the stage of its implementation.

It becomes proper, meaningful and effective only if decisions are taken through a reasonable procedure. Among the proponents of this theory, the names of Herbert Simon, Stephen Robins and Chester Barnard are especially mentionable.

School of Management Thought 7. Mathematical or Quantitative School:

This school views Management as a system of mathematical models and process. The exponents of this school of thought believe that effective solution of the intricate problems of management of an enterprise can be achieved through organising mathematical or quantitative model. Management or organisation, planning or decision-making, as a logical process, can be expressed in terms of mathematical symbols and relationships.

The contributors to this school of thought have been using mathematical and quantitative techniques in developing the models of various kinds of decision and problems involved in managing the organisations with a view to understanding them and also for finding out solutions to them.

This theory uses the techniques of Operation Research, Games Theory, Linear Programming, Queing Theory and Model Building. As proponents of this theory the names of L. Ackoff, C. W Churchman, Newman, Hicks and Joel Dean may be mentioned.

School of Management Thought 8. Contingency Approach School of Management:

According to this approach, management is a subject that is situational by nature. It has no hard and fast principle and theory. In one way, this is an extension of the system approach. The basic idea of the contingency approach is that there cannot be a particular management action which will be suitable for all situations.

Study of management, according to this approach, lies in identifying the important variables in the situation. An appropriate management action is one that is designed on the basis of external environment and internal states and needs. Management may be effective and fruitful, if its principles and procedures are appropriately followed and its techniques are intelligently applied according to the circumstances.

Contingency theorists suggest that the systems approach does not adequately spell out the precise relationship between the organisation and its environment. Contingency approach tries to fill this gap by suggesting what should be done in response to an event in the environment. The supporters of this theory are mainly, Lorsch and Lawrence, John Woodward, Fiedler and H. M. Carlisle.