Organizational managers deal with human beings of different behaviors requiring them to continue learning and implementing practices that will enhance the best running of an organization. Through management theories, managers create their vision to allow them to run the organization based on how systems and people operate (Espejo, Schuhmann, Schwaninger, and Bilello, 2006, 350). The management theories have evolved from offering traditional strategies to the modernized ways of organizational management. This has allowed professionals to use multiple concepts from different management theories to best manage their workforce. Scientific management theory and the contingency management theory are some of the commonly referred theories that organizations have continued to embrace even today.
The scientific management theory was first developed by Fredrick Taylor who is believed to be the earliest management theorist. Through his theory, Taylor was able to study how the performance of the workplace could be enhanced scientifically (Miles, 2011, 13). He stated that forcing workers to work hard throughout in the name of optimizing results could no longer function in the new management system if getting best results were anything to go by. Instead, based on what Taylor recommended, it was proper that tasks are simplified to enhance the level of productivity (Taylor, 2004, 12). The Taylors proposal intended to have a new look in the workplace where the executive could interact with the employees to liberate on best ways of production.
Due to Taylor's scientific management theory, production for the organizations increased significantly as business operations were steadily improved (Argyris, and Schon, 2007, 347). The enhanced output was because of the excellent teamwork with the excellent cooperation between workers and the managers as decision making became speedy. Managers, on the other hand, gained control of the production as employees specialized (George, Jones, and Sharbrough, 2002, 23). Accuracy in the organization was able to be realized because of experimentation and observation while reducing the high cost of production that used to be experienced as the technology was adopted. However, we cannot say all was well, the management system proposed by the theory required a massive amount of capital for implementation. This was because planning for departments, work study, employee training, and standardization was all required which was costly (Tsoukas, 2005, 25). The theory as well allowed all control responsibility to lie with the management which could deny employees an opportunity to be creative. Also, the entire process of planning was a bit tiresome and affected productivity. Generally, we must admit the motivation of employees decreased.
Contingency theory which was put forth by Fred Fielder stands on the fact that no single approach to management can suit every organization. This is the case because organizations operate in different environments; therefore, they face different internal and external factors that will affect any chosen management approach (Heinritz, 1999, 47). The theory recognizes three factors that affect the structure of the organization including technology, size of the organization, and leadership style. Thus, depending on how big or small the organization is, it will adopt its style of management. Similarly, the technology that an organization adopts will guide the organization through its management process (Donaldson, 2000, 370). Contingency theory portrays multiple strengths including giving direction to the organization as to how management can achieve excellent leadership. Also, leaders in an organization are exposed to a broad scope of understanding leadership allowing them to develop tricks for all situations. A manager does not need to be effective in every situation since such comes with different elements.
On the other hand, contingency theory has weaknesses in the sense that it has no elaborate or any standard explanation of effective management. This situation leaves leaders in a guess-work state where they are uncertain of the best actions to take in case of an occurrence. It is a complicated theory to apply when it comes to the practical taking of action when something happens (Ivancevich, Matteson, and Konopaske, 2001, 35). This is because, before taking any action, various variables surrounding a situation must be appropriately analyzed for a suitable solution. Finally, we all agree this theory is not proactive; instead, it is reactive that it only looks for a solution when something happens.
Despite criticism for Taylor's scientific management theory from different parties, the theory still extensively applies in the modern world of business management. Though organizations may not fully adopt the application of scientific theory, its basic application has seen such organizations sustain competitive advantage in their industries. A practical example of such an organization is McDonald's where managers practice scientific theory. The hamburger flipper for McDonald's and other thousands of standardized processes that require all worker to follow has left a legacy for this organization. The company has applied this standardized process alongside the principles of scientific management to meet their expected productivity. This has enabled the company to remain one of the leading fast food chain business worldwide. For instance, applying these standardized procedures and products; customers in India get their orders within less than ten minutes.
Similarly, Contingency management theory seems to be rapidly being adopted by modern companies with the intention of meeting the uncertainties (Otley, 2000, 87). A good example is that of the Ford Motor Company whose management made up mind to incorporate contingency style of leadership. Led by Allan Mulally, the CEO, when he first joined Ford Motor, the company was under financial crisis and needed another better plan which could offer a quick plan to avoid the looming bankruptcy. The leadership of the company established a plan, structure for accomplishing the work, defined the behaviors that were expected and had all the operational targets tied to profitability. The color-coded system was developed to measure all things that contributed to cost or delay in the company's profitability growth. Green color indicated that the project was going on well, yellow indicated that attention needed, then red an urgent action was needed. Today, Ford is among the widely recognized reputable company after the contingency theory was applied to set the company ready to combat the financial crisis.
In conclusion, therefore, we can say scientific management theory and contingency theory are among the famous management theories theorists put forth. The theories were successfully developed and applied in different situations. Though, their successful application does not mean that they were without threats to the system of management in organizations. Generally, various organizations that applied the two theories realized improved production but at the same time factors such as costs were limitations experienced. McDonald's and Ford Motor are among the widely known companies that have applied the two theories in recent years and proved a success.
Argyris, C. and Schon, D.A., 2007. Organizational learning: A theory of action perspective. Reis, (77/78), pp.345-348.Donaldson, L., 2000. The ethereal hand: Organizational economics and management theory. Academy of management Review, 15(3), pp.369-381.
Espejo, R., Schuhmann, W., Schwaninger, M. and Bilello, U., 2006. Organizational transformation and learning: A cybernetic approach to management (p. 350). Chichester: Wiley.
George, J.M., Jones, G.R. and Sharbrough, W.C., 2002. Understanding and managing organizational behavior.Heinritz, F.J., 1999. Scientific management of library operations. New York.
Ivancevich, J.M., Matteson, M.T. and Konopaske, R., 2001. Organizational behavior and management.Miles, R.E., 2011. Theories of management: Implications for organizational behavior and development. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Otley, D.T., 2000. The contingency theory of management accounting: achievement and prognosis. In Readings in accounting for management control (pp. 83-106).
Springer, Boston, MA.Taylor, F.W., 2004. Scientific management. Routledge.Tsoukas, H., 2005. Complex knowledge: Studies in organizational epistemology. Oxford University Press.
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