Classical Management Theories

1568 Words Mar 4th, 2007 7 Pages
Successful management requires an understanding of the fundamental concepts of effective management techniques and principles. In order to gain such insight, and manage effectively and efficiently, managers must develop an awareness of past management principles, models and theories. From the turn of the 20th Century, the need for a formal management theory was growing evident; organisations required a system to guide managers in an attempt to improve productivity and efficiency of workers. This urgency for a theory saw the development of six major management approaches, the focus of this essay will be on two of the classical management theories; the scientific management theory and the human relations movement. The contributions of both …show more content…
While the differences between these two management theories are extensive, there are also some notable comparisons. Scientific Management and Human Relations both sought to improve productivity; Scientific Management by minimizing wasted movements, and Human Relations by developing good working relationships. Both these theories did provide some worthy results; Taylor's "Pig Iron Experiment", after many trials, succeeded in a productivity increase of 200% (Wrege and Perroni, 1974), while the Hawthorne Experiments saw a 112% increase in output by workers, which became known as the "Hawthorne Effect". An important similarity that can be found between these two theories is their approach to control their "teams". A Scientific Management based approach would see a manager avoid contact with their workers and treat them as "economically motivated automatons". (Rose, 2005) On the other hand a Human Relations approach to the situation would see a manager try to understand any problems of the worker and encourage them to work through motivation. (Bartol, Martin, Tein and Matthews, 2001) Why these may seem like contrasts between the theories, what should be noted is the desire of both approaches to control their teams; one by avoiding human relationships and one through human relationships. (Rose, 2005)

Scientific Management is often condemned for engaging a rigid and generalised approach, as it applied the same