Evolution of Management Principle

Evolution of principles of management from the classical theory to the present times has three core stages or rather, schools of thoughts, which include: the classical theory, the neoclassical theory, and the modern theory.

The Classical Theory

It applies traditionally accepted views and emphasizes on organizational efficiency in order to increase chances of organizational success. The approach believes in interrelationships function that follows stipulated principles that are based on experience, structure of bureaucracy, and a punishment-reward nexus. Classical theory was developed into the three approaches: the administrative approach, the scientific management approach, and the bureaucratic approach, which also falls under the administrative approach.

  • Scientific approach was founded by Taylor in 1903. It uses various principles, one of them being in determining the best strategies for accomplishing every task. Secondly, it suggests that the workers should be selected based on scientific grounds, on the way they are trained, and on their qualifications in order to perform their job in the best manner. Lastly, it suggests that the management should be responsible for planning of the work, whereas the workers should be responsible for implementing the plans.
  • The bureaucratic approach was designed by Weber in 1920. It was developed because of the perceived weakness of classical theory; therefore, this approach focused on understanding the features that affect human behavior while at work.
  • Administrative approach was develpod by Fayol in 1949 as an approach that focuses on principles and processes of management, unlike the scientific theory that emphasizes individual’s tasks and management.

Neo-Classical Theory

This theory emphasizes human relations and significance of a person that is behind the machine, individual as well as group relationships, and their social aspects. This theory was started by Mayo and the Associates in the early 1930s, and it was further expanded into behavioral science theory that was pioneered by Maslow-Abraham in 1968. During the World War II, quantitative approach was developed and the theory shifted to economic efficiency in solving business problems and contingency approach, which believes in the concept of universality and determining managerial decisions by using situational features. All these form the neo-classical approach (Yolles, 1999).

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Modern Approach

This approach sees modern management as complex systems and uses a contingency approach and other modern techniques in solving human and organizational problems.

  • Contingency theory emphasizes on applying processes and principles as they are stated by each situation. The theory believes that there is no best way to manage an organization, and that management depends on situation factors such as technology, external environment, characteristics of the manager, and organization and of the subordinates (Barnett, Hofler, 2006).
  • Quantitative approach emerged during the World War II. It was used to bring together government officials, managers, and scientists in order to help the army in utilizing their resources. This approach uses information models, optimization models, and statistics and computer simulations in order to make effective decisions and to solve economic and business problems. This approach has many branches such as management information approach, operations management approach, and management science approach (Kreiter, 2004).


The above approaches keep on evolving and the new ones are developed in order to meet the requirement of management in solving the criticism of the previous approaches that were in use. For instance, classical approach was criticized by behavioral approach in a way that principles of management are not universally applicable in the modern business situation that is complex. Also some principles of classical approach are contradictory; for instance, the principle of specialization contradicts with the unity of command principle. Also the classical theorists ignored problems of leadership, power, motivation, and informal relations. They did not consider external and internal forces that affect an organization. On the other hand, neo-classical theory failed to focus on the attitude of workers, whereas attitude is a crucial factor that affects their productivity and performance.

The Second Section

The current work place that I am in chose to use contingency management theory because it pays attention to the fact that there is no best manner to manage an organization, and in order for a business organization to be effective and to carry out planning, leading, organizing, and controlling activities, the organization must be tailored to the specific circumstances that they face on a daily basis. Managers have always questioned, “Which is the right thing to do? Should the organization have organic or mechanistic structure? Should they have divisional or functional structure, narrow or wide span of management, complex or simple coordination and control mechanisms, or decentralized or centralized? Should the company use people- or task-oriented styles of leadership, and what kind of motivational incentives and approach program should the organization use in order to attain efficiency and the best outcome short and long run?”. The reason why my organization chose contingency theory is because the approach presumes that there is no answer to the above questions and there is no management theory that can be used universally, because people, organizations, and situations change and vary with time. Therefore, the right mechanism to use will depend on the variety of internal and environmental contingencies.

Comparison and Contrast between Contingency Theory and Scientific Theory of Management

Management is a process of coordinating business activities in order to complete them effectively and efficiently through internal or external people. Scientific approach and contingency approach are both concerned with effective and efficient management of an organization. In defining the two theories, scientific management theory is a traditional method in management, which can be traced back to Taylor Frederick’s work between 1856 and 1915, whereas contingency approach is a contemporary strategy, which is focused on the contingency variables. Scientific approach is mechanistic, because it considers being red-terminable by the one, which come first (Yolles, 1999). One strategy of identifying scientific management is by use of scientific procedures in defining best methods of carrying out a task. A scientific approach is successful for formalizing workers division, managing of the decision making process, and job design separating from executing the task. Taylor was focused on ensuring that the employer and employees attain maximum prosperity and the highest level of efficiency.

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The contingency approach uses contemporary approaches towards management in contrast to the approach of scientific theory, which acknowledges that there is no better way to carry out management activities in any situation, and that those situational variables from external and internal environment influence management practices. The contingency approach emphasizes the importance of organizations facing different contingencies and that it requires various styles of management. The theory stresses on the suitability of situations rather than on the inflexible adherence to the principles that are used universally, as it is emphasized by the scientific school of thought. Contingency theory believes that an organization is impounded to its environments and situation (Kreiter, 2004). In scientific approach, Taylor was focused on the managers of the first line, because he was concentrated on the efficiency of workers and wanted to improve their productivity. On the other hand, contingency theory is focused on learning of the ways of management in line with variables of the organization. Despite the fact that management styles and forms of various organizations are standardized, contingency approach recognizes the significance of decision making as a managerial factor, and identifies the benefit of organization interacting with the environment.

A foundation of each theory differs; yet, they are concerned with productivity and effectiveness increment. Scientific management approach was founded when Taylor started scrutinizing human work in 1885, when he was operating as a chief engineer at Midvale Steel Works. He looked at personal work of the employees and identified each task and workers’ movements that were involved into coming up with the optimum time that is needed to finish a job. The information he got was used by the managers in order to determine whether workers were working efficiently or not, and if there was a chance of increasing their productivity (Crainer, Hamel, 1997). Later on, scientific management advanced, when Taylor conducted experiments on pig iron. His observation of Iron experiment reduced costs by bringing into a system the rate, which was implemented by the Bethlehem Iron Company. After the two-years-period the productivity of the Bethlehem Iron Company hit 200%. Franfkly, a scientific approach is based on the experiment on pig iron, and they give useful lessons to the researchers of management. Contingency management theory is based on the restrictions in an organization that affect decisions in that environment. The approach emphasizes that effective organizing, leading, planning, and controlling must be made in a way that they fit that particular organization (Robbins, Bergman, Coulter, 2003). Managers must understand and interpret situational contingencies in their organization before engaging in any decision-making processes and carrying out corresponding activities. The foundation of the two approaches shows different techniques of management; however, they are both looking at an effective management.

Both contingency and scientific approaches have precise views on the role of the employees within their organization. The scientific method identifies that there is a particular suitability of particular people in a profession; yet, it pays no attention to the fact that management is identical to the economic suggestions and interests of the workers (Barnett, Hofler, 2006). Situation approach highlights an interaction and empowerment of the organization’s employees. Scientific method sees workers as uniform “machines”, who can be made to work efficiently by getting rid of wasted or unnecessary effort. It has no room for personal initiative or imagination, because workers are viewed as mechanical labor, who can achieve a particular result. This approach is not efficient, because employees worked harder and harder every time and were eventually becoming discontented with the working set due to the fact that their wishes were not taken into account and the management was unappreciative to the social framework of workers. In contrast to these, the contingency approach takes into account and consideration the needs of employees, and they are viewed as similar contingency variables.


Contingency and scientific management approaches are diverse with regard to productivity perspective, employees, organizations, and the ways goals of an organization are attained. However, both theories are highly concerned with similar concept; they aim at attaining effectiveness and efficiency while maintaining stipulated goals of the organization. Current society and organizations prefer to use contingency theory over scientific theory due to the various factor of contingency variables, which are flexible and influentive on the performance of organization. However, both methods are relevant and valid to the theory of management and practice.

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