Good Example Of Foundations Of Modern Day Management Theory Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Management, Theory, Education, Organization, Students, School, Development, System

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/11/05

Analysis of the Past and Present Management Theories

In the present age, business enterprises are struggling to ensure their management styles and systems are efficient and effective. Most are not attaining their goal of employing the perfect management style. The problem may partly be as a result of, not understanding the evolving nature of the management system. It can also be as a result of the forces that shaped the management system historically, the forces that are currently shaping the system and those that will develop it in the future. Without such understanding, efforts are too often blind and fragmented. This paper analyzes the past management and leadership theories in an attempt to understand the foundations of modern day management theories. The analysis of the historical theories of management will lay a basis for analysis of the significance of the past theories to modern day management. The paper concludes by explaining the expectations and roles of the future managers and the possible challenges of future management.

Historical records show that the school of management thought has been developed over many centuries. The records reveal that there has always existed some form of control wherever co-operative effort was necessary for the survival of groups of people. For example, documents that were unearthed from the Sumerian civilization of around BC 5000 showed that Sumerian temple priests managed a great wealth through a complicated system of tax collection and record keeping. Early accounts of management are also evident in Egypt’s construction of pyramids, Babylonian and Hebrew record keeping, and the formal organization of the early Rom (Dsimbiri, 2009).
In the course of the growth and progress of contemporary management school of thought, diverse schools have risen. Within each school of thought, theorists have stressed various perspectives or methodologies to management. The classical school of thought laid the foundation for the modern management theory. The three theorists who spearheaded the classical school of thought include Fredrick Taylor, Max Weber, and Henri Fayol. Fredrick Taylor pioneered the scientific approach to management, where a worker was aptitude and skill was matched with the power requirement of a job in order to increase efficiency. Max Weber developed the bureaucratic approach to management while Henri Fayol created the administrative approach to management.
One of the greatest contributions of the classical school of thought is bringing the training of management to the forefront as a valid scientific concern. Most managers currently employ the many insights and developments of these pioneers’ ideas and theories of management. However, many of the ideas and philosophies proposed by the classical theorists seem simplistic and relevant only in isolated settings. The classical theories, for this reason, cannot be fully employed in the modern management settings due to their one-dimensional view of the organization. For example, the classical theories assume that people are mostly motivated by money. In addition, the classical school tended to underestimate the role of individuals in the organization. This error in the classical theories was primarily responsible for the emergence of other schools of management thought.

Modern day Theories of Management

The beginning of the revolution in management school of thought was the inside turn of the 20th century. In this period, management thought was developing from being an unsystematic and vague collection of ideas and theories to becoming a field of study with set principles that could guide managers and leaders. Current management theories have significantly borrowed from the classical school of thought (Bush, 2003). However, modern day management theories have been shaped by the different changes throughout history. Some of the main forces that have changed management over the years include socioeconomic thinking, technological development, organization size, and marketplace pressure. The schools of thought that were developed after the classical period include the Human Relations or Behavioral approach to management, and the Decision-making School of thought.
The Human Relations or Behavioral approach to management’s focus of interest is on the interaction between the manager and the workers. The approach to management also focuses on the interaction between two or more workers in the organizational setting. The work of several theorists and practitioners formed the basis of the traditional human relation management approach. Among the pioneers include Abraham Maslow, Douglas McGregor, and Elton Mayo. The Decision-making school of thought viewed the organization as a decision-making unit and not as an automated system or machine (Mongon & Chapman, 2012).
In the mid - twentieth century, several contemporary management theories have emerged. The most important contemporary theories include the path-goal theory, quantitative school, and the contingency school. In recent times, there has also been a significant interest in developing ideas about management coming from the Japanese approach to increasing productivity in large-scale organizations.
The qualitative approach to management is a theory developed during the Second World War. The theory is a scientific approach to management where managers use quantitative techniques and mathematical models to solve problems facing an organization. This theory is concerned with the maximizing output within the confines of organizational and environmental constraints. Since the theory is scientific in nature, it views people in the organization as another factor in the equation along with money, material, time, and technology (Volberda & Elfring, 2001).
The systems and contingency school of thought is the most modern approach to management. The school of thought views an organization as a system made up of smaller components that operates in coordination. Since the organization is a system, a breakdown in one area will affect other components thus affecting the entire organization.
The Path-goal theory draws heavily on two sociological ideas. The two sociological ideas are exchange and expectancy theory. The path-goal theory assumes that workers will behave in organizationally desirable ways when they know that a particular set of behaviors will allow them to achieve a desired personal output from their expenditure of energy. A manager’s job on the path-goal theory is to define the path to this desirable goal (Bush, Bell & Middlewood, 2010).
Modern theories have significantly contributed to better and more efficient approaches to management. Through the current theories, managers and organizational leaders have been able to adopt more effective and efficient methods of managing organizational resources in order to maximize profits. The current theories of management have also taken into consideration the changes in socioeconomic thinking, technological development, organization size, and marketplace pressure. However, the modern theories have overemphasized the organization as a system thus ignoring the human aspect of the organization. The theories have emphasized the efficiency and productivity of organizations more than worker satisfaction. Current theories have also failed to address the changes in the workforce adequately. It is because there have been an increased number of minority groups in organizations. Such groups require different approaches to management since they have special needs.
Leadership and management will continually change in response to the socioeconomic changes and technological development. The role of the future leader will involve identifying possible threats and opportunities, and adopting the most effective management approach that will ensure the existence of the organization despite the uncertain future. In order to address such issues, managers will be obliged to adopt leadership styles that involve delegation and division of task. Such strategies will help the organization achieve its goals in a more effective and efficient manner.


Bush, T. (2003). Theories of Educational Leadership and Mangement, 3rd edition. London: Chapman.
Bush, T., Bell, L., and Middlewood, D. (2010). The Principles of Educational Leadership and Management. London: Sage.
Dsimbiri, L. (2009). Organization and Management Theories. New York: Sage Publishing.Mongon, D. and Chapman C. (2012) High Level Leadership – Improving Outcomes in Education Settings. London: Routledge.
Volberda, H., & Elfring, T. (2001). Rethinking Strategy. London: Routledge.

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