Management Principle

Management Principle Essay Sample

Literature in the field of Management discusses various stages of the latter and covers approximately 100 years of development from Max Weber’s early work up to the present. From perspective, Management has been developed on “the shoulders of giants.” There is a great variety of intellectual ancestors confounding neat categorization and periodization of Management.

As a distinct discipline, Management has a hundred-year-old history since many of its component parts derive from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. From the critical standpoint, views on Management of its “founding fathers” like Frederick Taylor, and others and modern practitioners differ substantially. For instance, Montana and Charnov (2000) distinguish several stages/perspectives of historical development of managerial thought, particularly classical perspective, behavioral perspective, perspective of management science, the contingency perspective and theory Z.

From the very beginning the study of management witnessed the Classical approach developed by Frederick Taylor, the father of scientific management. The heart of Taylor’s scientific management is easily summarized: set high standards of performance, train workers to meet them, enforce them strictly and pay fairly for high output. It is a model that remains viable and relevant to the present day. Taylor’s emphasis on clearly articulated, difficult goals, indeed, has been reverified as a sound approach to performance motivation through goal-setting research. Emphasis on performance against difficult goals is perhaps one of the most enduring and significant elements of high performance systems.

According to Montana and Charnov (2000) “Taylor …took each basic work and tried to determine the most efficient way of doing it and the most efficient way of combining the work units into a total task” (p.15). In the long-term perspective, Scientific Management increased not only the production but also reduced employer’s need for skilled labor and brought down the cost through mass production. Taylor sought to apply scientific principles to human behavior. In his book “Principles of Scientific Management” published in 1911, Taylor discussed major principles of Scientific Management, which included the following:

  • Develop a science for every job, this science should include rules of motion, standardize work implements and proper working conditions;
  • Carefully select workers who have the right abilities for the job;
  • Carefully train these workers to do the job, then offer them proper incentives to cooperate with the job science;
  • Support workers by taking responsibility for work planning and by smoothing the ways as they go about their jobs (Nelson, 1980:78).

            The followers of Taylor like Frank and Lillian Gilbreth however, were inclined to emphasize the technical, engineering methods of scientific management such as time and motion study, work process analysis and piecework pay. Montana and Charnov (2000) effectively incorporate the accomplishments of Henri Fayol and his contributions to scientific management, particularly its approach from administrative perspective or so-called management of organizations.

Fayol developed important and viable from modern viewpoint functions of management, namely planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating and controlling (Montana and Charnov, 2000:19). Explaining the role of scientific management in the development of managerial theory, Montana and Charnov (2000) indicated that it “was perceived as a formal and impersonal approach to management and was resisted by manay workers because it failed to take into account the human dimensions of an organization” (p.22).

As a certain antipode and not merely a logical continuation has been the emergence of Human Relations movement during 1920s and 1930s. The interest of researchers has been no longer concentrated on an organization but on a worker. Hawthorne studies on employee’s behavior aimed to examine the effects of a range of fatigue-inducing factors such as levels of lighting, temperature, frequency of breaks, etc in combination with an incentive payment by results system. In some of Hawthorne experiments the working environment was changed significantly to measure how the changes influence workers’ productivity.

Surprisingly, the researchers indicated a steady improvement in productivity throughout all the changes, namely lightning, and temperature. From the critical perspective, the Hawthorne experiments and subsequent theory influenced on the relationship between employers and workers, revealing the importance of interest shown by the company in its employees by regularly asking questions about their health, morale, personal lives, etc. Consequently, these questions, which were primarily intended to measure any effects, which the personal issues might have on the experiments, had entirely changed employers’ views on morale and productivity.

Putting the “people factor” into the heart of the subject to create Human Relations became a concern of many writers like Follett on organizations active in the inter-war years. Although Montana and Charnov (2000:18) regards her as a representative of classical management school, her collaborative approach to problem resolution in the workplace is an evident manifestation of behavioral management philosophy. Mary Parker Follett identified the business world, and business life, as the principal arena for a philosophically-inspired practice of life. Follett develop specific democratic philosophy for the workplace, as she mentioned that democratic integration should begin “from the bottom.”

For example, she criticized the English Labor Party for its demand for “independent” power, meaning that labor has a certain authority in its capacity as labor and this authority should, “in the later stages of management, be joined to the authority exercised by management”.

But for Follett, this is “a wholly unsound principle of organization.” Instead, “participation in the early stages should begin … with preliminary fact-finding.” Referencing a study on the safety of mines, she criticized ideas of an independent investigation (Follett, 1941:224): “I want to use that body of experience, but in joint investigation, for it is usually too late for that experience to be integrated with that of the managers by the time the separate reports are finished. When we have two finished reports of “independent” investigation, the stage is set for a fight – of some sort.”

Mary Parker Follett argued that workers participate in “counsel” for the usual reasons (industrial peace, strike avoidance, resolution of grievances) but even more so “in order to get every bit of knowledge and experience the man in daily touch with the processes and details of the business has gained”.

She concluded by linking this cause to the practical values of business: “The success and progress of any business will depend largely on its ability to get its fullest contribution from every man in office or factory, store or bank” (Follett, 1941:228). Follett called for “joint responsibility” and “joint control” across all members of the organization (Follett, 1941:83). She blurred the distinction between worker and manager (Follett, 1941:85, 88) and even the very concept of “sides” (Follett, 1941:72). “We seek an integrative unity as the foundation for business development” (Follett, 1941:77).

After Mary Parker Follett the human relations movement was greatly popularized by Douglas McGregor and his Theory X and Y. According to Theory X, the average person dislikes work and will avoid it he/she can. Therefore most people must be forced with the threat of punishment to work towards organizational objectives. And the average person prefers to be directed; do not want responsibility, and have little or no ambition, and wants security above all else.

These assumptions lie behind most organizational principles today, and give rise both to “tough” management with punishments and tight controls, and “soft” management, which aims at harmony at work. With Theory X assumptions, management’s role is to coerce and control employees. They do not give their staff this opportunity so that the employees behave in the expected fashion.

            Theory Y constitutes a more generous view of human nature. It sees physical and mental effort in work to be as natural as play or rest, and it recognizes self-direction instead of external control as the principal means of securing effort. Control and punishment are not the only ways to make people work, man will direct himself if he is committed to the aims of the organization. If a job is satisfying, then the result will be commitment to the organization. Imagination, creativity and ingenuity can be used to solve work problems by a large number of employees.

According to Theory Y, under the proper conditions, people will accept and even seek responsibility. Employees have a much greater capability for problem solving than most organizations realize. From the critical point of view, management based on Theory Y relies on a worker achievement-oriented motives and his or her desire for self-fulfillment rather than on sheer managerial authority (Williamson, 1990:210).

Theory Y calls for developing organizations in which employees can best fulfill their goals by working toward the success of the organization. With Theory Y assumptions, management’s role is to develop the potential in employees and help them to release that potential towards common goals. Consequently, theory “X” and “Y” beliefs became the foundation of management values. According to Williamson (1990:212) business values theorized by McGregor in his theories now effect how managers and leaders interact with employees, thus representing a driving factor in policy and decision making.

            The development of managerial theory and practical strategies found its continuation in Management Science movement or sometimes called Operations Research and Contingency Theory. Both theories have been developed to provide a viable and technical solution for managerial problems. However, according to Montana and Charnov (2000:29) operations research has been widely criticized its lack of focus on the worker and human perspective of management. Although management science concentrates almost entire on operations of the organization, it has been recognized as one of the most practically utilized theories, which is still viable in contemporary business.

Indeed, operations research method is usually referred as the scientific management taproot of the high performance management evolutionary tree. And, while the basic operations research building blocks of sound operations management have changed little in a century, the Japanese experience has led to a revolutionary reconfiguration in their strategic application. The operations management revolution generated by Japan begins with growth and discovery of a radically different set of operating priorities.

The operations methods used were not new, but the context in which they are applied is. In the revised context, planning and management of capacity becomes fundamental. Locating and dissolving bottlenecks is a never-ending task. Realistic priorities must be identified and allowed to dictate action. The implications of learning on past and future performance must be effectively factored into planning.  The old, continuous flow model set maximum capacity utilization as the efficient optimum, ruled out bottlenecks with lockstep work flow, treated every detail as having equal importance and looked upon learning as a costly, inconvenient irregularity from the engineered norm. The new model differentiates machine and plant capacity from labor capacity.

It seeks efficiencies at levels of equipment capacity from low to high and keeps labor productively intensively applied through multiskilling. It expects bottlenecks as a normal consequence of the complexity of production systems, and equips line workers to attack and solve them when and where they occur. Priorities are set ruthlessly to achieve the most costeffective and timely solution of the most significant problems.

  It is necessary to emphasize that Operations Research and Contingency Theory are intrinsically connected, because both aim to provide solution to a managerial/operational problem using similar methods, though many scholars including Montana and Charnov (2000) indicate that perspective provided by Contingency Theory is more flexible and universal for all types of the problems.  Examining modern marketing tools, one can easily spot tools coming from Contingency Theory, namely matrixes, SWOT techniques, etc.

If assessed critically, one of the most multi-layered and important managerial schools in contemporary business environment is Organizational Development (OD) thought, which absorbed in its structure the most pivotal parts of Theory Y, Human Relations, Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior. The emergence of this school has been largely triggered by the extremely turbulent and globalizing business environment. Thus, initially OD was designed as a disciplined program for managed change in the structure and culture of the workplace, began as part of the human potential movement of the late 1940s. Training designed by leading social scientists to enhance interpersonal (i.e., human relations) skill began with the T-Groups at National Training Labs at the conclusion of World War II.

    From this beginning experiment at training emotional expressiveness in managers, a range of organization intervention methods designed to introduce major change was developed for use with business organizations. Most early OD training was pointed at middle to upper management on the presumption that attitudes and interpersonal skills of managers was the primary source of autocratic pathologies of organization. The contributions of operations methods and structure were largely ignored other than in recommendations to management for job enrichment and participation in work decision making extended to lowest level job holders.

            Development of skill in emotional expressiveness and even intuitive judgment through interpersonal relationship training undoubtedly brought a new problem-solving dimension to management teams within many organizations. How much of that improvement was accounted for in enhanced political competence is difficult to say. It is sometimes hard to discriminate political from interpersonal sensitivity except on moral grounds. In the longer run, sensitivity training probably made the work of those who participated in it more complex, difficult and interesting. There is little to suggest that it changed any fundamental dimensions of organization structure, that it led to wider participation in decision making by lower level workers, even of those whose jobs were enriched, or that the cause of industrial democracy benefited from it despite the vast energies and costs poured into the effort.

            The organization development movement was often patently antiauthoritarian in many of its applications and purposes. It was an onslaught, perhaps well-deserved and long-overdue, on the autocratic bastions of Taylorism and rigid, top-down organization structure. Many of the elements of early OD, like increased emphasis on goal setting, were sound and have since been shown to be fundamental to improved organizational performance.

Power and authority urgently need to be redistributed in organizations to permit responsible role structure in line positions. But in the absence of training in operations technology, little change of substance is supportable in most work settings. Worker responsibility for quality, efficiency and work flow problem solving works superbly once workers are trained in the technology of operations management and the roles of staff specialists converted from decision making to “facilitating.”

            The organization development movement addressed well the political and interpersonal aspects of organization. There was acute awareness of misfit between traditional organization structure and emerging expectation for wider sharing of performance responsibility in organizations. Ingenious manipulation and awesome political skill were sometimes employed by professional OD consultants in an effort to move modern American organization off its stagnant base.

            Although the theoretical and practical contributions made by management “founding fathers” like Taylor, Mayo, etc have been always appreciated and referred to, the contemporary development of management though, particularly, Organizational Behavior developed a new framework for this discipline, with a great emphasis on practice.   Mainstream writers believed that Organizational Behavior would increasingly become international, which it appears to have accomplished, with greater emphasis on multinational firms, as well as on developments such as participative management, employee commitment, and the growing influence of lower participants in organizations, albeit in the conditions of full-employment prevailing at that time, which are now less prevalent.

While it is clear that the themes of worker participation and self-management were prominent in the late 1960s and 1970s and throughout the following decade, they were less evident as society moved into the late 1980s. Even so, a moderate degree of interest in participative management continued and the search for the receipt of business success, as the emphasis on the performance variable (in a word, greater profitability of enterprises) grew in the tighter economic climate of the last decade. Such research promoted interest in good people-management, HRM, which had replaced personnel administration in its old usage and industrial relations as well in many instances. Developing human capital, whether at managerial or workplace level, “became fashionable” by the end of the decade.

However, a problem in evaluating Organizational Behavior as a field or even management school is that, while on the one hand it aimes at generalizability, given the contingency chosen, it is mostly based on one-country studies. A preponderance of sources cited in most papers, monographs and texts for example are from the U.S, as is the authorship of the published works themselves. From this critical point of view, many contributions to the subject could be culture-biased. In the light of the above observations, some researchers feel that Organizational Behavior should take into account and pay more attention to the variety of national cultures.

In turn, research has surfaced which has conceptualized this cross-cultural contingency, under the heading of the “societal effect” – for example, some observers suggested that British, French, and West German organizational structures were different, even when controlling for technology, size, and other variables. A very large-scale cross-cultural research study covering most important nation-states was carried out by Hofstede (1980) whose book Culture’s Consequences was to prove particularly influential if not controversial in its subfield, with a further synthesis later appearing in Cultures and Organizations (1991).


Montana, P. and Charnov, B. (2000). Management. Hauppauge, NY: Wadsworth Publishing.

Nelson, D. (1980). Frederick W. Taylor and the Rise of Scientific Management, The      University of Wisconsin Press, Madison

Follett, M.P. (1941).  Dynamic Administration: The Collected Papers of Mary Parker Follett,    in Metcalf, H.C. and Urwick, L. (Eds), Harper & Bros, New York

Williamson, O. E. (Ed.). (1990).  Organization theory: From Chester Barnard to the present       and beyond Oxford: Oxford University Press

Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences. London: Sage

Hofstede, G. (1991). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind. Maidenhead:      McGraw Hill

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