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A Historical Perspective on the Evolution of Management Theory - 043019 - Academia.docx

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  Running head: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE EVOLUTION OF MANAGEMENT THEORY   1   A Historical Perspective on the Evolution of Management Theory   Mark Thilo Williams   Goldey-Beacom College    A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE EVOLUTION OF MANAGEMENT THEORY   2   Abstract  This paper provides an overview of the three major schools governing management theory: classical management theory, neo-classical management theory and modern management theory. In addition, it highlights the major perspectives  —  the modern perspective, the interpretative-symbolic perspective, and the postmodern perspective  —  that evolved in tandem during the development of the three management theories. The construct of this paper follows a time-line of the three management theories, along with a brief description of the binding perspectives that  began to take form. The paper concludes with example on how variations in perspectives can add value to the design and management of an organization, followed by a personal statement about a  perspective of choice. Relevant scholarly literature was researched and applied were applicable.  A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE EVOLUTION OF MANAGEMENT THEORY   3   A Historical Perspective on the Evolution of Management Theory   In their article, Bort and Kiesser found that lack of popularity of theoretical topics constrains the dissemination of concepts/theories worthy of publication (2011). The authors cite Miller in professing that new theories are not given ample opportunities to become published (2011). However, despite Miller’s conclusions, the authors concede that new, inspiring theories nonetheless find a way to spread (2011). This is evident in the evolution of the various schools of management theory: since F.W. Taylor and Max Weber and their ground breaking work that introduced Classical Management Theory; to the Neo-Classical Management theories of Elton Mayo, Talcott Parsons and Alvin Gouldner; and to the Modern Management theories of Herbert Simon and James March. These theorists all became popular not simply because their works were revolutionary, but also because of the evolution of the common perspectives shared by scholars, practitioners and the public. According to Hatch, Adam Smith is credited for publishing the first theory of organization in 1776 in his book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of Wealth of Nations (1997 & 2018). Smith explains the process of how division of labor produces economic efficiency (Hatch, 1997 & 2018 ). In 1867, Karl Marx’s popularity begins to take shape as he introduces his theory on capitalism, which reintroduces Smith’s sentiment on achieving efficiency thru division of labor (Hatch, 1997 & 2018 ). Around this time, the open frontiers were closing, and industrialization was making inroads to such an extent that new concepts were required to contend with the ensuing new challenges (Rosenthal, 2018), for example, the disparity between optimal machine efficiency and actual production (Peltonen, 2016). One of the causes for this disparity was the lack of effective management techniques, coupled with the fact that the available labor pool at the time was still rooted in agriculture processes (Peltonen, 2016). It was while working for a steel mill in Pennsylvania that F. W. Taylor noticed and began to study the uncomfortable relationship between the line workers, most of whom were former  A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE EVOLUTION OF MANAGEMENT THEORY   4   farmers, and the new, industrial machines in the factory (Peltonen, 2016). In his book, Principles of Scientific Management, Taylor introduced concepts to maximize output for an (industrial) organization (Uddin & Hossain, 2015). His theory was based on his scientific observations of the worker-machine relationship (Peltonen, 2016), which he determined could be improved by efficiently managing the human factor, which consequently, would improve overall production (Uddin & Hossain, 2015). His theory of scientific management included establishing set rules,  procedures and tasks for each worker (Uddin & Hossain, 2015); replacing instincts with scientifically proven methods (Peltonen, 2016); dividing responsibility between managers and workers, such as planning and execution; and providing financial incentives for producing outputs above the norm (Kwok, 2014). But Taylor’s theory had drawbacks, most notably, in how it regarded workers. His theory was criticized for its mistreatment of workers. For instance, in a scholarly writing in 1918 by historian Ulrich Philips and during a congressional inquiry into scientific management, Taylor’s theory was condemned as slavery (Rosenthal, 2018). Around the same time in Europe, Henri Fayol finally codified his theory on general management practices for large organizations in his book, Administration Industrielle et Générale. He provided specifics for optimal manager-to-worker ratio; outlined principles of delegation, principles of departmentalization, and the scalar principle; and with his concept of esprit de corps, raised the discussion of humanity in the workplace (Hatch, 2018). However, he turned seventy-five by the time any of his work was first published, and his administrative  principles were still not yet popular in the U.S. (Peltonen, 2016).   Max Weber was still relatively unknown in the U.S at the time, and notably unpopular in Germany because of the disconnect between his theories, the monarchical establishment and the feudal landscape in his native Germany (Peltonen, 2016). His theory of bureaucracy explained the significance of establishing a hierarchical structure with clear divisions of roles and responsibilities where tasks were assigned to skill level; formal skills, rules and procedures were
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