Schools of Management Thought – Approaches/Theories – BBA Notes/MBA Notes

Schools of Management Thought

BBA Notes/MBA Notes


Schools of Management Thought Notes

Evolution of Management Thought

After World War-I the concept started growing and gained impetus after World War-I I because of growing competition, complexity of managing large business, technological innovation, increase in capital investment, freedom at national and international markets, high degree of division of labour and specialisation.

Early Contributions
• Concept of organization and administration existed ” in Egypt in 1300 BC.
• Confucius’s parables came long before Christ.
• Kautilya offered some principles of state administration in 320 BC.
• Roman Catholic Church gave the concept of staff personnel.
• The Cameralists, a group of German and Austrian public administration-16th to 18th centuries.
• Scientific Management – 1900-1930
• Administrative/Operational management – 1916-1940
• Human relations approach – 1930- 1950
• Social systems approach – 1940-1950
• Social systems approach -1940-1950
• Decision theory approach – 1945- 1965
• Management science approach – 1950-1960
• Human behavior approach – 1950- 1970
• Systems approach – 1960s onwards
• Contingency approach – 1970s onwards

Based on the writings of these and other scholars, management thought can be classified in six “Schools of Management Theory” or “ Approaches of Management Thought”.

I. The Classical School including:
(i) The Scientific Management School,
(ii) The Management Process School, and
(iii) The Bureaucracy Theory School.

II. The Human Relations School

III. The Decision Theory School

IV. The Management Science School

V. The Systems Theory School

VI. The Contingency Theory School



The classical school includes three theories. Two of these theories—the Scientific Management Theory and the Management Process Theory—developed separately, but at about the same time period. The Scientific Management Theory owes its origin to Frederick W. Taylor, who is regarded as “the father of scientific management”. He aimed at making management a science based on “well recognised, clearly defined and fixed principles, instead of depending on more or less hazy ideas”? Taylor’s followers include Gantt, Frank and Lillian Gilberth, and Emerson.

The Management Process Theory was developed by Henri Fayol. He focused on a systematic understanding of the overall management process. Besides him. many others including Mooney and Reiley, Ur wick and Gullick contributed to its development.

Another important classicist was Max Weber, who developed the theory of bureaucratic organization and management. It has provided the point of departure for the study of organization structure and function for over half a century. We will now discuss these classical theories of management.

(i) The Scientific Management School

Frederick W. Taylor, one of the most distinguished business executives and perceptive thinkers, made significant contributions to what is now known as “scientific management”. He replaced the “rule of the thumb” method by the scientific method of management. “Under scientific management arbitrary power, arbitrary situation ceases, and every single subject, large or small, becomes the question for scientific investigation, for reduction to law.” Taylor advocated the use of observation, measurement, experimentation, analysis, rationality and reasoning as the chief instruments for developing managerial systems.

The basic components of scientific management, as propounded by Taylor, are :

i. determination of standards of performance

ii. functional foremanship

iii. responsibilities of management

iv. differential piecework system of wage payment.

v. Mental revolution.

Let’s Study The Concept of Scientific Management in Detail

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