Classical Management

The classical school of management derives from the sociology of Weber, the scientific management findings of Taylor, Gantt and Gilbreth, and the administration perspective findings of Fayol, Urwick and Brech. The classical school looks for universal principles of operation in the striving for economic efficiency. The organisation works within itself and only within itself. It emphasises management separated from labour, and labour specialised down to the smallest specialised tasks to which the most suitable (in each case) personnel are trained. They need to be trained to nothing else.

The classical organisation theorists dealt almost exclusively with the anatomy of formal organisation. Organisation is treated like a machine and so making each individual, working in the organisation efficient, can increase efficiency. For instance, F. W. Taylor emphasized on division of labour, fixing everybody’s work for the day and functional foremanship. That is why; Taylor’s scientific management has been referred to as ‘machine theory’. It may be noted that scientific management group emphasized efficiency of lower levels of organisation. It was Henri Fayol who showed concern for efficiency at the higher levels for the first time.

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The origin of the movement is traceable to the work of F. W. Taylor, an American engineer, for many years a manager in the works of the Bethlehem Steel Co. , Midvale, Pa. His investigations, leading later to the development of his methods and principles of management, sprang from the attempt on his part to lay down a standard fair day’s work and to see that he got it from the men under his control. This led him into a deep analysis of the elements affecting the amount of work that could be done in a given time, and in turn by the kind of steps already indicated to the formulation of his system.

One of the largest single pieces of investigation carried through by him was concerned with establishing the laws governing the rate of removal of metal by cutting-tools in a machine. The Evolution of Management Theories Trying to achieve goals through the judicious use of people and resources, getting the others to work toward these goals, and keeping track of whether or not we are accomplishing what we set out to do has been around for centuries. Expressed in other terms we could say that management is a very old concept.

Generally, though, we think of “modern management” and the specific identification of planning, organizing, leading, and controlling being the functions of management as having begun at the end of the 1800s. Most of the contributors we recognize today have been twentieth century people. The Industrial Revolution provided the impetus for developing various management theories and principles. Pre-classical theorists like Robert Owen, Charles Babbage, Andrew Ure, Charles Dupin, and Henry R. Towne made some initial contributions that eventually led to the identification of management as an important field of inquiry.

This led to the emergence of approaches to management: classical, behavioral, quantitative and modern. The classical management approach had three major branches: scientific management, administrative theory and bureaucratic management. Scientific management emphasized the scientific study of work methods to improve worker efficiency. Bureaucratic management dealt with the characteristics of an ideal organization, which operates on a rational basis. Administrative theory explored principles that could be used by managers to coordinate the internal activities of organizations.

The behavioral approach emerged primarily as an outcome of the Hawthorne studies. Mary Parker Follet, Elton Mayo and his associates, Abraham Maslow, Douglas McGregor and Chris Argyris were the major contributors to this school. They emphasized the importance of the human element which was ignored by classical theorists in the management of organizations. They formulated theories that centered on the behavior of employees in organizations. These theories could easily be applied to the management of organizations.

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Classical Management. (2018, Jun 10). Retrieved from