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Management Functions And Process, Management Thought

square What is Management?

The concept of management has acquired special significance in the present competitive and complex business world. Efficient and purposeful management is absolutely essential for the survival of a business unit. Management concept is comprehensive and covers all aspects of business. In simple words, management means utilising available resources in the best possible manner and also for achieving well defined objectives. It is a distinct and dynamic process involving use of different resources for achieving well defined objectives. The resources are: men, money, materials, machines, methods and markets. These are the six basic inputs in management process (six M's of management) and the output is in the form of achievement of objectives. It is the end result of inputs and is available through efficient management process.


The term 'management' is used extensively in business. It is the core or life giving element in business. We expect that a business unit should be managed efficiently. This is precisely what is done in management. Management is essential for the conduct of business activity in an orderly manner. It is a vital function concerned with all aspects of working of an enterprise.

square Definitions of Management

  1. According to George R. Terry, "Management is a distinct process consisting of planning, organising, actuating and controlling, performed to determine and accomplish stated objectives by the use of human beings and other resources".
  2. According to Henry Fayol, "To manage is to forecast and to plan, to organise, to command, to coordinate and to control".
  3. According to Peter Drucker, "Management is a multi-purpose organ that manages business and manages managers and manages workers and work".
  4. According to Harold Koontz, "Management is the art of getting things done through and with people in formally organized groups”.
  5. According to Mary Parker Fallett, "Management is the art of getting things done through people".

square Characteristics of Management

  1. Management is a managerial process: Management is a process and not merely a body of individuals. Those who perform this process are called managers. The managers exercise leadership by assuming authority and direct others to act within the organisation. Management process involves planning, organising, directing and unifying human efforts for the accomplishment of given tasks.
  2. Management is a social process- Management takes place through people. The importance of human factor in management cannot be ignored. A manager's job is to get the things done with the support and cooperation of subordinates. It is this human element which gives management its special character.
  3. Management is action-based: Management is always for achieving certain objectives in terms of sales, profit, etc. It is a result-oriented concept and not merely an abstract philosophy. It gives importance to concrete performance through suitable actions. It is an action based activity.
  4. Management involves achieving results through the efforts of others: Management is the art of getting the things done through others. Managers are expected to guide and motivate subordinates and get the expected performance from them. Management acts as an activating factor.
  5. Management is a group activity: Management is not an isolated individual activity but it is a collective activity or an activity of a group. It aims at using group efforts for achieving objectives. Managers manage the groups and coordinate the activities of groups functioning in an organisation.
  6. Management is intangible: Management is not directly visible but its presence is noticed in the form of concrete results. Management is intangible. It is like invisible spirit, which guides and motivates people working in a business unit. Management is like government, which functions but is not visible in physical form.
  7. Management is aided, not replaced by computers: The computer is an extremely powerful tool of management. It helps a manager to widen his vision. The computer supplies ocean of information for important decision-making. The computer has unbelievable data processing and feedback facilities. This has enabled the manager to conduct quick analysis towards making correct decisions. A computer supports manager in his managerial work. However, it cannot replace managers in business. They were required in the past, at present and also in future. Their existence is absolutely essential in the management process.
  8. Management is all pervasive: Management is comprehensive and covers all departments, activities and employees. Managers operate at different levels but their functions are identical. This indicates that management is a universal and all pervasive process.
  9. Management is an art, science as well as a profession: Management is an art because certain skills, essential for good management, are unique to individuals. Management is a science because it has an organised body of knowledge. Management is also a profession because it is based on advanced and cultivated knowledge.
  10. Management aims at coordination of activities: Coordination is the essence of management. It gives one clear direction to the whole organisation and brings unity and harmony in the whole business unit. For such coordination, effective communication at all levels is essential.
  11. Management is innovative: Management techniques are dynamic and innovative. They need to be adjusted as per the requirements of the situations. Another manager need not repeat the decisions of one manager. Similarly, a manager has to change his decisions under different situations.
  12. Management has different operational levels: Every Organisation needs managers for managing business activities. The manager's job is basically the same at all levels. The managers at the higher levels have more important duties while managers at the lower levels have to perform routine functions i.e duties.
  13. Management is different from ownership: Management is concerned with the management of business activities. Managers are not the owners but they manage the business on behalf of the owners. Separation of ownership and management is a special feature of modem business organisation.
  14. Management has vast scope: The scope of management is quite comprehensive. It covers all aspects of business. The principles of management guide managers while managing various business activities.
  15. Management is dynamic: Business is influenced by changes in economic, social, political technological and human resource. Management adjusts itself to the changing atmosphere making suitable forecasts and changes in the policies. Hence, management is treated as a dynamic activity.
  16. Management aims at achieving predetermined objectives: Management is a meaningful activity. All organisations are essentially groups of individuals formed for achieving common objectives. An Organisation exists for the attainment of specific objectives.

square Need of Management

  1. Direction, coordination and control of group efforts: In business, many persons work together. They need proper direction and guidance for raising their efficiency. In the absence of guidance, people will work as per their desire and the, orderly working of enterprise will not be possible. Management is needed for planning business activities, for guiding employees in the right direction and finally for coordinating their efforts for achieving best/most favorable results.
  2. Orderly achievement of business objectives: Efficient management is needed in order to achieve the objectives of business activity in an orderly and quick manner.
  3. Performance of basic managerial functions: Planning, Organising, Co-ordinating and Controlling are the basic functions of management. Management is needed as these functions are performed through the management process.
  4. Effective communication at all levels: Management is needed for effective communication within and outside the Organisation.
  5. Motivation of employees: Management is needed for motivating employees and also for coordinating their efforts so as to achieve business objectives quickly.
  6. Success and stability of business enterprise: Efficient management is needed for success, stability and prosperity of a business enterprise.

Modem business is highly competitive and needs efficient and capable management for survival and growth. Management is needed as it occupies a unique position in the smooth functioning of a business unit. This suggests the need of efficient management of business enterprises. Profitable/successful business may not he possible without efficient management. In this sense, "No management, no business" is true. Survival of a business unit in the present competitive world is possible only through
efficient and competent management.

square Meaning of Management Process

The term management is explained in different ways. For example, it is said that management is what management does. Here, management is explained with reference to its basic functions which include planning, organising, coordinating and controlling. Similarly, management is described as a process which involves various elements. Management process is a continuous one and is run by the managers functioning at different levels. Management is now recognised as a distinct process in which managers plan, organise, lead, motivate and control human efforts in order to achieve well defined goals. In fact, process means a series of activities/operations undertaken/conducted for achieving a specific objective. Process is a systematic way of doing things. For example, in a factory there is a production process. Similarly, in the management process, resources and human efforts are used in an orderly manner for achieving specific objectives. The management process suggests functions to be performed by the managers.

square Definition of Management Process

  1. According to D. E. McFarland, "Management is the distinct process by which the managers create, direct, maintain and operate purposive organisation through systematic, co-coordinated and cooperative human efforts”.
  2. According to Gemp R. Terry, "Management is a distinct process consisting of planning, organisisng, actuating, and controlling, performed to determine and accomplish objectives by the use of people and other resources".

square Functions of Management

The essential elements/components of Management Process are four.

  1. Planning
  2. Organising
  3. Directing and
  4. Controlling.

We may add some more elements in the management process. Such elements are:-

  1. Motivating
  2. Co-coordinating
  3. Staffing and
  4. Communicating.

The elements in the management process are actually the basic functions of management these functions constitute the management process in practice. Management process is in fact, management in practice. This process suggests what a manager is supposed to, do or the basic functions that he has to perform while managing the job assigned to him.

Luther Gullic gave a new formula to suggest the elements of Management Process i.e. basic functions of management. According to him, management process may be indicated by the word "PODSCORB”. Here, ‘P' states for 'planning'. "O" for 'organising', "D" for 'directing', "S" for 'Staffing', "CO" for 'Coordinating, "R" for 'Reporting' and "B" for 'Budgeting'. Gullic coined the word "PODSCORB" to suggest seven functions of management.

The following figures show the management process and the elements involved:

Management Process

square Elements of Management Process

  1. Planning: Planning is the primary function of management. It involves determination of a course of action to achieve desired results/objectives. Planning is the starting point of management process and all other functions of management are related to and dependent on planning function. Planning is the key to success, stability and prosperity in business. It acts as a tool for solving the problems of a business unit. Planning plays a pivotal role in business management It helps to visualize the future problems and keeps management ready with possible solutions.
  2. Organising: Organising is next to planning. It means to bring the resources (men, materials, machines, etc.) together and use them properly for achieving the objectives. Organisation is a process as well as it is a structure. Organising means arranging ways and means for the execution of a business plan. It provides suitable administrative structure and facilitates execution of proposed plan. Organising involves different aspects such as departmentation, span of control delegation of authority, establishment of superior-subordinate relationship and provision of mechanism for co-ordination of various business activities.
  3. Staffing: Staffing refers to manpower required for the execution of a business plan. Staffing, as managerial function, involves recruitment, selection, appraisal, remuneration and development of managerial personnel. The need of staffing arises in the initial period and also from time to time for replacement and also along with the expansion and diversification of business activities. Every business unit needs efficient, stable and cooperative staff for the management of business activities. Manpower is the most important asset of a business unit. In many organisations, manpower planning and development activities are entrusted to personnel manager or HRD manager. 'Right man for the right job' is the basic principle in staffing.
  4. Directing (Leading): Directing as a managerial function, deals with guiding and instructing people to do the work in the right manner. Directing/leading is the responsibility of managers at all levels. They have to work as leaders of their subordinates. Clear plans and sound organisation set the stage but it requires a manager to direct and lead his men for achieving the objectives. Directing function is quite comprehensive. It involves Directing as well as raising the morale of subordinates. It also involves communicating, leading and motivating. Leadership is essential on the part of managers for achieving organisational objectives.
  5. Coordinating: Effective coordination and also integration of activities of different departments are essential for orderly working of an Organisation. This suggests the importance of coordinating as management function. A manager must coordinate the work for which he is accountable. Co-ordination is rightly treated as the essence of management. It may be treated as an independent function or as a part of organisms function. Coordination is essential at all levels of management. It gives one clear-cut direction to the activities of individuals and departments. It also avoids misdirection and wastages and brings unity of action in the Organisation. Co-ordination will not come automatically or on its own Special efforts are necessary on the part of managers for achieving such coordination.
  6. Controlling: Controlling is an important function of management. It is necessary in the case of individuals and departments so as to avoid wrong actions and activities. Controlling involves three broad aspects: (a) establishing standards of performance, (b) measuring work in progress and interpreting results achieved, and (c) taking corrective actions, if required. Business plans do not give positive results automatically. Managers have to exercise effective control in order to bring success to a business plan. Control is closely linked with other managerial functions. It is rightly treated as the soul of management process. It is true that without planning there will be nothing to control It is equally true that without control planning will be only an academic exercise Controlling is a continuous activity of a supervisory nature.
  7. Motivating: Motivating is one managerial function in which a manager motivates his men to give their best to the Organisation. It means to encourage people to take more interest and initiative in the work assigned. Organisations prosper when the employees are motivated through special efforts including provision of facilities and incentives. Motivation is actually inspiring and encouraging people to work more and contribute more to achieve organisational objectives. It is a psychological process of great significance.
  8. Communicating: Communication (written or oral) is necessary for the exchange of facts, opinions, ideas and information between individual’s and departments. In an organisation, communication is useful for giving information, guidance and instructions. Managers should be good communicators. They have to use major portion of their time on communication in order to direct, motivate and co-ordinate activities of their subordinates. People think and act collectively through communication. According to Louis Allen, "Communication involves a systematic and continuing process of telling, listening and understanding".

square Importance of Management

  1. Optimum utilisation of resources: Management facilitates optimum utilisation of available human and physical resources, which leads to progress and prosperity of a business enterprise. Even wastages of all types are eliminated or minimized.
  2. Competitive strength: Management develops competitive strength in an enterprise. This enables an enterprise to develop and expand its assets and profits.
  3. Cordial industrial relation: Management develops cordial industrial relations, ensures better life and welfare to employees and raises their morale through suitable incentives.
  4. Motivation of employees: It motivates employees to take more interest and initiatives in the work assigned and contribute for raising productivity and profitability of the enterprise.
  5. Introduction of new techniques: Management facilitates the introduction of new machines and new methods in the conduct of business activities. It also brings useful technological developments and innovations in the management of business activities.
  6. Effective management: Society gets the benefits of efficient management in terms of industrial development, justice to different social groups, consumer satisfaction and welfare and proper discharge of social responsibilities.
  7. Expansion of business: Expansion, growth and diversification of a business unit are possible through efficient management.
  8. Brings stability and prosperity: Efficient management brings success, stability and prosperity to a business enterprise through cooperation among employees.
  9. Develops team spirit: Management develops team spirit and raises overall efficiency of a business enterprise.
  10. Ensures effective use of managers: Management ensures effective use of managers so that the benefits of their experience, skills and maturity are available to the enterprise.
  11. Ensures smooth functioning: Management ensures smooth, orderly and continues functioning of an enterprise over a long period. It also raises the efficiency, productivity and profitability of an enterprise.
  12. Reduces turnover and absenteeism: Efficient management reduces labour turnover and absenteeism and ensures continuity in the business activities and operations.
  13. Creates sound organisation: A dynamic and progressive management guarantees development of sound Organisation, which can face any situation - favorable or unfavorable with ease and confidence.

The very survival of an enterprise depends on its management. Ineffective management leads to disastrous consequences. According to George Terry, "Ineffective management cuts at the very roots of economy of an enterprise’s. This suggests the importance of efficient management. In brief, management occupies a unique position in the functioning of business enterprises. Its importance and positive role is accepted in all sector-private, public, joint and co-operative. Management is like a human brain. It is an integral aspect of business itself.

The importance of management is not fully realised in many developing countries. The economic progress of western countries is not merely due to abundant material resources but because they are efficiently managed and utilised. In other countries, resources are not utilised fully and properly due to lack of managerial skills. This suggests that management is a key factor in the working of business enterprises. There is no substitute to efficient management. An inefficiently managed business enterprise has no place in the present complex and competitive business world groups.

square Management in the Future

In the next couple of decades, management theory and practice is bound to change in order to meet the complex and ever changing environmental variables. The phenomenal growth in multinational and transnational operations, fast changing technology, increasing complexity of decision making, dynamic social and economic environment, globalisation of business and elastic project organisations and task groups will significantly influence the future managerial world and managerial tasks. There are successful business and management leaders publishing their memories and offering their experience to the world. There is great increase in the number of business schools. Management education is bank ably providing expertise to nonage the business and this trend is likely to continue. Career paths are likely to be based on expertise alone. Managers will be under pressure to develop this expertise and apply it in an ever-widening range of situations rather than their ability to survive the bureaucratic jungle. They will have to combine their personal, professional and operational qualities and capacities to the satisfaction of employers and the society. The future must be considered as an opportunity and not a problem.

The future business environment will he dominated by information technology (IT), globalisation, material and energy shortages, problems of pollution and ecological balance, consumerism, inflation and R & D. The costs of employing expert managers are regarded as an investment for effective business performance. Management is a designated expertise, increasingly professionalized and is likely to progress to a highly organised status. It is assumed that young people will choose management as an occupation and will progress from lower to middle and from middle to top management positions. An ever-greater range of knowledge is available to all aspects of business and management.

Some forces/factors that are likely to have an impact upon management in future are as mentioned below:-

  1. Emergence of knowledge society.
  2. Development of socially concerned Humanistic society.
  3. Widespread application of information technology (IT)
  4. Transition from industrial to service economy.
  5. Growing use of innovations and R & D.
  6. Social accountability of business.
  7. Satisfaction of human and social values in man-machine system.
  8. Liberalization and Globalisation of the business.

square Development of Management Thought

Management thought has a long history. It is as old as human civilization itself. Management in one form or the other has been a significant feature of economic life of mankind throughout ages. Management thought is an evolutionary concept It has develop along with and in line with the growth of social, political, economic and scientific institutions. Management thought has its origin in the ancient times. It developed gradually along with other socioeconomic developments. The contributor’s to management though are many. They include Management philosophers, management practitioners and scholars. Modem management is based on the solid foundations laid down by management thinkers from the early historical period.

square Historical Background of Management

The recorded use of organised management dates back to 5000 B.C. when the agricultural revolution had taken place. These agricultural civilizations existed in India, China and Egypt According to Peter Drucker these irrigation civilizations "were not only one of the great ages of technology, but it represented also mankind’s most productive age of social and political innovation". As the villages grew and civilizations evolved, the managers too grew and evolved. They became the priests, the kings, the ministers holding power and wealth in the society. Written documents found in the Sumerian civilization which flourished some 5000 years ago, contains evidence of management control practices.

As early as 4000 B.C., the Egyptians were aware of the importance of planning, organising and controlling. The huge pyramids of Egypt stand a mute testimony to the managerial and organizational abilities of the ancient Egyptian civilization. One pyramid required 1,00,000 men working for 20 years, covering 13 acres, using 2.3 million blocks, each weighing an average of 2.5 tons. To produce such a monument required proper planning, work allocation, organising, directing, controlling and decision making.

In the Grecian civilization we find the origin of the Scientific Method in the famous Socratic discourses. The Romans who built a vast empire extending from Britain in the west to Syria in the east ruled it for many years only because of their superior and advanced managerial abilities.

In ancient India Kautilya wrote his Arthashastra in about 321 B.C. the major theme of which was political, social and economic management of the State. The study of administration of the cities of Mohenjodaro and Harappa of the ancient Aryans in 2000 B. C., Buddha's order and the Sangha in 530 B. C., provide evidence about the use of the principles of management.

During the 13th and 14th centuries AD the large trading houses of Italy needed a means of keeping records of their business transactions. To satisfy their needs Luca Pacioli published a treatise in 1494 describing the Double Entry System of Book-keeping for the first time.

Management thought is an evolutionary concept. New theories and principles were suggested along with new developments in the business field. The new thoughts supplemented the existing thoughts and theories. This is how developments are taking place continuously in regard to management thoughts/theories. Management thinkers and thinkers from other fields such as economics, psychology, sociology and mathematics have also made their contribution in the evolution of management thought.

square Evolution of Management Thought

This evolution of management thought can be studied in the following flum broad stages:

  1. The Classical Theory of Management (Classical Approach): It includes the following three streams of thought: (i) Bureaucracy, (ii) Scientific Management; and (iii) Administrative Management
  2. The Neo-classical theory of Management: It includes the following two streams: (i) Human Relations Approach and (ii) Behavioral Sciences Approach.
  3. The Modern Theory of Management: It includes the following three streams of thought: (i) Quantitative Approach to Management (Operations Research); (ii) Systems Approach to Management and (iii) Contingency Approach to Management.

It is rather difficult to state the exact period of each stage in the evolution of management thought. Experts, in general, agree with the following period for each thought/school.

  1. Classical School/thought: 1900 to 1930.
  2. Neo-classical School/thought: 1930 to 1960.
  3. Modern School/thought: 1960 onwards.

square Contributors to Management Thought

The development of management thought is the result of contributions made by pioneering management thinkers and experts from other social sciences such as economics and psychology.

square Contribution of F. W. Taylor to Management Thought

F.W. Taylor is one of the founders (the other two are Max Weber and Henry Fayol) of classical thought/classical theory of management. He suggested scientific approach to management also called scientific management theory. F. W. Taylor (1856-1915) is rightly treated as the father of scientific management. He suggested the principles of scientific management. His concept of scientific management developed into a movement and dominated the industrial management for several decades after him. His concepts and principles were refined and popularized by several of his followers, notable among them being Henry Gantt, The Gilberths and Emerson.

square Principles of Scientific Management

According to Taylor, scientific management in its essence consists of a philosophy which results in a combination of four important underlying principles of management. First, the development of a true science, second, the scientific selection of the workers, third, their scientific education and development, Froth, intimate co-operation between management and their men. The basic principles of Taylor philosophy of scientific management are as noted below. These principles of scientific management are most crucial aspects of scientific management.

  1. The development of 'One best way" of doing a job. This suggests the task of finding out the best method for achieving the objectives of a given job. The standards are decided scientifically for Jobs and incentive wages were paid for all production above this standard. Here, job analysis and standardization of tools, equipment, machinery, etc. are required.
  2. Scientific selection of workers and their development through proper training.
  3. Scientific approach by management. The management has to develop a true science in all fields of work activity through scientific investigation and experiments.
  4. Close co-operation of managers and workers (labour management relations) for better results and understandings.
  5. Elimination of conflict between methods and men. The workers are likely to resist to new methods. This can be avoided by providing them an opportunity to earn more wages.

square Features of Scientific Management

  1. Scientific task setting: F. W. Taylor suggested the introduction of standard task which every worker is expected to complete within one day (working hours) the task is to be calculated through careful scientific investigation. For this, work study (i.e. method study and work measurement study) is essential. Taylor suggested time study, motion study, fatigue study and rate-setting for the introduction of scientific task. Time study is the art of observing and recording the time required to do each detailed element in an industrial operation. Motion study refers to the study and analysis of the movements of an operator while performing a job so that attempts can be made to remove useless/unwanted movements from the process. Both the studies together help in determining the best method of performing a job and the standard time allowed for it. This replaces the old rule-of-thumb knowledge of the workers. The workload, the best method of performing the same and the time within which it must be performed are suggested in this feature of scientific management by Taylor.
  2. Planning the task: For performing the task by every worker, Taylor suggested the need of planning the production activity accurately. This idea of planning is Taylor's gift to the science of management. Planning of task gives answers to the following questions. What has to be done, how it is to be done, where the work shall be done and when the work shall be done.
  3. Scientific selection and training of workers: Taylor suggested the need of scientific selection of workers for the plant/production activities. The procedure of selection must be systematic so as to select the best and the most suitable persons for different types of jobs. Correct placement of workers is equally important He also suggested the need of training of workers so as to raise their ability or efficiency. Training is to be integrated with the promotion policy. He also suggested differential piece wage plan for compensation payment to workers. He also suggested the importance of cordial relations between management and workers.
  4. Standardization: Taylor suggested the importance of standardization of tools and equipment, materials, conditions of work and speed of machines. This brings co-ordination in different activities and all workers will be able to perform the task assigned easily. The workers will have satisfactory working conditions for work due to such standardization.
  5. Specialization: Taylor suggested specialization in the administrative and organizational setup of the plant He suggested functional foremanship. Taylor recommended eight functional foremen for different activities and functions. The foremen suggested by him are like route clerk, instruction card clerk, speed boss etc. Such specialization is useful for raising efficiency of the whole organisation.
  6. Mental revolution: The techniques suggested by F. W. Taylor in his scientific management are different as compared to traditional techniques and methods. Naturally, these techniques can be used only when workers supervisors and managers accept them in theory and also in practice For this, Mental revolution on their part is essential The success of scientific management rests basically on the attitude of management and workers. They must give up their old ideas and methods and must accept new scientific methods. For this, mental revolution on the part of both is essential. Cooperation from workers and management for the introduction of scientific management depends on this mental revolution.

square Benefits / Advantages of Scientific Management

  1. Application and use of scientific methods.
  2. Wide scope for specialization and accurate planning.
  3. Minimum wastages of materials, time and money.
  4. Cordial relations between workers and management.
  5. Benefits to workers (higher wages and less burden of work), management (cost reduction, better quality productions) and consumers (superior goods at lower prices)

Scientific management not only developed a rational approach to solving organisational problems but also contributed a great deal to the professionalisation of management. Time and motion studies, scientific selection of workers, work design and one best way to doing a job are some new ideals suggested by Taylor and are responsible for the introduction of Many positive changes in the field of industrial/ production management.

square F. W. Taylor’s Contribution to the Development of Management Thought / Science

The contribution of F. W. Taylor to management thought is as explained below:

  1. Emphasis on rational thinking: Taylor suggested rational thinking on the part of management for raising efficiency and productivity. He wanted managements to replace old methods and techniques by Modern methods which will raise productivity and offer benefits to all concerned parties. He was in favour of progressive, scientific and rational thinking on the part of management on all managerial problems. Such progressive outlook is essential for the introduction of new techniques and methods in the Management.
  2. Introduction of better methods and techniques of production: F. W. Taylor suggested the importance of improved methods and techniques of production. Work-study techniques are his contribution to management thought. He suggested new methods after systematic study and research. Taylor recommended the use of new methods for raising overall efficiency and productivity.
  3. Emphasis on planning and control of production: Taylor suggested the importance of production planning and control for high production, superior quality production and also for low cost production. He introduced the concept of production management in a systematic way.
  4. Importance of personnel and personnel department: Taylor suggested the importance of manpower in management. He was in favour of progressive personnel policies for the creation of efficient and satisfied labour force. He suggested the need of personnel department and its importance. He favored incentive wage payment to workers.
  5. Industrial fatigue and rest pauses: Taylor noted the nature of industrial fatigue and suggested the introduction of suitable rest pauses for removing such fatigue of workers. He wanted to reduce the burden of work on workers through the use of scientific methods.
  6. Time and motion study: Taylor introduced new concepts like time study, motion study and work study in the field of industrial management such concepts are for the introduction of new methods which will be more quick, scientific and less troublesome to workers.

The positive view of scientific management was described by Taylor as "Science, not rule of thumb; Harmony, not discord; Co-operation, not individualism; maximum output in place of restricted output. The development of each man to his greatest efficiency and prosperity".

F.W. Taylor a rightly treated as father of scientific management. In fact, through his concept of scientific management, Taylor actually developed a new science of management which is applicable not only to management of industrial units but also to the management of all other business units. He suggested certain techniques which can be applied purposefully to all aspects of management of business activities. This is treated as Taylor’s unique contribution to management thought.

The fundamental principles suggested by F. W. Taylor in his scientific management can be treated as his contribution to management thought. In fact, Taylor suggested scientific attitude and a new philosophy for discarding old and outdated ideas and techniques. He was instrumental for the introduction of new ideas and techniques in the science of management. These ideas aid techniques are now accepted in theory as well as in practice.

square Criticism of Scientific Management or Opposition to Scientific Management

Scientific management has wider economic and social significance. It has succeeded in revolutionalising the very concept of management by offering a novel approach to the managers in managing men, materials and methods. In spite of several benefits, Taylor's scientific management concept has widely been criticized by employers, workers, trade unions and also by theorists. They oppose Taylor's scientific management on different grounds. The points of criticism we as explained below:

square Criticism from Employers

  1. Huge investment required: Heavy investment is necessary for reorganization of preliminary standardization of tools, machines and equipment and conduct of time and motion studies and other research activities for the introduction of scientific management. Such investment may not be possible in small and medium size enterprises.
  2. Sudden change may disturb existing working arrangements: Sudden change due to the introduction of scientific management may paralyze the existing arrangement of work and will bring the entire Organisation in difficulties. There will be loss due to reorganization, if scientific management is to be introduced.
  3. Unsuitable to small units: Small manufacturers argue that the concept of scientific management is not suitable to their units due to financial and other difficulties.
  4. Benefits after a long period: The benefit of scientific management will be available only after a long period and the business unit may come in financial and other difficulties during the process of introduction of new changes as suggested in the scientific management.
  5. Huge overhead expenses required: Introduction of scientific management involves huge overhead expenses which may erode profitability.

square Criticism from Workers and Trade Unions. Why did Trade Unions Oppose Scientific Management?

  1. Heavy burden on workers: Workers feel that they will have to share more burden of work as a result of introduction of scientific management. They also fear that the benefits will he shared by the employer alone and that they will be at a loss from all sides. Workers and their unions feel that it will lead to their exploitation and they oppose scientific management on this ground.
  2. Reduces initiative among workers: Workers and trade unions argue that scientific management will destroy their initiative and they will be converted into machines in the production process with no freedom, initiative and choice. Similarity, over-specialization (excessive specialization) will lead to monotony and mental fatigue. Hence, they oppose Taylor's scientific management.
  3. Possibility of unemployment: Workers and their unions also feel that scientific management will lead to unemployment and that workers will be removed due to the use of labour-saving devices. This will lead to loss of employment and income to workers. This is likely to make trade unions weak and hence they oppose scientific management.
  4. Exploitation of workers: Workers argue that they will be exploited under scientific management as they will have to share more burden of work without corresponding increase in the wage rate. Trade unions also oppose to scientific management as it is likely to put more burden of work on the workers without corresponding monetary benefit.
  5. Possible adverse effects on workers unity: Trade unions also oppose scientific management as they fear that the unity among workers will be adversely affected. Workers will be divided into efficient and inefficient categories. In addition, different piece rate plans will be introduced in place of uniform wage rate. As a result, workers will be divided. Workers getting high salary will not be interested in the union activities and this will make their union week and ineffective. Even more unions and rival unions will be formed. In brief, trade unions strongly criticize scientific management as it breaks solidarity of workers

The criticism of scientific management by employers and workers/trade unions is not based on sound reasoning. Their arguments are not based on realities. It is possible to give counter-arguments to every point of criticism noted by them. For example, employers object scientific management on the ground of huge investment for its introduction. It is true that huge investment will be necessary but it is likely to give greater return in due course. In addition, scientific management will bring down the cost and thereby enhance the profits.

square Contribution of Henry Fayol to Management Thought

Henry Fayol (1841-1925) is rightly treated as the father of modern theory of general and industrial management. The credit of suggesting the basic principles of management in an orderly manner goes to Henry Fayol. After obtaining an engineering degree, Henry Fayol, joined as chief executive in a coal mining company. He developed his management principles and general management theory and published them in the form of a book (in French) "General and Industrial Administration" in 1916. It was translated into English in 1930. In due course of time, Henry Fayol came to be recognised as the founder of modern management theory. His analysis of management process acts as the foundation of the whole management theory and the present super-structure of management has been built on it.

Henry Fayol suggested important qualities of managers and stressed the need for raising such qualities. He developed fourteen principles of management out of his practical experience. These principles are universal in character and are applicable to all types of organisations. Each principle suggested by him has specific meaning and significance. According to him, managers in all organisations need to follow these principles/guidelines while managing the affairs of their business units. The management principles suggested by him in 1916 are universally accepted by modern authorities on management and are treated as valid even to this day. This is because these principles are practical in nature and also result-oriented. In fact, these principles are the outcome of his long experience as a practicing manager. These basic principals are useful for effective management of business activities. They are related to the basic components of management process such as planning, organizing, staffing, leading, coordinating and controlling. He incorporated these principles in the management theory suggested by him.The principles of management suggested by him are useful not only in business/industrial enterprises but also in other organisations such as colleges, hospitals, charitable institutions and government departments. Due to his contribution to management theory and principles, Henry Fayol is rightly treated as the Father of Modern Management Thought. Fayol is the first management thinker who provided the conceptual framework of the functions of management in his book “General and Industrial Management. The functions of management according to Fayol are,

  1. Planning
  2. Organising
  3. Staffing
  4. Commanding
  5. Coordinating
  6. Controlling

The fourteen principles of management suggested by him are related these basic functions of management process and are universally accepted. Fayol has given adequate details of every principle suggested by him. He also made them easily acceptable by others. According to Henry Fayol, managers should be flexible in the application of these principles.

The fourteen principles of management suggested by him are related these basic functions of management process and are universally accepted. Fayol has given adequate details of every principle suggested by him. He also made them easily acceptable by others. According to Henry Fayol, managers should be flexible in the application of these principles.

Fayol divided general and industrial management into following six groups:-

  1. Technical activities (production, manufacture, adaptation).
  2. Commercial activities (buying, selling and exchange).
  3. Financial activities (search for and optimum use of capital).
  4. Security activities (protection of property and persons).
  5. Accounting activities (stock taking, balance sheet, cost, and statistics).
  6. Managerial activities (planning, organising, command, coordination and control).

Henry Fayol also suggested 14 principles of management. These principles are:-

  1. Division of work,
  2. Authority and responsibility,
  3. Discipline,
  4. Unity of command,
  5. Unity of direction,
  6. Subordination of personal interest to organizational interests,
  7. Remuneration,
  8. Centralization,
  9. Scalar chain,
  10. Order,
  11. Equity,
  12. Stability of tenure,
  13. Span of co-operation and
  14. Initiative

Henry Fayol’s contribution to management theory is certainly remarkable. He gave overall concepts of general management and suggested the basic functions of management. He recommended the selection and training of workers and managers. He also advocated the use of organisation charts. He suggested certain qualities of manager’s winch include physical, mental, moral, educational technical and experience. Fayol’s theory of management was the first complete theory of management as we understand today. It incorporated proven principles, elements, procedures and techniques based on his practical experience.

square Contribution of Elton Mayo to the Development of Management Thought

Elton Mayo (1880-1949) is recommended as the Father of Human Relations School. He introduced human relations approach to management thought. His contribution to the development of management thought is unique and is also treated as human relations approach to management. It was Mayo who led the team for conducting the study at Western Electric's Hawthorne Plant (1927-1932) to evaluate the attributes and psychological reactions of workers in on-the-job situations. His associates included John Dewery, Kurt Lewin and others. Mayo and his associates came to the following conclusions from their famous Hawthorne experiments:

  1. The amount of work to be done by a worker is not determined by his physical capacity but by the social norms.
  2. Non-economic rewards play a significant role in influencing the behavior of the workers.
  3. Generally the workers de not reacts as individuals, but as members of group.
  4. Informal leaders play an important part in setting and enforcing the group norms.

Mayo discussed the factors that cause a change in human behavior. He concluded that the cause of increase in the productivity of the workers is not a single factor like rest pauses or changing working hours but a combination thease and several other factors such as less restrictive supervision, giving autonomy to workers, allowing the formation of small cohesive groups of workers and so on. Today, as a result of the efforts of Mayo and his associates, the managers in different organisations recognize that workers' performance is related to psychological, sociological and physical factors. Thus, Hawthorne Study was an important landmark to study the behavior of worker and his relationship to the job, his fellow workers and the organisation. It proved that informal work groups and the opportunity to be heard and participate in decision-making have an important impact on the productivity of the workers.

Mayo is one leading management thinker and also a leading advocate of neo-classical theory. The concept of participative management style was suggested in the neo-classical theory. The human relations approach suggested by Mayo has special importance in the present period. He rightly suggested the importance of democratic leadership and participative management style for running business activities efficiently. The role of people (workers) is clearly suggested by Mayo. He rightly suggested that management is not a mechanical process but a study of people involved in the production activities. Management will get positive response from its employees when their actions, sentiments and expectations are given due attention.

Mayo is best known for his work on the project commonly referred to as the Hawthorne Studies. They were conducted in the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric Company in the USA between 1927 and 1932. It is said that Mayo applied psychological approach to management for the first time. He used clinical and diagnostic methods. Mayo has drawn various conclusions from these studies. The Hawthorne Studies have had a shattering impact on management thinking. Mayo is regarded as revolutionary thinker because of his contribution to the management thought in the recent period. The credit of humanization of management with a view to achieve common interest of management and workers goes to Elton Mayo.

Some of the major findings of Hawthorne Studies we as noted below:

  1. Employee's behavior is influenced by mental attitudes and emotions including prejudices.
  2. The workers in a group develop a common psychological bond uniting them as a group in the form of informal organisation.
  3. In managing and motivating employee groups, human and social motivation plays greater role then financial incentives.
  4. Management must understand that a typical group behavior can dominate or even supersede individual propensities and preferences.
  5. When workers are given special attention by management, the productivity is likely to increase irrespective of actual changes in the working conditions.

Hawthorne Studies are primarily responsible for consideration of non financial incentives in improving productivity. Mayo pointed out that the organization is a social system and informal organisation is a reality. The knowledge of human nature can solve many problems of management. He emphasized that successful human relations approach can easily create harmony in an organisation, higher employee satisfaction and great operational efficiency. Central to this approach was an increased understanding of the individual worker with emphasis on motivation, needs, interpersonal relationships and group dynamics Mayo believed that a factory is not only a workplace but also a social environment in which the employees interact with each other. This gave rise to the concept of the 'social man' whose interaction with others would determine the quality and quantity of the work produced.

Mayo developed his Human Relations Theory of Management on his Hawthorne experiments. He introduced human relations approach to management and is rightly considered as one of the pioneers of the Human Relations Theory of Management.

square Features of Human Relations Approach

  1. A business organisation is not merely a techno-economic system but also a social system and involves human element.
  2. An individual employee is motivated not merely by economic incentives but also by non economic incentives, psychological and social interests, needs and aspirations.
  3. The informal groups in the organisation are more important than individuals and play an important role in raising productivity.
  4. In place of task-centered leadership, the employee-centered, humanistic, democratic and participative style of leadership should be introduced as it is more effective / productive.
  5. Employees are not necessarily inefficient or negative in their approach. They are capable of self-direction and control.
  6. Employees performance can be raised by meeting their social and psychological needs. Cordial atmosphere at work place is also useful for raising productivity.
  7. Management needs social skills along with technical skills in order to create a feeling (among the employees) that they are a part and parcel of the organisation and not outsiders.
  8. Employees need respect and positive feeling from the management. For this, employees should be encouraged to participate and communicate freely their views and suggestions in the concerned areas of decision-making.
  9. The management has to secure willing cooperation of employees. The objective before the management should be to secure cooperative effort of its employees. For this, employees should be made happy and satisfied.

The features of human relations school (noted above) are important as they were introduced in the management theory for the first time. At present, these features are well recognised but were unique when suggested by 1930.

Human relations approach is a progressive development as compared to classical approach. Here, productivity is not treated merely as an engineering problem. Cooperation of employees, team spirit and their satisfaction are treated as factors useful for raising productivity. The human relations approach has put special stress on social needs and the role of management in meeting such needs.

square Limitations of Human Relations Approach

  1. Too much importance to employees, and social needs: Human relations approach to management has given too much importance to employees, their needs and satisfaction. It has given undue stress on the social side of management as compared to technical side. It is another extreme as compared to classical theory where employees were neglected considerably. Human relations approach has also neglected many other aspects such as organizational issues, environment at the work place, labour unions, structure of the organisation and so on.
  2. Employee-oriented approach to a limited extent: It is argued that human relations approach is apparently employee-oriented but in reality it is organisation-oriented. Many measures are suggested for the happiness and satisfaction of employees. Measures are suggested to satisfy employees in order to achieve organizational objectives and not for meeting the real needs of workers. Their participation in management or upward communication with the management, etc. is outwardly employee-oriented and gives them a false sense of happiness. In brief, the human relations approach is employee-oriented but only to a limited extent.
  3. Faulty assumption in the theory: The human relations approach is based on a wrong assumption that satisfied workers are more productive. After 1950s, it was proved that productivity improvement, as a result of better working conditions and the human relations skills of manager’s did not result in productivity improvement as expected. Thus, workers satisfaction is one but not the only factor which raises industrial productivity.
  4. Limited importance to economic incentives: The human relations approach has given limited importance to economic incentives in motivating employees. They prefer informal groups and cordial relations among them. However, their interest and loyalty to the organisation largely depends on monetary incentives. Low wages lead to Labour turnover even when the good treatment is given to employees.

The human relations movement is based on the experiments conducted in the Hawthorne Plant in Cicero (USA). The major conclusion (of Hawthorne Experiments) was that the workers respond to their work situation as a whole and their attitudes and social relations constitute an important part of the total situation. In addition, the attitudes of workers and their relations with each other and with the management would play a role in forming their attitudes towards the total work situation. Elton Mayo conducted a series of pioneering studies at the Hawthorne plant they proved to be of much use in associating employees with the management for achieving organizational objectives.

It is rightly pointed out that F. W. Taylor in his contribution to management thought suggested rationalizing work for greater labour productivity while Elton Mayo recommended/ advocated humanism work for enhanced efficiency and personal satisfaction. The basic purposes of both the approaches are identical. However; the approaches of Taylor and Mayo are different. Taylor's approach was purely engineering while may referred to social needs of employees and their satisfaction. Taylor's approach to scientific management lacks human elements in the production process. He treated employee as a cog in the wheel emphasizing on efficiency at all costs as if there is no difference between workers and machines. Mayo applied psychological approach to management. He recommended humanization of management for better results in terms of production and productivity. He rightly suggested that workers are human beings and not machines. They should be treated with dignity and honour while on job.

Both the approaches (of Taylor and Mayo) are supplementary in the present management thought. At present, stress is on scientific management principles as well as on human approach to management. Efforts are being made to create favorable organisation climate for achieving organizational goals. Taylor's approach is comparatively old and was popular in the early decades of 19th century the human relations approach (suggested by Elton Mayo) is comparatively new and got popularity by 1930s.

square Systems Approach to Management Thought

Contributions to management thought/theory after 1960s are covered by modem management theories. Modem theories are based on classical and neo-classical theories but consider the management problems as they developed in the recent years. There are three streams under modern management theory. These are:-

  1. Quantitative / Mathematical Approach to Management,
  2. Systems Approach to Management, and
  3. Contingency Approach to Management.

square Systems Management School

A system is an organised entity i.e. a company or a business enterprise made up of parts connected and directed to some purpose. Each system has an input, a process and an output. It acts as a self sufficient unit. Every system is interlinked with its subsystems. Any organisation is looked upon as an artificial system, the internal parts of which work together to achieve established goals and the external parts to achieve interplay with the environment including customers, the general public, suppliers and government. The manager integrates available facilities to achieve a goal by means of systems that relate activities required for the end result. The system serves as the media through which the manager operates. An integrated system can be used purposefully for the conduct of production, marketing, distribution and other activities relating to business in an orderly manner. A manager can conduct various activities in an orderly manner with the help of the systems established. A system is a set of interrelated and interdependent parts arranged in a manner that produces a unified whole. Almost anything can be viewed as a system.

As per systems management school, an organisation is looked upon as an artificial system. Its internal parts work together to achieve established goals and the external parts to achieve interplay with the environment including customers, the general public, suppliers and government. The manager integrates available facilities to achieve a goal by means of systems that relate activities required for the end result. In this way, the systems management school helps in achieving the established goals of the organisation.

It is possible to establish such systems management organisation in a business enterprise. For this authorities, departments, etc. will be created. The work will be properly distributed and various departments (sub-systems) will operate as per the work assigned under the project. The computer can be used extensively for the execution of systems management Data processing work will become easy and quick. Systems management enables a manager to work more efficiently because of easy availability of information in different aspects of business.

square Features Of Systems Approach to Management

  1. Open or Closed Systems: Systems may be either open or dosed. An open system is one that is dependent on the outside environment for survival e.g., human body as a system is composed of many subsystems. This is an open system and it must depend on outside input and energy for survival. A system is considered closed if it does not interact with the environment. Physical and mechanical Systems are closed system because they are insulted from their external environment. Traditional organisation theorists regarded organisations as closed systems while according to the modern view organizations are open systems, always interacting with the environment.
  2. Interdependent parts: A system is a set of interdependent parts which together form a unitary whole that perform some function. An organisation is also a system which consists of four interdependent parts viz., task, structure, people and technology.
  3. Consideration of whole system: No part of the system can be precisely analyzed and under-stood apart from the whole system. Conversely, the whole system cannot be exactly evaluated without understanding all its parts. Each part is related to every other part. It means rather than dealing separately with the various parts of one organisation, the systems approach attempts to give the manager a way of looking at the organisation as a whole. For example, in order to understand the operations of the finance or production or marketing departments, he must understand the company as a whole. It is because activity of any one part of the company affects the activity of every other part.
  4. Information, energy and material: Generally, there are three basic inputs that enter the processor of the system viz., information (technology), energy (motive power) and materials to be transformed into goods. If the output is service, materials are not included in the inputs. If we have manufacturing company, output is goods or materials. If we have a consultancy firm, output is information or advice. if we have a power generating company, output is energy.
  5. Defined boundaries: Each system including an organisation has its own boundaries which separate it from other system in the environment. For open systems the boundaries are penetrable whereas for closed systems, they are not. The boundaries for closed systems are rigid. In a business organisation, it has many boundary contacts or 'interfaces' with many external system like creditors, suppliers, customers, government agencies etc. The system is inside the boundary, the environment is outside the boundary'.
  6. Synergy: Output of a system is always more than the combined output of its parts. This is called 'synergy’. In organizational terms, synergy means when separate departments within an organisation cooperate and interact, they become more productive than if they had acted in isolation e.g., it is certainly more efficient for each department to deal with one secretarial department than for each department to have a separate secretarial department of its own.
  7. Feedback mechanism: A system can adopt and adjust itself to the changing environment through the feedback mechanism. As operations of the system proceed information in feedback to the appropriate people. This helps to assess the work and if need be, to get it corrected.
  8. Multidisciplinary approach: Systems approach integrates and uses with profit ideas emerging from different schools of thought. Management freely draws concepts and techniques from many fields of study such as psychology, sociology, ecology, economics, mathematics, statistics, operations research, systems analysis etc.

Important contributors to systems school of management include Chester Barnard, Ludwig Von Bertalanffy, Russell Ackoff, Kenneth Boulding and William Scott.

From 1960s onwards, the management theorists and practitioners are referring management concepts in a systems phraseology. A system means to bring together or to combine. When viewed from the systems angle, the organisation is seen as operating in an open system constantly interacting with its environment. It receives external inputs in a continuous manner and transforms them into outputs. Suitable adjustments and rectifications are also made as per the feedback available. An organisation which is not adaptive and responsive to its environment will not survive or grow. An organisation will have individuals, groups, formal structures, goals and resources. A manager has to see that all these parts work in co-ordination in order to achieve organizational goals. Absence of co-ordination will hamper the performance of the organisation. The systems approach suggests that the total performance of the organisation will be effective only when the different systems/units/activities are coordinated and integrated in an efficient manner. For example, efficient manufacturing division needs the support of efficient marketing division for achieving organizational objectives. If not, the total performance of the organisation will be jeopardized. The managers, as decision-making entities, have to regulate the sub-systems of the Organisation. They should not work in isolation but operate in co-ordination with others.

This will avoid shortfalls in different components and bring success to the organisation. The emphasis of systems approach is on interrelatedness of the parts of an organisation. The introduction of integrated approach is treated as major contribution of systems theory.

The systems approach developed only after 1950 and is the recent contribution to management thought. It stresses the interrelatedness and interdependence of all activities within an organization. The systems theory considers organisation as an open, adaptive system which has to adjust changes in its environment. It defines organisation as a structured process in which individuals interact for attaining objectives.

square Merits Of Systems Approach

Systems approach to management is comparatively new to the management thought. This approach represents a refreshingly new thinking on organisation and management. It stresses that managers should avoid analyzing problems in isolation but should develop the skills for integrated thinking on management problems. The systems approach provides a unified focus to organizational efforts. It provides a strong conceptual framework for meaningful analysis and understanding of organisations. Systems approach provides clues to the complex behavior of organisation.

The systems theory suggests to practicing manager to study/analyze a particular element by taking into consideration its interacting consequences with other elements. A variety of systems concepts and perspectives have been developed for managers.

The systems approach rightly points out the role of 'synergy' in management. Each subsystem derives strength by its association and interaction with other sub-systems. As a result, the overall outcome is more than the sum total of individual contributions. The other contribution of systems theory is its treatment of organisation as an open system. The Organisation exhibits a 'holistic' character.

square Limitations Of Systems Approach

  1. The systems approach is criticized on the ground that it is too abstract and vague. It is difficult to apply it to practical problems directly and easily.
  2. The systems theory/approach fails to provide specific tools and techniques for the practicing executives/managers.
  3. The systems approach does not recognize differences in systems. It fails to clearly identify the nature of interactions and interdependencies between an Organisation and its external environment it also fails to offer a unified body of knowledge.

square Contingency Management School / Contingency Approach to Management / Situational Approach

A common deficiency of the classical, behavioral and quantitative schools is that they have stress one aspect of the organisation at the cost of others. The classical approach emphasizes on 'task' while behavioral approach emphasizes on 'people’. The stress of quantitative approach is on 'mathematical decision-making’. However, it is difficult to understand precisely which aspect is most useful and appropriate in a given practical situation.This brings the need to develop me broad conceptual framework that can help a manager diagnose a problem and decide which tool or tools will best do the job. The systems approach as well as contingency approach provide one integrated approach to management problems. The contingency/situational approach is the second approach (the first being the systems approach) whichattempts to integrate the various schools of management thought in an orderly manner. The contingency management approach is similar to known leadership theory called situational leadership theory. The contingency approach is applicable to leadership as well as to business management. This situational management approach is relatively a new approach to management and is an extension of systems approach. The basic theme of contingency approach is that organisations have to deal with different situations in different ways. There is no single best way of managing applicable to all situations. In order to be effective, the internal functioning of the organisation must be consistent with the needs and demands of the external environment. In other words internal organisation should have the capacity to face any type of external situation with confidence.

square Features of the Contingency / Situational Approach

  1. Management is entirely situational. The management has to use the measures/techniques as per the situation from time to time.
  2. Management should match its approach as per the requirements of the situation. The policies and practices used should be suitable to environmental changes.
  3. The success of management depends on its ability to cope up with its environment. Naturally, it has to make special efforts to anticipate and comprehend the possible environmental changes. Managers should realize that there is no one best way to manage. They have to use management techniques as per the situation which they face.

According to contingency approach, management principles and concepts of different schools have no universal/general applicability under all situations. This means these schools have not suggested one best method of doing things under all situations and at all times. The contingency approach has provided a solution to this situation.

As per the contingency approach, the task of managers is to try to identify which technique or method will be most suitable for achieving the management objectives under the available situation. Managers have to develop a sort of situational sensitivity and practical selectivity in order to deal with their managerial problems as they develop from time to time.

Contingency approach views are applicable in designing organizational structure and in deciding the degree of decentralization in establishing communication and control systems and also in deciding motivational and leadership approaches. In brief, the contingency approach is applicable to different areas of organisation and management it is an attempt to integrate various viewpoints and to synthesize various fragmented approaches to management.

The contingency approach is the outcome of the research studies conducted by Tom Burns and G. W. Stalker, James Thompson and others.

square Merits of Contingency Approach

  1. Contingency approach is pragmatic and open minded It discounts preconceived notions, and universal validity of principles.
  2. Theory relieves managers from dogmas and set principles. It provides freedom/choice to manage to judge the external environment and use the most suitable management techniques. Here, importance is given to the judgment of the situation and not the use of specific principles.
  3. The contingency approach has a wide-ranging applicability and practical utility in, organisation and management. It advocates comparative analysis of organisations to bring suitable adjustment between organisation structure and situational peculiarities.
  4. The contingency approach focuses attention on situational factors that affect the management strategy. The theory combines the mechanistic and humanistic approaches to fit particular/specific situation. It is superior to systems theory as it not only examines the relationships between sub-systems of an organisation but also the relationship between the organisation and its external environment.

square Limitations of Contingency Approach

  1. It is argued that the contingency approach lacks a theoretical base.
  2. Under contingency approach, a manager is supposed to think through all possible alternatives as he has no dried principles to act upon. This brings the need of more qualities and skills on the part of managers. The responsibility of a manager increases as he has to analyze the situation, examine the validity of different principles and techniques to the situation at hand, make right choice by matching the technique to the situation and finally execute his choice. The areas of operation of a manager are quite extensive under this theory.

Contingency approach/theory is the latest addition to existing management theories. It was observed that different theories developed earlier are not applicable to all real world situations developed since 1970. An open and adaptable systems approach (also called contingency approach) is more convenient to deal with complex management problems. Contingency/ situational approach appears to be better suited to lead management out of the present management theory jungle.

Contingency theories do not give special importance to any specific theory. It suggests that there is no one best way to management. In the Contingency approach, what is best for a particular business unit or organisation or under the available situation is given special attention. Each situation (before the management) is different and calls for a Contingency / situational approach. A manager has to study the complexity under each situation. He has to adjust his policies/decisions as per his awareness. He has to decide what is best under the available total situation and act accordingly. He (manager) has to identify the technique which will be most effective for achieving organisation objectives under particular situation/ circumstances and act accordingly. This is the practical aspect of contingency approach. What constitutes best/effective management varies with the organisations internal and external environment and the make-up of the organizational sub-systems. The best management pattern depends on a number of interrelated internal and external variable factors around the specific organisation/business unit.

The contingency approach falls somewhere in between the classical theory and systems theory. It provides a synthesis that brings together the best of aft segments of what Koontz has termed "management theory jungle". Contingency approach is practical progressive and action oriented. It considers each organisation as unique and gives special attention to situation around it. Finally, it integrates theory with practice in a systems framework. The other theories (classical or systems) are not rejected in the, contingency approach. However, they are viewed as incomplete, vague and unsuitable to all organisations and situations.

square Question Bank

  1. Discuss the functions and nature of management.
  2. Explain the nature of management process. Why management process is called social and consequential process?
  3. What are the principles and features of scientific management of Taylor? Why did trade unions oppose scientific management?
  4. Discuss contributions of Elton Mayo to the development of management thought?
  5. Discuss features of systems approach to management.
  6. What is management? Explain the characteristics of management.
  7. Explain the importance of management in the present day business world.

Article Source: Study Notes, Semester I, 2009-2010


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