Classical Management Theorists Essay

Frederick Taylor and Henri Fayol were both theorists of the classical management movement. The classical approach was the framework to what management is all about. Therefore it can be said that they laid the foundation for many theorists. Frederick Taylor was an important theorist of the early 20th century and he made many important contributions to management. He proposed the principles of scientific management which he believed would improve industrial efficiency.

He believed management could be formulated as a discipline. Taylor’s principles of scientific management focused on cooperation between management and the workers as well as improving the technical skills of the workers (Hodgetts, 1995). His approach is often referred to scientific management, Taylorism or Taylor’s principles. He is also known as the ‘father of scientific management’. Henri Fayol, like Frederick Taylor also contributed significantly to classical management theory.

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Fayol’s suggested that there were five main roles of managers, these being planning, organising, commanding, coordinating and controlling. Taylor began his career as a common laborer and went up the management chain. Henri Fayol on the other hand started his career as an engineer and moved up to a manager (Wren, 1994). Both their views of management differ in this aspect. Fayol introduced various principles of organization and management whereas Taylor introduced principles on work methods and methods to secure efficiency, however both had a functional specialization.

They both argued that there were certain principles which existed in all organizations in order for it to operate and produce efficient results. They both aimed for a ‘one best way’ approach to management thinking. Fayol’s five functions include: • Planning which involves drawing up plans of action to bridge the gap between where we are and where we want to be. A good plan would have the characteristics of unity, continuity, flexibility and precision (Wren, 1994).

Planning is an essential function of management as it sets out future goals and how those goals need to be achieved. • Organizing: According to Fayol, to organize a business is “to provide it with everything useful to its functioning: raw materials, tools, capital, personnel, and it was the duty of management to see that human and material organization is consistence with the objectives, resources, and requirements of the concern” (Wren, 1994). It involves building up the structure, obtaining raw material and recruiting man power.

Without organizing there would be no need for a manager. • Commanding, that is, adhering to the principle of the chain of command • Co-ordination to Fayol was more of a balancing act of matching expenses with revenues, maintaining equipment to live up to production goals and ensuring that sales and production were consonant (Wren, 1994). It is basically the synchronization of activities • Control involves verifying whether everything occurs in conformity with the plan and principles that have already been established (Wren, 1994).

It is ensuring that everything conforms to policy and regulation. . He also introduced fourteen principles of management which are authority, responsibility, division of work, discipline, unity of command, unity of direction, subordination of individual interest, remuneration, centralization, scalar chain, order, equity, stability of tenure or personnel and initiative (Wren, 1994). Taylor’s principles of scientific management included: Developing a science for each element of a person’s work thus replacing the rule of thumb method: Taylor’s application of this principle was focused on getting the employees to do the job in the right way (Hodgetts, 1995). It involves following a plan. • Scientifically select and train, teach, and develop the workman: Taylor sought match workers with the jobs so as to get the best results (Hodgetts, 1995). and to eliminate all those who weren’t fit for the job and replace them with those more fit to do the job. Co-operation with the men so as to ensure all of the work being done in accordance with the principles of the science this has been developed: Taylor realized that recognizing and rewarding the workmen for jobs well done increases their efficiency and provides good results. • There is an almost equal division of work and responsibility between the management and the workmen. The management takes over all the work they are better fitted than the workmen, while in the past almost all of the work and the greater part of the responsibility were thrown upon the men. Hodgetts, 1995). Taylor’s scientific management focused on increasing productivity, whereas Fayol’s administrative management theory focuses on ways to make the organisation more effective and efficient. Scientific management focused on employees as individuals and their tasks, general administrative management theory dealt with total management organization. According to Pindur & Rogers, 1995, General management theory was a much broader theory concerned with administrative management functions and is considered the forerunner of modern organization theory.

For Henri Fayol, management was not so much as a way of devising systems to increase productivity but it was concerned with the integration of the different functions of the organisation such as production, sales, finance and so on (Wren, 1994). According to Fayol the success of an organization depended more on the administrative skills of the manager than on technical skills. Taylor’s first principle developing a science for each element of a persons work is similar to Fayol’s function of Planning. They both involve following a previously set plan.

Taylor’s second principle of scientifically training the worker and matching a worker with the job they are best suited for is similar to Fayol’s principle of division of labour where each worker only does what he is best at so as to minimize costs and increase productivity. Taylor like Fayol believed that a worker shall be given a job for which he/she is best suited for. Taylor’s third principle is supported by Fayol’s principle of stability of tenure and equity. Fayol himself insisted that his work is complementary to Taylor’s work as they both sought to improve management through different avenues (Wren, 1994).

The reason for the different outlooks on management by Taylor and Fayol is due to the different lives that they led. Taylor and Fayol, although different in many aspects, offer complementary views on management. Their theories go hand in hand to achieve the most efficient results in an organisation. Taylor started off as a worker, gained promotions and made his way up to a manager therefore his approach revolved more around the technical aspects of management and how to achieve best results through the workers. He was interested in methods to improve productivity.

Fayol, on the other hand began his career as an engineer and got promoted to a manager. He saw management form an executive point of view and he was engaged in integrating the various aspects of an organisation to achieve best results. They had similar views and their objective was the same. It was only their approach to achieve these results that differed. If Fayol’s and Taylor’s priciples of management are both implemented in an organisation, it is bound to achieve results in terms of efficiency and productivity and profits in the long run.

Fayol and Taylor had similar views. A primary difference between the two is that Taylor viewed the process of management form the bottom, that is, form the workers point of view, whereas Fayol viewed the process from the top, that is, from the manager’s point of view. Taylor observed the workers actions then studies the effects of their actions on productivity, devised new methods for making them more efficient, and applied what he learns at lower levels to the heiararcy.

Fayol synthesised various views or principles of organisation and management and Taylor on work methods, measurement and simplification to secure efficiencies but both methods go together to achieve best results. References Hodgetts, G. , (1995) Frederick Taylor: Alive and well and ready for the 21st century, Academy of Management Journal, p. 218-223. Pindur, W. & Rogers. S 1995 The History of Management: a global perspective, Journal of Management History vol 1 Nol1. pp59-77 Wren, D. , (1994) The Evolution of Management Thought, John Wiley and Son, New York.


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