Essay Sample on 4 Types of Management Theories: Traditional, Foundational, Global & e-Commerce

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1615 Words
Date:  2023-02-22


Management theories help managers to perform their roles in an organization, and also assist help employees to effectively relate to business goals, and implement effective strategies to achieve the goals. The theories are categorized into four groups: traditional, foundational, current and emerging global, and emerging e-commerce theories (Thompson, 2008). Management theories undergo various changes to cope with the prevailing trends in business culture and practices. The table below has a discussion of the theories involved in management, where they apply, what they say about workers, their emphasis, and their relationship to the classical approach.

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Theory Organizational Structure Concept about Workers The emphasis of the Theory Connection to Classical Theory

Principles of Scientific Management

The theory works in centralized structures such as the functional, matrix, and multidimensional structural organizations. However, it is not appropriate for decentralized structures because they lack a hierarchy of superiors and subordinates. There is a science for each element of an individual's work. Training, selection, teaching, and development of employees should be scientifically-based processes. Cooperation between workers and managers is done in compliance with scientific principles. There must be an equal division of work between workers and managers; the choice of who does what job should be based on fit (Thompson, 2008). The theory aims to improve worker's productivity through practices such as specialization, standardization, extensive training, assignment based on ability, and supervision. Both theories target profit maximization, labor specialization, improved productivity, and streamlined operations.

Human Behavior Theory

Human behavior theory can thrive in functional, divisional, matrix structural organizations because they all value human relations management as a tool to boost productivity. There is a difference between 'individual' and 'person'; individuals have motives and purposes (Thompson, 2008). Also, each individual has a person within, which has predictable attitudes, traits, and intentions (Thompson, 2008). Therefore, employees should be seen as individuals, assets, and resources that can be developed and not machines. Human theory is essential and is motivated by the need for satisfaction. Attending to the psychological, safety, belonging, esteem, and self-actualization needs of employees help managers to understand their eployees' motivation, and increase their performance. Human behavior theory shares no relationship with classical management theory.

Law of Situation

The law of situation can thrive in both centralized and decentralized organizational structures because it entails quality leadership and communication with staff. Employees should not be given orders by the managers; instead, they should take orders from what the situation requires (Thompson, 2008). Consequently, the theory promotes horizontal authority, teamwork, empowerment, conflict resolution, and management within a business (Thompson, 2008).

Teamwork, culture creation, and organizational design are essential in every working environment. The three aspects are reflected by five principles: collaboration, horizontal authority, conflict, power, and empowerment (Thompson, 2008). Under classical theory, employees understand their roles and specialize in a given field to increase productivity. Moreover, employers motivate workers to increase efficiency, profits, and productivity; similarly, the law of situation promotes empowerment.

Modern Management

The theory can thrive in all corporate organizational structures. Employees do not work for money alone; instead, they do it for satisfaction, happiness, and the desired lifestyle. Also, workers possess a range of skills and talents, which can be developed through training. Organizations have to navigate through rapid change and complexities, caused by technology. The use of modern management theory in businesses aims to combine technology and mathematical analysis to create a dual-prolonged approach to organization, management, and decision-making. The modern management theory is a direct response to classical management theory. The classical management theory assumes that employees have physical and economic needs only; consequently, they work for money. However, the modern management theory challenges the classical approach because it considers aspects such as job satisfaction, happiness, and desired lifestyle, as motivations towards working.

Ever since their emergence, management theories have helped managers to perform their roles in organizations, and employees to effectively relate to business goals, and implement effective strategies to achieve the goals. Over the past century, several management theories were developed, and significant updates were done on them. Initially, classical management theories guided different organizations. A paradigm ship led to modern management theories, which have several similarities and differences with the classical management theories. The classical management theory is not sufficient for smooth running of organizations. However, since different problems and situations require different management theories, a combination of both classical and modern aspect can be a productive tool for today's managers. This essay contains a precise and informative discussion of the traditional management theories, the paradigm ship to global enterprise management, and the talent management paradigm. Also, the essay addresses the classical management theories that were effective, those that did not work, how the paradigm ship occurred, and what triggered it.

Classical Management Theories

Organizations need management theories to overcome challenges such as competition and economical use of resources for maximum output. Classical management provides the basis for all other opinions; they were developed to control and predict behavior in organizations (Mahmood, Basharat, & Bashir, 2012). The notable features of classical management theories are chain of command, division of labor, unidirectional downward influence, autocratic leadership style, and predicted behavior. In the arguments, management is distributed in three levels: top-level (administration), middle level (which is responsible for the coordination of supervision and formulation of policies), and the first level, which consists of supervisors; also, policies are implemented in this stage (Mahmood et al., 2012). Complex tasks are divided into several simple tasks, to improve the performance of workers. In classical management theories, communication is one-way, and decisions are made by the top-level management team, and later communicated downwards. In traditional management theories, workers were controlled and treated like machines to improve productivity (Mahmood et al., 2012).

Consequently, the behaviors of workers were predicted like machines, and they would be replaced if they failed to work as expected (Mahmood et al., 2012). Also, the classical management theories assumed that employees' economic and physical needs only. The theory does not take into account the satisfaction derived from the job and social needs, which are essential aspects modern workers consider. Arguably, this could be one of the reasons why classical management theory was gradually replaced by the current management approach.

Classical Management Theories that Worked

Scientific Management Theory. This approach increased productivity through mutual trust between managers and employees. The theory was based on the idea of planning work to improve efficiency, specialization, standardization, and simplification. The approach worked on four principles: Science, scientific selection of workers, labor corporation, and management rather than conflict, and scientific training of workers (Thompson, 2008).

Failed Classical Management Theories

Bureaucratic Management Theory. This approach is considered impersonal, rigid, empire-building, and self-perpetuating. The theory considers an organization as a more significant part of the community. It is based on the principles of structure, specialization, predictability and stability, rationality, and democracy. Bureaucratic management was not practical for organizations that fostered employee empowerment (Josserand, Teo, & Clegg, 2006). Therefore, it could not thrive in the modern business systems, where employee empowerment is viewed as an integral part of management to increase productivity.

Paradigm Shift to a Globally Integrated Enterprise Management and Talent Management Paradigm

Globally integrated enterprise refers to a company that plans its strategies, management, and operations to pursue value delivery and the integration of production worldwide. In their earlier form, corporations were made by the government to perform specific duties on behalf of the country; later, they were recognized as independent "legal persons" (Palmisano, 2006). With the help of information technology (IT) networks and systems, enterprises have grown to global businesses in the last three decades (Palmisano, 2006). Consequently, international enterprises started shifting their focus from products to production, to serve a wider market. A paradigm shift emerged, where companies started aligning their management strategies and operations in pursuit of one goal: the integration of production and value delivery on an international level (Palmisano, 2006). After that, state boundaries started becoming less significant determinants of companies' thinking, practice, and decisions. Therefore, the paradigm shift to globally integrated companies has caused changes in where companies produce goods, and where they sell them. Arguably, this change facilitated the development of modern management theories, which support a better centralized and decentralized leadership, and utilization of human and economic resources.

On the other hand, talent management has become a widely discussed aspect due to the scarcity of talent in contemporary times. Organizations need to have sufficient talent management practices to retain their best workers; these practices focus on knowledge, competencies, and learning (Rana, Goel, & Rastogi, 2013). This factor led to a shift in talent management from the classical approaches, to modern methods that promote worker empowerment. Advanced talent management ensures optimal productivity by involving workers in decision-making, training, and creating a safe working environment.


Management theories undergo various changes to cope with the prevailing trends in business culture and practices. The approaches help managers to perform their roles in organizations, and employees to effectively relate to business goals, and implement effective strategies to achieve the goals. Classical management theories provided theories formed the basis for all current theories. The notable features of classical management theories are chain of command, division of labor, unidirectional downward influence, autocratic leadership style, and predicted behavior. However, traditional management theories viewed workers as predictable machines, who would be replaced if they failed to meet the set expectations, and had only financial and physical needs. Such factors might have led to the emergence of modern management theory, which views workers as resources that can be improved through training, and with other needs such as job satisfaction, social wants, and desired lifestyle. The need to pursue value delivery and the integration of production on an international scale led to a global integrated enterprise management paradigm shift. On the other hand, scarcity of talent increases the need for effective talent ma...

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Essay Sample on 4 Types of Management Theories: Traditional, Foundational, Global & e-Commerce. (2023, Feb 22). Retrieved from

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