Scientific management , Management Theories


Scientific management is almost synonymous with the teachings and practices of Frederick W. Taylor (1850-1915). Throughout his life Taylor struggled to increase efficiency in production, not only to lower costs and raise profits but also to make possible increased pay for workers through higher productivity. Scientific management is the name given to the principles and practices that grew out of the work of Taylor and his followers (Carl George Berth, Henry L Gantt, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, etc.) and that are characterised by concern for efficiency and systematisation in management. You may note that the management science is the application of mathematical modeling in managerial decision-making and quite different from scientific management.

 The schools of management thought are broadly divided into three parts, they are:

  1. Classical Management Theory (1880's-1920's) which is organisation-centred and has dealt with the economic "rational man", and included scientific management, administrative management, (Henry Fayol, C.I. Barnard, L Urwick) and bureaucratic organisation (Max Weber).
  2. Neoclassical Theory (1920's-1950's) which is person-centered and human-oriented and has emphasised the needs, behaviours and attitudes of individuals (i.e., "social person" view) and included human relations schools (Elton Mayo, F.J. Roethlisberger, W.J Dickson) and behavioural schools (Elton Mayo, F.J. Roethlisberger, W.J Dickson) and behavioural schools (Maslow, McGregor, Argyris, Herzberg, Lickert, Lewin).  
  3. Modern Management Theory (1950's-) which emphasises the complete employee view by revisionist researcher (Litchfield) which includes systems theory, contingency theory, organisational humanism and management science. 

Modem management is characterised by a scientific approach, which involves:

      The application of scientific methods and analysis to managerial functions and problems;

  • serious consideration of human elements in  management, based on psychological studies and behaviour analysis in different situations;
  • increasing emphasis on economic effectiveness in all management functions;
  •  a systems approach, focusing equal atten
  • tion on all functions of management; and
  •  use of electronic computers for analysis and studies.


Beginning from the fifties of this century, contributions have been made to management through disciplines such as  mathematics, statistics and economics.

Mathematical models:  have  been designed and constructed for use in planning, decision making and forecasting. Operations research studies for operational efficiency, and econometric analysis for cost benefits and effectiveness, are some of the other scientific  methods applied to  management functions. The advent of computers and communications technologies  has aided researchers in the development of the  management information system. These have become vital components in scientific management.

Theories of leadership and organisation including human motivation and behaviour, organisation relationships and nature of authority of the psychological and sociological methods applied to studying  personnel  management. The systems approach has enriched  management operations by unifying to achieve a common goal. Thus we see that modern management has drawn from studies and experiences from other disciplines and has successfully applied them to enhance productivity.  

Posted Date: 11/5/2012 1:13:51 AM | Location : United States

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