Classical management perspective – Understanding Managers

The classical management perspective

Historical perspectives on management are discussed under the three areas of classical, behavioral and quantitative perspectives.

The classical management perspective was the first well-developed framework for understanding management and consists of the two distinct branches of scientific management and administrative management.

Scientific Management  

Scientific management was aimed at improving the productivity of individual workers. Scientific management was pioneered by Frederick Taylor who analyzed the time taken for each task and introduced payment based on the level of productivity of each worker. Using his scientific methods of measurement and management, many American companies made huge efficiency gains by adopting and optimizing mass production techniques. While his approach was later criticized because it led to boring, repetitive jobs and tended to ignore the individual, it was a cornerstone of the new discipline of management. Later practitioners spread the scientific management doctrine and built on Taylor’s work.

Administrative Management  

Administrative management is the other branch of classical management thinking. Unlike scientific management that concentrates on the jobs performed by individuals, administrative management focuses on managing the whole organization. Henri Fayol, a French industrialist, became the best known of the administrative management school. Fayol was the first to identify the managerial functions of planning, leading, organizing and controlling that are still regarded as the fundamental activities of management. The framework of classical management was the basis of later theory and many of its elements hold today. However, organizations and the market were relatively simple ands table compared to modern organizations and markets. The classical approach therefore provides a good basis for many elements of management but does not sufficiently address aloof the issues relevant to the organization of the 21st century.


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