Historical Perspectives Of Management

Table Of Contents

  • Definition Of Management
  • Historical Perspectives Of Management

Definition Of Management

Management may be simply defined as the art of mobilizing human and material resources in the pursuit of set objectives of an organization. It is the effective utilization of all 4 M’s of management (men, money, material and methods) to accomplish organizational objectives.

Historical Perspectives Of Management

Management dates back to very early times. Persons like Aristotle, Plato and others made observations which show that they practiced some kind of management. The development of Management would be discussed from three historical perspectives:

1. Scientific Management Movement (F.W. Taylor)
2. Administrative Management Of Early 1930s (Henry Fayol)
3. Human Relations Movement Of The 1940s (Douglas Macgregor)

1. The Scientific Management

The basis of scientific management begain with the thinking and experiment conducted by an Americam Steel Engineer called Fredrick W. Taylor (1856-1917). He is called the father of Scientific Management. His early experiment which began with determining the one best way to shovel coal and to load pig iron started the scientific management movement. Taylor believed, preached and practiced that Industrial problems could be solved by a scientific approach.

He concerned himself with making workmen, supervisors and factories more productive by emphasizing the need to develop production standard, planning, and by training workers. Taylor wrote two books: Shop Management (1906) and The Principles Of Scientific Management (1911). In the two books, Taylor developed his four theories for Management’s roles in the production process. These are:

1. Breaking down each job into basic elements, using observations and measurement techniques. This formed the basis of modern work study system.

2. The recognition of the responsibility of managers by having a sub-division between managers and employees of all the duties within the organization.

3. Clear definition of managerial responsibility to plan work.

4. Selection and training of all employees in the light of the required skills; The Scientific Management emphasized observation, measurement, and analysis as the main methods of setting management standard. The scientific management style met with strong opposition from labour unions.

Criticism Of Scientific Management

Some critics have argued that:

1. Scientific Management has little concern for people. It overworks and displaces workers.

2. The idea of observation and measurement of all processes was often misunderstoond as being dehumanizing.

3. Their postulation that workers are motivated mainly by the desire for economic gain, for a bigger pay packet was adjudged a major error.

4. They placed heavy emphasis on production.

Inspite of these criticisms, we find the principle of work measurement advocated by Taylor and others are still being pursued today with the aid of computers.

2. The Administrative Management Movement

This second phase in the development of Management theory. This movement sees organization as a total entity rather than as isolated entities. Managerial processes were thought the consist of planning, organizing, commanding, co-ordinating and controlling functions.

Henry Fayol (1841-1925) was the Chief advocate of Administrative Management Movement. He was a geologist and an Engineer. He is regarded as the founder of the movement for better organization. He believed that there are principles underlying the operations of Management. All that one needs to do is to know these basic principles and apply them to achieve success. Fayol and his adherents believed in the uniformity of managerial principles. He develoed 14 management principles:

1. Division Of Labour: There should be division of duties and responsibilities into smaller units. That duties of an organization should be divided into the smaller number of dissimilar functions.

2. Centralization: There should be proper degree of concentration of authority at central positions. This makes for better administrative control, better use of machines, and greater flexibility.

3. Discipline: Workers should be guided by the rules of the organization and penalties exacted for any breach of the rules.

4. Unity Of Command: Employees should receive orders from one superior only at a time.

5. Unity Of Direction: There should be a clear source of authority at any oint in time so as to avoid confusion.

6. Subordination Of Individual Interests: Individual or personal desires should not conflict with the organizational objectives. Organizational interests should take pre-eminence in times of conflict.

7. Authority: Individuals should know their line of authority which should range from the top to the lowest. Authority should be delegated.

8. Remuneration: Adequate remuneration should be given for work done. If workers are to work effectively, there should be compensation for work done.

9. Order: There should be orderliness. Order is needed for the smooth running of an organization and Fayol classified order into social order and material order. (e.g. The tools must be placed where the worker can get them when he needs them. The same applies to the social attitudes of the workers too).

10. Stability Of Tenure: Labour turnover in the organization should be as few as possible. Productivity and efficiency are adversely affected by frequent labour turnover.

11. Esprit de Corps: (Teamwork). There should be teamwork. The workers must be united. It is only when workers are together that they can withstand external problems or influences.

12. Initiative: This means thinking out and executing plans. Time must be taken to listen to subordinates, and the subordinates should be allowed to use their discretion to think and plan.

13. Equity: This has to do with fairness, loyalty and devotion. Managers have to be fair and just in dealing with management. Workers should be fair in their dealing with management.

14. Unity Of Objectives: Both the management and subordinates should have common objectives. In order to ensure unity of objectives, it is necessary that when policies are developed, there should be proper participation of those that would implement such policies. An effective organizational structure is one that facilitates the contribution of individuals in the achieving the set goal.

According to Henry Fayol, all organizational activities are divisible into six (6) groups:

1. Technological (Production)
2. Financial (Search for and use of capital)
3. Commercial (Buying, selling and exchange)
4. Accounting (Including statistics)
5. Security (Protection of person and property)
6. Management (Planning, Organizing, Coordinating, Commanding and Controlling).

3. Human Relations Movement

Human Relations Movement was pioneered by the works of Douglas Macgregor. This movement grew out of the first world war and gained increasing importance with the passage of time. The major landmark in this ear of Management was the results of the experiments carried out by Elton Mayo at Hawthorne Electric Plants between 1927 and 1932. His experiments found that there are som psychological factors (apart from environmental factors) that affect the productivity of a worker.

The experiment sparked off an interest that continued to the present day on the ‘Human Side’ of work. Macgregor published a book called “The Human Side Of The Enterprise” in which he advanced two differing and opposing sets of assumptions about human nature which influence management styles. He advanced two major assumptions about the way workers behave which influence manager’s thinking on how the worker should be treated, i.e. Style of management. He called the assumptions Theories X and Y. If a Manager accepts the assumption of theory X, he will tend toward work-centred authoritarian management style. If his values tend toward theory Y, he will emphasize group centred management style.

The basic assumptions are explained:

Theory X – The Theory X Manager assumes that:

1. Workers hate work and will avoid it where possible.

2. Workers should be coerced, controlled, directed, threathened, or punished to make them work.

3. Most workers dislike responsibility; have little ambition and value security above other things.

Theory Y

1. Work is as normal as play.

2. If people are committed to objective, they will exercise self direction and control thus reducing the need for/threats and external controls. Therefore external control and the threat of punishment are not the only means of directing efferts toward company’s objectives.

3. Commitment to objectives is a function of the reward associated with the achievements. That is if you know what you stand to get, you work hard.

4. Given proper working conditions, peole can learn to seek for responsibility.

5. Imagination and creative thinking are widely distributed among the population of workers.

6. The intellectual potential of the average person is only partially realised in industrial line.

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