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The Classical Perspective

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Scientific management

Scientific management focuses on ways to improve the performance of individual workers. Some of the major contributors are:

  • Frederick W. Taylor saw workers soldiering or deliberately working beneath their potential and designed a 4-step method to overcome this problem
    • It begins with breaking the job into its smallest pieces.
    • The second step is to select themost qualified employees to perform the job and train them to do it.
    • Next, supervisors are used to monitor the employees to be sure they are following the methods prescribed.
    • Finally, continue in this fashion, but only use employees who are getting the work done.
  • The Gilbreths, a husband and wife team, also helped to find more efficient ways for workers to produce output. Frank Gilbreth made his most important contribution in the field of bricklaying. He changed an 18-step process into a 5-step process and increased productivity by about 200 percent.
  • Henry Gantt introduced the Gantt chart, which is a way to schedule woric. Thistype of chart is still used today.
  • Harrington Emerson was an advocate of specialized management roles in organizations. He testified before the Interstate Commerce Commission that the rail road could save $1 million a day by using scientific management.

Administrative management

Administrative management focuses on managing the total organization.

  • Henri Fayol was the first to identify the four management functions-
    • planning,
    • organizing
    • leading, and
    • controlling,

    and he developed guidelines for managers to follow. These guidelines form fourteen principles for effective management.

  • Lyndall Urwick is best known for integrating scientific management with administrative management.
  • Max Weber outlined the concept of bureaucracy based on a rational set of guidelines for structuring organizations in the most efficient manner. His work is the foundation of contemporary organization theory.
  • Chester Bamard wrote about the acceptance of authority and how managers get employees to do what they ask in a book called The Functions of the Executive.


  • Laid the foundation for management theory.
  • Identified key processes, functions, and skills of managers that are still important today.
  • Made management a valid subject of scientific inquiry.


  • Best used in simple, stable organizations.
  • Provided universal procedures that are not appropriate in all settings.
  • Most viewed employees as tools rather than resources.

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