The Classical School

The classical approach on management emerged during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and to some extent is accepted and practiced by many managers even today. The classical school actually includes two different areas: lower-level management analysis (scientific management); and comprehensive analysis of management (administrative theory).

Scientific Management

The management science school provides managers with a scientific basis for solving problems and making decisions. This approach arose out of a need to improve manufacturing productivity through more efficient use of physical and human resources. It grew from the pioneering work of five people: Frederick W. Taylor, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, Henry Gantt, and Harrington Emerson.

Frederick W. Taylor (1856-1915)

Frederick Winslow Taylor, become known as "the father of scientific management." He insisted that management itself would have to change and, further, Taylor suggested that decisions based on rules of thumb be replaced with precise procedures developed after careful study of individual situations.The essence of Taylor's scientific management can be summarized in the following principles:

  • Develop a science for each element of a worker's job to replace rules of thumb.
  • Job specialization should be a part of each job.
  • Ensure the proper selection, training, and development of workers.
  • Planning and scheduling of the work are essential.
  • Standards with respect to methods and time for each task should be established.
  • Wage incentives should be an integral part of each job.

These four principles became the basic guidelines for managing the work of individuals. Taylor's approach had a significant impact on American society; it led to increases in productivity. His ideas also stimulated others to continue the formulation of management thought.

Frank Gilbreth (1868- 1924), Lillian Gilbreth (1878-1972)

Frank and Lillian Gilbreth were a husband-wife team if industrial engineers. They produced significant contributions in motion study and work simplification. With the use of motion picture cameras, the Gilbreth's found the most efficient and economical motions for each task, thus reducing and upgrading production. Working individually and together, Frank and Lillian Gilbreth developed numerous techniques and strategies for eliminating inefficiency.

Henry L. Gantt (1861-1919)

Contributions toward work scheduling and control were made by Harry L. Gannt. He tried to improve systems or organizations through task scheduling and reward innovation. Essentially, Gantt's most famous contribution was the Gannt chart, a system of control and scheduling we still use today.

Harrington Emerson (1853-1931)

The principles of efficiency were further developed by Harrington Emerson. He was also a strong advocate of making a strict distinction between line and staff roles in organizations. Moreover, Emerson urged on the use of statements of goals and objectives for the total organization.


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Introduction To Management
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