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Background study of Evolution Management Theory


Background study of Evolution Management Theory

The 20th century witnessed the beginning of systematic recording arid reporting of management practice. The challenges of planning organizing. leading and controlling unions became more obvious with the emergence of the industrial Revolution particularly in the United Kingdom in the mid-1700s.

Background study of Evolution Management Theory - Photo
Background study of Evolution Management Theory – Photo

Introduction to Evolution management

The industrial revolution shifted manufacturing from a household setting to a factory setting Some individuals such as Robert Owen (1771-1858) a Scottish factory owner emphasized good working conditions, cooperation, and tolerance for differences in the capabilities of workers.

Andrew Ure (1778-1857) also recognized the importance of human resources thus providing Workers with tea at breaks, medical treatment, and payment to Sick workers. The first person to propose a rational and systematic Science of management was Henry R. Towne (1844-1924) in his capacity as president of Yale town manufacturing company in the United States of America.

Phases of administration

The science of administration evolved in three phases

  1. The Classical or Traditional School of management thought (1900-1930)
  2. Human-Relations Movement (1930-1950)
  3. Behavioral Science Approach (1950)

The Classical Management Approach

The effort to resolve the critical problem of how to increase the efficiency and productivity of the work force gave rise to the study of modern management in the 20th century the effort was termed the classical approach. This approach to management can be best understood by examining it from two perspectives. These are

Scientific Management Theory

Scientific management according to vancevich, Lorenzi and Skinner (1994) concentrated on the efficient use of labour for business expansion and creating products and new markets. The birth of Scientific management is credited to Frederick Vinslow Taylor (1856-1915) who is called the father of Scientific management. he was an engineer by training He Joined Plidvale steel company as labourer and rose through the ranks to become a chief engineer.

His View of science emphasized the systematic observation and measurement of workers activities, His major focus was to apply science to answer questions about efficiency, cooperation and motivation. Taylors ideas could be summarized thus:

  1. Managements principal objective should De to secure maximum prosperity tor the employee.
  2. The elimination of conflict amon8 employees to avoid obstruction of productivity
  3. Developing a science of management, the scientific selection and development of human resources, and personal cooperation between management and worker.
  4. Maximum specialization of labour, to make one a specialist and master ot specific tasks to ensure increased efficiency.
  5. The key to harmony lies in discovering the one best way to do a job. determine the optimum work pace, train people to do the job properly and reward successful performance by using an incentive pay system.
  6. Managers should know what is expected of them and see the positive benefits of achieving mutual expectations as means of ensuring cooperation.
  7. Managers should take a more systematic approach n performing their coordinating function.

Scientific management theory has been criticized principal because of its failure to understand fully the psychological and aspects of work. Its assumption that people are motivated to work primarily for money seen as been too simplistic in the world of today

Classical organization Theory

The Theory developed alongside the scientific management. lt focused on the problems faced by top managers of large organizations. As a branch of classical approach, it emphasizes the management of organizations while scientific management of work.

Purposes of the classical organization

The two major purposes of the classical organization, theory according to vancevich et al (1994) include;

  1. To develop basic principles that could guide the design, creation and maintenance of large organizations and
  2. Identify the basic functions of managing organizations. A major contributor to this theory is a French mining engineer named Henri Fayol (1841-1925) who later became a managing director of a French mining and metallurgical combine.

Fayol has been described as the first modern organizational theorist for his effort in defining administration in terms of five functions (Owens 1981). These are:

  • Planning: Managers should make the best possible forecast of events that could affect the organization and also draw up an operating plan to guide future decisions.
  • Organizing: managers must determine the appropriate combination of resources both human and material needed to accomplish organizational task.
  • Commanding: This involved directing the Subordinates efforts and having two-way communications with subordinates, Also the organizational structure should continually be evaluated and changes made when necessary
  • Controlling: This ensures that actual activities are consistent with planed activities,
  • Coordinating: i his calls for building together, uniting and harmonizing all activities and efforts of the various units ot the organization.

Fayol proposed 14 principles as guide to managers in solving problems. These are according to Fayol (1916:97)

  1. Division of work: Specialization of labour is necessary for organizational success
  2. Authority: This demands that the right to give orders must accompany responsibility.
  3. Discipline: This calls for obedience and respect from employees for Smooth running of the organization
  4. Unity of command: This Specifies that each employee in the organization should receive orders from only one superior.
  5. Unity of direction: This demands that the efforts of everyone in the organization should be coordinated and Toured n the same direction.
  6. Subordination of individual interests to the general interest.
  7. .Remuneration of employees should be fairly done in accordance With their contribution.
  8. Centralization of the decision-making body and decentralization depends on the organization and should be based on type, size and organizational structure.
  9. Scalar Chain: This demands that subordinates should observe the formal chain of command from the highest to the lowest rank.
  10. Equity and fairness through proportionate distribution of rewards among participants to ensure employee devotion and loyalty.
  11. Initiatives to predicate innovation within the organization.
  12. Stability of Tenure of personnel to give people time to learn their job
  13. Esprit de corps as a way of encouraging harmonious effort among individuals to ensure organizational success.
  14. Order: the organization resources should De Kept in their proper places based on these four contents;
  • Purpose they serve
  • Process they use
  • Persons and things they deal with; and
  • Place where the work is performed

Authority of Management

Max Weber (1864-1920) a German by birth studied and reported on the theory of Authority structures in organizations. made a distinction between power and authority. Power according to him is the ability to force people to obey while authority involve obeying Orders voluntarily by those receiving them.

He was the first schołar to systematically describe the characteristics of bureaucracy and role in industries bureaucracy as viewed by Weber refers to a management approach based on formal organizational structures with set rules and regulations that relies on specialization of labour, an authority hierarchy and rigid promotion and selection criteria (vancevich et al 994).

Weber believed that the “bureaucratic” organization is the dominant institution in society because it is the most efficient, precision, speed, un-ambiguity, continuity. unity and strict subordination are results of bureaucratic arrangements (lvancevich et al 1994).

Elements of Bureaucracy

Weber’s conception of bureaucracy is meant to be an ideal type, which describes relationships and other factors that exist when people work cooperatively to achieve organizational goals. Ukeje, Okorie and Nwagbara (1992: 58) identified the characteristics of Weber’s model (rational-legal bureaucracy) to include the following:

  1. A Division of labour based on functional specialization: This entails the assigning of official duties and power based on specialization and competence.
  2. A well-Defined Hierarchy of Authority: Offices and positions are arranged hierarchically with each lower office receiving order from a higher one. The first mode of exercising authority is based on the leader’s qualities (charisma) that sets him apart from others. A second mode is by virtue of the status and position an individual have achieved or inherited in the organization.
  3. A career orientation: his demands that officials should be selected and placed on the base’s of technical competence.
  4. A career orientation: This demands that officials should be selected and placed on the bases of technical competence.
  5. Impersonal Orientation in relationship and dealings among employees to ensure strict adherence to rules.

Critique of Classical Approach/Contributions:

The greatest contribution of the classical management approach according to lvancevich et al (1994) was that it identified management as an important element of organization. Advocates of this approach argued that management should be practiced according to principles that managers can learn like law, medicine and other occupations.

The identification of management functions such as planning organization, leading and controlling provides the Basis Tor training new manages. Also many management techniques such as work simplification, incentive wage systems, production scheduling. personnel testing time and motion analysis and budgeting are derived from the classical approach, This approach has however been criticized principally as Dying too simplistic for today’s complex organizations in a world of constant change.

Critics of this approach argue that the classical approach is more suitable in a stable and predictable work environments as existed in the past unlike today’s work environment with its shifting workers expectations, increasing competition, growing diversity of the work force, rising government regulations and changing public responsibility and ethical expectations of modern society.

The Behavioral Approach to Management

The inability of the classical and organization to ensure efficiency gave rise to the behavioral approach. This approach has two sub-approaches which are.The human relations approach (1940s and 1958) and the behavioral sciences approach(1950s to date)

Human Relations Approach

This approach focuses on individuals working in group settings, this approach emerged from the discoveries made by Elton Mayo (1880-1949), The Australian and Harvard industrial psychologist and his team of researchers in their popular Hawthorns studies conducted from Western Electric Company, at Cicero, United States of America showed the importance of groups In affecting Individuals behavior at work, Mayo’s writings and views led to a fuller realization and understanding of the human factor In work situations.

The informal group Is therefore seen as a major outlet and source of motivation or workers. ie therefore emphasized that managers should focus attention on the individual worker’s needs., goals and expectations and should encourage upward flow of communication. Another important contributor to this approach was Mary Parker Follett (1868- 1933).

She laid the foundation for studies in group dynamics, conflict management and political processes in organization. This marks a departure from the strict economic motivation of the scientific management theory to the emphasis in meeting the worker’s psychological needs.

Follett according to Kimbrough and Nunnery (1983) believes problems. Follet (74) identified coordination as the key to building an effective organization. She expressed co-ordination in four fundamental principles or organization as follows:

  1. Co-Ordination by direct contact of people concerned. This according to her, means horizontal control between unit heads instead of the hierarchical authority relationship of classical approach.
  2. Co-ordination in the early stages: This demands that direct control, should begin as policy is being formulated rather than after it has been termed.
  3. Co-ordination as the reciprocal relating to all the actors in a situation. This demands that co-ordination should take part and their interactions in the situation being handled into account.
  4. Co-ordination as a continuous process.

Human relation experts concentrate on the social environment of the job unlike the scientific management which focuses on the jobs physical environment. The believe of human relation experts that management should recognize employees need for recognition and Social acceptance could be realized by treating the work group is positive force.

Through this, the groups will be positioned to provide their members with the much desired feelings acceptance and dignity. therefore, advised that managers should be trained in both people and technical skills.

Critique of the Behavioral Approach

This approach has contributed immensely in providing important research results on important elements in the management of human resources in organizations. The thinking and approach resulted in the conceptualization of organizations as Social systems with both formal and informal patterns of authority and communications.

The skills of workers, their involvement in groups and motivation were also proposed to be vital in achieving managerial success. The Human relations approach impacted on education in two ways

  1. Increasing efforts to democratize the practice of educational administration
  2. Growing emphasis on the utilization of concepts from the social sciences – Anthropology, psychology, sociology and behavioral elements of economics and political science in education.

The Behavioral approach has been criticized on the ground that management is more than applied behavioral science. The approach should go beyond making managers employee-oriented to helping them be better practitioners of the process of management and also be able to manage problem situations.

The Decision and Information Sciences (Disc) Approach his approach to management according to lvancevicn et al (1994) is the use of decision-making. information systems, mathematics and statistics to aid in resolving production and operations problems. lt can rightly be seen as a modern time emphasis on the management of work as earlier emphasized by the scientific management theorists.

This approach has formally existed for less than a century. The need to solve the complex military problems facing England during the Second World War gave rise to this approach. T he success recorded by the use of Disc led to its adoption by American firms after the world war. Pugh,Hickson and Hinings (1985) were of the view that Herbert Simon, a distinguished American political and social scientist, influenced the thinking and practice of decision and information science based management.

According to them, Simon equipment to decision-making and his major interest has been how decisions are made and how they might be made more effectively. They identified the three stages of decision-making by Simon to include:

  1. Finding occasions requiring a decision (intelligence).
  2. Inventing, developing. and analyzing possible course of action (design).
  3. Selecting a course of action (choice).

Simon sees all managerial actions as basically decision making He believes that there are limits to the rationality on which decisions are based like the emotions of the decision maker. Thus in place of “economically rational’ decision marker as advocated by the Economists traditional theory he proposes a Satisfying decision maker. This means that decisions are made to be satisfactory or good enough 1or adequate profit rather than of searching for a decision to maximize profits.

Simon views decisions on a continuum ranging from programmed, or routinely occurring to non programmed, or non routine and unstructured. Techniques such as mathematical analysis, operations research and computer Simulation have gained prominence because many decisions are toward the non programmed end of the continuum.

However, complex decisions have become programmed With the advancement of computer technology

Critique of the Disc Approach

The most important contribution of this approach is seen in the areas of production management, operations management and information systems. It’s importance in the education system is more on the area of information system. This has helped educational managers and administrators make better decisions and increase efficiency in schools.

The computer helps managers to gather and process large volume of data accurately and produces reports timely and also communicate easily and taster to the different units. The major shortcoming of the disc Approach is that it places little emphasis on people and how they can use the tools and techniques available.

The Systems Management Approach

A System according to Ludwig (1972) is a collection of parts that operate interdependently to achieve goals. The whole of the system is considered to be more than sum of its parts. Management, from the systems perspective, involves managing and solving problems in each part of the organization with the understanding that actions taken in one part of the organization affect the other parts of the organization.

Each part is tightly linked to other organizational Pars and therefore cannot exist and operate in isolation from the others. Thus, in solving problems managers and administrators must view e organization as a dynamic whole and try to anticipate their decisions unintended as well as intended impacts (vancevich et al 19).

Systems according to Griffiths (709) may be open or closed. An open system is related to and exchanges duster with its environment. Katz and Kahn (1 966) argued that though educational system, like other human organizations, has some special characteristics, yet such organization as a special class of open system have properties of their Own but they share other properties in common with all open systems.

They identified some of thee characteristics or open system shares with other systems to include:

  1. Input output
  2. Cycle of event
  3. Negethropy
  4. Differentiation and equifinality.

Inputs and outputs

Open systems must continually gather resources and other needed ingredients to perform their tasks which they must transform into products in form of goods and services through a conversion process that will add value to the inputs. Adding value to the inputs through the process of ‘through put results to output of the organization. The output may be in form of finished product which may also be used by another organization as input.


Open system exists in a dynamic, interactive relationship with their environments .It can choose whether or not to exist unlike the close system which approximate entropy (they move towards a state of maximum disorder, disorganization or death).


This means that open systems have different conditions by using Or applying different processes. Fundamental issues in Educational Administration & Supervision

Cycle of events

This means that open systems have functional subsystems and their net effects result from these functional, relevant and coordinated activities of all their subsystems. Feedback serves as a device that keeps the system on course in relation to its goals and also serves as a guide and controls the organizations internal activities.

Vancevich (1994) identified Chester Bernard (1886-1961) as a Foremost systems advocate. He was president of New Jersey Bell Telephone in 1927 and later of the Rockefeller Foundation. In his popular 1938 classic management book. The functions of the Executive, he introduced the concept of the “system coordination He was the first major theorist after the Hawthorne’s studies to emphasis the importance and variability of individuals in the work setting as a result of his thinking of organization as an aggregate of units that interact.

He believed that an important element of organization is peoples willingness to contribute their individual efforts to the cooperative system

Critique of the system’s management approach (contributions)

The thinking of the system theorists have proved very useful in the survival of today’s organizations. Educational Managers and Administrators must think broadly about a problem and not concentrate only on the desired results, because these results will invariably impact an other parts of the organization as well as the environment beyond the organization.

The theory teaches the manager to relate and interpret educational problems to factors such as economic, political and religious (Obi. 2004).

The systems approach has been considered to be abstract and not very practical by its critics. Talking about inputs, transformation and outputs is not how every day managers discuss problems, make decisions, and face reality (Ivancevich et al 1994). The concept is therefore seen by them as good for classroom analysis but being in the middle of daily decision making precludes deep systems- like analysis and thinking.

The Contingency Management Approach

This approach to management is an extension of the system approach which view the organization as comprising of interdependent parts that affects each other. The contingency theorists went beyond this insight to advocate that managers nee to see how the together This approach considers an organization’s objectives, organizational and job design, human resources, environment and managerial skills as interacting and affecting management decisions about planning, organizing, leading and controlling (Ivancevich et el 1994).

Contingency views are ultimately directed toward suggest organizational designs and managerial systems that are most appropriate for specific situations.The contingency approach tries to Driage the gap between the universalists like Tayloy’s view of management effectiveness with the situationalist views. The universalists argue tiat he task of managers is to identify the one best way to pertorm diierent management functions.

The situationalists disagree with this view and argue that there is no one best approach to management because each Situation is different. This demands that managers should not approach any situation with preconceived management Principles in mind but should first of all evaluate each situation before deciding on the action or principles to apply.

The contingency theorists agree with the situationalists that all managerial situations are totally unique thereby need for the application similar to the situation. They went beyond this argument to argue according to Lutha- (1980) that relevant contingency variables in the situation should first be identified and evaluated


  1. Chester Bernard (9s8) The functions of the executive. Cambridge Mass Harvard University Press.
  2. Fayol HENRI (1949) General and industrial management London, Pitman.
  3. Follet, Parker diary(724): relative experience. New York: Longman
  4. Frederick w.t. (7 disciples ot scientific management New York Harper & Row
  5. Griffichis, D. E (1964) he nature and meaning of theory in Behaviors Schools and Educational Administration Sixth-third year boo-Chicago: National- Society for the study of Education
  6. Ivancevich J.M. Lorenzi, P. Crosby P.B. (1994) Management, quality and competitiveness .S.A: Richard D. Liwin.
  7. Katz D. and Kahn R. (966) The Social Psychology of Organization. Nev. York; Wiley.
  8. Kimbrough, R. B. and Nunnery, M.Y (1983): Educational Administration, An Introduction. New York: Macmillan Pub. Co. insmus
  9. Ludwig V. Bertalanty (19/2) The History and status of general system theory Academy of Management Journal.
  10. Luthans Fred (19/3) the contingency theory of management: A path out of the Jungle Business Horizons. Obi, E. (2003) Educational management. Theory and practice Enugu: Jamoe enterprises
  11. Owens, R.G. (1981) Organizational Behavior in education, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall Inc., 6-11
  12. Pugh D.S, DJ. Hickcon and C.R. Hinings (1985; Writers on organizations London:sage.
  13. Ukeje B. O, Okorie N.C. Nwagbara U.A. (1992) Educational Administration: Theory and practice. Owerri: Totan Pub. Ltd,
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