In recent years, much attention has been paid on the management theory. For managers of any organization, they must choose the appropriate management theory to ensure the development of the organization. However, this is difficult for manager to choose and apply the approaches into the practice as every approach has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here we may focus on the four management approaches, and discuss their advantages and disadvantages respectively.
2. The four approaches The basic four that will be explained later are scientific management approach, behavioral approach, management science approach and contingency approach. 2.1. The advantages and disadvantages of scientific management approach Scientific management, proposed by Frederick Winslow Taylor, aims to improve the productivity of the organization, and has been widely used in many organizations.
The advantages of this approach are as follows: this approach can divide the duties between the managers and the workers very clearly in comparison with the past. The approach is based on this theory that the right people will be selected to do the right thing, which largely improved the labor efficiency (Taylor, Frederick W., 1911). Moreover, the workers will be rewarded if they can propose some useful suggestions during the working process. However, there are still some disadvantages existing in this approach. When using this approach in small groups, the results will not be useful or effective. As indicated before, the workers are chosen to do the job; as a result, they have no or little chance to choose the work by themselves.
2.2 The advantages and disadvantages of behavioral approach This approach believes that human behavior is a key factor in management process. With the thought that the success of management depends on the good human relations, the managers emphasize the people doing the work and cares more about the employee’s needs (Luthans, Fred, 2002), which creates a harmonious working environment. On the negative side, other factors in the workplace were not taken into consideration, such as the working condition, the techniques, and methods which are also critical to the management of the organization.
2.3 The advantages and disadvantages of management science approach Differing from the scientific approach, the management science approach can be seen as Mathematical or Quantitative Measurement Approach. With this approach, the large and complicated problems can be divided into smaller parts, which are easy to deal with. In addition to that, when solving some managerial problems, the managers can use lots of Mathematical tools, such as sampling, simulation and so on, which, can make the results exact. There are some limits when choosing this approach. As the scope of this approach is limited, not all the Managerial problems can be quantified. Furthermore, the application of this approach requires various technical skills, so this is a time-consuming approach.
2.4 The advantages and disadvantages of contingency approach The contingency approach, also know as situational approach, is different from the universal approach (Shetty, Y.K., 1974). The managerial responses can be changed as the situation changes. The managers may decide which practice is appropriate according to the specific situation. As the situation varies, the application of this approach in the management process is too complex, which can be seen as the biggest disadvantage of this approach.
3. The case study of IKEA International Group Here we take IKEA International Group as an example to show how the company adopted the management approaches to increase its productivity. IKEA, a well-known furniture manufacturers and retailers in the world, has successfully adopted the management theories based on its own situation. Actually the company uses the behavioral approach as its main management theory. As mentioned above, the behavioral approach focuses on the human behavior. The manager of this company thinks that the motivation, communication and the understanding of the employee’s needs are the key factors of achieving the work productivity (Coleman, J. and Palmer, D., 1973).
During the working process, the managers try their best to encourage the workers and recognize their good performance. This benefits the company a lot when the managers applied this very approach into practice. The company adopted and implemented this management approach based on the information that if the workers are given more encouragement and recognition of their work, the individual effectiveness as well as the organizational effectiveness will be enhanced to some extent. Another important use of the behavioral approach is to gain a good understanding of the employee’s needs and satisfy the demands of the workers. When comes to this point, the company did a good job.
The mangers implemented the people-oriented method to communicate with the workers, resolve the conflicts and meet the needs of the works at large, because the managers have a basic idea that the workers are the people who can help them accomplish the tasks required by the company. Along with the behavioral approach, the scientific approach is used by the company, which can be regarded as another essential contribution to the improvement of work productivity. It’s known that the biggest advantage of scientific approach is to select the appropriate person to do each job in a scientific way. IKEA implemented this approach that can facilitate the efficiency of the workers (McGregor, Douglas, 1960).
On the basis of understanding the workers’ personality and talent, the managers in the company chose the right people for each job, which can be seen as the competitive advantage for the company. The workers were trained for the job so as to develop the basic skills that required in the modern workplace. A major benefit from this practice is that each task can be allocated to the most suitable person that can perform it effectively.
From the above analysis of IKEA International Group, it’s clear that the two approaches adopted by the company are the two major effective factors that contribute to the worker’s productivity as well as the success of the company. However, the two approaches are not the cure-all for every company. Depending on their own conditions, what the companies need to do is to find the appropriate management approach that can improve the productivity and efficiency of the work, and then apply those approaches into practice.
1. Taylor, Frederick W. (1911), Principles of Scientific Management, W.W. Norton, New York
2. Coleman, J. and Palmer, D. (1973), Organizational Application of System Theory, Business Horizons, 16: pp. 77
3. Luthans, Fred. (2002), Positive Organizational Behavior: Developing and Managing Psychological Strengths, Academy of Management Executive, pp. 59
4. Shetty, Y. K. (1974), Contingency Management: Current Perspective for Managing Organizations, Management International Review, 6: pp. 27
5. McGregor, Douglas. (1960), The Human Side of Enterprise, McGraw-Hill, New York