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Management , Ninth Edition
Robert Kreitner, Arizona State University
Chapter Summaries
Chapter 2: The Evolution of Management Thought

  1. Management is an interdisciplinary and international field that has evolved in bits and pieces over the years. Six approaches to management theory are (1) the universal process approach, (2) the operational approach, (3) the behavioral approach, (4) the systems approach, (5) the contingency approach, and (6) the attributes of excellence approach. Useful lessons have been learned from each approach. Henry Fayols universal approach assumes that all organizations, regardless of purpose or size, require the same management process. Furthermore, it assumes that this rational process can be reduced to separate functions and principles of management. The universal approach, the oldest of the various approaches, is still popular today.

  2. Dedicated to promoting production efficiency and reducing waste, the operational approach has evolved from scientific management to operations management. Frederick W. Taylor, the father of scientific management, and his followers revolutionized industrial management through the use of standardization, time-and-motion study, selection and training, and pay incentives.

  3. The quality advocates taught managers about the strategic importance of high-quality goods and services. Shewhart pioneered the use of statistics for quality control. Japans Ishikawa emphasized prevention of defects in quality and drew managements attention to internal as well as external customers. Deming sparked the Japanese quality revolution with calls for continuous improvement of the entire production process. Juran trained many U.S. managers to improve quality through teamwork, partnerships with suppliers, and Pareto analysis (the 80/20 rule). Feigenbaum developed the concept of total quality control, thus involving all business functions in the quest for quality. He believed that the customer determined quality. Crosby, a champion of zero defects, emphasized how costly poor-quality products could be.

  4. Management has turned to the human factor in the human relations movement and organizational behavior approach. Emerging from such influences as unionization, the Hawthorne studies, and the philosophy of industrial humanism, the human relations movement began as a concerted effort to make employees needs a high management priority. Today, organizational behavior theory tries to identify the multiple determinants of job performance.

  5. Advocates of the systems approach recommend that modern organizations be viewed as open systems. Open systems depend on the outside environment for survival, whereas closed systems do not. Chester I. Barnard stirred early interest in systems thinking in 1938 by suggesting that organizations are cooperative systems energized by communication. General systems theory, an interdisciplinary field based on the assumption that everything is systematically related, has identified a hierarchy of systems and has differentiated between closed and open systems. New directions in systems thinking are organizational learning and chaos theory.

  6. A comparatively new approach to management thought is the contingency approach, which stresses situational appropriateness rather than universal principles. The contingency approach is characterized by an open-system perspective, a practical research orientation, and a multivariate approach to research. Contingency thinking is a practical extension of more abstract systems thinking.

  7. In Search of Excellence, Peters and Watermans best-selling book, challenged managers to take a fresh, unconventional look at managing. They isolated eight attributes of excellence after studying many of the best-managed and most successful companies in America. Generally, the excellent companies were found to be relatively decentralized and value-driven organizations dedicated to humane treatment of employees, innovation, experimentation, and customer satisfaction. Critics of the excellence approach caution managers to avoid the quick-fix mentality, in which organizational problems and solutions are oversimplified.