7 Stage to development of management thought

How can development of management thought ? If you want to know history of management than we recommended first you should know how can development of management thought and who and how developed of management theory?

What is management thought?

Management has become today a theory jungle by the contributions of scholars and writers from several discipline like sociology, psychology, social psychology, cultural anthropology, political science, engineering, economics, mathematics, statistics and others.

Having different backgrounds and adopting divergent approaches, these contributions have created a diversity in management thought. To understand the present state of management, it becomes necessary to trace the history of management thought.

Development of Management Thought

Management has been progressively developed through the following seven school of thought.

  • Scientific Management
  • Management Theory
  • Human Relations
  • Decision Science
  • Behavioural Sciences
  • Systems Theory
  • Contingency Theory

1. Scientific Management

F.W. Taylor is the founder of scientific management at the turn of this century. Taylor’s ideas on scientific management took a tangible shape through the publication of his famous work, the principle of scientific management in 1911.

Important contributors to this field of Taylor, Frank B. Gilbreth, Morris L. Cooke, Henry L. Gantt and Harrington Emerson.

2. Management Theory

Henri Fayol of France was the first of management theorists who were concerned with the principles of organisation and the functions of management. Through his well known work General and Industrial Management, published in french in 1916.

Fayol laid the foundation of management as a separate body of knowledge and viewed that management had universal application to all forms og group activity.

Important contributors to this school of management thought are Henry Fayol, Max weber, Oliver Sheldon, James D. Mooney, Lyndall Urwick, Chester I. Barned and Herbert A. Simon.

3. Human Relations

After the pioneering work of Mark Parker Follett on group behaviour and group dynamics, the conclusions of Hawthorne study were published by Elton Mayo and his associates in the latter 1930 and throughout the 1940s.

Hawthorne study established that human beings are the most important and influential input for securing a greater output in any concern.

Important contributors to this school of human relations include Kurt Lewin, F.J. Roethlisberger and T.N. Whitehead.

4. Decision Science

In the 1950s, the contributions of economists, mathematicians and statisticians, or economietrists as they are jointly called, led to the development of another school of management thought which is known  as decision science school.

According to this theory, as decision making is the sole way in which managers can discharge their responsibility of managing, decision making should be taken as the central focus of the management study.

Important contributors to this field Herbert A. Simon, Russel Ackoff, Joy Forrester, Martin Starr and Kenneth Boulding.

5. Behavioural Science

Along with the growth of decision science school, there arose the behavioral sciences school after the world war II. Behavioral Scientists are mostly concerned with organizational change, motivation and leadership.

This school contributes to our knowledge of organizational behavior by showing the way of integrating individual goals with the organizational goals and of managing interpersonal conflicts.

Important contributors to this theory of Herbert A. Simon, James G. March, Dougles McGregor, Chris Argyris, George C. Homans, Rensis Likert, Abraham Maslow, Frederick Herzberg, Joe Kelly and others.

6. Systems Theory

To reconcile the divergent views and approaches adopted in different schools of thought, the systems theory has been developed for integrating the past and present contributions by way of a systems approach and for explaining the complexity and dynamicity of present-day organizations from the 1960s.

The systems concept enables us to see the critical variables and constraints and their interactions with one another.

Important contributors to this theory of Daniel Katz, Robert L. Kahn, Richard A. Johnson and Herbert A. Simon is the spiritual father of this theory.

7. Contingency Theory

Allied to the systems theory, the contingency theory calls for a further refinement, extension and synthesis of past and present contributions in the sphere of management. Current management thinking is greatly influenced by both the systems approach and the contingency approach. These approaches are recognized as the key to effective management in the 1980s.

Important contributors to the contingency theory include Tom Burns, G.M. Stalker, Joan Woodward, Paul R. Lawrence, L.W. Lorsch, Victor H. Vroom and Robert J. House.


At last words, these above thought step-by-step developing of management and after all thought readily we observed that F.W. Taylor and Herbert A. Simon plays important role for developing theory of management and its thinking to development of management thought.

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