Management Theories and Their Applications

The concept of management has been around for centuries. The fundamental approaches to management date back to around 2000 years before the birth of Christ, according to Rogers, Pindur, and Kim (1995). The Industrial Revolution and mass production brought the factory system’s growth, bringing large concentrations of raw materials and workers together, posing a challenge in controlling, directing, and organizing work.

As a result of expanding industry, managers developed different management theories, which played an important role in negotiating deals, allocating resources, making decisions, and motivating employees. While older management theories are still relevant, management enthusiasts continue to develop new ones to keep up with current trends in business.

Here, I will explore theories of leadership and management every manager should know and their applications in business. Read on to learn more.  

What are management theories?

Management theories are a set of concepts that put forward general rules for managing a business or an organization. They focus on the role of group performance, organization, and supervision. Regarding supervision and group performance, management theories address how supervisors motivate employees to give their best performance. When it comes to organization, they address how leaders or managers implement different strategies to accomplish an organization’s or business’s goals. Typically, managers apply concepts from different management theories that best suit their company culture and employees.

Although many of these theories were developed several decades ago, they still provide useful frameworks for running businesses today and leading teams in the workplace. A business or organization can enjoy many benefits, including increased productivity, simplified decision-making, collaboration, and objectivity when these theories are applied properly.

6 Theories of leadership and management

In this section, we will highlight six theories of leadership and management that are still the most effective in the management of today’s businesses and organizations. Let’s explore them and see what they advocate.

1. Scientific management theory by Taylor

Frederick W. Taylor developed the Scientific management theory in 1909. The theory believes that it is important to develop the most effective and efficient ways to accomplish each task within an organization or business, no matter how small the task is.

Before the industrial revolution period, managers rarely interacted with employees. They would assign employees to work without guiding them on how to accomplish it. Taylor believed that giving orders without guiding employees was not an effective way of managing a business. He, therefore, recommended changes that managers would adopt when managing a business.

For instance, he recommended that employees be assigned work based on their abilities and skills to accomplish that work. He also suggested that employees’ success should be evaluated based on the quality and quantity of work completed. Another component of the scientific theory is the idea of paying employees differently and the idea of monitoring and training your employees.

The scientific management theory can greatly impact how businesses or organizations operate if applied properly. It can create a more efficient workforce, better training, and a more balanced pay system.

2. Administrative theory by Fayol

Henri Fayol developed the administrative theory. He came up with six functions of management that work hand in hand with 14 management principles. The six functions include forecasting, planning, organizing, commanding, coordinating, and controlling. Some managers combine planning and forecasting into one management function, cutting the functions proposed by the theory into five.

These functions of management are straightforward. Fayol meant that managers should plan for the business or organization’s future, organize necessary resources, manage employees and collaborate with employees.

The 14 principles include division of work, authority, discipline, unity of command, unity of direction, remuneration, subordination of individual interest, centralization, order, equity, scalar chain, initiative, stability of tenure of personnel, and Esprit de corps. Most of these principles apply in today’s workforce.

Quality aspects of this management theory are still applicable, but you will rarely find a business or organization swearing by all 14 principles.

3. Bureaucratic theory by Weber

The bureaucratic theory of management was developed by Max Weber, who believed that large organizations or businesses would be most efficient if they applied a bureaucratic structure. His ideal organization uses standard procedures and rules to organize itself.

The five principles brought forward by this theory include task specialization, hierarchy, formal selection, rules and requirements, and impersonal. For instance, under the task specialization principle, he emphasized the importance of each employee performing and fulfilling a specific role within the business or organization.

Elements of bureaucratic theory make sense in the management of modern businesses or organizations. For instance, a set of rules and requirements to be followed by employees is necessary within every business or organization.

The theory has shortcomings because it’s impossible to implement many of the principles Weber advocated. For instance, keeping emotions out of an organization or business is impossible.

4. Human relations theory by Mayo

The human relations theory was developed by Elton Mayo, who disagreed with Weber’s bureaucratic theory of management. While Weber’s theory disregards relationships, Mayo believes that managers should embrace human relationships for an organization to succeed. He said that productivity increases when workers feel valued and appreciated by the company or their co-workers. The human relations theory advises managers to motivate their workers through teamwork and praise.

While emphasizing human relationships is a good idea, managers should be careful when applying this theory in the management of a business or organization. For instance, valuing relationships between employers and employees can lead to unfair job promotions and sexual harassment by the senior management staff, among other unethical practices.

Managers should therefore devise and apply a carefully thought medium between the human relations theory and bureaucratic theory. Some rules and standards advocated by the former are necessary, but managers should not dehumanize employees when enforcing those rules.

5. Systems theory of management by Bertalanffy

Ludwig von Bertalanffy developed the systems theory of management. Ludwig believed that each organization or business is a system. The definition of a system is a set of things that work together as parts of a mechanism. He equated a business or an organization as a system with many things working together to keep the operation rolling smoothly—Just like a living organism.

A person isn’t just a brain but has many other organs that collaborate to accomplish specific roles in the body. An organization isn’t just the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). A business or organization needs more than the CEO to function optimally.

So the systems theory of management says everything within an organization or business needs to work together for specific goals to be realized.

There is some truth to this theory. An organization can benefit immensely from different departments that work together. For instance, if the sales department fails its mandate, the whole organization will not survive.

6. X&Y theory of management by McGregor

Douglas McGregor created the X&Y theory of management. McGregor believed that an organization comprises two types of workers. X theory comprises workers who lack drive and ambitions and must be pressured by their bosses to accomplish their assigned work. Y theory comprises workers who enjoy doing their assigned work and strive for self-fulfillment.

The theory attracts some criticism from management enthusiasts. Both views of these two categories of workers are a bit extreme because a group of employees falls between X and Y theories.

In application, managers need to develop a set of rules so that employees don’t need to be ordered around. They should devise a middle ground when implementing this theory. Also, managers must remember that many employees who don’t enjoy work aren’t necessarily bad. They need some motivation and encouragement from time to time.

Are management theories outdated?

Management theories are still relevant in the management of modern businesses or organizations. Managers who want to be effective in management roles should understand different management theories and how to apply them in the business or organization. The theories we have explained above address various aspects of management, from effective managerial decisions and motivating employees to an increase in productivity and collaboration.

Types of restaurant managers

Restaurant managers are responsible for the day-to-day management of a restaurant. They perform various duties, including overseeing the restaurant’s day-to-day operations, managing the business’s reputation, planning restaurant strategies, managing the workforce and finances, and ensuring marketing efforts are achieving objectives. To understand what restaurant managers do, let’s explore different types of restaurant managers and their roles.

1. General manager

A restaurant general manager is responsible for managing the entire restaurant. They perform different duties, including assigning responsibility properly, managing finances, and overseeing the inventory.

2. Kitchen manager

A kitchen manager is responsible for the daily operation of the kitchen. They assign duties to other restaurant kitchen staff, inspire confidence in chefs, manage food costs, and oversee food ordering.

3. Front-of-the-house manager

Front-of-the-house managers are in charge of customer service. They facilitate a smooth flow of customers and ensure they are happy with the services rendered by the restaurant. Specific duties may include talking to a frustrated customer, training new employees, and easing frustrations that may arise in the front of the house.

4. Assistant manager

The responsibility of assistant managers is to help the general managers perform their duties smoothly. They fill any gaps left by general managers or take up any duties they might assign them.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *