Western Management Theories

Posted on February 14, 2022 by Cheapest Assignment

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Executive Summary 

The research focuses on the topic of western management theories developed in the past and their applicability in modern and contemporary times. The report presents the findings of the descriptive research wherein secondary data is used for gathering research information. The research aims and objectives have been carefully formulated in order to draw effective research conclusions. The secondary data collected clearly shows that the three classical management theories propounded in the past namely the scientific management theory, administration theory and bureaucratic theory are still used in modern-day management as the basic idea. In addition to this, it has been found that a number of organisations in the modern-day world are using these theories. 

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  • Introduction 

1.1 Research background 

Modern management has changed significantly due to the advancement and the refinement in management theories (Prieto and Phipps 2015). In addition to this, it has been identified that managers are not just restricted to business areas but are found in all areas such as government, education and non-business areas such as philanthropic areas. In each of these fields, management is required as it is pervasive in nature. 

The modern world is characterised by effective methods which help in achieving the desired objectives. However, all these management attributes which are used in the modern-day world are attributed to the twentieth century from the works of scholars such as Taylor, Fayol and Weber. Each of these management theorists had proposed different management theories hundred years before (Morden 2017). However, it remains a matter of question to find out whether the management ideas and concepts proposed by these theorists are still applicable in the modern and contemporary world. The following research focuses on finding out whether the early classical management thought is still prevalent in the modern world. 

1.2 Research aim and objectives 

With the help of the research aims and objectives, an effective direction is provided to the research work and thus it is imperative to formulate the research aims and objectives in the most appropriate manner (Silvermann 2016). The research aim of this research is, ‘To identify the extent to which the classical management thought is prevalent in the modern-day management’.

On the basis of this research aim following research objectives are formulated-

  • To discuss Taylor’s management theory and identify its applicability in the modern world
  • To discuss Fayol’s management theory and identify its applicability in the modern world
  • To discuss Weber’s management theory and identify its applicability in the modern world

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1.3 Research significance 

With the help of this research work, the extent to which classical management thought is applicable in the contemporary world can be identified. Thus, this research would be helpful to the managers of diverse fields to align their management activities with the classical thought given by Taylor, Fayol and Weber. In addition to this, it is believed that with the help of conduct of this research new areas and undiscovered areas of research will be explored which would prove beneficial to the new and contemporary managers (Mackey and Gass 2015). Thus, overall it is seen that with the conduct of this research, modern-day management can be explored in a better manner. 

  • Main Body 

2.1 Research methodology

In order to conduct the research in an effective manner, a systematic approach to research is required to be followed. Hence for the conduct of this research, positivism research philosophy needs to be used as useful information has been gathered through it (Neuman and Raobson 2014). Along with this, exploratory research design has been used which used in gathering extensive information. As far as the research approach is concerned, the deductive research approach has been used as with the help of this approach, as a better theoretical framework has been used. 

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Among the two types of methodologies, namely quantitative and qualitative methodologies, qualitative methodology has been used as with the help of this vast theoretical knowledge can be developed. In addition to this, from the two data collection methods, secondary data collection method is used. As per this data collection method, a number of academic books of management and peer reviewed journal articles are used to gather the information (Smith 2015). Thus, extensive secondary data is gathered and the information is presented in the form of various themes of management theories and their applicability in the modern and contemporary world. 

2.2 History of management 

According to Novicevic et al. (2015) management and organisations are considered to be the products of historical and social times. Thus the evolution of management theories can be considered through identifying the manner in which the people and individuals dealt with the matters of relationships in the past. Management is defined as the art of getting things done by making use of the available resources in the best possible manner. The organisational structure has witnessed a radical change from a past century and because of this the management of the organisations has been continuously evolving (Follett 2016). However, although the management styles are evolving with the passage of time but the concept remains the same. A number of management theories were propounded in the past which are till now considered being crucial for the business management. 

Gulzar et al. (2015) the Classical School of Management Thought is also known as the period of pre Scientific Management which mainly lied on the assumption that employees have physical and economic needs. Social needs in the form of career growth, job satisfaction, and work-life balance are not important. On the contrary this management thought focused on practicising division and specialisation of labour, centralised decision making and organisational hierarchy. It was due to the Industrial Revolution that the evolution of Classical Management theory developed (Brumsson 2017). The three most important pillars of Classical School were scientific management theory which was given by F.W Taylor, Bureaucratic Management theory given by Marx Weber and Administrative Theory given by Henry Fayol.

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2.3 Frederick Taylor and scientific management theory

 In the words of Suddaby (2016) Frederick Winslow Taylor was one of the first management consultants who laid down the Principles of Scientific Management in the year 1911. He was a mechanical engineer in America who wanted to improve industrial efficiency and thus formulated his techniques in the book The Principles of Scientific Management which became the most influential book of management of the twentieth century. He is regarded as the Father of Scientific Management who propounded Scientific Management Theory. 

The management theory given by him mainly focused on scientific study of tasks and the responsibility of the workers for them. The main aim of this theory was to provide workers with the necessary tools that help in maximising their efficiency and output. However this theory is criticised for creating an assembly line atmosphere where the employees are just required to perform unskilled and basic jobs (Stemberg and Frensch 2014). This is one of the main reasons involved that this theory is not practised by the modern business organisations and low esteem is given to it by the modern managers since, nowadays the employees are required to perform complex tasks. However this theory given by Taylor is still considered valuable tool for some of the organisations of modern time. For instance, scientific theory of management given by Taylor is considered to be an effective tool for the businesses which are based on repetitive tasks such as factory work. This theory helps in improving the organisation’s efficiency by focusing on efficiently improving the task completion through the use of scientific, mathematic and engineering analysis (Bectham 2013). The prime aim of this theory was to reduce the waste, increase process and methods of production and creating a just distribution of goods. It is believed that with the help of this goal, the common interests of the employers, employees and the workers can be mat. The entire theory of scientific management can be summarised by four principles given by Taylor. The first principle states that managers are required to gather information analyse it and therefore should reduce it to rules and laws. The second principle states that managers are required to select their workers on scientific basis and should train them accordingly (Taylor et al. 2015). The third principle states that managers should ensure that technique developed have scientific applicability while they are being used by the workers. The last principle states that managers are required to apply the work in an equal manner between the workers and themselves. 

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Applicability of the theory

In the words of Prieto and Phipps (2015) as far as the applicability of this theory is considered it is found out that this approach is mainly useful in the industrial business operations. In addition to the above said, its applicability is seen within general business practices such as planning, process design and quality control. However, some of the theorists criticise the scientific management theory given by Taylor on the grounds that since the techniques of scientific management are used therefore, employees tend to become overworked as they are subjected to accelerated work pace, low product quality and declined wages. 

Joulie (2016) despite of the various criticism involved, Taylor’s scientific management formed a strong foundation for the operation research within is prevalent in the modern day business management in a number of organisations. Operations management aims to enhance the efficiency of the workers just like the scientific management through the application of scientific means and systematic analysis in order to derive a valid conclusion. For instance, Gantt chart was introduced within the scientific management theory in the past which is used even today for planning of business activities so as to achieve maximum production (Morden 2017). The Gantt chart is especially used in the areas of project management in modern day businesses. Not only this, but, the modern business management of the US considered Taylor’s scientific management. The four principles given by him were put to test by a number of managers in the factories in order to increase their efficiency. Moreover, the book written by him was translated in a number of other languages and thus influence is worldwide. Takuo Godo which is led by Japanese utilised some of the principles of Taylor in order to test the productivity of Japanese workers during an event called Osaka Efficiency Exhibition (Suddaby 2016). Takuo, by using the Taylor’s principles was able to find out that the workers of Britain are more productive than the workers of Japan, while the American workers were the most productive out of all. Thus, Japanese workers were required to apply some of the principles given by scientific management theory. In addition to this, Toyota which is one of the most renowned car manufacturing companies of the modern times also used principles of scientific management in order to enhance their production system. 

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A number of business activities of the 21st century are based on the Taylor’s scientific management theory. The modern hospitals, food joints and the cars are influenced by the principles of Taylor. The modern day companies are applying scientific methods for solving the business problems. For instance, nowadays it has become common for the companies to conduct market surveys before realising or launching a product. The opinions of the respondents are analysed in a scientific manner on the basis of surveys conducted. From this it is clearly seen that Taylor’s principles were postulated over a century ago but their effects are still seen in the modern day business activities in the business market (Beetham 2013). Moreover it was proposed by Taylor that workers should be selected in a scientific manner as per the abilities and skills on an individual basis. It is because of this that the modern day business organisations are focusing on the establishment of human resource department that is tasked with the process of recruitment. Thus nowadays the human resources first announce the vacancy of positions and then recruits are taken through a recruitment process. Thus the entire recruitment process is on the basis of scientific selection of workers. 

2.4 Henri Fayol’s management theory

Another classical management theory was Henri Fayol who was born in Istanbul in the year 1841 (Stenberg and Frensch 2014). He worked for a mining company in France and eventually became the director of the company and employed more than 1000 people. It was in the year 1916, that he published his fourteen principles of management in his book called, ’Administrative Industrielle et Generrale’. In addition to this, he created a list of six primary functions of management which can be used simultaneously with the fourteen principles of management. He is considered to be one of the most influential contributors of the modern concept of management. The theory of administrative management given by Fayol is in opposition to the Scientific Management theory given by Taylor (Joullie 2016). The management theory given by Henri Fayol simply explains the manner in which management should interact with the personnel. The business communities of the modern day consider Fayol’s management theory to be a relevant guide for managing staff productivity. The fourteen principles of management are as follows-

Extended Dissertation Topic & Outline / Plan

  • Authority- it refers to the aspect that the managers should possess the authority to pass orders and should know in advance that authority and responsibility go hand in hand (Gulzar et al. 2016).
  • Discipline- there must a proper disciple within organisations so that the work is carried out in an effective manner. The methods of maintaining disciple might vary from organisation to organisation.
  • Division of work- with the specialisation of workers the division of work can be followed which helps in increasing the productivity due to increase in the skills and efficiencies of the employees (Shafritz et al. 2015). 
  • Unity of direction- a single manager should be able to control and direct a team wherein all the team members have same objective. This will help in ensuring that proper coordination of action takes place (Follett 2016).
  • Unity of command- employees should be liable from one direct supervisor in order to avoid all kinds of confusions and faster productivity
  • Remuneration- in order to make the employees satisfied they should be fairly remunerated which includes both the financial and non-financial compensation. 
  • Subordination of individual interests to the general interests- the managers should manage the team in such a manner that group interests is always given priority in place of an individual interest in an organisation.
  • Centralisation- this principle explains the manner in which the employees are close to the decision making process (Suddaby 2016). 
  • Equity- this principle explains that managers within an organisation should be fair to the staff members, wherein they should consider the employees cases and issues and at the same time organisational discipline is maintained. 
  • Order- the workplace should be orderly maintained so that it is safe to the employees. In addition to this, maintaining order at the workplace helps in increasing productivity.
  • Scalar chain-employees should be aware of their own position within the organisation and thus a proper hierarchy should be maintained or a chain of command should be followed (Prieto and Phipps 2015).
  • Initiatives- considerable degree of freedom should be provided to the employees so that they initiate to create something new and innovative for the organisations. 
  • Stability of tenure of personnel- employee turnover should be reduced and managers should strive for it. Moreover personnel planning should be given priority at all levels.
  • Esprit de corps- the last principle states that organisations should strive to promote team spirit and unity at all steps (Prieto and Phipps 2015). 

It is believed that with the help of these principles an organisation can flourish well by considering each individual’s interests along with organisational interests. Fayol believed that these principles can be introduced within management functions. Therefore he introduced six primary functions of management which are-

Dissertation Proposal

Forecasting- it means that the managers should forecast the profit in a particular area of business (Joullie 2016)

Planning- managers are required to plan and schedule their activities on the basis of forecast made. 

Organising- management is required to manage all resources such as raw materials, capital, human resources at the appropriate time of production.

Commanding– management should encourage direct personnel activity in order to maintain command

Coordinating– managers should ensure that personnel work in cordial manner and in a cooperative fashion (Prieto and Phipps 2015). 

Controlling– managers should evaluate the performance of the individuals and the overall organisational performance and then should develop controlling actions accordingly. 

Applicability in the modern world

Beetham (2013) stated that Fayol believed that with the help of effective management practices the overall efficiency of the organisations can be enhanced. His theory focuses of effective communication for successful management and this can be seen even in today’s organisation. All the principles of management discussed are applicable in modern organisations. Some of the industries have accepted these principles as restoration of the original principles to which alternative practices are offered. The US military is a prime example of an organisation that still relies on these fourteen principles. With regard to the disciple principle, it is seen that a number of ad agencies are following these principles as they encourage informal meetings and conversations so as to built better relationships with the customers (Gulzar et al. 2015). Moreover, every company has CEO and thus a unity of direction is followed. Considering the scalar chain principle it is seen that popular companies of the modern world such as Samsung is following scalar chain set of dot. It is because if a customer makes a complaint in Samsung then it first goes to the local manager then, to the regional head and then to the national head. After that, considering the principle of initiative, a number of modern day companies such as Facebook and Google are working on this principle. At Google, the employees are provided freedom to enhance their spirit of initiative and creativity which helps them to think out of the box (Suddaby 2016). These companies are able to maintain their high level of innovation because of this principle. 

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2.5 Marx Weber and theory of Bureaucratic management 

Morden (2017) stated that it was in the end of the 19th century that Marx Weber, a German sociologist used and described the term bureaucracy. According to him, bureaucracy is the essential element required for setting up an organisation. In a bureaucracy everyone is treated in an equal manner and division of labour is clearly described. In simple terms, bureaucracy refers to the organisational structure which is characterised by a number of procedures, rules and responsibilities (Prieto and Phipps 2015). The bureaucratic theory given by Marx Weber explains that a structure of an organisation where there are various responsibilities and procedures and policies is indispensible in large organisations. In addition to this, selection and promotion only occur on the basis of technical qualifications. Moreover, there are three types of power which can be found within the organisations which are legal, charismatic and traditional power. 

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Three elements that support bureaucratic management are-

  • Management has the authority to impose rules
  • All regular activities within a bureaucracy can be considered as official duties
  • Rules formed by the management can be respected on the basis of respected methods

It was in the late 1800s that Weber disregarded the idea of running business like a family. Thus, he believed that a formalised and rigid structure should be followed in the form of bureaucracy (Prieto and Phipps 2015). He further stated that the power of a supervisor should be based on the individual’s position within the organisation.  

The main features of Weber’s bureaucracy are-

  • Administrative class- bureaucratic organisations consist of administrative class which is responsible for maintaining coordinated activities of the members. 
  • Hierarchy- the basis feature of such organisations is that there is hierarchy of positions in the organisations (Stemberg and Frensch 2014). Thus a system of ranking is followed from top to bottom and thus no office is left uncontrolled. 
  • Division of work- work is divided within an organisation on the basis of specialisation which leads to division of work. Each of the office in a bureaucratic organisation has a specific sphere of competence. With this help of this aspect, it is ensured that within bureaucratic organisations no work is left uncovered.
  • Official rules- a bureaucratic organisation calls for maintenance of rules and regulations so that uniformity and coordination is maintained (Stemberg and Frensch 2014). Moreover with the help of rules stability and predictability can be maintained which is prerequisite for organisational effectiveness. 
  • Impersonal relationships- the system of official authority and rules need to be followed which should be free from personal involvement and emotions and sentiments. This is mainly done in order to ensure that decisions are carried on rational factors instead of emotions and sentiments. 
  • Official records- official records are necessary within bureaucratic organisations in order to use them in case of future reference (Stemberg and Frensch 2014). For this the organisations are required to use extensive system of filling details in an organisation. This can be considered as official encyclopaedia of the organisational activities being performed. 

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Application of the theory in the modern-day management

In the words of Gulzar et al. (2015) bureaucratic management is considered to be beneficial but some of the critics have criticised the theory on the grounds that bureaucracy involves a number of negative consequences such as rigidity, alienation and low commitment and along with them it is criticised for dehumanising people and individuals. However, despite the negative implications of the theory, it is being used in contemporary management. For instance, the democratic government of various countries such as the US and India used this theory to date (Stemberg and Frensch 2014). The bureaucratic principles are applied in the administration of the customs and in the foreign services. In addition to this, within the modern world, all the operations which are related to highly disciplined organisations such as police offices use this theory for the purpose of ensuring security and maintaining social order (Joullie 2016). However, with regard to the modern and business world, this theory does not hold much relevance as modern business organisations cannot afford to lag behind due to red-tapism and delays because of the prevalence of tough competition. Thus, overall it is seen that the bureaucratic form of management is prevalent in modern society only when it comes to administration and government services. 

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  • Conclusion 

On the basis of the above discussion, it is concluded that the traditional management theories developed from the platform of the modern world. Moreover, it is seen that the traditional management thought has nowadays become a basic approach in the modern world which was previously considered to be revolutionary in nature. In addition to this, it is concluded that the development of western management theories over the past hundred years has been evolving. It is because the basic idea and concept of management remain the same as was developed hundreds of years ago by classical management theorists. The scientific management theory given by Taylor focuses on maintaining the division of work and specialisation which is even seen to be applicable in the modern business world. Similarly, the administration theory given by Fayol explained the fourteen principles of management which are being used in modern-day business organisations. In addition to this, the bureaucracy theory explains the different characteristics and features of bureaucratic organisations. When these characteristics were compared to the modern business organisations it is identified that not the business organisations but the government administration follows the bureaucratic form of organisations. Thus, overall it is concluded that the western management theories have evolved over the period time and are till now used in the modern and contemporary world. 

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  • References 

Beetham, D., 2013. Max Weber and the theory of modern politics. John Wiley & Sons.

Brunsson, K., 2017. Management Theory. In The Teachings of Management(pp. 27-33). Springer International Publishing.

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Fayol, H., 2016. General and industrial management. Ravenio Books.

Follett, M.P., 2016. 7 Management thought and human relations. A History of Management Thought, p.175.

Gulzar, A., Ghumro, N.H. and Memon, P.A., 2015. Impact of Industrial Revolution on Management Thought. Sukkur IBA Journal of Management and Business2(1), pp.1-16.

Jex, S.M. and Britt, T.W., 2014. Organizational psychology: A scientist-practitioner approach. John Wiley & Sons.

Joullié, J.E., 2016. The philosophical foundations of management thought. Academy of Management Learning & Education15(1), pp.157-179.

Mackey, A. and Gass, S.M., 2015. Second language research: Methodology and design. Routledge.

Morden, T., 2017. Principles of management. Routledge.

Neuman, W.L. and Robson, K., 2014. Basics of social research. Pearson Canada.

Novicevic, M.M., Jones, J. and Carrahar, S., 2015. Decentering Wren’s Evolution of management thought. The Routledge Companion in Management and Organizational History. London: Routledge, pp.11-30.

Prieto, L.C. and Phipps, S.T.A., 2015, January. Spaulding’s Administration of Big Business: Insight into Early Black Management Thought. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2015, No. 1, p. 13246). Academy of Management.

Shafritz, J.M., Ott, J.S. and Jang, Y.S., 2015. Classics of organization theory. Cengage Learning.  

Silverman, D. ed., 2016. Qualitative research. Sage.

Smith, J.A. ed., 2015. Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods. Sage.

Sternberg, R.J. and Frensch, P.A., 2014. Complex problem solving: Principles and mechanisms. Psychology Press.

Sunday, R., 2016. Toward a historical consciousness: Following the historic turn in management thought. M@ n@ gement19(1), pp.46-60.

Taylor, S.J., Bogdan, R. and DeVault, M., 2015. Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. John Wiley & Sons.

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