Decision on how to face competition, and sometimes harsh business conditions always present a serious challenge to managers. To be a professional manager one needs to understand certain principles and standards that attribute to the characteristics of a good manager. Attaching value to customers ability to control, being always on the competitive edge, ability to properly organize while checking healthy profitability levels and good ethical standards, all calls for good managers. It also justify why organizations need to hire managers. The above principles are inter- related and must therefore be strictly adhered to for the progress of any organization (Nobel, 2000).
Management size can vary depending with organization’s operations. It can comprise of one or two person to hundreds or thousands in huge companies with many branches. It is essential to say that management never ends. It exists so long as the organization is operational. Since the decisions made earlier have an impact in the present and the future of an organization, the aspect of a continuous management becomes valid. Management is found everywhere and collects or heap together knowledge of many and diversified disciplines. In this paper, the author tries to associate the different classical theories that surround management and management systems, and how a constructive formula can be derived from the whole concept and get integrated to improve management (Bush, 2003).
Classical theories of management have been integral in management, and they are still in use today. The three theories are; The Taylor’s theory of scientific management, Henry Fayol’s theory of administration and Max Weber’s theory of Bureaucracy. No other theories were developed by these schools of thoughts, and the other new schools of ideas that came later tried to merge their ideas to fit or carefully replace these old schools (Lee, Shibba &Wood, 1999).
Theory of Scientific Management (Fredric W. Taylor)
Fredrick Winslow Taylor, an American engineer put his spotlight more on the lower ranks within an organization. He established a scientific system that could exactly match the employees’ wages with the amount of work they did. During Taylor’s time, employees were the ones who could determine the amount of work to do, and they always maintained it at the lowest levels (Lee, Shibba &Wood, 1999).
Taylor’s relentless effort to search the best way to reverse this paid off when he came up with a time –framed way of completing each task assigned to each employee, as well as doing away with the unimportant tasks involved in finalizing a specific job. He also came up with time –based pay rates, and also emphasized on provision of education to the workmen (Nobel, 2000).
The great limitation with this theory is that workmen in the low levels in an organization did not have enough education. To deal with the situation, he argued that organizations should separate planning and the execution of activities. Another argument against scientific theory was that it was dehumanizing. By the virtue of employees working within strict time limits, there was no room for a workman to develop or excel. However, it is very much in use and most managers have embraced it especially in time based employments and contracts (Bush, 2003).
Administrative Theory (Henry Fayol)
Henri Fayol, a mining engineer focused more on the senior management within an organization. He argued that for a proper and smooth running of an organization the management has to adopt the principles of planning, organizing, coordination, control and forecasting. By doing so, a state of harmony will easily be arrived at and activities will be performed with much ease. He came up with the famous fourteen principles of management (Nobel, 2000). These principles are; “Division of labor, presence of authority, remuneration of staff ,the principle of discipline, initiative, order, Esprit de Corp, stability of tenure, equity, subordination, presence of chain of authority, ability to have a harmonized direction, centralization and unity of command” (Bush, 2003, p. 40).
The administrative theory is the only theory considered to have very few flaws as it leaves space for employees’ growth because of the aspect of initiative and togetherness (Esprit de Corps). However, the management systems used today infringes Fayol’s two principles of unity in direction and command. In today’s management environment, the five initial principles of planning, organizing, coordinating, controlling and forecasting that Fayol developed are actively used in very many organizations (Lee, Shibba &Wood, 1999).
The Theory of Bureaucracy (Max Weber)
Max Weber, a German sociologist, argued that bureaucracy is the best structure of a society. Weber noted that the countries on the west were moving from focusing on the value thinking to technical thinking, where immediate results were more appreciated than employee’s emotions. This, in his interpretation could be nothing else but a form of bureaucracy. Weber therefore developed principles based on rigid and official authority. He related the growth experienced in the western countries to some form of firmly established hierarchy and subordination (Keith, 1998).
Due to the strict nature of bureaucracy, rules and guidelines are well established. The line of authority is clearly known. Weber went on to support bureaucracy in that division of labor is evident in any organization. Specialization is also encouraged because Weber supported the presence of interpersonal relationships which he also called formal relationships. He also made a lot of emphasis on strict adherence to the set rules. In bureaucratic organization there exists a promotion structure which is purely based on the ability of technical qualification. This is coupled with known methods for every work.
This system of organization raised so many arguments, one of them being very rigid and stiff (Bush, 2003).
Various theorists have argued that bureaucratic theory can only suit those organizations which took very long to experience change, probably government institutions. Formalities due to the bureaucratic nature of organizations bring about delayed decisions hence, delayed implementation, and consecutively low productions and finally losses sets in. Coordination and free communication within an organization is hindered. This slowly kills motivation and willingness as employees feel neglected. Lastly, more losses keep on incurring because there is a lot of paperwork (Keith, 1998).
The theory is still in use especially in military organizations and government bodies where decisions are not bound to change regularly. It helps in that strict submission to the well laid law and by-laws reduce the risks of power collision. It is not feasible, by all means, to establish bureaucratic rule in business organizations (Keith, 1998).
Management system is defined as a confirmed structure meant to review and improve organization’s guiding principles, processes and course of action. A business must have a vision which is shared among all the people (Nobel, 2000). A vision is supported by quality standards being observed, as well as other external factors like government policies and environment. The reasons why a good management system is essential in today’s business environment is due to the facts that competition is very high, the aspect of globalization is everywhere and the need to maintain fair share of profit(s) is also high (Bush,2003).
There is a high probability of transitions in the modern business environment and the challenge of keeping in pace and adapting with the technology. There are various main systems of management. Management information system is defined as a system that offers the required information for any organization to run smoothly and effectively. People, information and knowledge make up the management information system. People are the great asset because they are involved in processes like accounting, costing, service delivery and other problem solving activities (Nobel, 2000).
Human Resources Management
These are systems that integrate people in a work place. The system is at the centre to see to it that an organization becomes successful. Investigation on the workforce, job allocation, on-job training, hiring and scheduling are some of the activities that directly appertains to the human resources information system (Nobel, 2000).
Marketing Management Information System
This type of management system assists the organization in terms of product development, sales decisions, prices determination, distributorship and sales estimation. Marketing system does not rely on internal factors but rather factors like availability of customers, level of competitiveness and government policies. It is possible to integrate the above systems in an organization. For instance marketing management and financial management systems can be intertwined such that sales forecasts and the projected path of financial growth are both harnessed together while equipping employees to make goods and/or services move. A feedback mechanism can also be introduced to serve as a link between the organization and the external world (Nobel, 2000).
The different aspects of management systems are important and they should be integrated in the management of resources in an organization. Managing information helps managers in developing better strategies of improving the competitiveness of an organization. It is through management systems that managers identify innovative technologies in developing competitive products. With the increasing competition in the global markets, there is need to increase the level of consumer satisfaction. This can only be achieved by integrating important information about consumer behavior with the production systems. This helps organizations develop products which match the needs of consumers. This increases the loyalty of consumers and ultimately the profit level and competitiveness of a company is improved (Lee, Shibba &Wood, 1999).
Apple Inc. is a company that has been able to manage its systems properly. The company manufactures computer hardware, software and electronics. To improve its competitiveness in the global markets, the management of the company have established a system which integrates all stakeholders. As such, the managers are able to get all information about the needs of the customers, employees and investors. This has helped the company to develop innovative strategies in the manufacturing systems, human resource management and when working with all stakeholders of the company (Daft, 2011).
The above discussed theories are still in use today. They are still playing an integral part in facilitating proper management in post modern institutions. Fayol’s theory is the best and well placed in that the principles discussed therein are fully operational in modern organization. It has received a warm welcome by the modern managers due to its practicability. Taylor’s theory, though expansive and widely used, leaves out the aspect of humans links. Max Weber‘s bureaucratic theory does not favor business organizations. Apple Inc. has been successful after applying management systems of all strategies. As such, the company has been able to improve its performance in the international markets.
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