There is only one best way to manage

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One best way to manage 3


The modern day organization operates in an ever changing environment. Today’s organization is very different from the 1990s organization. With the current developments in the technological environment, the rise of social media and the ever increasing economic challenges have meant that today’s organizations cannot be managed in the same way as yesterday’s organizations owing to the fact that the two types of organizations have been exposed to different types of challenges. In a bid to maneuver through these challenges at different times, different ways or styles of management have emerged. These range from autocratic, persuasive, democratic, chaotic, Laissez-faire among other management styles all aimed at ensuring that organizations are effectively and efficiently managed (Fineman etal, 2005). With all these management styles, the question that arises is; is there one best way to manage or should all the management ways be applied together? It is as a result of the so many management styles that there has been confusion on their application with some people arguing that organizations ought to develop a one best way of managing themselves while others argue that there should be no one best way to manage and that the management style chosen by a particular organization should depend on its circumstances. Although a one best way to manage would have its merits, this essay argues that there is no one best way to manage. Instead, the essay advocates for a contingency kind of management whereby each organization and manager should look at its environment and circumstances in deciding how to manage. This is because managers and organizations are faced with different circumstances and challenges and applying a single management style as the best way to manage for all organizations would have detrimental effects to some organizations while it would work for others depending on their circumstances.

In the 19th Century, Frederick Winslow Taylor in a bid to ensure efficiency in organizational management came up with the scientific management theory which advocated for organizations coming up with one best way of doing things. The same notion is held by bureaucratic theory that advocates for a hierarchical way of organizational management. All these theories for a long time advocated for a one size fits all kind of management style. According to its advocates, a one best way to manage would ensure no confusion regarding how things are done in an organization at all times (Burnes,2006). Thus, this would result in improved productivity, increased employee incentive, widespread improvements in quality control, better personnel practices and greater cooperation between employees and management while ensuring that time is significantly saved and hence the costs associated with this. However, the one best way to manage notion has been challenged by contingency theory of management. Contingency theory advocates for no one best way to manage and that organizations ought to be managed depending on their circumstances. This is the basis of this essay’s argument that there is no one best way to manage.

A major reason why there is no one best way to manage is that organizational people are different and hence they ought to be managed differently. When people join organizations, they bring in their personal baggage with some making poor choices, acting rashly or defending their comfort zones. They also have differing agenda which at times conflict with the agenda at work or the agenda the management might be promoting. Some employees are difficult repeating behavior that might not be right or that they copy from others. There may also be such challenges as jealousy, infighting, jockeying for position as well as defending turf. On the other hand, some employees in the same organization may be good performers, they take care of themselves, and they are supportive of other team members as well as organizational policies (Ryszard,2016). Others might have challenges that are external to the organization. This shows that people in the organization differ a lot and applying one way in management may not work for all of them. For instance, while you may apply dictatorship to stubborn employees, this may not be fair for those who are cooperative. On the other hand, applying laisses-fare for all employees may not work well for those who are petty. Thus, good management should strive to motivate and guide the people to meet the organizational goals. Management should not be pegged on one best way to manage as this may not work for all people in all circumstances. The manager should instead study the people they are managing and identify their needs in deciding which style of management to apply. This should differ from one organization to the other depending on their circumstances.

Another reason why there is no one best way to manage is that the people being managed may be at different development levels and hence applying a single management style on all of them may not work well with all of them. Effective management ought to recognise that there is no one best way to manage people but instead the management style ought to be adapted accouring to the development level of the people being managed (Morgan,2007). Thus, the management ought to modify the amount of direction and support they give to those being managed depending on their skills levels as well as commitment to for the tasks at hand. In this regard, four descriptions have been used to describe the stages of development including the enthusiastic beginner, the disillussioned learner, the capable but cautious learner and the self reliant achiever. A good manager will not apply a single management style that he/she thinks is best for all situations for the four kind of people. Rather, the manager will seek to understand each person as well as their development stages so as to decide the best management style that will best manage the person and hence ensure that he gives the best results for the organisation.

Although organizations ought to have a set of principles and rules that guide its day to day operations, there are some situations that call for reaction in a way outside the norm. For instance, there is the ever changing technology, new markets and hence cosnumers are emerging as well as the economic factors that shape the environments in which we work. As such, good management should assess the situation at hand and decide on the management style to apply to the situation. In this regard, three leadership styles and empirical situation measurements have been used in assessing the degree to which a certain leadership style may best be applied. The first one is the leader-member relationship which is considered the most important variable when determining the applicability of the situation. The factor is about how the manager perceives his/her cooperate relations with those he manages. The management style applied in this case will depend on whether the relationship is good or bad (, 2016). Another factor to consider in deciding the management style to apply is the task structure. The management style applied in this case will depend on whether the work task is highly structured as far as standard procedures and adequate measures of assessment are concerned. Another factor to consider is the position power . In this case, is the manager’s level of authority based on punishing or rewarding behavior? The management style applied in this case will for instance depend on whether the manager derives his authority through provision of bonuses when one has met a set target or through termination of an employee’s contract for failing to meet set goals.

An organization that applies only one management style in every situation is bound to fail in some circumstances. This is because some situations may call for management styles that are a bit dictatorial or autocratic while other situations may call for giving some level of autonomy to those being managed. For instance, in case of an emergency, the management may dictate orders but this may not be an ideal management style in the normal running of a company. While the management may set sales revenue targets, they may give autonomy to the marketing manager to decide how to achieve the targets. In other words, the situation should determine the management style adopted and there can never be one best way to manage for all organizations despite their operating in different situations and environments (Jared, 2013). An example of a situation where a manager might move away from the norm depending on his relationship with the surbodinate is where the surbodinate suddenly starts arriving at work late. Although the company rules might demand that the manager issues notice to the worker, the manager might decide to talk to the employee in a bid to better understand the situation and hence take the most appropriate course of action. This will give the manager valuable information and hence is able to act accordingly. By using this kind of management under this situation, the manager will save the employee’s job while saving the manager and hence the organization the time for sacking and hiring another employee. In other situations, the management may decide to apply appropriate management styles depending on the nature of the situations.


Though the classical theories and the scientific management theories advocate for one best way to manage the organization, this essay has argued that there is no one best way to manage. This is because organizations differ in many aspects including size, operating environment, situations and challenges among other factors. In addition, the people being managed are different and the situations under which management is practiced also differ. Thus, the best way to manage is to apply the management style that best fits the environment and the way the organization fits in the environment. Managers should thus consider their management contexts as well as the situation at hand in deciding the management styles to apply to their organizations. This is the basis of the argument in this essay that there is no one best way to manage.


Fineman, S, Sims,D&, Gabriel, Y2005, Organizing and organizations, London, Sage.

Burnes,B2006, No such things as a “ One best way “ to manage organizational change, Management Decision, vol. 34, no. 10, pp. 10-18.

Ryszard,B2016, Strategic management: Formulation and implementation, Retrieved on 27th August 2016, from;

Morgan,G2007, Images of organization, Thousand Oaks, Sage., 2016, Contigency approach to management, Retrieved on 27th August 2016, from; Management.html

Jared,B2013, Contemporary issues in management, New York, Taylor & Francis.