Reflecting on management as a science

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Science can be defined as "any skill or technique that reflects a precise application of facts or a principle.". In practice, management as a science would indicate that managers use a specific body of information and facts to guide their behaviors, and that management as an art requires only skill and no specific body of knowledge,.

Management Science deals with development and application of the concepts and models in case of any issues and solves managerial problems. The models are usually represented mathematically, but sometimes a few other methods such as computer-based, visual or verbal representations are also used. Believers of management being a discipline of science believe that there are ideal managerial practices available for certain situations. A manager who believes in the scientific principles, when encounters a managerial dilemma has got the view that there must be a rational and objective way to determine the correct course of action. It is possible that the manager will adopt the general principles and theories and also by creating and testing hypotheses. For example, when the employee's performance is poor then the manager assumes that certain principles will work in most situations and reacts accordingly to the issue. The concept may be something learnt from a business school or through any formal means of training that the person might not consider other factors such as the political and social factors involved in the situation.

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Many early management researchers opined that managers are like scientists. The first theory that served subscribed to the vision of managers as scientists. The scientific management movement was the primary driver of this perspective. Scientific management, by Frederick W. Taylor, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, and others tried to discover "the one best way" to perform jobs. The theory was published in Taylor's monographs, "Shop Management (1905)"] and "The Principles of Scientific Management (1911)".The main aim was to bring in a theory to evaluate and organize work in order to get the optimum efficiency and effectiveness.

The pig iron is the best illustrative of the scientific management theory. The load was split into lots weighing 92 pounds each, known as the 'pig'. On an average 12.5 tons were loaded onto the rail cars by the workers but Taylor believed that it could be increased to 47 or 48 tons per day and as he had believed it completely worked. The following result was achieved by

Matching the skill sets of the workers with that of the task that is required to do.

Clear instructions are being provided for the workers on how to perform each of the tasks and it was ensured that the the instructions were being followed.

Equal division of labour between the workers and the management.

The employees were then motivated by providing them with a significantly higher daily wage.

It was believed that the shop floor by 200% through the following principle. The theory of scientific management was adopted throughout the world including France, Russia and Japan. McDonald's has been successfully adopt the principles of Scientific Management into its system in the areas of bonus systems, the mutual understandings with the workers and systematic training provided The theory completely created a paradigm shift in the understanding the psychology of workers thus reducing the efficiencies to a very large level.

Management, like other sciences has its own principles, laws, generalization which is universal in nature and can be applied to various situations. But management could not be treated in the same way as the other sciences are being treated, the sole reason being that management deals with people and it is very difficult to predict human behaviour accurately. Therefore, it can be said that management falls under the category of 'Social Sciences'. Management has taken a giant leap in this century. Many are of the misconception that the scientific method will provide solutions to all problems but managers must understand that they must contend with the uncertainties that cannot be removed by the scientific endeavour.

With the era being an era of science and technology, it is quintessential that we understand their importance. It is inevitable that every business involves some amount of scientific and technological systems.

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Management is a science as the scientific principles and rules (such as Taylor's theory of scientific management and Weber's conception of social and economic organization) that have been devised can be applied for improving productivity.

Management as technology

What is management??What is technology??Are these two related someway??Is technology good or bad??

These are some basic questions that we shall try to answer to understand this concept of "management as technology"

Technology is the scientific methodology and the materials used to achieve certain goal or solve a particular problem.

Management is the process of getting activities completed efficiently and effectively with and through other people. In layman's words, Management is to manage the man, money & machine and technology helps in better management

In today's world everybody is using technology in some way or the other whether knowingly or inadvertently. Technology is everywhere around us; in our homes, in our offices etc. The role of technology becomes even more important when it comes to the application of various functions of management. Today's business scenario is extremely fast, dynamic and full of uncertainties. Today's managers cannot afford to waste time on getting information ,then analysing it, then concluding results out of that raw information and then executing plans .Thus .here comes technology to his rescue. Technology makes it faster, far more efficient and easy for the managers to get results out of pieces of information and then formulate and execute plans and in turn generate profits for the business.

But the question is "How does technology do it and what technologies are available?"

A lot of technologies are available today to help out managers to take fast and effective decisions as well as expand their businesses. With the help of technology various software tools have been designed to manage all types of help desk & customer service related tasks. It allows you to centrally record, track, update & proactively manage customer service & CRM related tasks, issues & projects by allowing you to create, customize and automate workflows & processes. Technology is designed to create, optimize & automate business process based upon the customer's requirement. It delivers complete transparency & control to manage different workflows & approvals for all types business enterprises. Technology allows organizations to proactively manage issues.

Technology provides simple, easy to use, customizable web-based business management tools.  Technology management can also be defined as the integrated planning, design, optimization, operation and control of technological products processes and services, a better definition would be the management of the use of technology for human advantage.

Today technology is used in every section of management whether it is marketing management, production & operation management, human resource management, finance management or systems management.

Project management is also the important part of technology management. Project management is the discipline of planning, organizing and managing resources to bring about the successful completion of specific project goals and objectives.  The primary challenge of project management is to achieve all of the project goals and objectives while honoring the preconceived project constraints. Typical constraints are scope, time, and budget. The secondary challenge is to optimize the allocation and integration of inputs necessary to meet the pre-defined objectives. Some tools that are used in the Organizations are :-

Online business networking

Networking is a marketing method by which business opportunities are created through networks of like-minded business people. Businesses are increasingly using business social networks as a means of growing their circle of business contacts and promoting themselves online. In general these networking tools allow professionals to build up their circle of business partners they trust. By connecting these business partners the networking tools allow individuals to search for certain people within their network. Since businesses are expanding globally, social networks make it easier to keep in touch with other contacts around the world. Specific cross-border e-commerce platforms and business partnering networks now make globalization accessible also for small and medium sized companies.

Social networking websites like LinkedIn.com, Facebook.com are some technologies that help businessmen meet each other online and remain in contact from any part of the world.

Sharing of ideas and thoughts

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Blogs and certain websites like Twitter.com etc are some technologies which provide a platform where people can share their thoughts and present their opinions.

Database management and data mining

Today no longer we need any books etc to maintain data and records because today we have online database management systems which not only record our data but we can also query out information very fast and effectively.

Data mining is the process of retrieving useful patterns out of data stored in the data warehouses which helps managers to analyze data and take quick decisions from the patterns.

ERP

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is an integrated computer-based system used to manage internal and external resources, including tangible assets, financial resources, materials, and human resources. It is a software architecture whose purpose is to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the organization and manage the connections to outside stakeholders. Built on a centralized database and normally utilizing a common computing platform, ERP systems consolidate all business operations into a uniform and enterprise-wide system environment.

In the absence of an ERP system, a large manufacturer may find itself with many software applications that cannot communicate or interface effectively with one another.

ERP systems connect the necessary software in order for accurate forecasting to be done. This allows inventory levels to be kept at maximum efficiency and the company to be more profitable.

Integration among different functional areas to ensure proper communication, productivity and efficiency

Design engineering (how to best make the product)

Order tracking, from acceptance through fulfillment etc.

Thus, we just now learnt about some technologies that the managers have at their disposal to help them out perform critical managerial functions. So, now we can certainly say that yes management and technology go hand in hand and without technology, management would become too difficult.

Modern Management Theories and Practices

Management thought has been evolving and redefining itself . There have been three phases of development during the process - The Classical Approach, The Human Relations Approach and the contemporary approaches.

The classical approach just emphasized the importance of production and administration process within the organization. The Human Relations Approach elucidated the importance of maintain human relations and thus adhering to sound practices in order to achieve the harmony. The contempropry approaches laid importance on the social systems, the decision making process and the application of quantitative methods. These are often grouped together as modern approaches.

The classical management approach, developed during the Industrial Revolution, suggested the development of standard methods for doing jobs and the people were trained and they worked like machines. Every person had his own specialized work and he had to do it. This approach accentuated the work element and did not see the workers as human beings but machines.

As management became more sophisticated, there was a shift from the era of production or the stress on production to punctuation on human relations. The Hawthrone experiments clearly indicated that apart from the working conditions and the physiological state of the workers, there were other factors influencing the productivity. George L. Mayo postulated these factors as social and psychological in nature.

Recent Developments in Management Theory

The recent developments in the management theory have been the Systems Approach, Situational or Contingency theory, Chaos theory, and Team Building theory.

The Systems Theory: A system is looked at as having inputs (e.g., raw materials, funds, and human resource), processes (e.g., planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling), outputs (products or services) and outcomes (e.g., enhanced quality of life or productivity for customers/clients, productivity). According to this approach, the four aspects of the system is inter connected and this can be used to determine patterns and events.

The Situational or Contingency Theory: This theory postulates that all aspects of the situations must be taken into account when managers make a decision. For e.g. if one is leading a military troop, then an autocratic style or a bureaucratic style must probably be adopted, whereas in the case of a medical facility, a more participative and facilitative leadership style will be more suitable.

The Chaos Theory: This theory suggests that systems naturally tend to go complex and hence will lead to more volatility and instability. Thus inorder to maintain a balance, it is important to exert more energy. This trend continues until the system splits and falls apart entirely. Manager must be able to effectively scrutinize and take care so that mishaps don't happen.

The Team Building approach: This theory postulates that team building is the essence of providing quality circles, best practices, and continuous improvement within the organization. This theory also elucidates that the reduction of levels of hierarchy or flattening of the system will bring in more effectiveness. Consensus management is the essence of the theory that is involving more people at all levels in the process of decision-making.

MODERN MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

The basis of Modern Management Practices are based on Leadership and Commitment, Business Planning and Risk Management, Control Systems, Performance Management, Accountability Management

Leadership and Commitment:

"Open-door" management style, strong management board, good relationship with staff, importance in the area of values and ethics are all the prerequisites of Modern management.

The Senior Financial Officer and the staff play a strong leadership role in the organization and participate in all major business decisions.

Business Planning and Risk Management

Strong linkage exists between business planning and management accountability agreements. This is achieved by setting well defined the corporate strategies and priorities.

A very detailed litigation risk management program is devised.

A highly organised plan is devised for budgeting and forecasting in case of managing surplus or deficits.

Performance Management

Informal enquiry of the satisfaction of the client.

Information on the programs or policy through evaluations and reviews.

Feedback about employee satisfaction collected through various means and strong commitment being taken for follow up action.

Accountability Management

The management's Roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. More accountability and candidness in the dealings is prevalent.

The key mechanism to making the managers more accountable is through transparency in sharing management agreements, which are closely aligned with the business plan with the staff.

The importance of reward and recognition being understood and supported by the senior management.