Management: Management and Twentieth Century Management Essay

Submitted By FALKNER
Words: 1583
Pages: 7

In the twenty-first century, success in management depends on the ability to lead change and get things done through people. Management is an ambiguous term and has been subject to many interpretations. The precise meaning of management and the work of a manager have a number of differing ideas associated with them. One of the first and most widely quoted analyses is that given by Henri Fayol. He suggested managerial activity should be divided into five elements, which are defined as planning and forecasting, organising, command, co-ordination and control.1
In the twentieth century management was about achieving a finite or linear goal, delivering goods and services to make money. The customer was manipulated rather than the organisation building a relationship with them. In a stable world like that of the 1950s and 1960s, with strong demand, established organisations in control of the marketplace could get away with manipulating customers. As a result management and work became boring and predictable, much like the times of ‘Fordism’. An example would be The Triumph Motor Company, The Triumph Stag was designed, managers delegated jobs and linear active employees on a mass scale built the cars. The Stag had a reputation for engine failure and as a result many management positions were lost in the engineering department. The fault however was not an engineering flaw but more the constraints and pressure workers were put under in order to build the cars quickly.
In an article bringing together the thinking of senior members of the Institute of Administrative Management Moorcroft explains that Fayol’s five elements of management are still recognised as relevant and appropriate for the managers of today and tomorrow but, these ‘principles’ are not offered as an exclusive or authoritative list but are proposed as a thought-provoking starting point to address the management problems awaiting us in the new millennium.2 He then goes on to say there should be ten new principles for effective management in the twenty-first century. Of these ten the three most poignant for today are perhaps that we should manage information through people, technology is the future and relationships matter. A good example is how supermarkets like Tesco have changed since the millennium. The introduction of self-checkouts, the advances in online shopping and home delivery, phone apps that let you shop as you go and the stocking of more health conscious options due to customer demand, these are all decisions managers had to make, but needed to be carried out through people whether that is the app designers or the lorry drivers.
These changes in management have coined an expression used today which describes management as getting work done second-hand, that is, through the efforts of other people. By distinguishing ‘managing’ from ‘doing’ in this way we can see management as clarifying objectives and the planning of work, organising the distribution of activities and tasks to other people, direction of subordinate staff and controlling the performance of other people’s work. The degree of emphasis given to these different activities may vary widely but they do show a basic similarity in most organisations. The classical approach to management thought up by the writers such as Taylor, Fayol and Urwick were concerned with improving the organisations structure as a means of increasing efficiency. A ‘sub-grouping’ of the classical approach is scientific management. At this time in the early twentieth century emphasis was on the problem of obtaining increased productivity from individual workers through the technical structuring of the work organisation and the provision on monetary incentives as the motivator for higher levels of output. A major contributor to this approach was F. W. Taylor the ‘father’ of scientific management. Taylor believed that in the same way that there is a best machine for each job, so there is a best working method by which…