Business Management Theories

Management is a process concerned with coordinating and integrating work activities to achieve the goals of a business, with and through other people. Successful management is about achieving goals. Effectiveness is management is about achieving goals. Efficiency is concerned with the relationship between inputs and outputs. Effective management invariably results in business success, while ineffective management often results in business failure.

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Body How the old management theory contributed significantly to the problems Sparks faces. Understanding management theories is vital to managers who are concerned with practical issues such as efficiency and productivity. They provide managers with a theoretical perspective at the nature and responsibilities of management within a changing environment. Features of Classical-Scientific Theory Scientific management focused on functions of management. Management functions were grouped on the basis of whether they were concerned with planning, organizing or controlling.

It was believed that efficiency and productivity would be achieved through division of labour, which is concerned with breaking the total job into small, narrow repetitive tasks. Defined as ‘ the one best way of doing things’. The classical theory is characterised by a hierarchical organisational structure based on division of labour. Classical scientific theorists believed a pyramid structure was the most effective way to organize the structure of a business. Top management is at the top and the workers are at the bottom, with layers of middle management in between. This was controlled by central bureaucratic management through an autocratic leadership style. This leadership style was based on the army were workers are given little or not say in anything, they are directed in what to do.

Disadvantages/Weakness of Classical Theory. The theory has significant weaknesses, such as the way in which it treats workers as machines or resources. They become over specialised, only focusing on a single area of work or task. As a result, there was a worker resentment, monotony, high absenteeism and high staff turnover. Due to high specialisation, the quality of the product is compromised because tasks become monotonous or repetitive, allowing no room for employee empowerment, development or creativity. The pyramid structure of business organisation creates a small span of control and a rigid chain of command rendering communication between staff and management void.

How Classical-Scientific management theory and congruent strategies have caused problems within Sparks. It is obvious that it is the weaknesses of this theory that caused the problems currently faced by Sparks. Head office has become overstaffed and bureaucratic, a result of over specialisation requiring too many employees. The classical theory is characterised by a pyramid or hierarchal structure, and in the case of Sparks this has resulted in a small span of control and a rigid chain of command. This has resulted in middle management that has obscured and lengthened the connection between the customer and the senior decision makers.

As a result of long communication lines, resulting in less communication within the business, the classical theory brings about an autocratic leadership style. This leadership style, in the case of Sparks, practised by Richard King, has directly influenced inefficiency and unproductive employees through loss of worker motivation and morale. It has also created a rigid management without communication within the business. This can be deduced through the fact that staff has realised a need for change while due to a lack of communication management has failed to appreciate the need for modernisation, and has lost sight of what the customer wants. A complete role reversal.

This in turn creates a business that is slow to respond to change, thus creating a reactive rather than proactive situation. Managers live in environmental uncertainty, but it is dangerous to do nothing in this environment. Scientific management was appropriate for its time, but not for a rapidly changing dynamic environment. This is why manufacturing organisations based on a high degree of division of labour are looking for alternatives.