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Research Works in Management

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In 1973 Henry Mintzberg published his influential work on management, following detailed observations of what managers did on the job, (Brooks, I. 2009. Pg161). Based upon an observational study of five executives, Mintzberg identified ten activities managers conducted in their jobs (Brooks, I. 2009. Pg161). These ten activities were categorized into three sets of roles, which were; interpersonal roles, informational roles, and decision-making roles (Reference for Business. n, d). Mintzberg approached his research on management with the idea that management is the actual activities managers performed at their work. Therefore it can be said Mintzberg defined the roles of management based on what he had observed from his selected managers. Kotter (1982), broadly supporting Mintzberg’s findings, found out that managers do not spend their time by themselves performing lone tasks (Brooks, I. 2009. Pg161). In contrast to what had previously been understood, managers were not found to spend most of their time planning, organizing, coordinating, commanding and controlling (Brooks, I. 2009. Pg161).

Mintzberg dismissed Fayol’s theory of management and label it as folklore. Mintzberg labeled Fayol’s concept as folklore because Fayol didn’t conduct empirical research but instead forged his theory based on his own experience (Mintzberg, H. 1990). However, Mintzberg empirical study is based on five organizations in action. This sample size is too small to define what management is because there are plenty of types of different managers in different industries. Therefore, Mintzberg theory is inapplicable to all types of industries. On the other hand, there are similarities with both understandings of management. For instance, according to Mintzberg managers took control by taking the role of disturbance handlers when responding to pressure and crises when the organization faces unexpected disturbances (Brooks, I. 2009. Pg161). Similarly Fayol’s view, controlling means verifying whether everything works as planned. Lamond, on the other hand, believed that Mintzberg’s roles were just expanding on Fayol’s five functions (Lamond, 2003).

In 1909, Taylor published “The Principles of Scientific Management.” In this, he proposed that by optimizing and simplifying jobs, productivity would increase (MindTools. n, d). He started the Scientific Management movement, and he and his associates were the first people to study the work process scientifically (MindTools. n, d). His emphasis on rationality led to the application of scientific principles to work management in order to establish the most efficient way of working (Brooks, I. 2009). He suggested that: a clear distinction should be made between planning a job and the roles of different workers; a scientific selection process should identify the correct person to perform the task; jobs should be standardized and simplified; tasks should be broken down into just one set of actions; there was “one best way” of organizing any set of tasks to be performed and it was a management responsibility to conduct exhaustive measurements in order to achieve this desired state (Brooks, I. 2009). Taylor argued that efficiency, standardisation, and discipline would result from these processes of scientific management (Brooks, I. 2009). Henri Fayol mainly focused on the administration parts of management, whilst Taylor focused on the production side of management.

Taylor’s theory leads to better planning, decision making, and accuracy. With Taylor’s scientific management, work is carried out in a systematic manner according to pre-determined plans. Furthermore, complete guidance and instructions are provided to workers in order to carry on with work as planned in advance (Wisesteps. n. d). Inaccuracy is decreased as the theory is based on experiment and observation. Compared to Fall, it can be said Taylor’s theory describes the specific course of actions managers should take when faced with the productive issue in the business. However, Taylor’s scientific management has limited applications. Taylor’s work is only applicable to production businesses; whist Fayol’s theories are universal and applicable to all business. Furthermore, Taylor’s principles are too impersonal and undermine the importance of the human factor (Accountlearning.com. n, d). Workers are a human being and shouldn’t be treated as machines and materials as this will not result in a success (Accountlearning.com. n, d). Despite the differences in both approaches, there are still similarities in both theories. Fayol’s five functions of management and Taylor’s scientific management looked at the relationship between managers and employees. Fayol emphasizes that the division of work is important because when employees are specialized, the output can increase because they become increasingly skilled and efficient (MindTools. n, d). Taylor also stated standardization is necessary in order to achieve efficiency. Furthermore, both Taylor and Fayol believed remuneration is a key factor in keeping employees satisfied and motivated.

Fred Fiedler is mainly known for his contributions to the contingency theory of leadership, which states there is no one best way as a leader to manage a business, instead, managers must vary their leadership style depending on the situation of the business (Business.com. 2017), and the personal characteristic of the individual. Fred Fielder, in the 1960s, conducted his research on the relationship of a mangers situation with the effectiveness of their leadership style (Mulder, P. 2013). This relationship between both then became to be known as the Fiedler contingency model. Fielder can be used to criticize Fayol’s view because Fayol believed that there was only one way to manage. However, Fiedler believed there wasn’t one single way to manage but instead it would depend on the situation of the workplace and the characteristics of the manager. As a result, this allows businesses to tailor their management to meet specific organizational needs. Although Fiedler can also be criticized for various reasons. One of the biggest criticism was the lack of flexibility. He didn’t allow for flexibility in leaders. Fiedler believed leadership style to be fixed for managers. Therefore Fiedler believed the most effective way to handle ineffective management is to change the leader (MindTools. n, d). On the other hand, similarities can be found with both Fiedler and Fayol concepts. For instance, both Fall and Fiedler take into consideration the importance of the relationship between employees and managers. Fiedler proposed in order for a successful manager, the leader must have the respect of their employees and be viewed as capable to handle the responsibilities that come with being a leader with authority (bit fluent. 2017). Similarly, Fayol argued that it was necessary for managers to have employees respect their authority and for managers to be equitable, meaning to treat employees with kindness.

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