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Our beliefs about what mangers should be doing are based on a primary set of assumptions about the way the world operates. But a good deal of management theorising takes these assumptions for granted and does not accept there are any alternative versions. Cunliffe, A (2009) A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Management. Sage: London p. 3

Discuss this statement, identifying and challenging the assumptions that are taken for granted in a specific area of management theory of your choice. What does this mean for management practice? 

Classical Management Theories

The term management can be defined as the administration of an organization that involves various strategies to accomplish the goal of the organization. Managers of an organization bear the sole responsibility to manage the organization and its employees. The stability and success of an Organization are highly dependent on the efficiency of its managers. Hence, from time immemorial, several theories are invented to analyze and evaluate the importance and requirement to be an efficient manager. While some of the theories give importance to educating managers by providing them with knowledge about various management strategies, according to other theories, practices and on-field knowledge of managers is more effective than academic knowledge.  In this essay, the argument is about the approach of classical management theories which are overly rigid and technological. The argument also includes the relevancy and implementation of these theories of practical management purposes in this era of modernization. Finally, it has been concluded that in spite of being relevant these theories are not enough to solve the various issues faced by the managers in practical situation and hence there remains a gap which needs to be filled up by implementing more critical managerial literature.

 Mahmood, Basharat and Bashir (2012) stated that since management is the key to achieve aims and objectives of an organization, a manager should have proper knowledge of management theories. Management theories can be segregated into three major theories, namely, classical, situational and behavioral management theory. Classical management theories deal with bureaucratic, scientific and admistrative theories. According to the author, since organization faces a lot of challenges in this era of modernization, knowledge of classic management theories is a basic requirement of managers of organizations to cope up with the challenges that includes economical and efficient uses of sources of maximum output and competition in the market. According to Fry and Raadschelders (2013), several theories are implemented by managers to increase service quality and organizational productivity. According to Max Weber, bureaucratic theory of management is one of the most efficient ways to administrate an organization.

This strategy of management involves an organizational structure which is characterized by several rules, procedures, needs, standardized process, meticulous division of responsibilities and labor along with prominent hierarchies and restriction on personal interaction between employees. The author stated, bureaucracy management strategy does impose several beneficial impacts on the organization like development of employee specialization, efficient structure, rationality, democracy and predictability.  However, Waal and Kourtit (2013) argued that although bureaucratic theory of management helps an organization to achieve short time goals, it often offers hindrance in achieving a long time goal by the organization. One of the major issues of this management strategy is rigidity. Inflexible and rigid rules and regulations discourage creativity and initiative of the employees. 

Assumptions and Relevance


Not only this, strategy is often used as a reason to avoid responsibility for failures. It also results in goal displacement since employees in lower level give priorities to their personal objectives rather than the overall objective of the organization. Besides that an organization following beurocratic management strategy gives importance to the rules and regulations which hinders employees’ requirement and emotions. Considering the fact that beurocracy involves excessive paper work, in this era of modernization, it is nothing but wastage of time, space and stationary (Bratton and Gold 2012). Hence, it can be concluded that now a days, management should have an efficient work life balance and work environment that can attract talented employees. These features cannot be provided if rigid management strategy like bureaucratic strategy is followed.

Morden (2017) stated that there are fourteen major principles of management that can be implemented by managers in order to manage employees in an organization. Prior to the age of internet, there were very less amount of tools that could help the managers to manage an organization. However, Henry Fayol was the first to introduce scientific management which includes 14 principles of management namely, division of work, discipline, unity of command, authority and responsibility, unity of direction, the degree of centralization, scalar chain, remuneration, subordination of individual interest, order, equity, stability of tenure of personnel, initiative, espit de corps. These 14 principles not only facilitate organizational management but also are considered as efficient tools for decision-making, controlling, coordinating, forecasting and planning process management. Division involves breaking up the work in order to enhance practice and familiarity through repetition while authority means the right of the managers to give order to the employees with responsibility (Shafritz, Ott and Jang 2015). The principle of discipline involves respect of both formal and informal rules and regulations by all members of the organization. Unity of command and direction ensures that the chain of command should be clear, the employees should be answerable only to the superior and there should be a single plan to achieve the desired target. The principle of subordination of individual interest involves giving priority to the benefit of the company instead of prioritizing an employees’ own interest. Proper remuneration, centralization and scalar chain involve sufficient payment for the work, proper decision making and presence of a prominent chain of authority from top to bottom in an organization respectively. While the principle of equity involves demonstration of justice and fairness to the employees, stability of tenure means development of the skills of the employees (Wisner, Tan and Leong 2014). The last two principles of management include initiative and Esprit de corps which deals with encouraging the employees to use their initiative within a measured period as declared by the authority and promotion of teamwork within the employees respectively. 

Challenges and Limitations


On the other hand, according to Easterby et al. (2012), although a vast number of advantages can be obtained by an organization by following the principles stated by Fayol, several disadvantages can also be pointed out. As for the principle that includes forecasting and planning, it is often seen that excessive forecasting and planning results in organization failure. This can be explained with the help of example of HP. According to their plan, the company had purchased Palm Company along with the Web-based operating system to increase its level but unfortunately suffered a major failure. Hence, the author opined that a good plan alone cannot bring success to the organization. Another disadvantage comes from the principle of command and control.

According to the author, excessive control and command can impose negative impact on an employee’s self-respect and personal satisfaction (Griffin 2013). Besides that, if managers are able to separate actual work from the managerial work clearly, more energy will be there for both focusing on development of the organization as well as dealing with public relations outside the organization. The China branch of Nokia has suffered management failure due to excessive control and command. Under such circumstances the managers are often found to be unable of handling managerial work since they have to deal with a lot of trivial issues of the employees. According to Kessler (2013), Fayol can be accused of imposing an almost unrealistic approach to management theorization. Although Fayol has given prominent definitions of all the functions of his managerial theory along with several principals to implement them, in real life it is hard to implement those principles efficiently. According to the author, Fayol has stated how an ideal management should work which has several contradictions with real perspective of management. In real life,  majority of  managers believes that experience and practice is the only way to obtain management qualification.

Mintzberg, Ahlstrand and Lampel (2013) argued that the management theory of Henry Mintzberg more efficiently defines today’s management system than that of Foyal. According to Mintzberg, practical training is more efficient than classroom training for several management skills cannot be taught in classroom but can be easily learned through authentic experiences. Mintzberg stated that there is a substantial difference between what managers do and what they are supposed to do. While managers are found to be concentrating chiefly on scheduling meeting and in networking contacts outside meeting, they should give importance to pace, brevity, interruptions, variety, appropriate verbal contact and fragmentation of activities. Mintzberg’s management theory suggested that managers should follow ten management roles that can be grouped into three major factors namely interpersonal, informational and decisional (Mintzberg 2013). While the interpersonal role of managers involves the relation of a manager with employees in an organization which again can be categorized into three categories namely, figurehead, liaison and leader. 

Alternatives for Modern Management


Keeping in mind their position in the organization and formal authority, managers need to act as a figurehead. While as a liaison, the manager needs to deal with the horizontal relationships, as a leader he should understand and bring together the requirements of the organization and the employees. The informational role of a manager can be categorized into three factors namely, monitor, disseminator and spokesperson. Being a manager, an individual needs to look after the organization along with receiving and transmitting important information in the organization. As a spokesperson a manager often requires to share information of the organization to the outsiders. According to Mintzberg’s theory, the most crucial role of a manager is decision making which is based on 4 factors namely, entrepreneurs, disturbance handler, resource allocator, and negotiator (Hill, Jones and Schilling 2014). As an entrepreneur a manager needs to make necessary changes in the organization along with handling issues of the organization. As a resource allocator he needs to allocate employees, equipment and money efficiently. A manager needs to negotiate with others in order to take decisions about the commitment of organizational resources.

Cunliffe (2014) suggested analyzing and evaluating management from philosophical perspective. Managers should put more emphasis on relational, reflexive and moral practices rather than imposing critical attention on various roles, skills and competencies of management like delegation, communication and motivation. The author states that, since management is not only about managing work but deals with managing employees and consumers, it should be dealt with more ethics and morality. It is often seen that in order to increase the profit of the industry by enhancing the productivity of the employees, several management theories give more importance to science and various disciplines like organizational behavior, finance and strategic theories instead of moral responsibilities and  ethics. However role of managers should include responsibilities for major global issues such as community development, poverty and sustainability. This may deliver short time advantages but in the long run, lacks in beneficial values. The author has included three major ways for providing an efficient management service. The first one is relational management that includes managing the racialized and gendered nature of companies.

The second way is reflexive management that is evaluation of the relationship between management practice and theories and socially constructed practices. The third way involves the moral and ethical responsibilities of the managers that include maintaining ethical interaction and relationships with others. According to management theories, major emphasis is given on creating a management strategy which is rational, systematic, and scientific with the help of various management techniques, principal and models. This creates a notion that there exists a real structured world. However, in reality, organizations or society are not structured, but are emerging continuously in ongoing dialogue and interaction. Hence it can be said that both managers and employees are co constructors of organizational reality. Easterby-Smith, Thorpe and Jackson (2012) stated that, concepts of management theories needs to change with the change of time. This is because in an era when there was no internet, completion in the market and expected productivity from the employees were much lower than today. In this modern era managing employees has become a more critical factor due to highly competitive market. Hence, there is a need of implementation of effective theories in order to cope up with the market. 


From the above essay it can be concluded that though the above discussed managerial theories are still important and relevant in this modern era, these theories, alone are inadequate to solve the various issues that are faced by managers in practical field. Moreover, considering the fact that according to several theories academic knowledge of a manager will ensure effectiveness whereas other theories suggest practical and on spot experiences enhance the efficiency of a manager. Thus it can be clearly understood that there are several contradictions among the theories itself. However it can be stated that, since the theories were proposed and implemented during the era when the competition between organizations were much less than today, these theories needs to be updated and modified in order to implement them in today’ management. Overly rigid theories should not be followed by managers since it hs given rise to various problem in an organization and will eventually increase the risk of failure. Finally, it can be said that to fulfill this gap, more management literature is required that will enhance the efficiency of the managers to effectively manage both the organization and the employees. 

Reference List

Bratton, J. and Gold, J., 2012. Human resource management: theory and practice. Palgrave Macmillan.

Cunliffe, A.L., 2014. A very short, fairly interesting and reasonably cheap book about management. Sage.

de Waal, A. and Kourtit, K., 2013. Performance measurement and management in practice: Advantages, disadvantages and reasons for use. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 62(5), pp.446-473.

Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R. and Jackson, P.R., 2012. Management research. Sage.

Fry, B.R. and Raadschelders, J.C., 2013. Mastering Public Administration: From Max Weber to Dwight Waldo. CQ Press.

Griffin, R.W., 2013. Fundamentals of management. Cengage Learning.

Hill, C.W., Jones, G.R. and Schilling, M.A., 2014. Strategic management: theory: an integrated approach. Cengage Learning.

Kessler, E.H. ed., 2013. Encyclopedia of management theory. Sage Publications.

Mahmood, Z., Basharat, M. and Bashir, Z., 2012. Review of Classical Management Theories. International Journal of Social Sciences & Education, 2(1).

Mintzberg, H., 2013. Simply managing: What managers do—and can do better. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Mintzberg, H., Ahlstrand, B. and Lampel, J.B., 2013. Management? It's not what you think!. Pearson UK.

Morden, T., 2017. Principles of management. Routledge.

Shafritz, J.M., Ott, J.S. and Jang, Y.S., 2015. Classics of organization theory. Cengage Learning.

Wisner, J.D., Tan, K.C. and Leong, G.K., 2014. Principles of supply chain management: A balanced approach. Cengage Learning.

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