Management theory

Management is the process of designing and maintaining an environment in which individuals, working together in groups, efficiently accomplish selected aims (Koontz and Weihrich 1990, p. 4).

Management has in the past been blessed by the input of the four great pioneers, they kind of somehow paved the path for a more efficient style of management that has been utilized in our time. In order to do justice to this topic, I have to delve briefly into the history of management, so that that you may understand how it all began. In no particular order, these are the pioneers and their impact they had in management.

Peter Drucker: Whether we acknowledge it or not organization and practice of management in our times is derived largely from some of the ideas of Peter Drucker, he put great emphasis in listening, questioning and allowing natural patterns emerge from answers. He was the master of observation, through which he will come up with simple ideas that triggered outstanding results, what made Drucker genius was his ability to figure out patterns among seemingly odd principles, he was quoted to once say “ The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.” From what he taught was the importance of selecting the right people, focusing on opportunities and not the problems and emphasis of getting on the same side of the desk as the customer, and also the need to understand and refine their advantages. He definitely applies the democratic style of management, where he gives flexibility to the employees, so as to allow the team to grow as one whole unit, also delegating tasks and allowing team members to get on with decision making, giving the employee a sense of ownership. In this technique, team building skills, social harmony and cooperation are aimed to acquire a target.

Maslow: Abraham Maslow was another pioneer of management who felt that a human beings basic needs came in a hierarchical order, arranged originally as a five steps pyramid. His theory was based on everyday healthy people who utilised all their talents, abilities and potential. Basic needs are physiological, like food, water and sleep and psychological, like love, security and self-esteem. These basic needs can also be referred to, as deficiency needs since if failed to be met, the individual will strive to make up the deficiency.

The higher needs are referred to, as Meta needs or simply as growth needs, and these are justice, goodness, beauty, order, unity and so on. Basic needs come prior to the growth needs, that is people who lack basics such as food and water, cannot attend to beauty or justice. A need higher in the hierarchy will become a cause of behaviour so long as the needs prior to it are satisfied. Unfulfilled lower needs will dominate unfulfilled higher needs and must be fulfilled before the person can advance up the hierarchy.

Hertzberg’s Hygiene and Motivational Factors: Frederick Hertzberg came up with a list of factors similar to that of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but his one is more work related.

Hygiene— Working conditions

• Policies and administrative practices

• Salary and Benefits

• Supervision

• Status

• Job security

• Fellow workers

• Personal life

Motivators – Recognition

• Achievement

• Advancement

• Growth

• Responsibility

• Job challenge

He states that the hygiene factors, Dissatisfiers are to be present in the work place before the motivators that is the satisfiers can be utilised to encourage that person. This is simply saying that you cannot use motivators until you meet all the hygiene factors, Hertzberg’s needs are more job related and shows some of the distinct factors that people want from their employees, as supposed to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which relates to a person’s life. Progressing from this model, Hertzberg coined the term job enrichment to describe the process of redesigning work so as to build in motivators.

McGregor’s Management styles — Theory X and Theory Y: Douglas McGregor developed a philosophical view of mankind with this theory x and theory y, these are two opposing perceptions of how people see human behaviour both at work and organisational life.

Theory X:

• People have an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it whenever possible.

• People must be coerced, controlled, directed, or threatened with punishment in order to get them to achieve the organisational objectives.

• People prefer to be directed, do not want responsibility, and have little or no ambition.

• People seek security above all else.

With Theory X assumptions, management’s role is to coerce and control employees.

Theory Y

• Work is as natural as play and rest.

• People will exercise self-direction if they are committed to the objectives.

• Commitment to objectives is a function of the rewards associated with their achievement.

• People learn to accept and seek responsibility.

• Creativity, ingenuity, and imagination are widely distributed among the population. People are capable of using these abilities to solve an organisational problem.

• People have potential.

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