Peter Ferdinand Drucker, one of the leading management gurus, said it best—“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things”.

In any organization, teamwork and leadership act as catalysts for business success. The way someone manages their team or the entire workforce has a direct impact on the organization’s growth and profitability. The evolution of management can be studied in the way different theories emerged at different points in time.

Over time, different management theories emerged, evolved and continue to be practiced in several business environments. Read on to explore various types of management theories and how they contributed to the evolution of management principles.

  1. An Introduction To Evolution Of Management

  2. Tracing The Evolution Of Management Through Theories

An Introduction To Evolution Of Management

Understanding the evolution of management thought is important as it helps determine what management principles and practices work best for your team and your organization. It can help you manage your team and workplace more effectively. So, what is the meaning of evolution of management thought? To understand this, we need to go back in time.

The Industrial Revolution in the early 19th century brought monumental changes in the workplace. As factories were the primary source of employment, management theorists studied the operations and workforce present on the factory floors. There were times when the demand was high but the lack of productivity and efficiency held workplaces back. The Industrial Revolution gave birth to multiple management theories and concepts that developed over time and are still relevant today.

Tracing The Evolution Of Management Through Theories

Management theories help you study an organization, its corporate designs, structures and behavior of individuals or groups. By studying the impact of internal and external business environments, these theories provide a lens to address critical questions about how a business works or operates. Management theories can be grouped under three categories—classical theory, neoclassical theory and modern management theory. Let’s take a look at the individual theories in detail:

  1. Classical Theory Of Management

The theories that emerged under the classical evolution of management thought are:

  • Scientific Management

Fredrick Winslow Taylor, an engineer, proposed and developed the Scientific Management Theory. He is also known as the Father of Scientific Management and his school of thought came to be known as Taylorism. He introduced a scientific approach to productivity, which meant that an increase in efficiency can lead to higher productivity and profits. He believed that research-backed and standardized procedures were necessary for effective management.

  • Administrative Management

Henry Fayol, a French mining engineer, laid down five functions and 14 principles of management under the theory of Fayolism. This gave way to the school of administrative management. He believed that these functions and principles can guide managers to fulfill their responsibilities effectively and they should have the liberty to determine how to use them.

  1. Neoclassical Theory Of Management

The theories that emerged under the neoclassical evolution of management practices are:

  • Human Relations Management

Developed by Elton Mayo, an Australian psychologist, the Human Relations Theory of Management was proposed after a series of experiments, also known as Hawthorne Studies or Hawthorne Experiments. This theory emerged as a response to the criticism faced by the classical management theories, where social factors such as human behavior and attitudes weren’t considered important.

  • Behavioral Management

Behavioral approaches to management set the pace for how modern workplaces build an employee-friendly culture. Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, proposed the hierarchy of need, where employee need and expectations were prioritized. The theory suggests that human relations and behavior are essential in driving efficiency in teams and managing the workforce successfully.

  1. Modern Theory Of Management

The theories that emerged with the modern evolution of management needs are:

  • Systems Approach

The Systems Theory of organization has its roots in biology and systems science. This concept broke away from classical management theory that viewed organizations as machines and moved toward a more holistic view that sees them as networks of people, procedures and activities. Systems Theory allows for an understanding of the connections between various parts of the organization and how they interact with one another.

  • Contingency Approach

The Contingency Management Theory suggests that there isn’t any perfect way to organize a business or corporation. The optimal solution lies in the situation that an organization operates in. A business is contingent (depends) upon internal or external environments.

It’s evident that in the long history of the evolution of management, the focus has shifted from the structure and authority to the people behind the scenes. Many of these principles hold relevance in modern workplaces even if society continues to evolve. Practicing the principles of various management theories will not only bring success to your organization but also improve your relationship with your team. Harappa’s Managing Teamwork course is designed to equip you with tools to imbibe team culture and collaborate with diverse people. Meet organizational goals with greater efficiency by learning how to trust your team and progress with them. Try Harappa and see the change for yourself!


Explore Harappa Diaries to learn more about topics such as 14 Principles Of ManagementAdvantages Of MBOImportance Of Strategic Management and Management Skills to become a well-rounded professional.

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