Management Theory

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Management Theory

Management Theory

As markets all over the world become more international and the rates of competition progressively become aggressive, and at the same time as the changes in technology continuously specify competitive advantage, the theories as well as the styles of management have changed immensely (Barge and Oliver, 2003). Theories have developed making management to be well-matched with the current international conditions. The contemporary theory of management helps to explain how quick changes in the nature of today’s organizational environment affect the overall management practices. Among the earliest management frameworks, one of them was connected with administrative organization which practiced management theories that were traditional in nature which were designed to control behaviour (Barge and Oliver, 2003). On the other hand, modern theories of management have presented that the use of bureaucracy is not the most effective model nowadays (Eisenhardt and Graebner, 2007). Therefore, this essay will discuss the classical as well as the contemporary theories of management. The essay will also compare past management practices with those practiced in today’s organizations drawing illustrations from the two theories of management.

Classical theory of management is a division of the management theories which developed in the 19th century during the age where challenges regarding factory systems commenced to identify the roles of the management plays within an organization specifically targeting the efficiency of the work process (Kominis and Emmanuel, 2007). Classical approach to management acknowledges the form of management on the basis of the belief that staff members within an organization have only physical and economical needs whereas their social as well as their job satisfaction requirements are considered unimportant. Furthermore, classical theory entails that the management of an organization is regarded as a logical process of interconnected functions (Kominis and Emmanuel, 2007). Furthermore, in this theory, executives within an organization utilize the principles of management as guidelines on how they run operations within an organization.

In addition, classical theory of management puts its emphasis on economic efficiency where staff members within an organization are motivated by economic gains as well as other available incentives (Kominis and Emmanuel, 2007). Furthermore, classical theory is supported on three fundamental principles: bureaucracy, scientific management as well as administration. Although this theory offers specialization, structure, democracy, rationality, structure and predictability, but simultaneously it also provides a bulk of paperwork, rigidity, compartmentalization of work as well as goal displacement. Then again, classical theory has its strengths which includes: clear organizational structure with degrees of management each having its own objectives and duties (Kominis and Emmanuel, 2007). Also, it allows proper division of labour breaking it into smaller tasks, making it easy to get done. Furthermore, it emphasizes on autocratic type of leadership where decisions are made from the top and communicated down. Also, it supports the idea that staff members are motivated by monetary rewards therefore, they will function productively if they have an incentive awaiting them.

On the other hand, contemporary theory of management exacts that when leaders make a decision, they ought to consider every facet of the present circumstance and perform on those elements that are fundamental to the imminent circumstances (Nickerson, Hsieh and Zenger, 2007). The contingency theory exacts that there is no best manner of preparing an organization in terms of leading and making decisions. Therefore, the ideal class of action is dependent on both the internal as well as the external circumstances. For instance, technology influences variances in such organizational traits as extent of control, concentration of authority as well as preparation of regulations and procedures (Nickerson, Hsieh and Zenger, 2007).

In addition, contingency theory of management suggests that organizations are open schemes that require cautious management in order to meet the needs as well as to steady the internal needs so as to conform to environmental situations (Nickerson, Hsieh and Zenger, 2007). Furthermore, this theory exacts that management ought to take into consideration accomplishing alignment as well as good fits. In addition, these theory focuses on three dimensions: leader-member relationship which is concerned with the level of mutual trust and respect between the leader and their employees. In this circumstance, the leader is accepted and respected by his subordinates. Secondly, the level of task structure is concerned with the magnitude to which the responsibilities are clearly arranged (Nickerson, Hsieh and Zenger, 2007). Thirdly, the leader’s position power refers to the power underlying the position of the leader in the organization.

It is with no doubt that an individual who was a CEO during the 1960’s period will be utterly astonished with the level of customer service as well as the instantaneous supply chains being practiced by the organizations in the present generation. Although, strongly disagree that there is a little change between the management practices used in the 1960’s with that applied in today’s organizations. First and foremost, today’s management practices rely highly on soft skills such as consensus building, listening, and relationships as well as understanding (Bloisi, Cook and Hunsaker, 2003). This entails bringing the whole team along with you rather than dragging them along.

Individuals in the management may not bear the full authority of influencing their subordinates since their powers are derived from the subordinates being managed. In other words, the managed, so called the subordinates, offer the powers to the managers willingly (Bloisi, Cook and Hunsaker, 2003). It is therefore more comparable in today’s organizations and entirely project management at its best since in the long run, it creates a sense of moral, participation as well as ownership among the managed. On the other hand, management principles during the 1960’s was considered highly hierarchical, disciplined and organized. It was closely compared to the military type of management where the subordinates within an organization strictly followed rules from their leaders (Bloisi, Cook and Hunsaker, 2003). The capacity of management originated from the power of the position.

This kind of management practice in the current world is normally used in the military and therefore it would not much apply to the normal business organization. With reference to the classical theory of command, there is an huge difference between management practices in the 1960’s and that in the today’s world since the practices featured strict control over the subordinates, sheer chain of command from the all the way to the bottom, predictability of behaviour as well as unidirectional downward influence (Bushe and Kasam, 2005). This clearly differentiates with today’s management practices where there is no strict control over employees since they are highly involved in the day-to-day operations within an organization.

Secondly, there is a high distinction between management practices in the 1960’s and that of today’s world because of the “Command and Conquer” style of management. This kind of management practice involves an approach that doesn’t take into consideration the well-being and care of the employees (Bushe and Kasam, 2005). This form of practice is focuses mostly on the results rather than the individuals that bring about the results. In addition, it tends to push the staff members to their limits in order to achieve certain results forcing their employees to obey their commands without any form of regards. Furthermore, management practices in the 1960’s instilled fear among their own employees as a sign of respect to their leaders (Bushe and Kasam, 2005). This brought about aspects of unreliable, unmotivated, inefficient as well as undependable staff members within an organization.

On the other hand, today’s management practices highly focus on motivation among their employees. 21st century management practices takes into consideration aspects of motivation among their employees (Bloisi, Cook and Hunsaker, 2003). This is because motivation is the key to performance improvement. Most organization in today’s world offer direct praise to their employees whenever they achieve or even exceed their objectives. This creates a sense of recognition as well as appreciation to the employees which consequently increases their productivity as well as their participation in matters regarding their organization. Furthermore, this kind of management practices encourages socialization among the employees and their leaders as opposed to the 20th century kind of management which restricted socialization between managers and their employees due to the flow of authority (Barge and Oliver, 2003). According to the modern contemporary theories of motivation, employees need their various needs such as psychological as well as their economic needs among others to be met as a motivation factor. This clearly indicates how different the management practices in the 1960’s differ from that in today’s management practices.

In addition, the difference that exists between management practice in the 1960’s and that in today’s world is the element of push management vs. pull management. Management practices in the 1960’s mostly involved managerial qualities of push management (Barge and Oliver, 2003). They were described as coercive managerial qualities because it was entirely about getting the job done by pushing staff members within the organization. Push management practice is the type of management which relies on direction. According to Theory X, management is supposes that staff members are lazy and therefore the managers aim at accomplishing the tasks at hand rather than trusting their employees (Barge and Oliver, 2003). In this practice, employees are considered as machines that are easily interchangeable which doesn’t encourage neither initiative nor creativity. According to Theory X, the management presumes that their staff members are lazy and need to be watched and controlled keenly.

On the other hand, management practices demonstrated by organizations in today’s world utilizes the approach of pull management. This approach is considered opposite to that of pull management which takes into consideration aspects such as empathy and respect. It can also be about inspirational management and it is based on management by guidance, enabling or even facilitating (Kominis and Emmanuel, 2007). According to Theory Y, pull management practiced by today’s organizations demonstrates the facet to enabling through offering employees both liberty as well as responsibility. In addition, these management practices encourage employees to add value to the organization through active participation. In addition, the employees are treated as responsible and valued members of an organization. According to Theory Y of motivation, these management practices consider employees as ambitious, responsible, self-motivated as well as autonomous (Kominis and Emmanuel, 2007). This allows them to become creative and therefore tries to create space for the development of their employees. Therefore, this vividly indicates the difference between the management practices during the 1960’s and that in today’s world.

Finally, we are in an astonishing period where the rate of technological changes determines the competitive advantage of an organization (Nickerson, Hsieh and Zenger, 2007). During the 1960’s, the management practices utilized focused on how much an on organization can attend to their consumers while at the same time remaining very efficient and cheap. For example, Henry Ford’s point of view was how he could minimize the price of automobiles at a point where his decently paid staff members can be able to afford it thus harvesting a massive market.

On the other hand, in today’s world, management practices focus on both the cost as well as the time it takes an organization to produce a certain item at the lowest scale ever recorded which leads to choices (Nickerson, Hsieh and Zenger, 2007). Due to technological advancement, the number of competitors has increased at a faster rate as compared to that during the 1960’s where the companies with the latest technologies dominated the market. Therefore, due to the aspect of technological advancement, management practices differ completely from that used in the 1960’s. Therefore, according to the contingency theory, management practices of today’s organizations ought to be open and thus require cautious management so that they can effectively conform to the current environmental circumstances such as technological changes (Nickerson, Hsieh and Zenger, 2007). This clearly shows the huge differences between both management practices during the 1960’s and that of today’s times.

To sum up, I strongly disagree that the management practices utilized during the 1960’s varies a little with that used in today’s times. This is because the managerial approaches during the 1960’s were mostly based on the military kind of management that focused on authority as the overall peak of management whereas management practices in today’s time focuses on employee motivation as well as their participation as the core influence of better organizational performance. Furthermore, aspects of technological changes in the 1960’s as compared to that in today’s times have caused a huge difference on management practices. Therefore, the management practices used a generation or two ago varies immensely with those practiced in today’s times.


Barge, J.K & Oliver, C 2003, Working with appreciation in managerial practice. Academy of Management Review, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 124-142.

Bloisi, W., Cook, C.W & Hunsaker, P 2003, Management and Organizational Behaviour, McGraw-Hill Education, European edition.

Bushe, G. R & Kassam, A. F 2005, When Is Appreciative Inquiry Transformational? A Meta- Case Analysis. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. Arlington, vol. 41, Iss. 2, pp. 161-182.

Eisenhardt, K. M & Graebner, M. E 2007, Theory building from cases: Opportunities and challenges. Academy of Management Journal, vol. 50, pp. 25–32.

Kominis, G & Emmanuel, C.R 2007, The expectancy-valence theory revisited: Developing an extended model of managerial motivation. Management Accounting Research, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 49-55.

Nickerson, J. A., Hsieh, C & Zenger, T. R 2007, Opportunity Discovery, Problem Solving and a Theory of the Entrepreneurial Firm. Journal of Management Studies, vol. 44, no. 7, pp. 1255-1277.