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Many business majors do not see the early management though as primitive in nature. Modern management thinking is often thought as modern management theory. Modern management thinking has been researched in reference to early management though, businessmen today only have a clear understanding of current and modern managing thinking, they have little knowledge of the past management thinking.
Management thought involves politics and theory. The politics of management thought often come from the ones whom want the management styles to be received (O’Connor, 1999). Because of political institutions order can be restored under established institutions. Management science during the factory era did just that. This could be seen during the Great Depression where management was desperately needed for reestablishing jobs. The birth of The Labor Unions was in this era. This proved to be one of the most effective changes management science contributed to history (Wren/Bendein, 2009).
Modern management has its foundations based on management science and thoughts. The birth of early management started like everything else started i.e. people wanting a solution to a problem. Management thought has been often thought of as a type of science, and in fact it is. Managerial science uses assets of human resources and business principles to define and resolve workplace issues (Bedeian, 2004). During the early era of factory companies managerial companies were basically absolute and non-existent this caused chaos and lack of communication. Miller in his book Barbarians to Bureaucrats mentioned that there must be a strong relationship between the life cycle stage of an organization and the nature of its leadership, where as leadership is defined as an elusive concept, which comes through a conversation quite easily but very, few people understand. The very idea of leadership presupposes the existence of follower. (Wright and Taylor) stated that the activity of leadership could not be carried out without the aid of the followers to lead.
Advanced managerial thoughts are based on the foundations of Millers 7 stages which are Prophet, Barbarian, Builder and Explorer, Administrator, Bureaucrat, Aristocrat and Synergist. The compelling new vision of a prophet and the aggressive leadership of an iron willed barbarian, who implement the prophet ideas will help to build new techniques and expansions. The builder and the explorer then push these through, but the growth spawned by these managers can easily stagnate when the administrator sacrifices innovation to order, and the bureaucrat imposes tight control. The aristocrat spends his time re-arranging, trading, and manipulating the assets but is unable to create new ones. It is the synergist that are capable of specialized knowledge and skills, and the integration of those competencies makes them a business leader who balances creativity with order, to restore vitality and insure future growth.
It is important that a leader has good ethics in leadership, this is because in management the leaders must take decision that not only will benefit them but also think how other people will be affected. Miller’s work showed how leaders offered their leadership skills with their known value and ethics. These stages offered more advanced managerial thoughts, since companies started to focus on more of a humanistic approach to resolving issues with managerial science by establishing policies and procedures as well as employee labor relations.
Leadership can come in many forms such as:
Democratic Leader or Participative Leadership
People Oriented Leader or Relations-Oriented Leadership
The right leadership is chosen according to the requirements of the company it self. Each leadership carries its own scope. To be a good leader means switching him or herself instinctively between styles according to the people and work they are dealing with. To choose the most effective approach one must consider:
The skill levels and experience of the members of the team.
The work involved (routine or new and creative).
The organizational environment (stable or radically changing, conservative or adventurous)
Among all of the management thought theories there are some key principles that have been defined. The identification of systems is done by their structures, since there are different types of systems. These include: real system, abstract or analytical system and controlled system. Systems of theory provide an internally consistent framework for classifying and evaluating the world. This consists of many definitions and concepts.
When system theory was first introduced to management science and organizations were significantly affected. The main effects of system theory in management are that educators and consultants started helping managers to change their overall perspective regarding an organization. Managers were being thought to look at an organization from a broader and new perspective, by interpreting patterns and events in the workplace. Before the theory of systems was introduced, managers used to focus on one part of an organization at a time and after they moved all attention to another part. In other words, the importance of synchronization between departments (or parts of an organization) was not given great importance. As already mentioned, earlier in the introduction, feedback, communication and collaboration between systems are a necessity in order for an organization to work efficiently with a common goal.
Theory of systems is an abstract philosophical framework that involves a “highly empirical and investigative form of management science” . Moreover, system of theories is a useful conceptual tool, although it is insufficient. System theory is a useful tool because it helps analyse orderly research problems while it is insufficient because researchers need to take a very active role to complete the abstract role suggested by the systems theory. It also clarifies the role of complex organisations in modern society; and predicts that the complexity of organisations, and therefore the role of management, will probably continue to increase – at least for so long as the efficiency-enhancing potential of complexity can continue to outweigh its inevitably increased transaction costs.
The introducing of theory of systems to managers, helped them recognizing the various parts of the organization, and in particular the interrelation of the parts. As system theory was introduced, it took much more of a “holistic view of organisation, focusing on total work organization and the inter-relationship between structures and human behaviours producing a wide range of variable within organisations” . They help us understand the interactions between individuals, groups, communities, organizations, larger social systems, in their own environments and help us enhance our understanding of how human behaviour operates.
The fundamentals of the past have been neglected by scholars of the present day. (Bedeian, 1998) states that evolution of management thought has been deprived of the past, which has the backbone of modern day management. It is a known fact that anything that is currently in existence as we as humans may know it to be, had to come from somewhere.
“The past exists in a reciprocal relationship with the present (Bedeian, 2004).” Early management thought has evolved over this time period with more advanced thinking in how to better manage and keep order. Significant contributions have deemed necessary in order for management thought to become as evolved as we know it today.
Modern Management Thinking is mainly surrounded by policies, procedures and ethical methodologies these guide the co-operation itself. Many aspects of modern management thought derived from the economic history of traditional management. Factory era management science concepts such as well-defined hierarchy, labor relations, rules and regulations, interpersonal skills, competence and records management cultivated the framework of the 21st century of modern management. (CliffsNotes, 2010)
Structural contingency theory makes part of Modern Management. This theory is closely related to system design (Scott 2003). The contingency adopted an open systems view on organization. It is a class behavioural theory, which claims that there’s no best way to organize a corporation, lead it or make decision. Instead, the optimal course of action is contingent (dependent) upon the internal and external situation. Several contingency approaches were developed concurrently in the late 1960s.
Some important contingencies for companies are listed below:
2. Suppliers and distributors
3. Consumer interest groups
4. Customers and competitors
Structural contingency theory suggests that companies will have a plan so that if any organizational change takes into place the other plan will be obtained. Therefore, each business ensures that it will operate within the most efficient structure to support the business. There are varies factors that influence structural contingency decisions and plans.
This theory also states that organizational structure needs to fit the three contingencies of the environment, size and strategy. This means that every aspect of the current situation has to be taken in account when a manager makes a decision. It also has to act on the aspects that are the key of the situation at hand, this means that what worked once is not going to work on a different situation, that is why ‘it all depends’. According to this, the best style will be achieved due to a continuing effort of identifying the best leadership or management style.
Making decisions or applying leadership styles contingent on internal and external factors. These can increase effectiveness in the current situation. Such theory is part of the contingency theories of leadership, decision-making and also rules. In this theory, it is explained that a manager’s success relies on variables such as the workforce, leadership style, task structure, perceived power of the manager and corporate culture.
Modern management science is obviously shaped by every aspect of the past. Although education plays a great part in modern management thinking, the term modern thinking is truly understood by experience. Bedeian in his book the Gift of Professional Maturity explains the five lessons that are considered invaluable.
The first lesson is that of “realizing ideas are a product of their own time and place.”(Bedeian, 2004). This is an epiphany for business majors because it denounces the idea of management thought being universal to all times. This type was evident in the Great Depression where as one can see it was only justified and useful in a particular time period.
The second lesson in management thinking in accordance to Bedeian is the “advantage of being an informed consumer of “received knowledge.” Having the correct information in a the palm of your hand will serve as an adversary when it comes to management thought; everything in management theory is based off of acclaimed information. Without “received knowledge” management is obsolete (Bedeian, 2004).
The third lesson of Bedeian is “the danger of inherent in relying on secondary source materials.” Information is best effective when obtained from a primary source. Secondary information; when it comes to management thought is useless. Which is why modern management thought has a bit of an advantage over factor era management thought.
Bedeian in his fourth lesson of management says: “widely accepted facts are often wrong.” He implies that accepted facts are widely wrong. In fact, this begs the explanation of what is considered accepted as fact. In management thought fact may not always be determined as fact unless the information to support the facts are true in nature (Bedeian, 2004). Employees had lack of managerial facts during the factory era. This included the actual conditions, which they had been working on. Due to an understated compensation, employees were not sure who they will believe while child labor was spread. By taking great strides to improve these facets of management, modern management has learnt lessons from the factory era.
The fifth and last lesson of Bedeian is the “special advantage of the past history.” (Bedeian, 2004) Modern management thinking has had the advantage of learning from the past events that were so devastating to the world and has the advantage of making better management economic choices.
After evaluating and discussing in detail such contributions, it can be concluded that effective and qualitative management is a necessity in both small and large corporations/businesses. The latter will yield a better organizational structure incorporating all the departments of a company to work as unity to achieve several goals.
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