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Is Management Theory Relevant To Managers? Classification Essay



Management combines aspects of art and science. Making workers more resourceful as a result of a manager’s influence is an art. The methods and tactics a manager uses to bring out the best of his workers is science. Sheldrake (2002, pp.44-45) wrote that the core aspects of management are organizing, planning, coordinating and monitoring. In the planning stage, the manager has to define his goals, and come up with a plan on how to achieve the goals.

This should be done by critically analyzing the resources available, and then coming up with the best way of fulfilling these goals. Organization is the collection of resources, including raw materials and human labour. The manager ensures that all the key elements of success are ready and available. The manager coordinates by giving directions and controlling the workers according to the plan. Afterwards, the manager monitors by ensuring everything goes according to the plan.

In the book by Brigham and Ehrhardt (2010, pp.66-67) the structure of management used in any organization depends on strategy, life cycle, size, technology and environment. Small companies, such as retail stores or barber shops will most likely lack an official form of managerial structure.

Individuals in small businesses perform tasks depending on their ability and their likes. Large organizations are not manageable without formal job descriptions. Therefore, they have working structures that are formulated for efficiency in production. Dalkir (2005, pp.48) wrote that, in large organizations, jobs are well described and clearly lined out.

Management theories

Fredrick Taylor is the pioneer of current management structure and style. During the end of the nineteenth century, people worked without guidelines resulting to inefficiency massive losses. Fayol had an interest of introducing a scientific way of management. Tompkins (2004, pp.132-134) wrote that Taylor proposed four foundations of management.

First the workers earnings should be a reflection of his performance and contribution towards the ultimate goal. Second, workers should be specialized in one area by gradual training. Third, the specialist should work together to accomplish the finest results. Finally, jobs should be equally distributed among all the employees.

However, Taylor’s theory had some short comings, making it not applicable at the present time. While the application of the theory increased production, it also increased monotony of jobs. Boddy (2007, pp.50) wrote that the theory did not encourage workers to acquire a variety of skills, since they were specialized in one type of work.

In this case, workers will not likely take pride in the work they do since they do not produce the whole product in which they can identify with. This can remarkably lead to reduction in productivity. The theory is dehumanizing since it treats workers like machines in a factory. This inhumane act led the United State Congress to do an investigation on industries applying the scientific management theory.

After the introduction of Taylor’s theories, companies became more oriented in efficiency. Thus, there was the introduction of classical organization theory. In the book by Brigham and Ehrhardt (2010, pp.378-380) this theory said that each employee should focus on doing his own work, be ready for more responsibilities and engage in training of their successors. Henri Fayol contributed to this theory through his administrative theory.

Fayol believed that management had five core duties: to organize, to coordinate, to command, to plan and to be in control. In his definition, planning was acting according to future prediction. Organization was systematic arrangement of the company’s resources. Commanding was ensuring all the companies activities are running by giving instructions. Coordination was configuring and synchronization of a team. Finally, control is ensuring that all the companies activities are executed under the company’ regulation.

Tompkins (2004, pp.266-267) wrote that Fayol also proposed fourteen ideologies of administration. Some of the ideologies he proposed were subordination, specialization of labour, order, discipline, equity and many more. Fayol’s core duties of management are still practiced today. It is worth noting that some of his ideologies are in contrast with the modern matrix management structure.

As we have seen, commanding is giving directions. Leaders are given powers, and that comes with great responsibilities. Leaders need to be firm, fair and to have high moral standards. Looking at today’s business world, especially during the financial crisis of 2009, there is degradation in leadership morals.

In the book by Brigham and Ehrhardt (2010, pp.588-589) lack of leadership morals has been seen in the banking sector where managers decide to reward themselves with the company’s shares, even after poor leadership. This shows that, leaving the management team to run the company by themselves, can lead to the fall of a company. Therefore, the theory is of no relevance to managers.

Elton Mayo was the most significant person under the behavioral school theorem. Together with his colleagues, Mayol proved the Taylor’s theory of science as an answer to high production wrong. Boddy (2007, pp.251) wrote that Mayo did this by carrying out experiments in the Western Electric company in mid 1920s. Mayol investigated how some factors affected the employee’s productivity. Some of these factors included presence or absence of breaks, extended working hours, absent of free meals and many more.

From the experiments, he found out that performance relied on the working situations and the attitudes of the employees. Open communication and encouragement from superiors increased productivity. Improved lighting condition and presence of employee welfare facilities also improved productivity.

The employees themselves influenced each other, thereby creating the need of forming unofficial groups in the workplace. In the book by Brigham and Ehrhardt (2010, pp.498) Taylor’s theorem had influence on quality control, while Mayo’s experiments showed how leadership is a crucial factor in the well being of a company.

This theory has some limitations in application. This theory ignores the idea that increment in pay can also be a motivator. In today’s economic conditions, people are more focused on making money, such that they would prefer to work where it pays more, irrespective of the working conditions.

Dalkir (2005, pp.176) wrote that the other aspect the theory ignores is that, when workers form groups within the work premises, they may result to rebellion. Some workers would probably encourage others to go on strike, and this would lead to significant losses.

In the book by Marquis and Huston (2008, pp. 501-502) under the communication system theory, Chester Barnard came up with two theories: authority and incentives. He proposed that everybody in the company should know the right channels of communication and the channels should be clearly defined. He continues to say that there should be records of communications that took place. Also during communication no work should be interrupted.

In the book by Marquis and Huston (2008, pp. 510-511) one of the problems with such models is its simplification. It ignores the complexity that might arise. For example, some people have worked in companies together for many years and have developed a system of their own to communicate. If a new manager comes and applies Barnard’s theory, it will bring changes in the way workers communicate. Since a good working relationship is based on communication, it is best for a company to use a system that works for everybody.

Bernard believed that organizations do not last for ever. This is because they lacked efficiency and effectiveness. Boddy (2007, pp. 550-551) wrote that Bernard described effectiveness as the ability to achieve the intended goals. His definition of organizational efficiency is not the same as the accepted way of use.

Barnard defines organizational efficiency as the level to which an organization fulfills the desire of customer. Peter Ferdinand Drucker proposed that companies are not efficient because they split their attention by specializing in a lot of products. He continues to say that companies should be simplified and decentralized.

Tompkins (2004, 367-368) wrote that Frederick Irving Herzberg developed the dual structure theory in 1959. This theory states that a set of two factors influences people: motivator and hygiene factors. Motivator factors include recognition, responsibility, growth and others. Hygiene factors include job security, supervision among others. From the two sets, he discovered that employees are discontented with poor working conditions, and when they are improved they hardly get satisfied. Herzberg says that these two factors are not related.


Presently managers are dealing with a lot of variables making their work extremely complex. Theories are mere guidelines on how to be a result oriented manager. In the book by Brigham and Ehrhardt (2010, pp.948-949) says that, once managers are familiar with management theories they will be able to predict future problems, thus avoiding crisis.

Also, theories enable people within an institution to communicate professionally. Finally, they give challenges thereby offering valuable lessons. Direct application of these theories is not advisable. The required principles of a theory needed by a manager vary with the level of the institution. In the end, a manager should be creative in order to achieve acceptable output-input ratio.


Boddy, D., 2007. Management: An Introduction. Boston: FT Press.

Brigham, E, & Ehrhardt, C., 2010. Financial Management: Theory & Practice. Boston: South-Western College.

Dalkir, K., 2005. Knowledge Management in Theory and Practice. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann.

Marquis, B, & Huston, C., 2008. Leadership Roles and Management Functions in Nursing: Theory and Application. New York: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Sheldrake, J., 2002. Management Theory. New York: Cengage Learning Business Press.

Tompkins, J., 2004. Organization Theory and Public Management. Salt Lake City: Wadsworth Publishing.› Visit Amazon’s Kimiz Dalkir Page

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