Is the Classical Approach to Management Obsolete? Essay

635 Words Dec 25th, 2012 3 Pages
Is the Classical approach to management obsolete?
Critically discuss your views on this matter

This essay argues the validity of the classical approach to management today. We cannot deny that businesses and organisations have evolved and changed a lot since the classical theorists, which date from the early twentieth century, but yet the main ideas about management that they gave to society are still sustainable today.
The classical organisation theory represents the merger of scientific management, bureaucratic theory, and administrative theory. (Walonick,1993). Classical theorists suggested a “one best way” to organise and manage, which is called “structural universalism” (Organisational Behaviour). These theorists were really
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It is true that in his article (Mintzberg, 1975), Mintzberg categorises managerial activities into three different groups –interpersonal, informational and decisional- but at the end he doesn’t really contradicts what Fayol said. In fact, as M.J. Fells argued in his article (Fayol stands the test of time) Mintzberg “tends to confirm rather than deny the classical views.”

Therefore, having explained the classics’ and the contemporaneous’ views of management, we can confirm that the real and basic statements are the ones given by the first ones. Furthermore, if this idea doesn’t really convince the reader, Fayol said that there was no limit on the number of management principles and that they should be flexible and adaptable to any need (Fells, 2000), so that makes his definition even more general and suitable as time goes by.

Thus, to sum up and in accordance to everything explained above, the reflexion made by Fells in his article “Fayol stands the test of life” fits quite well to conclude this essay:

“Fayol’s principles may indeed be relevant today and should not be ignored until they have been superseded or refuted”

So as they haven’t actually been superseded nor even refuted we can continue trusting them.


Boland, A. (2012, October). Introduction to Management and Organisations. Lecture 3 – The classical theorists.

Brooks, I., (2009), Organisational Behaviour –
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