Management School of Thought

Management School of Thought: During the present century, certain schools of management thought have developed. Each school reflects the problems of the period during which they were popular. Herold Koontz was the first who have attempted to classify the various approaches on the management in the schools of management theory. Based on the writings of some of the scholars and Koontz, the management thoughts, have been classified in the following schools of management theory.

a) Management Process School: This school developed in France. Henri Fayol, a Frenchman is considered as the father of this school. Sometimes this school is referred to as “Traditional or Universalist” or Classical school. It regards management as a universal process. The management process is analyzed, conceptual framework is established, principles are identified and a theory of management in built from it.

Henri Fayol applied scientific approach but looked at administration from the top to down. He focused on a systematic understanding of the overall management process. It holds that management is a process which can best be understood by analyzing its function.

The traditional school is also called the rules of thumb, where workers are not given the chance for decision-making. It is running as usual without any logic. There is not any consideration of scientific method. The traditional school gives rise to:

i) Narrow work specialization;

ii) Rigid hierarchical structure of management;

iii) Gulf between vision and work due to organizational levels;

iv) Salary and perks determining the structure of management rather than work structure.

b) Scientific Management School: Scientific management is the application of the principles and methodology of modern science to problems of administration. Scientific management, in brief, involves certain combination of the following elements-

i) Science instead of rule of thumb;

ii) Co-operation instead of individuation;

iii) Harmony instead of discord;

iv) Maximum output instead of restricted output;

v) The development of each person to his greatest efficiency.

The term scientific management was introduced by Louis Brandeis in 1910 in his appearance before Interstate Commerce Commission. “The basic assumption of this school is the philosophy that workers are economically motivated and they will respond with their best emphasis is on maximum output with minimum effort by eliminating waste and inefficiency at the operative level”.

The above theory owes its origin to Frederick Winslow Taylor, who is regarded as the father of scientific management. Efficiency was the central theme of his writing. He aimed at making management a science based on well organized, clearly defined and fixed principles of management instead of depending on more or less lazy ideas.

Scientific management is also called Modern management. Modern management gives due emphasis on Human Resource Development (HRD), so that they can use the existing resources. Existing resources should be trained so that they can handle the latest technology. Modern management looks into the personal development of the staff. Welfare of the staff is the objective of modern management.

c) Bureaucratic Theory: This theory was propounded by Max Weber which has profoundly influenced modern thinking in these areas. Weber developed a bureaucratic model of organization which is essentially a universal model of efficient organization. Bureaucracy refers to a certain characteristic of organizational design. This emphasized specialization within an organization and considered hierarchy of the decision making process of great importance. He analyzed the authority and responsibility of the office rather than individual. He made monumental contribution to authority structures in a complex organization.

Luther Gulick, an American has described the functions of an executive in terms of an acronym POSDCORB, representing Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Directing, COordinating, Reporting and Budgeting.

d) Human Relation School: The human relations approach to management began with the Hawthorne experiments in the early 1930s. Its findings led to the development of a new hypothesis i.e. motivation to work, morale and productivity are related to social relations among the workers and the supervision and not to physical condition of work. The human relation school considers that as managing involves getting things done through people; therefore management studies should be evolved around interpersonal relations. Thus the main emphasis is on the individual and the informal group in the formal organization. The basic concern is to study people as human beings rather than as mere work units. Sociologists and psychologists have been very active in developing this school of thought.

i) Human Behavior School: The focus of the human behavior school is on behaviour of the individual, the group and the organization. This theory looks at the human factor as the central theme. It lays greater emphasis on interpersonal relationship, leadership, group dynamics and motivation of personnel. The basic assumption is that in case the management can keep the employees happy, then this will result in the maximum performance.

Elton Mayo and group of industrial Psychologist conducted experiments at the Western Electric Hawthorne plant in Chicago. They came to the conclusion that social interaction and psychological factors are important in determining the level of productivity and satisfaction.

ii) Social System School: This theory views organization as a system which is composed of interacting and inter dependent parts. As a system, an organization is composed of a number of subsystem of parts, each of which are in itself a system composed of various subsystems which are also in interdependent and interaction relationship among themselves. The various subsystems of an organization are linked with each other through its communication network, decisions, authority, responsibility, relationship, objectives, policies, procedures and other aspects of coordinating mechanism. The social system school encourages employees to develop social group on the job, to participate in management and allows democratic functioning in the enterprise.

e) Decision Theory School: The decision theory school of management, led by Simon looks upon the management processes as a decision making process. In view of the decision theories, since the performance of various management functions involved decision making the entire field of management can be studied from the study of the process of decision making. They have expanded their area of theory building from the decision making processes to the study of the decision, the decision maker and the social and psychological environment of the decision maker. The decision theory starts with the small areas of decision making and then looks at the entire field of management through this keyhole.

f) Democratic Schools: With development, people are now aware about their rights and responsibilities. Democratic rights are given to the workers. They have the right to oppose to illegal works. They can demand for the right to oppose to illegal works. They can demand for their rights. All these approaches led to the development of democratic school of management.

g) Contingency Theory School: This theory emphasizes that there is no best way to manage. It focus on the inter relationship within and among the subsystems as well as between the organization and its environment. It emphasizes the multivariate nature of organization and attempts to understand how organizations operate under varying conditions and in specific situation. It regards management as situational.

None of the above school provides a comprehensive view. Each has strong and weak points. In the present time, people don’t support the traditional school, as there is not any scope of right of the workers. It is not the mentality of workers to work as a toy under the authority. As a result, democratic school has got the importance. But the contingency school of management includes all other schools of management and so seems to be more adaptable.

Human relation school should get importance, as for the development of an organization it is most essential. An organization can fulfill its objectives only when the employees are satisfied. They should get an environment to work and to get working environment mutual respect for each other is essential.

The most suitable school in the present situation seems to be modern school. This is because personnel constitute the most important and vital key to the effective functioning of an organization. Their knowledge and skills have to be constantly upgraded to handle new task to achieve organizational success and the modern schools feel the necessity of this point.

Similarly scientific schools can also be supported in the present time. Today, the library and information systems are the complex organizations committed to serve the users demands. Libraries have growth in times in the social, cultural, scientific and technological environments in which they have been developing and operating. Modern libraries are not merely store houses of information and knowledge, but are also live and active institutions involved in a vital service to the society. Today, information and knowledge are considered as important as energy and biotechnology and hence have to be taken care of and managed well. Therefore in the libraries, the theories and principles of scientific management are being increasingly applied to manage them. 

A number of more or less separate schools of management thought have emerged since the end of the 19th century and each sees management from its own viewpoint. Each of the above school of management thought reflects the problems of the period during which they were popular and these schools which have survived today are influencing management thoughts of the present situation.