During the last 25 years, there have been attempts to achieve integration of the three approaches to management. One of these attempts, the system approach, stresses that the organizations must be viewed as total systems, with each part linked to every other part. Another, the contingency approach, stresses that the correctness of a managerial practice is contingent upon how it fits the particular situation in which it is applied.
The Systems Approach. It views an organization as a group of interrelated parts with a single purpose. The action of one part will influence the others, and managers cannot deal separately with individual parts. Managers do not solve individual problems. They use the management that functions of planning, organizing, and controlling. The objectives of the individual parts must be compromised to meet the objective of the entire firm. With a systems perspective individual managers can more easily achieve coordination between the objectives of the various parts of the organization and the objectives of the organization as a whole.
Contingency Approach. The basic idea of the contingency approach is that there is no best way to plan, organize, or control. Rather, mangers must find different ways to fit different situations. A method highly developed in one situation may not work in other situations. The contingency approach seeks to match different situations with different management methods. The contingency approach has grown in popularity over the last three decades because some research has found, given certain characteristics of a job, specific management practices tend to work better than others. If, for instance, productivity needs to be increased, the manager study the characteristics of the workers, the nature of the job, and his or her own leadership approach before deciding on a solution.
Modern managers must use more of the contingency approach to survive. Reliance on a classical, or a behavioral, or management science approach will not be sufficient for tomorrow’s organizations. The reasons why the contingency view will be come more relevant and prominent are:
Increased globalization of enterprise and the need for more government business alliances to compete internationally.
Demands for ethical and social leadership.
Changing demographics and skill requirements of the work force.
The emergence of new organizational structures that emphasize speed in reacting to environmental changes.
Changing needs, preferences, and desires of employees for job security, participation, ownership, and personal fulfillment.
The student of management must learn multiple ways to compete, innovate, create, motivate, and lead. Both the systems approach and the contingency approach can provide valuable insights.
Exercise 1. Answer the questions:
1. What are the main ideas of the classical school of management?
2. Who was Taylor supported in his efforts by?
3. What were the principles of Taylor’s philosophy?
4. What books have significantly influenced the theory and practice of management?
5. When did some observers of organizations become convinced that scientific management was shortsighted and incomplete?
6. What was the behavioral school of management primarily concerned with?
7. How can a human relations movement be defined?
8. What does the term ”modern behaviorism” refer to?
9. Why have behavioral scientists often criticized classical management theory and scientific management?
10. Which approach is a way of thinking about management problems?
11. What is the basis idea of the contingency approach?
12. Are the systems approach and contingency approach similar?
13. What approach must managers use to survive?
14. Why will the contingency view become more relevant?
Exercise 2. Decide whether the following statements are True (T) and False (F):
In response to the growth of the large organizations in the late 19th century and during the early 20th century, there was an intensified interest in management as a process and as a science.
Taylor stated many times that scientific management wouldn’t require a revolution in thinking by both the manager and the subordinate.
In the 1920s and 1930s, some observers of organizations became convinced that scientific management was shortsighted and incomplete.
The term “modern behaviorism” doesn’t refer to the current stage of evolution of behavioral school of management.
The systems approach of management is really a way of thinking about management problems. It views an organization as a group of interrelated parts with a single purpose.
Managers in the 1990s and beyond shouldn’t use a contingency approach to survive. Reliance on a classical or behavioral or management science approach will be sufficient for tomorrow’s organizations.
Exercise 3. Choose the appropriate response to the following questions:
1. Which approach to management got increasing popularity in the last three decades?
a) classical approach;
b) contingency approach;
c) behavioral approach;
d) systems approach;
e) scientific approach.
2. Does behavioral approach focus on?
a) managing work;
b) managing operations;
c) managing organizations;
d) managing people.
3. Which approach to management assumes that there should be different ways to solve management problems?