6 pages
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Compare Theories of Frederick Taylor, Henri Fayol, Elton Mayo and Douglas McGregor

September 17, 2013
Compare and contrast the management theories of Frederick Taylor, Henri Fayol, Elton
Mayo and Douglas McGregor. In what sense(s) are these theories similar and/or
compatible? In what sense(s) are these theories dissimilar and/or incompatible? How
would a contingency theorist reconcile the points of dissimilarity and/or incompatibility
between these approaches?
The twentieth century has brought in a number of management theories which have helped
shaped our view of management in the present business environment. These emerging
theories have enabled managers to appreciate new patterns of thinking, new ways of
organising and new ways of managing organisations and people. Over the years these
different theories have enabled the study of trends that have taken place in the
management field. The major management viewpoints- which include the classical,
behavioural and contingency approaches- have assisted in the formation of the
contemporary twenty-first century management theory and techniques (S. C. Certo & S. T.
Certo, 2006). Although, there are significant differences among all these approaches they
seem to be unified by the efforts of improving an organisations efficiency in terms of
proper human resources management. Furthermore, the dissimilarities seen in these
approaches are due to the always changing organisations and environments which demand
new management practices and techniques be applied to maintain the efficiency of an
The classical approach to management was the result of an effort to develop a body of
management thinking and the management theorists who participated in this effort are
considered the pioneers of management study. The classical viewpoint emphasises
efficiency in managing work and organisations in order to increase production (S. C. Certo
& S. T. Certo, 2006). The classical approach to management can be categorised into three
areas: scientific, administrative and bureaucratic management. Frederick Taylor, known as
the father of scientific management, developed his theories by concentrating on improving
the inefficiencies he had observed in the working environment and introducing more
scientific methods of working (Taylor, 1960). Taylor was concerned about the
discrepancies between management and the labour force regarding the distribution of
profits, neither side seemed to agree on what constituted a fair days work (Hagen, 1988, p.
46). Frederick Taylor, using systematic analysis, decided to study the possibility of finding
a better way to perform certain work tasks.
In 1911 Taylor published The Principles of Scientific Management, a book in which he
promoted the development of management through the application of scientific selection
and training of workers, and the division of tasks and responsibilities between workers and