Management styles are methods of leadership for organizing, directing, influencing, leading and facilitating organizational performance. They dictate how managers are to make decisions, whether to involve subordinates or whether to disregard them. In addition, each style has its unique features that dictate how employees and managers are to relate and communicates.
On the other hand, Management theories are the set of rules or guidelines that seek to help and direct managers in developing effective ways of managing an organization (Miles 2012). Such theories act by assisting employees in ensuring that they develop an effective relationship with the goals of the business and implement some effective ways of achieving these goals.
Management theories include Fayol’s theory of management, Taylor’s scientific theory, Max Weber’s theory and Maslow’s hierarchical theory of human needs. Each has its unique features. Fayol’s theory emphasises on division of labour/work as a way of reducing the span of human efforts (Cole 2011).
Taylor’s theory (Taylorism) involves breaking down of the key components of manufacturing tasks and timing each movement in order to determine the best way of performing each of the tasks (Jide 2011). Weber’s theory emphasizes on bureaucratic leadership models.
Bureaucracy in this theory implies to the organizational form applied in an individual institution it applies to a number of dominant facets of the organization, including hierarchy of authority (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin & Cardy 2009). According to Weber’s theory, authority must be differentiated from power because power is a unilateral object while authority is the employees’ acceptance of managerial rules.
Maslow’s theory assumes that people work hard to satisfy basic needs and then proceed to satisfy other needs. In organizations, an employee mush have his or her lower level needs satisfied in order to encourage them perform for the organizational goals.
Literature review: Leadership styles
Autocratic management style
In Autocratic style of management, the organizational manager makes decision unilaterally without paying attention to employees or subordinates, their opinions or points of view. Therefore, the manager is the sole decision making body. As such, the decisions made are reflective of the manager’s personality as well as ideas. The manager is in control of the organization and its members.
Any person working under the manager must receive orders from him/her directing them what to do. In addition, there is little degree of consultations between the top management body and the subordinates. The style ensures that all the subordinates obey the rules and orders given to them by the manager. For instance, it helps the management in urgent tasks that require quick decisions.
It is also essential in situations with an element of risk about the business process. However, the style is likely to face lack of creativity because employees have no input. Decisions made by one person are likely to be flawed. Cases of corruption, abuse of powers and mismanagement are likely to occur if the manager is incompetent.
Paternalistic style of management
This management style is similar to autocracy because the manager takes much of the responsibilities for making decisions. However, there is a caring attitude for the subordinates. The term paternalistic implies that the style limits the behaviour and liberty of the manager or top management from solely taking of responsibilities.
Although the style allows the managers to have some regards for the subordinates, there is little scope for them to make decisions. This method has an impact on the organization because employees are likely to feel valued and motivated. However, they are also likely to feel frustrated and disregarded because their contribution to decision-making process is minimal and limited.
Democratic management style
Democracy requires the manager to involve the subordinates and lower level employees in the decision-making process. The manager’s role is not to make decisions, but to act as a leader, organizer and facilitator in the process of decision-making. In fact, decisions achived through a majority vote.
There must be extensive communication and consultation, which takes part in both directions (from leaders to employees and employees to leaders). The method is useful when an organization is in strategic or difficult situation that requires decisions made based on a wide range of skills, knowledge and specializations.
In addition, it is likely to encourage employees perform better in their workplace since they are aware that they have a leading role to play in organizational management. Employees develop a sense of belonging and are proud of their organization. However, democracy in organizations is likely to produce some negative impacts.
First, the process of decision-making is slow because every person in the organization is involved, giving diverse opinions and suggestions. Secondly, managers cannot take the best decision because a decision is reached by a simple majority vote. Even a wrong decision can be picked because the majority wins. Moreover, employees may force decisions that favour their welfare but deleterious to the organizational performance.
Laissez-Faire management style
In Laissez-Faire, the manager has little impact in giving orders and directions to the employees. Employees are free to make their own decisions without involving the manager. The phrase “hands off” is used to describe this form of leadership because the manager does not take a leading role in controlling the behaviour of the employees, but only facilitates organizational performance.
The method is useful in cases where an organization has highly skilled, trained and dedicated expert teams. Every employee knows his or her job. Every employee is his or her own boss. However, the method is highly chaotic because there is no centralised control.
Since everyone has the freedom to make decisions, decisions may collide with each other, leading to the collapse of the organization. In addition, there must be regular feedback and communication in order to perform. Otherwise, the organization will collapse.
The importance of effective management
A review of the management theories has revealed that managers play an essential role in any organization. The work of management, regardless of the management theory in application, requires effective decision-making, leading, directing and encouraging high-level performance. Therefore, effective management is a critical aspect of every organization (Miles 2012).
For instance, effective management requires that organizational leaders be “good managers”, which makes them the key to enhance performance and encourage a more competitive economy by ensuring that their individual organizations are high performing enterprises.
Managers’ ability to enhance performance means that organizations will achieve the desired levels of growth and expansion (Miles 2012). In turn, it implies that more people are set to join the organization, thus creating job opportunities for a given population.
Cole, GA 2011, “Management: Theory and Practice”, Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Gomez-Mejia, LR, Balkin, D & Cardy, R 2009, “Management: People, Performance, Change”, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill
Jide, AP 2011, “The Handbook on Management Theories”, New York, NY: AuthorHouse
Miles, JA 2012, “Management and Organization Theory: A Jossey-Bass Reader”, London, UK: Wiley Publishers.