Management Theories in History

Management is the process of people getting together to accomplish tasks as determined by the goals that are set by the organization. A whole lot of processes form the component of management, which includes planning, staffing, leadership, organizing and control of the organization, the ultimate goal of these functions being to achieve organizational goals. Management while accomplishing the tasks has at their disposal various resources such as financial and human resources, technological and natural resources. Management also refers to a group of people who are engaged in the process of management. The management of a company has to perform tasks to ultimately make profit by making products and services available at the most competitive prices so as to give maximum utility to users of such products and services.

This is possible only if the management is able to frame a compensation policy for its people so that they prove to be rewarding for them. Theoretically and as per established procedures of a typical management model, shareholders vote and form a board of directors of the company who in turn form the management team in keeping with the objectives of the organization. It has been observed that management plays different roles depending on the kind of set up of the organization in terms of the company being in the private or public sector or in the voluntary sector. Management plays a very important role in the improvement of the organization and in innovating the various functions performed by its people.

Historically, it was the spread of factors such as the Arab number system and the double entry book keeping that set the pace for development of management techniques and its subsequent popularity and utility in terms of achieving organizational goals and profitability (Frederick W. Taylor 1911). The earliest hint of management is available from the works of classical economists such as Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill who provided the theoretical basis for pricing, production and allocation of resources (David Sibbet 1997).

Thereafter economists developed the elements of quality control, accounting, costing, standardization and planning. Prior to the industrial revolution, owners of companies themselves carried out most of the management functions and subsequently, with the increasing complexity in the functions due to the size of companies becoming much bigger, a differentiation began to be made between owners and managers. As businesses and companies grew in size theories of management began to come up and in 1920, Harvard University was the first to come up with a degree course that was named Master of Business Administration (MBA). In consequence, managers began to be recognized as playing very important roles and the management process began to be viewed as a prestigious task, further opening up avenues for more management ideas to make way into the arena.

By the end of the twentieth century management of businesses became more advanced and professional with more and more management tools being introduced along with the development of several theories that tended to account for all management related issues and hurdles. In due course management came to be associated with a number of functions that were to be combined and used in sync with each other by managers so as to result in synergy to come out with optimum utilization of resources in bringing about maximum productivity and profitability for the organization. Modern management has come to inculcate separate branches within its framework to achieve organizational goals, which are operations management, human resource management, marketing management, strategic management, financial management, and management information system. With the coming of the 21st century the management systems have become more complex in dividing the processes into several functional categories.

There are also certain perspectives in management theory whereby the objective is to bring about optimum utilization of resources while the profit objective may not be a priority such as functions in public management and public administration. There are several public sector companies in different countries that use modern management processes to run the affairs of the company but the profit motive is not given top priority by managers. There are also management activities in regard to social organizations and nonprofit making social entrepreneurships that use the modern systems to bring about the best possible allocation of resources and people management skills.

Management in the modern context requires the making of a lot of assumptions, which have been criticized by economists and social organizations. The democratic freedom granted to workers in most big organizations is said to create a command hierarchy in making the management embrace tolerant practices such as anti-corporate activism and attack on business ethics. However, managements argue that such systems are beneficial in the long run due to the support they get from worker associations and unions. Hence management is now characterized in the nature of facilitating worker welfare to bring support and collaboration by way of human interactions and interaction with management.

Management teams work by way of separate functions, which comprise planning, organizing, recruitment, motivation, and monitoring. Managers plan to ensure that the future provides optimum avenues by way of proactive planning to bring desired results. To carry out such plans all resources have to be used in an optimum way so as to minimize the cost of production. Managers have to recruit the best talent in the competitive environment to have the edge over others in ensuring maximum productivity and they have to exhibit leadership qualities in motivating the workforce so that they are in high stead always and in willful participation in carrying out the allotted duties. Managers have to monitor the performance and the activities of the company from all parameters to ensure that the activities are in keeping with the planned objectives.

Managers in businesses have to form a business so that first an appropriate mission is ascertained based on which the entire management functions will work in achieving company goals and objectives. In keeping with the company’s aspirations and the direction in which it plans to go in the coming future, a vision has to be decided so that objectives are achieved in the right context. The company objectives have to be framed so that the ultimate goal is achieved by accomplishing the tasks involved. To facilitate decision-making for the managers, a policy framework has to be established in providing for rules and regulations and objectives, which must have the flexibility to enable understanding by all employees and workers. Managers are actively engaged in formulating the business strategy for the company whereby a well-coordinated action plan is finalized along with the allocation of resources for the entire process. This is done to enable and guide managers in stipulating the procedure in allocating and utilizing the company resources so that the vision of the company as also the long-term goals are realized to the best advantage to the business (Stauffer, David 1998).

Managers have to implement company strategies and policies after discussing them with all concerned and then going on to focus on the areas where these need to be put into action. This is done by devising for each of the departments, an action plan and reviewing the performance at regular intervals. They have to devise contingency plans for complications arising due to changes in the environment and carry out regular assessments in this regard of the progress made by workers. Needless to add that it is essential to maintain a very good environment within the working system of the business. Additionally, the strategies and policies have to be developed continuously by keeping track of the objectives, strengths, weaknesses, and missions pertaining to all departments. These have to be analyzed regularly to ascertain their roles in meeting the mission of the business and a forecasting methodology has to be developed by managers so that an authentic picture is portrayed of the future business potential.

A unit that caters to the planning objectives has to be formed so that there is consistency in the implementation of all plans and that strategies and policies of the company are in keeping intending to achieve the objectives and mission. A contingency plan has to be in place to meet any eventualities and all managers and staff must be apprised regularly of the changes in policy framework so that the execution of the entire policy is done in the right spirit.

In this regard, all strategies and policies must fit into the planning process so that all levels of management are aware of the activities expected of each department as also as the future plans of the company in regard to objectives and line of action. To achieve this state an elaborate framework has to be devised so that decisions and plans are made in keeping with the goals of the company. Managers are often free and at liberty to alter execution strategy as long as it does not adversely impact the core issues (McNamara Carter 2008).

Typically, the management of a large organization has three levels; senior management, middle management, and lower management. The senior management is required to have a thorough knowledge of all management skills and expectations and have to be aware of the circumstances prevailing in the market. They make strategic decisions of a long-term nature by analyzing and conceptualizing the core issues involved. They have to also frame a plan of action and ensure that it is effective and executed as required. Middle-level managers are assigned specific tasks that are like their having specialized competency and understanding and are expected to execute the tasks as decided by the top management by using their professional skills and expertise in delegating and managing people. The lower management has to ensure that all decisions taken by the top and middle management are executed in the given schedule and by best utilizing the available resources. These managers have to take decisions on the spot in regard to the execution of the given tasks to achieve the company objectives.


  1. David Sibbet , 75 Years of Management Ideas and Practice, 1997 Supplement, Harvard Business Review.
  2. Frederick W. Taylor, The Principles of Scientific Management (New York: Harper Bros., 1911).
  3. McNamara Carter, Very Brief History of Management Theories. 2008. Web.
  4. Stauffer, David , What You Can Learn from 100 Years of Management Science: A Guide to Emerging Business Practice, 1998, Harvard Business Review.

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